Part 2 of my recent vacation out West…..
We rested one night in Emeryville to get ready for the big adventure of the day: a drive down Hwy 1 on the Pacific Coast from to Los Angeles. While Karen (my sister) slept in her room, I went to the car rental office. I arrived back at the hotel to find my sister waiting for me with her bags at the hotel door ready to begin our day’s journey. We packed the car and off we went.
At first we traveled through a piece of the Redwood Forests that surround San Francisco. We passed Alice’s Restaurant (of Arlo Guthrie fame) as we weaved our way to the highway. The coastline was beautifully clear and we joined the many others who choose this pathway south. I have driven this route before but I always find it refreshingly beautiful as we swerve up and down cliff faces overlooking the ocean. Karen was on the ocean side of the car and for a while she seemed to be enjoying the scenery also. After a couple of hours we arrived in Salinas. It was there we faced a choice: to take a left on an uncontrolled intersection to travel a main road to LA or to go straight into a national forest. There was a huge backup of traffic at the intersection so I decided to proceed straight ahead. This destined us to six more hours of cliff driving. It became a bit overwhelming to Karen as these seemingly endless cliffs kept unfolding along the drive. There was not another relief road from Salinas to San Luis Obispo. The cliffs that were so wonderful at the start of the journey became very wearisome, especially for the passenger who had less control and found herself looking straight down many different cliff faces to the ocean.
It was sunset by the time we turned west away from highway One to find a more direct route to LA. Sometime near ten-thirty that evening we arrived on the outskirts of town. The traffic was very impressive for that time of night and after another hour’s drive we arrived at my niece’s house where Karen’s husband and son-in-law awaited her. After dropping her off I traveled the very busy (at midnight!) freeways to my hotel. Settling in went smoothly and with great relief I slept the night, as I awaited joining my family for Mass the next day.