After leaving my generous friend Dennis and his warm hospitality, I headed back to the coast highway. The sun was shining and the travel was glorious. I've driven this route before, including in December when I had the horses in tow. This time, I decided to take the time to stop whenever I felt drawn to pull over. What a difference! I met people, I stopped to do yoga in the sunshine with a view of the ocean, I stopped and hiked, and just took the time I needed to enjoy this spectacular place.
South of Santa Cruz, the terrain quickly becomes curvy and hilly, leading to the famous Big Sur area. I passed the cliffs and made it past the stretch of highway south of Carmel which collapsed shortly afterward, the entire road for 100 feet slipping into the sea far below. It is now closed for months of strenuous repair by engineers who will have their hands full rebuilding the popular highway driven by many tourists from all over the world.
|Coastline near the area of highway one collapse|
|Signs of warning at the tenuous and treacherous nature of the coastal forces.|
|More warnings of the risk|
|Yet, just past the signs lies a path with new footprints to follow...|
|So of course I hike out to the edge...|
|Further South, I come to this amazing bridge, the Rocky Creek Bridge,|
built in 1932 by enterprising crews of hardworking, risk taking men.
|Friendly Fellows, Randy and David|
Locals who grew up in Carmel. Hardworking modern day risk takers.
Somewhere around here is where the road collapsed.
|Happy to be here!|
|An even bigger bridge to the south of the first one.|
After a pleasant visit with Randy and David, we exchange contact info and go our separate ways. I head south, they head home to dinner.
|Another beautiful view along the drive.|
|Looking back north|
|Parking "Bessie" to take photos|
|Bumper sticker from the Shambhala Center in Colorado.|
Reminds me to stay in the present moment.
|So many photo opportunities. This is one of my favorites.|
|Big Sur Roadhouse offers warm hospitality and AWESOME fresh fruit wine margaritas.|
|I arrive right in the middle of happy hour! Yay!|
My hosts are the owner, and her brother, who manages the restaurant for her. They have such a nice gig going on! Love the copper bar, the famous chicken, and the location. New friends along the trail.
|Tony, the roadhouse manager. |
His good looks alone are worth stopping for, right?
|copper bar at the roadhouse|
|Famous chicken looking for scraps on the patio|
|The famous chicken. Disappeared unnoticed, then was mailed back. |
He awaits your next visit.
|You can stay at this favorite spot across the road.|
Honeymooners love the romance of it,
but your bride may only have eyes for Tony.
|Highest gas prices I've seen. Whoa.|
|View from Ragged Point Lodge|
|For a truly unique experience,|
you can try the "human nest" at Treebones resort.
My dream house!
After leaving Treebones, I head north to Esalen for my massage. The original hippie place for alternative thought and non-denominational spirituality, it has long held a reputation for generating wisdom, developing improved massage techniques, advancing fields of psychology, and in general, sending good energy out in the world. It is also the site of sacred hot springs which flow into tubs overlooking the amazing surf and coastline. What an experience.
|Open showers perch over the ocean. Most refreshing shower ever!|
|Hot tubs and relaxing - clothing optional!|
|Interesting walk to the baths below|
|Just one of the many incredible gardens at Esalen|
|Mussel Shoals is one of many surfing beaches I have heard about for years.|
|The pier at Mussel Shoals|
Only experienced surfers brave these waters.
|Homes along the coast of Mussel Shoals. |
I'm sure there are some celebrities living here....
|Mussel Shoals gardener|
Surfer getting ready to hit the beach at Refugio
One of the most beautiful beaches was Refugio. Wow, I just loved the lawns and palms. I got a few good shots of surfers, but need to work on my technique in the action category. I also met Detective Bernard, a surfing police officer (off duty) who was there to check out the swells. We struck up a conversation and I learned that he was born in Hawaii and that we share many things in common beyone a love of Hawaiian music and food. Bernard teaches surfing to injured and handicapped veterans, firefighters, and policemen. He told me he has taught people with paraplegia, missing limbs, and even the blind to surf. I figured if he can teach them to overcome their limitations, perhaps he can show me how to do it. We make arrangements for lessons and exchange contact info for the future. Awesome! Learning to be a better surfer (I've only accomplished limited long boarding in Costa Rica) is at the top of my bucket list. Bernard assures me that I can manage this goal with his help. If the surfing doesn't work out, maybe he can teach me some cool chords on my guitar...I just love the old Hawaiian songs.
|Detective Bernard, the Surfing Police Officer|
|I think this is called hanging 10?|
Surfer at Refugio Beach California
|Surfer gets ready to get wet.|
All ages enjoy the difficult and exhilarating sport.
For some, it's a religion.
|Respecting each other on the wave is a must.|
|One day, this will be me!|
|REI on Santa Monica Boulevard|
After my purchase, I was delighted to partake of the happy hour (it's my thing!) at the Sushi restaurant across the street. After yummy green lipped mussels, seared yellowtail, and seaweed salad, I enjoyed a small carafe of hot sake and green tea ice cream before heading to Venice Beach, which turned out to be just a short distance away.
|Finally arrived in Venice Beach|
Spent the night in a youth Hostel around the corner from Danny's.
What a fun place on St. Patrick's Day!
I have spent hours at Starbuck's today, whose free wifi makes it possible for me to share this blog with you. I hope you enjoy reading these stories and insights from my life. Please come back often and leave comments or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are so inspired. Hearing from you is my favorite thing about the blog, as you know by now.