Sunday we started at the Dennis the Menace playground in Monterey after breakfast at Denny’s. The playground was designed by Hank Ketcham, the cartoonist behind the comics. He wanted to design a place for kids of all ages to play, and it was an enormous playground where the kids had a lot of fun playing.
From there, we drove down the coast on Highway 1 right along the ocean. We paid $10 to drive Pebble Beach’s 17-mile drive, which seemed a bit pricey. It was worth it to see the sea lions and seals on the beach and all of the expensive mansions. Then we drove on as the highway hugged the side of cliffs and crossed many bridges through Big Sur. The most famous bridge was Bixby Bridge, which was a beautiful stretch of the highway. We stopped for lunch at a cafe with breathtaking views of the ocean where we had fun watching a brave bird take food right off the table next to us.
After lunch, we kept driving down the coast until we found a place to see elephant seals lying on the beach. The ones on the beach were a little boring, because they didn’t move at all, but there were two in the water playing, and they were fun to watch. We drove a few more miles to Hearst Castle and did the Grand Rooms tour. There were a couple interesting connections here. The mansion was built by William Randolph Hearst, a media mogul, and he built it at the spot his parents had always taken him camping as a kid. His father, George Hearst, made his money in the gold mines near Deadwood, where we were a few weeks ago. Hearst Castle was a hot spot in the 1920s and 1930s for movie stars and other important people. One person who visited was Winston Churchill, who we are related to on my mom’s side. It was a very impressive place, but we wished the tour took us through more than a few rooms. The grounds were beautiful with sweeping views of the ocean and the hills, and it was fun to imagine the famous people who strolled the grounds in its heyday.
After the tour, we drove to our camping cabin in Santa Margarita. We got there and realized there was no grocery store around, so we had to buy dinner in the camp store. We had a fancy meal of hot dogs, string cheese, chips, and s’mores. There were signs up warning of bears and rattlesnakes, but luckily we didn’t see any. The campground was inland, so it was much hotter than near the ocean. The cabin was boiling most of the night, but we finally managed to sleep.