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Not far on the Highway One

On a muggy San Francisco morning we — me and Aditi, set out south on Highway One without a real plan.

When we made it to the Taco Bell Cantina, we saw at least a hundred surfers all clad in their black rubber tuxedos trying to stand up on the waves. Aditi asked me how it was a good idea to be in the water in such cold weather?

An old man was getting ready to go fishing. He assembled his pole, pulled some fishing line through it and started fiddling around with bait to attach. I joked about the American hobby culture. Everyone buys so much stuff to pursue a hobby. For fishing one has to buy an icebox, a rod, some bait, waterproof clothes, boots and a chair. For surfing one probably owns two wetsuits, a surfboard and a huge garage to store all that. I guess that is the California hobby dream.

We stopped next at the Devil’s Slide trail. The trail was basically an old piece of the old Highway One replaced by a nearby tunnel. The “slide” is actually caused by the sea floor pushing up against the nearby Montara mountain. The trail was basically ancient seabed. We could see the layers of brittle rock. We could break it with our hands.

A signpost told us the story of how an oil spill caused by the Shell oil company destroyed a colony of murres (birds) on a rock nearby. The company paid 7million dollars that was used to rehabilitate the birds on the rock. Scientists used sounds to attract birds to the rock, and a colony took hold. As of 2019, there are thousands of birds on the rock. I was proud of the human ingenuity.

Next up we went to the old British pub called Cameroons in Half Moon bay. This place had a rich history, it was a “ladies house” and a prohibition era bootlegging centre. Now it is a kitschy British pub a continent away from Britain. A double decker bus and a telephone booth outside set the mood. Inside there were British war posters and photos of Churchill. Their Fish chips were really good to boot.

On the way back we ran into the traffic from the Half Moon Bay pumpkin festival. They measured states largest pumpkin there at 2100 pounds. To avoid the hordes , we drove through a winding road that followed a creek. That put us in the middle of sky blocking redwood grove. The fog seemed trapped there for eons. We got out of the car and took in the mist.

I am grateful for California and how far I can go within one hour where I live.

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