It’s a bucket list thing. I’d heard about the drive down the Pacific Coast of the United States for years. I’m going to say 20. Since I was a teenager and family friends from Quebec moved to British Columbia. I moved to Vancouver, BC, to go to university. I drove Highway 99, dubbed Sea to Sky, to get to Whistler. It was terrifying. I was a teenager.
There are things that get ingrained at a certain point in time that remain that way despite experience and logic until one takes a moment to compare the belief with ones experience. Things like driving on dangerous roads.
I have driven roads more dangerous than Sea to Sky; the road from Nanaimo to Tofino on Vancouver Island, after dark for instance. In hindsight, after coming back down in daylight a few days later, it’s not the worst way to do it. It is less terrifying not to know how close to the cliff’s edge your tires are.
Also, driving in Europe on roads that were donkey and cart tracks carved into the sides of mountains. That’s another story.
So, when I thought I should do Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles and people were a little nervous I thought about it. But then, how often do you find yourself on the west coast of North America with 10 days to spare, some cash in hand and a plane ticket paid for to your next destination.
America – the United States part – built roads for driving. Of course they did. Making cars was their business, their brand. It only makes sense then that they’d build great roads for their great cars.
The soundtrack: Cris Derksen’s Orchestral Powwow
Try it out sometime. It’s amazing.
These roads were made for driving.
I did stop for the night at a rustic motel resort in Big Sur. I happened to be reading The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Flemming (because I’m making a feminist revisioning of James Bond). Spoiler Alert. It takes place in a remote holiday hotel in the middle of nowhere. Similar. I was the tiniest bit freaked out as there was no cell reception in the valley where this way.
Alternatively, the air smelled amazing along the highway amounst the Redwoods.
The next day, I went hiking in the Redwoods. And pulled up at every roadside view. It makes the trip very long but very worthwhile. To hop out and really see the views, to walk as much as you can, to be in the landscape – feet on the earth.
I didn’t want to turn left. I wanted to keep on going down the coast; my eyes inhaling the views.