I’ve made this trip probably 7 times over the last 8 years, usually taking the same boring route for maximum mileage (and cost) efficiency. Basically, I get on the 5 in Eugene, take it all the way to the 210 north of LA, and finally out to the 10 to Phoenix. I’m still finding things to shoot along the way, even if it is at 75mph most of the time. But I think that’s what makes the images more interesting to me. Literally, on the road…
Happy to report I switched it up this time, though it was last minute and by necessity, which caused a little bit of stress. The way it happened, I hopped over to the 101 north of San Luis Obispo on the road James Dean died on (the 46), got my first longed-for glimpse of California coastline at Pismo Beach, then jogged over to the PCH in Ventura. I’ve driven the entire length of the PCH from northern to southern Californian, and the whole stretch of 101 south from Port Angeles, WA, and as much as people talk about the Oregon coastline, Cali’s ain’t too shabby, even if a lot of it is privately owned. In fact (or not), it’s a lot more diverse, kinda like California in general. (Sorry Oregonians, I know you have a lot of pride, but face it, you’re lacking in the diversity department.) I especially miss bodyboarding at the SoCal beaches I used to go to every weekend with my cousin.
Anyway, the weather was grand (except for the Santa Anas whipping through the valley) and it was great to stop and enjoy it at a few places along the way. There was an extra bonus when I stopped in Santa Barbara and ended up watching humpback whales chow for an hour from a little park on a cliff off Shoreline. Unfortunately, I was also reminded why I try to avoid downtown LA when I make this trip. Because my overnight plans seemed to be changing by the hour, I ended up getting on the 10 in Santa Monica at 4pm. Patiently to my own surprise, and pitifully for those who do it daily, I got my fill of traffic congestion for the next few years in just a couple of hours.
Despite all that, the best part of the trip was the very end- I surprised my grandma a half hour into her 92nd birthday party. I haven’t seen her so happy in a long time.