Sunday began like the last six days: wake up early in a strange place
before the alarm goes off, shower, dress, pack, and drive away. Every
innkeeper along my way has commented on how early I rise. Maybe they
are right. Somehow, though, sleeping on a vacation like this just does
not feel right. Each day needs to be attacked early, or it will be
lost. That is not to say that this week has been hectic — quite the
opposite, in fact. This has been my most relaxing week in years and my
first week without the Internet in over a decade. I have never before
had the time to dangle my feet over the edge of a cliff for an hour, sitting
and pondering. I did that twice this week. The long drives are
relaxing in a different way. With the scenery continuously changing
and the road demanding unwavering attention and no annoyance in the
passenger seat to intrude on my thoughts, I got a big dose of what I wanted
this week. The flawless weather was gravy.
As I mentioned in yesterday's entry,
Cinnabar Sam's transformed from a nightspot to a breakfast dive
overnight. (Literally!) The breakfast was passable except for
the sausage, which would almost justify the 80-mile detour from the coast by
itself. Spicy but not hot: a true rarity.
The route 1 coastal scenic route is poorly laid out where it leaves 101
from the north. Three (or maybe four, I am not certain) roads cross at
the same intersection point, and none of them is well signed. Then,
route 1 has no route marker for nearly 50 miles. For all that time, I
was not completely certain I had taken the right road. Uncommon sense
and brief glances at the sun's position kept me from turning around,
although I did fear for the first hour that I was wasting my time.
Snaking through the mountain forest to reach the coast, however, is worth
this aggravation. Then, the road reaches daylight, emerging from the
forest on top of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The effect is
similar to the top of the access road on Mount Mazama, although I would
trade the former to see the latter in a heartbeat.
The breathtaking and aggravating aspects of route 1 nearly cancel out one
another. The views of the coast are as inspiring as those in Oregon,
described earlier. Meanwhile,
route 1 is narrower and more dangerous than any other road I have traveled
this week; and cars, trucks, and campers understandably choose to drive at
low speeds. Unfortunately, this causes small backups behind the
slowest moving vehicle. With no opportunity to pass, these short lines
persist for tens of miles. The state provides frequent turnout lanes
and posts signs exhorting slower drivers to allow others to pass, but nobody
heeds these. I spent over an hour tailgating a station wagon busting
at the seems with camping gear for a family of three, passing no fewer than
nine turnout lanes. Guess how many this asshole used.
I encountered more fog at Mount Tamalpais, the highest peak in the bay
area. While not as thick as that which I encountered in southern
Oregon, it was equally luminescent under the afternoon sun. The fog
grew thickest at the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike the
first time I crossed it, I could see nothing this
time. The fog was so thick that I could scarcely see the opposite
curb, and the pylons disappeared completely overhead. I stuck my
camera out the window and snapped a picture of the pylons, but I have no
idea how it will come out.
After landing on the near side of the bridge, all I could think of was
home. I had been away for a week, having experiences I could not have
imagined before. By this time I was tired and hungry; it was 8pm, and
I had not eaten a morsel since lunch. Traffic between the Presidio and
SFO, although light at this hour, could not go fast enough. After my
parents picked me up at the rental car drop-off point at SFO, I fear I bored
them with stories of Bigfoot, the coast, Crater Lake, and other wonders.
Perhaps you, dear reader, grew bored of my travelogue long before this
point. If so, you will not hear me thank you for reading.
Otherwise, Godspeed and happy driving.