I've never been to the Pacific. My only experience was a layover in L.A. over a decade ago on my way to Hawaii on my way to Australia. I can't tell if it was the sheer beauty of the Pacific Ocean itself or the four days of tear-assing across the United States that made our arrival so memorable. Probably both.
We reached the Left Coast just in time for dinner. The fog was just beginning to have its way with Pismo Beach, casting a snowy hue over the bluff upon which rested a well-to-do neighborhood and a charming park blooming electric with California's colorful flora. Large rocks covered in pelicans dotted the water's surface and the ocean air was a welcome hit of briny tonic to my lungs.
Our host was a friend of a friend, a kindhearted man named Dave who prepared our first home cooked meal in days. Perfectly simple and comforting, one of those things that you didn't know you needed until you have it. Dave prepared a beefy roast fired on the grill with sweet potatoes, grilled asparagus and brussel sprouts caramelized in a cast iron pot.
He is an artist, horticulturist and sweet soul with a chill dog named Colt. There were chickens in the backyard, gorgeous succulents and foreign motorcycles. He walked tenderly, still recovering from his most recent motorcycle spill and told us stories about growing up in the Mojave Desert. We played dice games and talked until we were drowsy. They drank beer and wine. I drank Aloe Vera juice. In the morning, Dave made eggs and potatoes with Linguica sausage (in the cast iron, of course) and fetched us coffee for the French press. We weren't allowed to clean up or do any work. I couldn't imagine a more gracious perfect welcome to the Left Coast.
Well-rested and satiated, we took off shortly after breakfast for our most anticipated stretch of road, the Highway 1 or Pacific Coast Highway, as it is known. The PCH hugs the coast, often in the most exhilarating and unnerving ways, and offers show-stopping views all the way up. It's like the greatest hits of the Pacific Coast. Even with mysterious car troubles, the grand beauty of the PCH was too awe-inspiring to keep a sister down. The magical scenery brought me to tears a couple times. It really is THAT beautiful.
Mother Nature, you so crazy. Driving the coast was mind-blowing, to say the least. But, it was still driving and I knew two girls who were ready to park it in San Francisco.
This would be my first time in the city by the bay and I already knew we were going to get along famously. I could just feel it. I was right too. Wouldn't you know it? I arrived in SF just in time for the annual Folsom Street Food Festival. That's up next. Stay tuned.