I woke up and it was 58 degrees. The cap is back!
Instead of Route 5, the quickest way to San Francisco, I took the more scenic route of course, Route 101. My first stop was a place Chico told me about along the California coast, Pheiffer Big Sur State Park. Which, also of course, was closed. It’s kind of on fire. I regret not seeing the huge waterfall that crashes into the ocean but I don’t regret the 30 mile drive back and forth along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
The PCH runs along the coast. The original thought was to drive it from LA to San Francisco, but friends warned me away. I saw why. A co pilot is needed. As beautiful as it is, you can’t really see anything unless you stop. With the mountains, passes and loops, you really need to keep your eye on the road or else you’ll, well, die.
Here are a few shots from the stops I made. It was not the best of days with the smoke, haze and mist, but the views were all just incredible.
The drive up from Santa Barbara along 101 was interesting. The views and temperature are both very liquid. I went from 60 degrees to 85 degrees throughout the entire day. It depends on so many factors like the fog, elevation, how close the highway takes you to the coast and a few other things. I passed through many manicured and neat agriculture farms, horse and cattle farms, a few oil fields, small towns, small cities, and just an amazing landscape as you twist and turn up and down mountains in an out of valleys as you travel a sort of straight line.
Going back north from Big Sur, I went to Carmel by the Sea. A 17 mile loop starts there that takes you through one of the most scenic drives in America, through Pebble Beach Golf Course, along a hill of trees known for the American Writers that enjoyed their time there (like Steinbeck) and then down along the coast. I think I made it through about half way with a bunch of stops but my body and mind were telling me to get my butt to San Francisco, another two hours up along 101.
Highways into cities. It is interesting to me. I’ve flown into San Francisco and let Uber take me to my hotel. It’s a different experience entirely driving there. Passing by Candle Stick Park along with so many other cities and sights that you only hear about on tv or in the movies. Coming up what I thought was the final stretch, you see huge on a mountain: South San Francisco: The Industrial City. I didn’t even know there was a South San Francisco, separate and distinct from SF.
But just a lot of driving and thinking. Finally making it to a room and then calling an old friend to meet him and his wife for dinner. I went to grade school with Dennis and he had met Janice in college. I had never met Janice and Dennis and I figured out that we had not seen each other in about 30 years.
I was exhausted though. It was great talking to them and learning more about the inside of San Francisco. Like every other place, it’s not what you think. Dennis was so much the guy I first knew in 6th grade but also this wonderful man who had done a lot with his life since moving from Maryland to go to college at Berkley. He woks in photography, design, 3D and worked on a lot of movies that everybody knows. He’s traveled the world with production teams and the stories he has brought back can fill a book. We grew up in interesting times if you think about it. The place where you spent will reflect that. We entered the digital age, the wall coming down, the dot com boom and bust and resurgence and now the 3D age–he worked with the team that did the 3D image of President Obama’s bust, the first president to have it done with technology.
Yeah, I went nuts with the GoPro. It’s hard not to. But now it’s time to jump in the shower and see what kind of trouble I an get into with an old friend.