Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Not About The Destination

We wake up early so we have enough time to entertain both me and the
dogs. I want to explore Bodega Bay, CA, where Hitchcock filmed "The
Birds,"
and then let the dogs romp all nine acres of a dog park in
Petaluma.

We do both. But it turns out the most exciting time was the drive to
get there, down California Highway 1, not a road really, but a roller
coaster out of sinc with capitalism and common sense.

The hairpins, the switchbacks, the crossovers! The ups and downs ...

The sheer cliffs, the pastural lands, the bluffs. The monster rock
islands, pounding surf, tide pools.

Transplant this place to the East Coast and there'd be a Hyatt or
Sheraton every 300 feet. And lots of lawsuits, because it's downright
unsafe.

But, this is California, so we find miles and miles of unspoiled
oceanfront, then small towns, where the restaurants have names like
Organic Catie's advertising Surf Yoga classes in the windows. Rental
properties stretch out and breath. Everything looks built 50 years
ago. Nothing is glitzy, razzle-dazzle, hot or way cool. Everything is
the Cat's Meow.

Sheep and cattle graze on what must be the most expensive real
estate in this nation. Ocean front. Pacific property.

As we leave the safety of the small towns and pastural lands, we enter
the Danger Zones. At times, our lane is 10 feet wide. That extra foot
I dearly wish we had fell off the cliff. I look out my window (lots)
and, after gasping (lots), I see a steep rocky decline plunging some
300 feet into an angry, swirling sea with teeth of ragged rocks. OK.
Allen's driving so I'll just shut my eyes (I do this a lot.).

I open them to see straight ahead it looks like our road ends, smack
into the side of a cow. A COW? Yes! There are six or so huge cows
kneeling alongside the road, unfenced, on a toupe of grass atop a
cliff. If they roll over. They die. Ravaged by the rocks. Natural
hamburger.

The road angles left, then down into a hairpin, then up again. We
rock back and forth. Gasp. Eyes close.

On down the road, we see two forest rangers on cell phones near a
billow of smoke curling through the trees. It's the start of a
California wild fire. They're calling for help. As we head on south,
fire trucks and other emergency vehicles plod past us. They cannot
zip. These hairpins and inclines and declines play havoc with them, too.

Further up the road, we see a daring rescue (click on the picture for
a closer look). Helicopter, emergency and ambulance crews gather on
one of the rocky precipices. A rescue team propels down the cliff
toward the sea with a liter in tow. We can't see what happens next,
because we drive on.

Finally, we arrive at The Tides, a restaurant in Bodega Bay. The
parking lot is the very one Hitchcock set fire to in "The Birds," and
it's also where Tippi Hedron (well, her character) rented a little boat to scoot across the
harbor with her love birds at her feet.

It's really neat to see a piece of Hollywood while in California.

And then it's on to the dog park, where we walk and walk to exercise
the dogs.

It was a nice, very nice dog park.

It's just hard for a dog park, no matter how nice,  or a restaurant, no matter how famous, to compete with Highway 1.

5 comments:

coastroad said...

Nice write up, if I may say! I love how you notice the difference in coasts' development practices. Alot that you saw in western Marin County was built 50 years ago as it's difficult to build, not only along the California coast in general, but west Marin County specifically. Alot of folks rail against this anti-development attitude, but you wrote exactly why its important to sustain this practice - it's a joy to visit!

Happy Travels!

Nancy K said...

How nice of you!

Whatever I write or read about this road pales next to being there. It's remarkable. A national treasure.

Liverpool Community said...

Hi Nance, Mikey & I did Rt. 1 on the motorcycle, oh so many years ago! Although your words are wonderful & I much enjoy reading them, there is no way to do this road justice- not even in pictures. Hugs from afar, S

Laura said...

When you gather all these glittering gems into a book, I hope you'll have your publisher send me a copy (and I also hope I'll still be here to write about it for Central New York readers!)

Good stuff, Nancy!

Team Cueva said...

happy (healthy) cows come from California! :)
I really enjoy your writings! (when I get a chance to read them)
love you!
nic