Inter-rainstorm road trip

Yesterday was rainy and wet; tomorrow will be too. Today is sunny and beautiful. Better hit the road.
The easiest pleasant drive out of San Francisco is south down Highway 1. Today that trip starts with a stop at Macys to return a shirt. This is me waiting in the car while my boyfriend does that.

After a quick stop, we're moving.
Could there possibly be a more lovely place name than Half Moon Bay? Not to me.

This road goes all the way to L.A. where people call it "the PCH", as in the Pacific Coast Highway. You will never hear anyone from Northern California ever say that. We call it Highway One. Or simply, One.

See the stairs up the side of the hill? And the tower in the trees? It's a WWII-era watchtower, and those stairs have no railing. The most thrilling, dangerous thing I've ever done was walk up those stairs and climb that tower at about two in the morning with some college friends after a Butthole Surfers concert at the Fillmore in 1987. It was the first month of my first year in college. Five of us were sitting together having a late dinner in the dining hall. Someone mentioned off-handedly that it would be fun to go see the Butthole Surfers. Everyone agreed, so we got up and went.

You'd think California would have knocked that tower down by now. But there's just a sign saying "Do Not Enter". Yeah, right.

If I could have one memory in my life sharpened and clarified, it would be that night. Sitting up on the watchtower with my four new best friends (sophisticated, precocious kids far more interesting than anyone I'd ever met), in the cold night, with the wind blowing in our faces, staring straight into the biggest full moon I've ever seen, I remember thinking, "This is my life now, and I love it." I wanted to freeze the moment and remember it forever, but I don't. It was late, and I was tired, and the whole thing's rather fragmentary. But I drive down One several times a year and I see that tower and it makes me feel happy. (This time, like all times since 1987, I just drive by.)


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Annie in Austin said...

I'm enjoying all your photos, chuck b - especially the ones with you in them.
On of my sons was in college in 1987, turning the Butthole Surfers up to eleven when he came home to visit. Now he's in Chicago and you're in CA and somehow I'm the one living in Austin where the sound originated.

After reading the previous post I went out to measure my Hedychium coronarium and they were about 5-feet tall... I can't imagine one reaching ten feet!


chuck b. said...

Well, all I know is Patsy called it Hedychium, and she said the flowers were white. It definitely looked like Hedychium up close, but there weren't any flowers to inspect.

The 10 feet tall part could be nine, but it was definitely more than 8. 10 is a just round number. I know I'm 6'2 and if I stretch my arms all the way up and stand on my tip toes I can easily reach my bedroom ceiling which is exactly 100 inches from the floor. That's 8 and a third feet; the Hedychium were taller than that.

At this point, I defer to the Sunset Western Garden Book (2001): H. coccineum reaches 9', H. coronarium reaches 7', H. densiflorum reaches 9' or taller, and H. gardnerianum reaches 8' (seriously, that's what it says).

Maybe Patsy was wrong and the flowers weren't white, but some other color and therefore some other species. Alternatively, these were just a very tall selection.


Annie in Austin said...

Chuck B - saying that I couldn't imagine one, was intended to imply that the fault was in my imagination, not in your identification!

At 5'6", a five-foot plant puts the fragrant flowers at nose-height, so mine work perfectly in this garden.


chuck b. said...

Oh, it's casual. There are a lot of garden geeks/brainiacs coming through here...maybe someone can pin down the Hedychium identification once and for all. I'm just offerring some data for consideration.

lisa said...

Love the pics in this post! Congrats on being able to take a nice drive and enjoy the scenery, as well as deriving pleasure from fond memories connected to outdoor places...sounds odd, but you wouldn't believe how many people connect their happiness to complex and unattainable things! I was driving to work the other day, looked over to see a male pheasant flying alongside my truck-I got such a rush of joy and happiness from that one simple moment...makes me feel blessed! Who needs Prozac?!

christin m p in massachusetts said...

That was a beautiful tour down Highway One.

I'm guessing that you and your boyfriend must've been together for a long time, since one of you waits in the car while the other goes into the store. I remember during the early stages of romance (the first couple of years), my former boyfriend and I wanted to do every little thing together. Even tedious activities like waiting in line at the supermarket, became pleasant and memorable experiences when we were together (Sigh).

chuck b. said...

Lisa: I'm totally with you about the complex and unattainable things... On one hand, I get it that people can't control their feelings, because one can't manufacture happiness when it's just not there. But on the other hand, I don't get it why people can't get excited about simple, authentic pleasures they don't have to pay through the nose for, or buy into someone else's fantasies for. That's just no way to live your life, imo.

Christin M:
In fact, we've only been together since November 2002. The actual date is a matter of some debate--we celebrate our anniversary two days before Thanksgiving. (Gay people have weird anniversaries since we don't get married--my bf and I celebrate the anniversary of our first date which was two days before Thanksgiving.)

And we bought our house together less than a year after that--without ever having ever lived together first! I don't know if that's shocking to other people, but I *never* thought I would do such a thing. But he made a persuasive argument--something about having a home to nurture together, etc...

Since then, he's revealed that the true intention was that it's harder to break up with someone when you own a house together than it is when you just rent. Which is so true! It makes it a lot easier to get past those rare moments when we aren't getting along (never lasts more than a few hours) because neither of us want to lose the house. :)

Anyhow, we're both very independent and do lots of things separately. He doesn't garden, so that's all mine. We've never gone shopping together that I can recall, except for one trip to Ikea for dishes and a bookcase when we moved in. We see our own friends. He goes to see his family in Florida, and I only go half the time. We even like different movies and tv shows. And he has zero interest in blogs.

Anonymous said...

But do you call it "I-5" or "the 5"?

chuck b. said...

You know, I rarely have any reason to refer to Highway 5. I'm pretty sure if I did, I would say Highway 5 tho'. :)