Skipping The Dream
March 1 -
If this is the American Dream, then wake me up.
Actually, we shouldn't say that, given that we didn't really see it. We drove right up to the
Visitor Centre, parked the car, snapped some photos, wandered around the departure lounge, but
didn't actually make the trip up to the what is rumoured to be the most glorious marvel of
architecture in the United States, a true American castle. You see, during our travels, we have
developed two basic rules regarding monetary decisions:
1. Never tour a church that charges admission.
Either one of these is overruled if there's something inside that we are (or think we are) genuinely
interested in. We violated Rule One back in Santa Fe
when we visited the San Miguel Mission, but the case was extreme: the staricase inside was featured
on Unsolved Mysteries. We drew straws, and only one of us paid the $2.50 entrance fee. Unfortunately,
there were better pictures in the gift shop, so it will have to be doubly interesting next time
for us to break Rule One again.
2. If admission is too expensive, just visit the gift shop.
Hearst Castle, however, falls squarely under Rule Two. We'd been told by many that San Simeon was
worth the visit. If we see one thing up the coast, make it Hearst Castle. It's the American Dream.
No trip would be complete without the Hearst Castle Blue Tempered Shot Glass!
We decided to go the gift shop route, and if something in there sparked our interest, we might just
pay the $14.00 entry fee. Anyway, judging on the size of the parking lot, it seems like a popular
The advantage of Rule Two is that, at the very least, you'll find a book about what you're paying
to see. This book will have photos, probably photographed in the best light, by the best cameras,
to show the best results. If you're one of those people who says, "Yeah, but you can't touch a
photo," well, guess what? You can't touch the real thing either. That's what those velvet ropes
You're better off buying the book, cutting it up and sticking those in your
photo album, because chances are you're not going to do better on your disposable Kodak, flash or
So, we found a book (among various other tacky items) entitled William Randolph Hearst: Portrait
Of An American Something Or Other. The garden was beautiful, the pool was beautiful, the outside
architecture was beautiful. We were on the verge. Then we saw photos of the inside. "Er," we
said at the first picture, followed by, "Eww." "Bluh," I believe came next.
What is it about rich people and the insides of their houses? It seems that the uglier something
is, the more it's worth, and thus, the more sought after it is by those who can afford it. After
the exterior raising interest level to an eight out of ten, the interior slowly brought us back
down to gift shop contentedness.
In the end, we left emptyhanded and fullwalleted. Hearst Castle simply didn't rank high enough
on the weirdness scale to make the cut for our trip. But, if you want the real story, here's a
guy who did pay the admission fee...
Meet Adam Somer:
Guy Who Paid The Admission Fee
It was neat.
And here's our trip to the gift shop...
The Hearst Castle T-Shirt
The Hearst Castle Commemorative Plate
The Hearst Castle Fridge Magnet
The Hearst Castle Thimble
The Hearst Castle Sewing Kit
The Hearst Castle Faux Wedgewood China
The Hearst Castle Pocket Calculator
The Hearst Castle Viewmaster (da kids, dey love dis)
|more photos in the archive...
We've got mail...
Kevin and Aimee,
I hope Australia is going well. I know that this note
is a little late (about a year and a half) and given
the time difference, who knows when you'll be reading
this. I just wanted to thank you for mentioning me,
albeit by obscure reference, on the roadtrip website
on Day 187: San Simeon, CA, and for providing me with
virtually endless entertainment when work gets slow.
- Ari Kellman, New York NY
Drop us a note!
Sequoia National Park
Site 18. Wham! We're back at 4000 ft and it's chilllly. Apparently they've got car vandalizing bears here, so we've got to put all of our food into a steel bear-proof bin. Neat.
San Simeon S.P.
|Good Ol' Burgers
Paso Robles, CA
|Coyote Burger, Onion Rings, Lemonade
|Fries, Root Beer
Good Ol' Burgers
Specialty: Coyote Burger
Price: $3 & 3/4
Onion Rings: Huge
Slogan: A guy with a giant bun chasing a cow, saying, "Let's Eat!" and the cow saying, "Let's not!"
Move over, In-N-Out, because here comes Good Ol' Burgers! It smelled so good, we had lunch at 10:30 in the morning.
The burgers were tasty, the fries were crispy, and the onion rings were large enough to circle Saturn. Tasty!