Travis AFB, Hearst Castle, and Port Hueneme Naval Station

Another banner day for us because we were up, dressed, and out of our room before 0730. On the way our of the lobby we each got a cup of coffee from the Java Station … $4.35 for both. Better than hotel bathroom coffee, but a bit expensive for just coffee. Thankfully, Diane packed my favorite creamer so I could dose it up to a condition where it was compatible with my tender palet.

Getting on the road toward a more southerly location was pretty simple with Waze in charge. She talks, better than Google maps. I also like her use of slang. For instance, when a corner is coming up Google Maps says, “In one mile, turn left.” Waze just says, “In one mile take a left.” more user-friendly.

As I “speak”, we are cruising, in excess of 70 mph, south on Highway 101 about 175 miles north of our first destination of the day, Hearst Castle. We got up early to leave because it’s a 5 hour trip and we have reservations for an Old People Tour at 1400. I doubt if we’d get a refund if missed our appointment. So, by golly, we’re going to make it on time. Probably get there way early. Might even have time to get lunch, which would be nice, because Diane made us hit the road this morning after ingesting only a yogurt and a pint of coffee. I suppose if I was more assertive I could convince her to stop for a bite, but I want it to be her choice, not mine. In her defense, she’s been asking me on a pretty regular basis if I’m hungry. I’m really not, but I could probably eat half a horse. That’s just the way I am. I can eat a lot, whether or not I need it. I must learn to control that because my A1C is in the danger zone of pushing me over that fine line of that tells the world I have diabetes. I prefer not to go there, but if Diane continues to let me eat whatever I want, that’s what’s going to happen. She needs to be more careful with me.

We’ve been talking about my torn rotator cuff and whether or not I should have the surgery. So far, 100% of the people who responded to my question about success have reported that it’s a no-brainer … I should do it. So, with that thought in mind, she’s making a list of all the things I need to get done before I get laid up for recovery. It’s interesting that the new list has different things on it than the normal one before all this talk of surgery.

The sun has appeared and the visible clouds hold no threat of moisture.

Just as I typed that last, Diane decided that it’s time to eat. So, I asked SIRI to find us breakfast and she directed us to an IHOP in Salinas. Now we eat.

Breakfast was good. When we got there it was standing room only and we had to wait for about 15 minutes. We didn’t mind waiting because it’s a good sign that the food will be fresh and hot. It was.

After lunch we made our way own Highway 101 to Paso Robles where we made a right turn on Highway 46 and followed it to Highway 1 where we made another right turn, going north. Our goal was San Simeon where we made another right turn on Hearst Castle Drive. We had reservations for a tour of the castle at 1400 and we were an hour early so had plenty of time to look around the gift shop and view the castle from afar. I didn’t realize it was so high up in the hills.

At the appointed time we boarded a bus for transport up one of the most crooked roads we’ve ever been on. You need go Google Hearst Castle and check the road out. It’s pretty interesting. Then, visualize a ride up it in a city bus that, once in a while, meets another bus coming down. Pretty exciting stuff.

Visiting the castle is recommended even though it’s off the beaten path, unless you just happen to be driving up or down Highway 1 on purpose. It’s a beautiful drive and the castle is quite magnificent. We spent a couple of hours there but saw just a little bit of the interior. It’s an all day event to see everything, and we didn’t have the time.

Just before turning in to the park, we saw numerous zebra mingled amongst the cattle roaming the property. They run wild there. They are the remnants of Hearst wild animal park that spanned, at one point, nearly 1/4 million acres.

After leaving the castle, we returned to Highway 1 and turned left. The next destination was Port Hueneme Naval Base. It’s located near Ventura on the coast, so staying on Highway 101 was the quickest way.

The drive was absolutely beautiful. It’s like driving through a gold course with rolling hills on which cattle have etched their presence in evenly spaced ridges encircling each hill, no matter how tall, from bottom to top. It’s evident this has been going on for many, many years. quite decorative.

At one point Diane asked how far we had to go and I told her 130 miles, I believe. She checked the Buick’s computer and learned we could make it about 90 miles on the remaining gas. So, a stop was necessary. We were hungry, anyway, so I asked SIRI to find us a gas station and a place to eat. As luck would have it, about 10 miles down the road was an exit that had gas stations on all four corners in addition to a number of fast food places.

Since we were going to a Navy Base, I didn’t fill the tank. I’m guessing gas will be a little less on the base. The gas we got cost $4.12 a gallon for regular. That’s the most we’ve paid, so far. After dumping $30 in the tank, we went next door to get a Domino pizza. Not your normal food to eat while flying down Highway 101, dodging all those California drivers in a hurry to get home, but that’s what we got. It is, after all, Saturday night, and that’s usually what we do.

Since I was the navigator, I got to hold the pizza on my lap until it cooled down enough to divvy it up, a piece at a time. We have car bibs so keeping shirts clean isn’t a problem and we were pleasantly surprised that eating pizza on the road is actually easier than eating a hamburger. We figured it was better for us, too, because pizza has way more bread type food in it.

The trip got longer and longer as the sun began to dip below the horizon, but we finally arrived safely at the Port Hueneme Navy Lodge, just about dark. It was a relief to be “home”.

Now we’re all wound down and ready to call it a night. Tomorrow, our last leg of this southward journey is a much shorter one. The downside is that it’s through the middle to Los Angeles. Hopefully they won’t have any more earthquakes while we’re transiting the area.

If that happens, we’ll have to stop at Penney’s for new underwear.


3 thoughts on “Travis AFB, Hearst Castle, and Port Hueneme Naval Station

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