Pacific Coast Highway

Technically speaking, they call the Pacific Coast Highway the road that stretches all along the coast of Oregon all the way down to the south western tip of California. Its the US101, and sometimes its the US1.

This is one of the most scenic, beautiful, and curvy drives in the world. It curves and weaves its way along the coast like a roller-coaster at times, and at other times its as straight as an arrow; at nearly all times directly along the open coast of North America.

For me it was pure pleasure; there were pull outs around every corner that I was able to stop and pull my camera out to snap a few scenic beauties off. I would be willing to bet that this road gets worse than the Jasper highway (between Jasper and Calgary in the Jasper National Park of Canada) in peak times of the summer, crowded with tourists in their RV’s, the whole way driving slower than a snail crossing a sidewalk. But, on my trip in early May, it felt like I was the only one on the highway outside of the cities.

The first stretch, in the north west corner of Oregon beside Portland was very beautiful. It was most of the same scenery that I’m used to living in the rain forests of Vancouver, but it was so much less populated that it was easier to feel like I was going to find a ginger bread house around the next bend, huddled in amongst the trees.

Early on in the drive there were a few towns like Long Beach and Rockaway Beach that were slightly surfer town-ish that had a few surf shops littered about, all along the ocean with great beach access that you could enjoy the surf in. However, it was fairly windy, and talking to locals, at this time of the year its either windy or foggy. So I was happy with the wind because it meant that I could see and take cool pictures!

The drive lead me directly into San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, which is beautiful and magnificent, inspite the $6 (or was it $8) toll for going across it. Unfortunately for me, it was nearly midnight when I crossed so I got the city lights instead of scenic San Fran bay, which I guess wasn’t that unfortunate after all for the beauty was all in its own.

The drive into San Francisco was pretty cool, always being on a downhill slope, and the 1 takes you directly through downtown San Fran. Its always fun to take the trip right through the heart of the big cities. That’s what trips are all about in the end aren’t they?

Once through San Fran, I found myself a bit off the coast, so it required a little bit of winding to make my way back to the coast. I B-Lined it over to Pacifica so I could get right back onto the US1 and the coast to capture more scenic photographs, which was the goal of my trip; do the coast the entire way.

By this time one notices that the landscape is slowly turning to more dessert type vegetation, and for me I saw my first palm trees about 1km outside of the California State border. Its weird how that goes.. Although, when I was driving along the coast everything was still very green, but once the road took me in land a while, there were signs everywhere for the dunes.

Santa Cruz is a cool town, which the US1 takes you directly through. I stopped here for to find a grocery store that could supply me with the vegetables and fruits that I needed to stay alive! I’ve started big time to support Clif Bars, which give amazing nutrients, cheaply, and organically.

I soon found myself in Big Sur, weaving through this beautiful stretch of heavily forested & beautiful coastline view roads. I must have pulled over once every km or so to stop at the turn out and take pictures. It was so amazing, and if I ever have a chance to retire from the regular way of things, I think I will choose an area like Big Sur to live. As long as I’d get a nice patch of land to grow my veges on! Apparently its one of the top areas in the world that scientists say will be gone soon. They say because of the rising tide, but really, there were very big cliffs at spots to get down to the water.

After rolling through Big Sur, I ran into a big parking lot that had a tonne of sea lions beached, just chilling there; relaxing with each other and enjoying the surf. It was an amazing thing to see from this close, since usually the only exposure to the animals is either in a zoo, or from a boat thats about 20ft off a rocky island that idles safely at a distance. I literally could have walked out and amongst the giant animals, but I choose to stay on the human side of the fence…. segregation?

The highway soon smoothed out, and pleasantly I cruised on along towards the final destination happy and content with the warm sun beating down through the sun roof in the car.

Totally content so far on the trip, I was feeling lucky and rather blissful. It may have just been the drain of entering into the land of the sun, but I think it was due to the enjoyment I was having on the trip. Going down the coast, seeing all these sights and beautiful coastline photos was literally fairly dreamy. I hope I will remember all that I saw, and all that I went though, but I also have lots of photographs to remember it by.

You all should do the trip.

Trip to Southern California

I have embarked upon a trip south to the point of LA, which was routed along Highway 101 and 1 depending on which one was closest to the ocean (you may also know of them as the pacific coast highway or the oregon coast). It began 6 days ago on a stormy monday morning bright and early from the port of Vancouver, BC now I come to you from the beautiful banks of Malibu, California. I have been here for nearly 3 full days now, going around and checking all the interesting things to see in the area. Things I’ve heard about so much but have never seen. Yesterday I did the last stretch of the coast I will most likly be doing, which took me down to Huntington Beach, California where I was sucked in by a Greenpeace advocate to join the cause; I truly am shocked our Gray whale population is only 800 in the world.

While in Huntington Beach, I got the idea in my head that I wanted to get a skateboard, specifically of the longboard variety. So I found one I liked and noticed it was made by Arbor, which is a company based out of Venice, California, which just happens to be right next to where I’m staying in Malibu. After researching the location of the head office, I headed there today and this is what I got:

So, I am the new proud owner. The cool thing was the guy in the shop had the exact same board… I was like “SOLD”. 🙂 After driving around with it in the back seat for a few hours, I decided as I drove by Beverly Hills residential district, that the streets I was seeing were simply gold for cruisin on the board. So on a residential street, amongst the Bentleys, BMWs, Jaguars, and Mazeratis I tried out my new board! It was a bit wobbly at first, not being used to the trucks etc, but I managed to escape without any tumbles. The streets were simply beautiful to rock on. I would go to one end of the road at Sunset Blvd, and then cruise for a good 5 minutes all the way down to Santa Monica Blvd. I was simply cement surfing. So cool.

That was the main excitement for me today, but there was more. This is going to be my third night staying at this campground, the Malibu Beach RV Park. I think its one of the most beautiful campgrounds I’ve ever stayed at, and the prices are cheaper than most of the other places that I have stayed at along the road down. Yes, I am tenting, so they have me way up top with a birds-eye view of the whole cove. Basically the only sounds that I hear are the waves crashing. I can see the coast line for miles, which right now are lit with scattered house lights (Its pitch black out right now).

Today I also made it to the Hollywood hills, took a nap in Griffith Park (kinda just dirt and some clumps of grass), I cruised Hollywood Blvd and saw a model having a photoshoot in a phone booth, Sunset Blvd was also cool and I saw a tonne of film studios. I then took Santa Monica Blvd into Beverly Hills and further onto Santa Monica where I got a little lost but soon found my way back to Malibu. Thats just how I roll.

I ate dinner at a pizza joint in Beverly Hills, which was interesting because I was in some sort of gay district as it seemed to be only guys there holding hands. I think I saw about 5 couples of men holding hands…. I honestly don’t think I saw more than a handful of women…

Yesterday I got to hang with a cool friend from down here and watched Red Circle Underground at the AC Supper Club in Venice, CA. This band seriously rocks some major coolness. Through my friend, I was introduced to the whole band, and commenced partying with them the whole night long. We closed the club down. Totally awesome introduction to the LA art scene, and I totally learnt some cool stuff about how things roll down here. They had a burlesque show, believe it or not, that performed before the final act. I felt that RCU should have been the main event EASILY. Check them out any chance you get. They were so cool and gave me a 3 song EP! I was/am stoked.

There was also a painter in there, doing some live on the spot painting which was also totally cool. It kind of takes on one of my dreams of having art being created on the spot as it gets inspired by the music, also as part of the show. Very cool.  Who says that a concert must simply be a feast for the ears?

The point of this trip was to find a reason, to find something that has been missing from part of my existence that I haven’t been able to grasp. To be honest, I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it sounds like it is. Maybe its just a little bit more meaning to why I’m doing what I’m doing. Or maybe its just to explore the coast. In one of my books I’m reading, I fall upon a quote all the time: “Man spends eternity searching for an understanding of himself, but never have I met a person who understands himself fully.” I think its more of a sequence of events that leads a person to enjoy their life to the fullest, and appreciate every day to the utmost possible region of gratitude. I think this is more what one searches for: A reason or will to live.

Today has finished with a smile on my face. Sometimes it only takes a good mood to turn things around. I was sitting on the beach, playing my guitar and watching the sun disappear behind the mountains and a very nice girl after a while was leaving, loading her kid into her car. I think her sister or friend had another 3 in tow, and we started talking, and as she was leaving, she came over and offered me a half of a bottle of French Champaign. I was totally floored by the kindness of this girl, and I wish I wouldn’t have been so speachless and flustered to have offered her a gift in exchange.

Today has filled me up with non-stop similar such kindness’. LA has reminded me that life takes a smile to make it better, and trust me, life is worth smiling. That is all.