Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Driving the CA-1 and the Memories That Come

Sometimes it's easy to forget that there's more to California than densely-populated cities, filled with jam-packed superhighways and a never-ending stream of billboards. Make your way north of Los Angeles County and suddenly there are miles and miles of rural and mountainous terrain that is not covered in concrete grey. The Pacific is a deeper, more natural shade of blue, the presence of nature isn't artificial. It's refreshing.

When my lady and I opted to drive to the Bay Area as opposed to flying, I decided we should retrace a familiar path from my childhood. My parents had quasi-hippie friends who lived beneath a bridge in Big Sur. No, not like hermits. Just a young family that had a house on stilts, surrounded by trees and nature and located nowhere near a strip mall. When we made trips to visit, my parents would load my brother, sister and me into the VW Vanagon before sunrise and we'd wake just in time for breakfast near "the big rock" in Morro Bay. I have vivid memories from many of those trips, including the time I caught my first garden snake, approached a baby seal on the beach, and the time we were grilling on the beach, only to witness a base jumper leap from Bixby Bridge, all those thousands of feet above us, and then we hid his parachute in our cooler and lied to police.

This road trip was, in a way, a trip down memory lane. We passed "the big rock," we drove the curvey CA-1, swerving along the deep bluish-green Pacific, and came around a bend to see Bixby Bridge in the distance. That family is no longer there and I hadn't been back to Big Sur in over a decade. It was a fun place to spend parts of my childhood. I can't help but laugh thinking of my dad wearing his short-shorts and lugging around that massive video camera on his shoulder, only to turn it on himself and offer commentary. Some things never change.

Here's some moments from our trip up CA-1. Enjoy.

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