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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pacific Coast Highway

For a long time, I'd hear people talking about the "PCH" and just nod, smiling, having no clue what they were referencing. And now I finally know! The Pacific Coast Highway is a stretch of road that winds down the hairpin curves of our country's western border, which it shares with, yes, the Pacific Ocean. This means the views, or at least the views to one side of the road, are spectacular along this rocky, cliffy highway.

Stinger got it into his head that we should make this drive. He had it all planned: we'd rent a Corvette convertible and make a day of it, skimming down the PCH from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, a trip that would take about four and a half hours on the regular, more direct freeway, but should take seven or eight on the scenic route. We'd go through Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur--it would be fantastic! And to be clear, parts of it were. Carmel is this sleepy little artists' colony wedged into the rocks high above the water. Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, combining the dramatic, rough-hewn coastline of a place like Maine with the vibrant blue water of the Pacific.I couldn't stop myself from taking these pictures. And I'm not really a scenery-only sort of travel photographer--I like to remember the people on my trips, including me, as part of the landscape. In fact, I'm mainly posting them here because I know I'll probably never look at them again and I want them to have not been taken completely in vain. Anyway, here's one with me and Stinger:We look happy, right? We were. Because this was taken before the fuel system on our car malfunctioned and we took it to a mechanic and dicked around with Hertz and finally went to the Monterey airport to exchange it. At which point we'd lost all interest in pretty scener and headed back to the freeway to zip down to Santa Barbara. For the next five hours. The entire trip took about ten hours and we ended up giving Santa Barbara a miss altogether, driving straight to our end destination, the home of some friends of ours in the gorgeous, rustic-chic Santa Ynez valley. I've rarely been so happy to arrive anywhere! More on the rest of the trip later.


The PCH stirs in me feelings of origin. I was born in the Bay Area, but moved to Oregon as a child. My mother's family is several generations Californian, and my father grew up there. I always feel a special affinity for that area, like my deepest roots are there. It's where I come from. And that stretch of coast has an almost mythologic feel to it. I would love to go back and explore, but it's a long trip from ND!! You're right, you do look happy in your pic - too bad you had all the subsequent car issues. But at least you had a pleasant experience before then!

The Big Sur part was unbelievably beautiful. You're right, it was almost magical. I could see myself living there, I loved it so much!

You should print some of those and frame them. Because that's what I always say I'm going to do with scenic shots. lol Lovely pics. Sorry about the car trouble.

I didn't realize Stinger had facial hair. Interesting.

He wants to shave it, but got sunburned on the trip and is now afraid he'd have a white skin goatee if he shaved now.

sounds like a fun trip until... that one point when it kind of sucked for a few hours. Sorry!

But you two look cute as a bugs ear!

Sounds like you had an awesome time, even if you had car troubles. I totally miss PCH! I used to work nearby and often drove through. I think I miss Santa Monica the most because I would go to 3rd Street Promenade to stroll after work. Great shopping and places to have drinks....I want to move back to LA!

i love your post...i really love the photos it was all very beautiful...
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