Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Journey Continues 

California Road Trip with Dad: Day 4

Checked out of our post West Holloywood digs today after a late sleep-in, and hit the road for a long haul up the coast -- 240 miles from LA to the midcoast via a holy host of smalltowns, oceanfront views, and small black cattle grazing on the dry brown hills, all to an alternating soundtrack of short stories on CD and the Jamband channel on the well-equippped rental car's satellite radio service.

Hunger hit around Santa Barbara, so we headed downtown for a shared tamale lunch at a funky mexican spot and a short walkabout among the pseudo-south-of-the-border shops before getting back on the road. Left on fumes without realizing it; gassed up in tiny Buellton (home of split pea soup, according to the billboards) after an endless nail-biting miles of state parkland; flew through Santa Monica's artificial suburbia-sans-city, and hit the tiny tourist town of Cambria in time for a suite check-in, a quick clothing change, and a gourmet halibut-and-mushroom-marsalla supper at local Zagat fave Robin's.

The Cali coast is an alien place if you're used to the Eastern seaboard's coastal density. Where New England's shores show the strain of three hundered years of goods shipped by ship, here, miles upon miles of sparsely populated beachfront property reflects a history of post-industrialism settlement, electric cross-country transport and the large-scale land grabs of rich miners and cattle barons.

Today's most striking moments, though, were weather-related. Clouds lined the distant seascape horizon all day like a second sea; the bright clear sun alternated with low and chilly cloudcover for the last hundred miles up the coast as if there were two entirely different kinds of California, off and on, minute by minute. Most stunning: driving into some random sunlit valley as the low linear clouds poured over the nearby rocky hills like fogfingers on Mars, a wave of doom blotting over the sun as we came closer. Never wished more for the ability to photograph panoramas by vehicle, or the ability to describe landscape like a painter.

Heast Castle at 10:30 tomorrow -- no possibility of second chances if we miss our long-scheduled tourtime, so we're off to bed early. If Monterrey has 'net access, too, I'll report in again tomorrow.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:58 PM |

Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening