I think I feel about this journey the same as I felt about blue water sailing. The saying is 90% boredom, 10% sheer terror. Well, I wasn't bored sailing and I wasn't bored driving, but the terror percentage is about right. Never from humans, I'm happy to say at this end of the game. Mostly I scared myself. Turtles can't really flip off by themselves. Bears don't really have much interest in leaping from the woods to gnaw on my bones (first having to get to my bones, that's the part I didn't want). Roads and bears and creaks and squeaks...offset by my eyes stunned wide open with oh wow. My heart made bigger by re-meeting old friends and new family.
It wasn't the trip I planned, but it is the one it became and Here. I. Am.
|When I left you last, I was headed into the Mojave desert.|
It's very much a desert, with a lot of long, steep inclines.
Inclines long and steep and taxing enough that when you come to a gas station in the middle of nowhere, 4.99 seems like a reasonable price to make sure you don't get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
|It goes on...and on|
|I didn't go to Peggy Sue's Diner|
|Almost out of the desert. Almost.|
Each day I'd try to set a goal distance. Sometimes I made it and most times it was farther out there. But I cared less and less each time that self imposed place name was still farther down the map; it didn't matter anymore. Lesson learned.
Oh, and the map? It replaced the GPS, because of the often happening No Signal. My atlas is now coffee stained and there might be grooves in certain pages from my finger taking me to edges before moving on.
|This is a rest stop recommended by a web site|
dedicated to free places to stay overnight.
It was pretty much the end of the desert and a very beautiful place
to go to sleep and wake up both
That sunrise meant hit the road. There was a woman walking around the parking lot drinking coffee that I'd seen the night before, sipping from a bottle. She was very ethereally dressed in high boots and a flowing long coat, with long blonde hair. I wanted her to be Joni Mitchell but she wasn't. I don't think.
|Both sides of the road were crammed with derricks for about a mile|
|I just liked this house. From desert to wine country,|
change was sudden.
Wine Land! Some kind of heaven.
|There was a fair number of this type of signage. I like it.|
I went up and across the desert toward Salinas because avoiding Los Angeles was really important to me. One day, in a car, I'll do that southern by the sea trip. In the Turtle? No.
|The John Steinbeck library in Salinas, California|
|And that's the truth.|
All that to say, when I felt the tug of the Pacific next to my own suddenly desperate need to see an ocean, figuring out how to get to one most directly led me to Rio del Mar. Off the big road onto a twisty downward weaving through a pretty funky town was a reward in itself, but when the dead end was right along the beach and there was a nice space for the Turtle too? Sigh and smile time.
Nose filled with salt spray, it was time to move up the road.
Taking Highway 1, a section of it I'd not seen before, was a lot of things. Stunningly beautiful. Stressful ups and downs and fog combined with Turtle shaking wind on a road that might have been a goat path between canyons (of course that's an exaggeration, it was more a two goat paved path).
On the map, it looked like I could take 1 until Daly City, sort of skirting San Francisco. I don't know when I went through Daly City, but suddenly I was in the midst of a traffic jam on a street with cable cars and a lot of hills. Obviously, I'd reached San Francisco.
Truthfully, the traffic slowdown was fine with me. It took an hour to go about a mile and a half; being funneled from four lanes to two around an accident. But going slow by force is easy...
We came around the corner at the scene of the accident, the next sight being this iconic bridge, which I was totally not expecting. Yes, that sounds ridiculous but that's what happened. The day was crystal clear and traffic was now moving fast again, so what I saw is what you get.
|Culebra is never far from my thoughts|
|Hooray! Santa Rosa, new cousins, good food, great location.|
|So long, cities.|
|I like a rest area where you leave the not so big road behind|
and tuck around a corner. I could have stayed here a lot
longer but I was just too close now.