The Pacific Coastal Highway begins south of San Francisco, but we decided to begin north of San Francisco on Highway 1. If you are anything like me, do not attempt to ride or drive on this road without some motion-sickness medication.
This part of the adventure was nearly too adventurous for me. I spent the entire trip on Highway 1 doing what anyone who goes through motion-sickness knows to do: even though Marcus was the driver on this stretch, I kept my eyes on the road ahead of me! You do not, I repeat, you do not want to be in a hurry on this highway! There are more twists and turns on this 180 mile stretch of road than there are on all the roads in North Dakota put together and multiplied by two.
The most beautiful thing I learned throughout our adventure on the Pacific Coastal Highway was the interconnectedness of the world. Parts of this highway look like Wisconsin, with lush trees and happy cows grazing on hills. Other parts are beachy, like I would expect California to be. And still other parts resemble North Dakota, with endless seas of grass, not water. The mountain passes felt like Needles Highway in South Dakota, or Bear Tooth Pass in Montana.
John Muir, a legend on the Pacific Coastal Highway, said something similar. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” The beauty of the few parts of this giant earth that I have seen is well-represented and interconnected on Highway 1.
Muir, along with several other conservationists, convinced the federal government to preserve spaces for national parks at the start of the 20th Century. Such an act took away from production of things like lumber in the Redwood Forest, and grazing space for animals. It was a radical move that took so much foresight it is a miracle it happened at all.
There is a beach overlook named after Muir not far north of San Francisco, where both photos were taken. It was Marcus’ and my first glimpse of the coast away from the hubbub of San Francisco. There was nothing to get in the way of the unrefined and glorious view of the Pacific Coast, rugged and rocky and none-too-gentle. On much of the coast we saw, the waters are cold and angry, its waves pushing their way from the ocean to carve their presence into the sand.
Thanks to John Muir and others with his determination, these views are unadulterated and there for all to enjoy.