If you’ve seen SNL’s The Californian’s, you already know that there are many highways in The Golden State. Some have pull-your-hair-out traffic and others are stunning, bringing in beaches, lush green hills, and mountains. The PCH also known as the Pacific Coast Highway has deservedly been featured in movies. You may have seen many a broad climb into some douche bags Corvette convertible, and let her flowy hair and silk scarf fly back into the wind.
The PCH, a 500 mile stretch along the California coast, is probably America’s 2nd most famous highway. Although I’ve seen parts of it, I had heard the section near Big Sur was the farest of them all. I decided that I wanted to see for myself, so we spent a few days taking an incredible road trip up the Central Coast. In my best Karina (from The Californians) accent: Take the 5 to the 46 to the 1 to the 156 to the 101, then all the way back to LA on the 101.
My mother always says that I take California for granted – that I’ve been desensitized by its scenic details. I’d like to hope I haven’t. Maybe just distracted. Sure my blood has thinned out, creating a weather snob in the process. I can’t even handle the mild temperatures of Northern California. Still, I’m constantly falling in love with this beautiful state from the beaches, and adorable towns, to the mountains, deserts, and random celebrations.
However, I do remember a time several years ago when I went home to a small town outside of Boston. The frigid nights were darker than black. The barren streets were perfect for high beams and imaginary serial killers lurking in the secluded distance. I used to hold my Dunkin Donuts coffee tight in my hands, still thanking man for the innovation of the automatic car start, enabling my sedan to heat up while I stayed warm a few minutes longer. I used to pray to God that my car wouldn’t find deathly black ice on the highway. I used to dread shoveling my car at the bottom of a hilly driveway. Would I get trapped? Would I have enough food? Those are questions that I no longer have to worry about.
Today is an appreciative, warm, blue sky, winter day. So as we’re on our road trip to Paso Robles, Big Sur, Carmel, and San Francisco, I’m in the passenger seat, being present in the journey, not taking a mile of this gift for granted.
Driving past Big Sur, I immediately understood why the Central Coast is held on an oceanside-pedestal. There are many touristy beaches in this world but only few still feel like an undiscovered paradise. The coastline here is dramatically rugged, pristine, and best of all, smells like dewy pine trees.
Travel should never be used as a means to escape your problems but I believe road trips are a great way to reset. A change in scenery can be therapeutic. While I may fail at meditating in the traditional sense, I can sit before a sunrise and realize once again how wonderful this life is. Whatever road signs we need to see will be there. Let’s enjoy the small things in between the big payoffs.
© Faith’s True Tales 2016. All original words and images by Faith Brady.