March 25-28: Driving up the California coast
Finally, we return with the much-anticipated story of our losing gamble. Uncle Peter told us hours before we left L.A. that part of the Pacific Coast Highway (Rt 1) was closed due to landslides. We filed the information away for later use as it wouldn’t be for a few hours on the road. A brief hop on the highway took us to Morro Bay, a quaint seaside town full of restaurants and shops; the small harbor was full of sailboats and fishing boats anchored for the evening. Take a Maine fishing village, flip it East to West and you have Morro Bay. Add some of these little creatures too.
After some happy hour snacks, I returned my cheeks to the driver’s seat (the cushion is forming to the contours of my behind) with Carrie as my copilot (Carrie is not forming to the contours of my obsessive compulsiveness, definitely for the better) and we got onto Rt 1 and found many interesting beaches all along. Including a monster.
We took a brief stop on the shore to watch a colony of elephant seals belch, fart and flop their way into piles of sleeping blubber before nightfall.
Then came the sign: “Road Closed 37 miles ahead.” This was the obstacle Peter had warned us about. Route One (the Pacific Coast Highway) winds its way along the coast of Northern California, hugging cliffs and skirting canyons as it S-turns its way north. Parallel to Rt. One runs 101, which travels north more directly (no cliffs falling 400 feet to crashing waters) into Oregon. We consulted the map and saw a small road running east to 101; it looked to be 30 miles ahead, just before the supposed road closing. We decided to go for it. Darkness quickly descended and we found ourselves alone on the snake-like Rt. One, our headlights veering left to right as the road followed the coastline.
Long story short, the east-west road was not there and we had to turn around and drive another hour back to the nearest road that would take us east to 101. Here is an odd little video of our hopeful attitude if you are interested.
We spent the night at a rest stop in the back of the Subaru and the next day explored more of the California coastline. Its a beautiful region of small tourist-driven towns with sailboats bobbing just offshore and gulls pooping on everything.
I forgot to mention that we visited San Francisco and on our way out of town stopped at Muir Woods National Park. I encourage everyone to visit Muir Woods once in your life and explore the incredible redwoods. We love redwood trees. We’re planting one in our backyard so that in four or five hundred years Carrie and I will be able to build the best treehouse ever.
We liked the redwoods so much that we stopped and saw some more in Northern California. These are best seen while listening to a very specific soundtrack. We caught a lot of rain the further north we got but we allowed ourselves to be drenched multitude times in order to try and take in as much as possible.
Get yourself to the Pacific Coast Highway at least once in your life. A lot of life to absorb heading north.