Mitzy, Betsy and Dolores take on Big Sur...and win

Trip Start Sep 14, 2011
Trip End Aug 03, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, October 20, 2011

There are a few things about driving the Pacific Highway
that you all need to know.

The route is incredibly beautiful with an undulating
character that is sometimes gentle and creeps up on you so you can absorb it to
its and your full potential and appreciate it and let it take effect.  At other times you simply turn a corner and
what you see is so dramatic and inexpressibly moving you have the breath caught
in your throat and you feel and instant sense of your very small position in it
all, small in everything and nature just simply wins hands down, as she always
does.   You should also know that along
very large stretches of it are smelly, flat cabbage fields that driving through
in an open top car is like a very flatulent relative has come to stay.  It burns the eyes.  

What I have noticed here, and I will continue to notice more
often now I have tuned to it, is the divides in society.  These fields are tended by physically broken
individuals that are bent double from not just the work; it is as though they
have also been mentally deflated and to stand up straight and look around them
is too heart breaking for them , they carry a physical resignation to their
environment.  Hoods are worn over caps
and bandannas are tied across their faces to their eyes.  They have locked themselves out of their
environment and they have also shut the environment from them.   They
look like ghosts.  On the sides of buses
in San Diageo, LA, Santa Barbra and Monterey you have adverts in English so the
people in the cars driving to their jobs, drinking their coffee, eating all the
food can read these adverts and buy more stuff.   On board these same buses you have the same
adverts in Spanish.  So the people using
the buses can also understand them.  You
have the supported consumer and the supporting worker.   It is a niggle that is becoming too hard for
me to ignore now. (Lefty pointless rant over with).

I had a few ideas about the Big Sur and the drive.  They mainly involved long expanses of beach,
blue seas, cliff drives and loads of charming and alarming pretty Californians
all singing the beach boys.  Only on a
few occasions was this correct and no one sang part from me and
Sorrel...constantly – turns out we don’t travel quietly, who’d a thunk it.  The TV version I was fed in the 80’s and 90’s
is only LA, the Big Sur and the drive where a medley of places and sage and
lavender geographical cocktail of all the beautiful coast lines I have been
lucky enough to have already seen, and enjoyed
As you move up the same waters look cleaner and become animated by
comparison to the sea at Santa Monica, the terrain is harsher and the people
become more real and open.  The coast
line is Wales, Cornwall, Cote De Azure, northern Spain, a bit more Wales…a bit more
Wales and then when you least expect it, BAMB!  Yorkshire moors.

The route we covered was about 350 miles from LA to San Jose
(which I can say I know the way to) and we took out time.  Most cover this journey in 3 days.  Leaving LA and heading straight to key points
such as Santa Cruz or Monterey then into San Francisco. *I have to add here
even writing these names down seems odd –these are the names we have been fed
on through MTV and films since I can remember. 
The exotic and the other and a place of dreams, girls from Bristol do
not bowl up in a sports car to Santa Cruz on a Monday afternoon*  Also most people do it the other way around
and drive down the state to have the coast on their right hand side.  Not me and Sorrel.    We decided to do it backwards and we took 6
days and 5 nights and it was all hilarious.

I was sad to leave LA (you might have noticed in my last
gush that the place ranked highly with me?) but I was not in the slightest bit
sad to climb on board our shiny Mustang and hit the roads, and it was a climb
as I am only 5 ft nothing and the thing was a beast.  Driving in the US requires a small set of
skills but they are key.  One, you must
realise the road signs are not really essential and if there are any they can
jump out at you at any time leaving you about 2 seconds to negotiate 4 lanes of
traffic to avoid  missing your exit and
spending another heart stopping hour in 5 lane cross town traffic.  The other skill required is a sense of
understanding of the American literal ways of place and naming.  If you are looking for the beach it will be
either on Beach Avenue or Ocean Boulevard. If you want a shop it will be on
Mall St.  Points will be deducted for
lack of imagination on the road naming I’m afraid.

I can’t write down all that happened.  I can’t begin to put in writing the times when
I could have cried, and did, with awe at the things we saw.  The rush I felt from the air and the
light.  The delight we took in small town
Cambria’s Scarecrow festival (day of the dead Zombie nuns, no joke. Mental
small town-mess) the feeling of loss we had staying in a lighthouse on Pigeon
Point surrounded by a cold wet fog with all our views obliterated by the
weather.  We drove with vultures circling
above us and elephant seals basking besides us. 
Humming birds the size of butterflies and Monarch butterflies bigger
then birds playing in the sun while we had lunch.  Drunk truck drivers offering us beer at 11am
(tempted), acid fall out hippies wanting us to sign courtesy agreements not to ‘hate’,
home coming queens and cheerleaders with overzealous fans and cinnamon
doughnuts, bands, dancing, silence, a disappointing lack of surfers,  rain (I was not happy…I went moody), Moonstone
Bay which lived up to its name with a carpet of gems stones,  long bike rides through hills and shore
lines, running with a flock of pelicans riding the air streams  so close to me I could almost touch them,
humbling moments of American kindness, 
frustrations in ignorance, delights, disappointments (Santa Cruz is like
Burnham on sea on a good day), surprises and so so much more.  

Nothing was planned but everything happened.  An organic and simple process of getting from
A to B (in incredible style of course, I drove the car too…with no license, rock
n’ roll I know).  Yes, we should have
known more about the history and the roots and the journeys made before us by
legendary influencers and thinkers, but this wasn’t their journey through our
eyes or us in their world this was our time, our world and our great American journey
and god damn did we ever laugh every step along the way.


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