day 187
hearst castle

"Well, what have we learned?" -k.
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Who's on Hearst?
Commissioned By: William Randolph Hearst
Acreage: 250,000
Rooms: 165
Gardens: 127
Construction Began: 1919
Completed: Never!

Claim to Fame: The undying proof that the richer you are, the worse your taste is regarding interior decoration.

Mountain of Meat of the Day

Your Photo Package Includes:
2 6x8 Prints
1 Wallet Size
1 Keychain
1 Folder
Only $17!
What a Deal!

And I see Johnny, and Susie, and Will, and Michael Kellman's brother, and I see you!

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.
2. If admission is too expensive, just visit the gift shop.
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.

No trip would be complete without the Hearst Castle Blue Tempered Shot Glass!
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.

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 attraction.

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 are for.

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 no flash.

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...

moichendizing moichendizing...

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!

Current Location
(get out your push pins)

San Simeon, CA

Next Stop: Sequoia N.P.

see the full map...

Today's Weather:

Daily Stats
Gas: $22.00

Building The Scheme...
Sweater: $29.95
T-Shirt: $12.95
Goblets: $11.99
Bagel: $3.00
Stickers: $1.99
Parking: Free!

Sleeping Quarters
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.

Cost: $14.00

San Simeon S.P.
Kevin:Apple Oatmeal
Aimee:Apple Oatmeal
Good Ol' Burgers
Paso Robles, CA
K's Order:Coyote Burger, Onion Rings, Lemonade
A's Order:Fries, Root Beer
Sequoia N.P.

Burger Joint

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!

Overall Impression:

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© 2002. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. Rosebud.