Self is headed back to southern California pretty soon. She loves, loves, loves it. Just the feeling of driving, never mind that the freeways feel bigger and everything’s so much farther apart than in the San Francisco Bay Area. (No, self likes that places are farther apart! She can take longer to get there!)
Condé Nast Traveler’s July 2014 issue has a letter from the editor about what California’s Highway 1 means to her.
Well, it means something to self as well. When self was 13 and her Dear Departed Sis 14, our parents took the whole family for a driving vacation in the States. We lived in Manila, but Dearest Mum’s parents and younger brother and sister lived in San Francisco. Dear Departed Dad always had this dream of taking us on a cross-country road trip — in an RV. This was a sort of specious dream, since self’s Dear Departed Dad had no idea how to change a flat tire or how to hook an RV into one of those things that drains waste. And he’d also never driven anything bigger than a club wagon, and we all know that an RV is a completely different animal from a club wagon.
Anyhoo, we did make that driving trip, borrowing a car from self’s maternal grandparents, and we snaked down Highway 1 all the way from San Francisco to San Diego, then snaked east towards Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. And Dear Departed Dad allowed self to choose the stations we listened to, and self fell in love with America’s “Horse With No Name.”
Son attended Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo, but only once did we ever venture farther north than San Simeon on Highway 1. And oh man. We got stuck in a humongous traffic jam, that took hours to sort itself out. And son swore that would be the last time — ever — he would take Highway 1 to the Bay Area. Self felt rather demoralized by the incident, to tell you the truth.
The last time self was on Highway 1 was just recently. She was lost. She was coming from Skyline College, took a wrong turn somewhere, found herself on Highway 1, then just kept driving south. The views got more and more spectacular, and self was all excited, wondering if she’d actually make it as far as Big Sur. But she didn’t. Anxiety began to creep in, and self doubled back and went home.
Here’s what Pilar Guzman, Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast Traveler, has to say about her memories of Highway 1:
There is something about a road trip in one’s home state with a sibling or childhood friend that makes you feel like you’re 17 again. We packed a cooler, sang along to Adele’s “Someone Like You” over and over, and analyzed our parents for the umpteenth time, telling the defining stories of our childhood to each other as though for the first time. It always strikes me that no matter how many digital memory-keeping advances we make, a family’s mythology only really evolves in an oral tradition.
After the Squaw Valley Writers Conference, self was on an absolute high. The last day of the conference was on her birthday. She drove down with another conference participant, Heather Lee. Heather just sent self a CD where she put all the songs we listened to on the drive from Squaw Valley. It includes songs by Pherrell Williams, Johnny Legend, Coldplay. Self likes to think of that CD as her “Happy” CD. She’s just decided she’ll bring it along with her to southern California this time.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.