Driving down the edge of California on Route 1
We woke up at the crack of dawn, gassed up and received assurances from the gas station attendant that our rented Prius was up to snuff. Before long we were speeding down the iconic Route 1, the Pacific Ocean crashing along our starboard side. The siege war between the sheer green cliffs and the assaulting sea had lasted untold millions of years, would last some millions more, and was raging now. We put ourselves in the crossfire.
The early morning fog hung overhead, obscuring the view in front and behind. On our flanks, however, we could see sparsely populated beaches—save for the few devoted surfers— farm fields and beach houses that embraced shabby chic with just a light enough touch to avoid being labeled “shacks.”
By the time we reached Big Sur, the California sun had burned the fog away, revealing sharp cliffs and striking colors. We wound our way down the narrow two lane road, making sure to stop and pay our respects to the iconic Bixby Creek bridge.
In Andrew Molera State Park, we reached the beach via a two mile nature walk including a wade across a stream. We napped on the sand, our bodies mimicking the driftwood that dotted the beach landscape. When we got back we sat under a picnic table, the only oasis of shade in sight, while we ate lunch.
That night the stars came out to greet us at camp. We laid beneath them, basking in the natural glow, not a light polluter in sight. Between the cliffs, the ocean and the stars we had walked among giants.