Monday, January 22, 2018


…Make that “Winter’s Drive…”

Slicing along the Pacific Coast Highway in fifty-one degree rainy weather on a motorcycle is the stuff of pleasant yesterdays.  That being the forecast, I load up the Subaru.  Enrico, the Yamaha, will have to mark time in the garage.  Helmet blast will not be today’s symphony, but there’s a nice classical station out of the Bay Area (KDFC-FM) I pay twenty bucks a month for.  It’ll provide appropriate soundtrack for the luscious curves on this gray, winter drive.  And I won’t have to peel off heavy waterproof gloves in order to snap a photo or two along the way. 
Still, something inside me says, “You’re not the man you used to be.” 

While another voice says, “Discretion is the better part of valor.” 

I turn up the Subie’s sound system to drown out the argument that ensues.

The rocky Pacific shore in Sonoma County is cloistered in a chilling fog, one that reinforces the wisdom of my decision not to take the motorcycle this day.

But just as I’m entering the Tomales Bay region, the fog lifts and the clouds part making me second-guess that decision.

Expect a one-hour delay on CA 1 south of Stinson Beach, so sayeth the orange caution sign, so I divert eastward taking the Panoramic Highway where this over-the-shoulder shot of the Stinson and the Bolinas Lagoon promotes wonderful curves.

Crossing the Golden Gate on a bike is far cooler – in both senses of the word – than doing it in a small SUV.  No stops on the leg through the City, onto I-280 and then rejoining CA 1 to follow it south through Pacifica and Half Moon Bay.

Somewhere near the San Mateo / Santa Cruz County Line, the highway traces the coast.  A twinge makes me wish it’d go on this way forever and that I was straddling the Yamaha for that forever…

A side road, the old highway, I suspect, offers a slower pace for a mile or two and a spot to wade – or should I say stumble – through some ice plant in search of a photo.

The frontage road regains the highway at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. 

Pigeon Point’s tower is identical to the one at Point Arena, up in our neck of the woods, but while the Point Arena tower collapsed as a result of the 1906 earthquake (later to be rebuilt) the Pigeon Point tower withstood the shaker, only to suffer damage in December 2001 when a section of the iron belt course on the exterior of the lighthouse fell off.  Currently under repairs – funded by voluntary contributions, if I understand it – you can’t climb to the top.

Still, just as a Sierran fire lookout always affords a great view of the mountains, our collection of lighthouses always offers something special along the coast.  I often wonder, when stopping by one of these sentinels, if I’d have possessed the mettle to man one of ‘em in the face of an icy Pacific storm a hundred years back.  Probably not.  After all, I took the car instead of the bike this day.

Davenport, where I’ll roost for the next couple of evenings, is not far down the road, but before I make bedfall – you know, like landfall?  A sea-faring term? – I am captivated by a trio of surfers harnessing a stiff on-shore breeze to propel themselves out to catch some of the magnificent breakers this weekend was slated to offer.  These guys get physics.  Otherwise, how could they use the power of an on-shore wind to rocket them offshore?  Beats me.

I arrive in the tiny coastal berg early enough to trace a bit of bluff on foot. 

The sun is well on its descent into evening and a chill wind quickly prompts me to check into my room and shelter in place – so to speak – for a nap; thus confirming:  I wouldn’t have lasted long as a lighthouse keeper.

Reviewing the cache on my little pocket camera, I realize that even though stopping for photos is less complicated in the Subie than on the Yamaha, I didn’t do it enough.


Next up?  An Evening at the Davenport Roadhouse and Inn.

© 2018
Church of the Open Road Press

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