06.03.2010 - 06.03.2010 65 °F
the last five weeks have been an exercise in patience, a virtue which i do not possess in abundance. from practically the moment i arrived back in California, i have been thinking about/planning/pondering/gnashing my teeth/chomping at the bit/trying to find my center while waiting for this day. every time i thought i had a plan in place, something would happen and blow it all apart. each time this occurred, i would break a little bit further until i fractured completely about two weeks ago. thanks to the care and concern of some truly wonderful people, i put myself back together again and am proceeding to climb back on the wall, all Humpty Dumpty style.
but on to greater things, i decided to be all stubborn today and not take the easy road out of Monterey (have you met me?). instead, i cruised down Del Monte Blvd, through the tunnel onto Lighthouse, through New Monterey over to Oceanview where i said good-bye to my old parking spot next to Lover's Point in PG. i continued on along the ocean, passing around the point while watching the waves crash at Asilomar where i grabbed hwy 68 towards Carmel where i joined hwy 1 for a bit. not wanting to spend 5 hours going 20 mph around Big Sur, i decided to follow Carmel Valley Road through the Carmel Highlands thinking it would be a great 'shortcut' over to the 101 (which i could have caught in Salinas, about 15 miles from where i was staying but no, that's too easy...).
i spent the next two hours fluctuating between 15 and 45 mph, feeling a bit like Dorothy as she followed the Yellow Brick Road through the Haunted Forest on her way to the Emerald City. the road wound up and down, around and around, going from two lovely, wide-spaced lanes where you could see forever to tiny little paths carved into the side of the hill where if you met oncoming traffic, one of you would have to throw it in reverse until the road widened out enough for the other to pass. the weather was being appropriately dramatic as well, shrouding the valley in misty, ethereal clouds that alternatively spat rain and revealed the sun wherever it would be most effective to set the mood.
after making such beautifully, agonizingly slow progress, i cheered aloud when the valley opened up and i once again saw signs of civilization, especially the one that indicated the way to hwy 101 just ahead. after the tragically gorgeous doom and gloom of the Highlands and the Los Padres National Forest, the open landscape of Sycamore Flat was like a refreshing dram of water after a long hike. a helpful local helped me along when the fork in the road stumped me, and i sped on to Greenfield feeling liberated. upon reaching town, i joined El Camino Real and headed south, exceeding 65 mph for the first time all day.
i stopped off at King City for a quick re-fuel for myself and El Monsterito, then made use of the last of the day's light moving on down the road at a nice clip. the rest of the drive was fairly uneventful, just me and the highway's other occupants cruising along up and down through the mountains in the pitch black of night, where instead of seeing the hills and valleys you merely sense them on an animalistic level as the slightest change in the blackness clues you in to what is happening around you. it wasn't until i reached the coast again near Santa Barbara that i was again able to discern the landscape around me with the assistance of the lights of L.A. providing a distant backdrop for the coastal peaks.
realizing that i had been on the road for nearly eight hours with barely a reprieve, i chose to hunker down in Ventura for the night, where i plan to get a good night's rest so that i may take full advantage of what Hollywood has in store for me tomorrow. until then, i bid you adieu.