Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I Never Take the Five

When I moved away from home at seventeen, I moved from a beach town surrounded by forest to the glittery desert of Southern California. For the thirty or so years that my mom remained in Santa Cruz, I would drive every few months up the coast to visit. Leave on a Friday, return on a Sunday. Driving Highway Five is a shorter route, one I always describe as sensory deprivation road, dirt and fields and a terrible cattle yard. I have always avoided the five in favor of the meandering 101. It takes a little longer but it's the road to home.

Today I will leave on a solo drive to Pescadero, a small village on the coast, an hour south of San Francisco. I will drive the highway that rolls through seaside towns and inland hills. Six road trip hours of windy road and small town places to stop for coffee or a taco or something from the bakery case at the oddball, rococo Madonna Inn.


The place where central California cracks into Northern Cal, where looking up means seeing the point in the sky where the morning fog meets sky-scraping redwoods and if majestic could also be a way to describe a smell. It's all ocean spray and the sound of sand in the clothes dryer. It's a crumbling cement ship and a pier to nowhere.

When I see photos of green places, wild places, coastal Scotland and cliffs of Ireland, I always think yes this is gorgeous. Yes and have you driven the 101?


  1. Pescadero!
    loved that place before everyone found it.

  2. Reading this is such a great way to wake up. I'm breathing a little deeper now.

  3. There is a state park with a beautiful lighthouse that way too