Coastal Getaway Day: Big Sur and Monterey

Piled in, merged ahead, and driving along, we departed for a coastal getaway day. Eyes drawn into our books, Mother and I read while Father drove, our thoughts drown out the silence typically smothered by radio stations. Weeks of togetherness and years of family ties made for a drive neither pleasant nor unpleasant, as we slid along the 156, weaving and turning until we popped out onto the 1 headed south.

Two weeks of triple digit heat with only the breaks of morn and night to ease the blight of the furnace-like air proved too much and so our Little Red Prius carried us away at 68 MPH and 50 MPG westward towards beaches blue like the Caribbean and adorned with palm trees like Hawaii. One hundred pages, two naps, and a potty stop later, we stood upon solid ground precariously peering over a drop off over McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, one of many state-sanctioned recreation areas that blesses would-be photographers with a fool-proof opportunity to trap greatness within the click of a shutter. Admission: $10.00 per car.

Father and I extricated our cameras from our over-packed sacks and stood, knelt, squinted, and angled to  imprison the beauty of that moment.  We paused with other gawkers, both foreign and local, memorized by the great black condor stretching casually from the tree above. Smart phones, I pads, and DSLR’s worth three month’s groceries enabled the admission paying tourists a shot to authenticate the experience of their aviary encounter. Powdered dust cozied up to my stunted toes between the green straps of my once-black Tevas. The Commander announced lunchtime so we plunked down on a bench with our sacks, pulled out our apples and started to snack. Metallic refreshment from certified BPA-free contraptions rinsed down the peanut butter and Nutella clinging to my teeth several minutes later, leftovers from a gratifying yet sticky sandwich.

More happy snaps, more earthy steps, and a field of flowers that conveniently led back to our conspicuous Little Red Prius, three gallons lighter nestled between rental vans and Cruise America campers. Trader Joe’s, a fabric store, and the iconic Lover’s Point in Monterey all greeted Little Red Prius, as we popped in and out of her. We watched sea lions bath in unfiltered sunlight above the sea’s friendly waves on rocky mounds peeking out from the blue. Wind-whipped and giddy, two bridal parties posed awkwardly above the sea lions after exchanging vows in a place whose beauty holds the strength to cover all apprehensions.

Back to the car with blistered skin, I resumed my reading and its accompanied intermittent dozing. Radio off, car sneaking quietly along the streets of Pacific Grove, Carmel, Monterey. Five minutes to the freeway turned into thirty. Thirty turned to an hour, and our two hours back turned into three and a half. Mother finished her book and I’m closing in fast. The sunset greeted us at our return to town as it grazed over cornstalks and kissed the hot ground. Our pets jumped for joy, the dogs and my cat, as they learned once again that we’ll always come back.