The Santa Lucia Mountains loom large to our left, pushing the road out along its edges. Oftentimes there is not much separating us from the cliffs below, the mountain only allowing a narrow ribbon of road. Route 1 has a reputation for surrendering its grip and crumbling into the ocean.
Along the way, we came across a large colony of Elephant Seals. They were hunted to near extinction for their blubber. This colony arrived in 1990 numbering about a dozen, now they are 15,000+.
We rode by Hearst Castle perched high on the mountain top. Built for the newspaper and film magnate William Randolph Hearst, now a National and California Historical Landmark. The main building is 60,645 sqft. An avid art collector he also had the world’s largest private zoo. Zebras still roam the grounds. Its heyday was in the 1920s & 30s when Hollywood and political elite were often invited for lavish visits.
By midday the mountains receded and the landscape opened into a prairie. The road leveled out and the prevailing northerly winds picked up something fierce. We rode it all the way to camp, like outlaws running for the border.