So yes, there I was, in the early morning, heading South of California’s Highway One, knowing full well that it was blocked ahead by a massive mud slide that wiped part of the road off the map for more than a year.
Google maps, when I checked it at my mom’s house in the Bay Area, said there was no way around the blockage anywhere near where the road was closed. All the locals I asked said there was no way around… except for that one park ranger, who told me there was a way, but that he could under no circumstances recommend that I go that way. And I didn’t write down the name of the road, so by the time I was 60 miles past where I talked to him, and running out of road till the mud slide, and with the mountains blocking my cell phone reception, getting really close to where I would have to turn around and drive back 80 miles to detour around… I forgot the name of the road, I didn’t know where I was going.
But I was so excited.
I was on an adventure! I stopped again, and asked a local shop owner about this sneaky way over the mountains. She was very reluctant to tell me about it. She wouldn’t even tell me the name of the road. But she did say it was about 4 miles further on… just a handful of miles from the mud slide.
I drove six miles. I passed one road, winding up a steep wall of mountains, but I thought to myself that couldn’t be it. I saw a car parked on a lonely bluff. I asked the nice lady if she was a local. She smiled in a way that said only locals would be there, with the road closed. She told me that the little road I saw heading for the sky was indeed the one I was looking for. And yes, that is a whale’s tail in the center of that photo I took from that spot. Then, I turned around and went to meet my fate.
That is the first photo I took from that road… at the first place I pulled over to get my heart to stop beating so fast. I grew up in the Bay Area. We eat steep, twisty roads for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But this was insane. Two narrow lanes of wild, twisty craziness. I was gaining altitude like a freekin’ airplane taking off. The sea was now far below me. And there was that sign at the bottom of the road saying it led to a military base, and to be prepared to stop for military convoys…
Oh yeah… still going up.
The road is called Nacimiento Road. I think that is the correct spelling. I remember it because in my head, it sounded like ‘Nazi memento’. You should Google map that road. The huge swells of the Pacific Ocean now looked like ripples in a pond.
And then I was in these crazy valleys, fed by little streams, as I began to make my way into, over, and through the mountain tops.
I found roads that ran generally East. I passed broad flatlands covered with majestic oak trees, still high up in the mountains.
It was awesome! I wrote a poem in my head as I drove. Remind me to see if I can remember how it goes later, and post it.
Yes, that last bit was a test to see if you are really reading the words… and I know you love poetry…