As much as I love Los Angeles, I love all of California. Fifteen years ago I began driving a 15-passenger van up and down the West Coast, giving tours between San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The coastal landscape of Central California quickly became one of my favorite pit-stops. The mix of rocky coast, dense forest and steep cliffs make the landscape around Big Sur especially picturesque and sometimes dangerous. Hairpin turns on PCH necessitate speed demons to slow down; otherwise they will descend off 1000-feet cliffs into the cold ocean.
I always take it extra slow and enjoy the view. A hike in the redwoods to an ocean overlook is mandatory. Whenever we are ahead of schedule, we make a stop at the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur. Nestled in a grove of redwoods, the library celebrates Miller and sells lots of rare books and special editions you won't find anywhere else. This poem celebrates the Central Coast.
Moist mist in Monterey
Palatial patterns in Pacific Grove
Such serene serendipity in the Central Coast.
Smoky cottages in Santa Cruz
Alongside Cali's Coast Highway
Peppered with pampas grass
Stone carved canyons cascade seaside coves
Curving across ragged points
Perplexing passengers polaroids
As lopsided landslides rocktides
Ravage roadside roamers. Racing raining!
Racing raining El Niño!
Cold camping chinos Capture condensation
For further frolicking through foggy forests
Erosive forces crushing concrete embankments
Evoking existential exits earnestly Emergency!
Rhythmically pounding sea surrounding me
Methodically in massive maritime motion
Pontificating passing the Pacific Ocean.
- More on L.A. Letters
- Summer Spirit is Alive in Los Angeles
- Beats and Rhymes: Hollywood
- Grand Park and Summer Reading on the Sunset Strip
- Beats and Rhymes: The Mad Ones Are Fearless
- See the L.A. Letters archives
Top: Big Sur by IcK9s [M. H. Stephens] used under a Creative Commons license