"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass... it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." - Henry Miller
One of the most breathtaking drives in the country is on very western edge of California. Growing up here, I've become pretty familiar with it, but I'm still totally and completely in awe every time through. Highway 1 between L.A. and San Francisco through Big Sur will change you forever, it's that good. The things you will think! The smell of the redwoods meeting the ocean, the waves of fog barreling over the road and fading into bright blue sky over the ridge.. a playground for the senses. A famous haven for some of the most writers and authors that we have known, it's so full of stories and old souls that you can't go through it without feeling massively inspired and spiritually recharged.
Unsurprisingly, it's also a photographer's paradise. Vivid blue and green water, impossibly long waves, dreamy coves in droves, and on this particular trip, a wispy and wily bank of fog. At first I was actually disappointed, as I was hoping for long clear shots of the coast. But then... as I was immersed in the curves and folds of the coast, and that blanket of fog.. I realized what a treat it actually was.
Henry Miller would call Big Sur for a long period of his life, after another author named Lynda Sargent offered him a room in her log cabin to live in and work from. He stayed for 18 years, ostensibly wringing every bit of creative energy from the never-ending natural reserves around him. I finally visited the Henry Miller Memorial Library on my way through. Every other time in my life I had wandered past it, it had been closed. Not today.
Even though I was slightly underwhelmed with the "library" (it's more of a bookstore/gift shop), there are some very cool artifacts inside, and the grounds themselves hold a tangible charm. Complete with a performance stage, and a surrounding lounge deck framed by the redwoods, I was happy to finally spend a moment snooping around. One of the more striking images was the shop cat, who sat and stared at this bowl for the better part of the visit, seemingly unaware and indifferent to the shuffling humans around him. He did actually sneak a look at me just as I took the wide shot, which I found intriguing mostly because he then continued to stare at the bowl. Cats.
I should note that I picked up a couple of tomes while I was there that I'm very much looking forward to. Life by Keith Richards, and Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. I didn't buy any Henry Miller because I already own a small collection of his work, and am currently chipping away at Tropic of Cancer.
In San Francisco, I finally tried the "best burrito in America". I know what you're thinking, and I probably had all the same thoughts. "Yeah, right. Best burrito in the country is in San Francisco?!?! Fuck right off." Obviously, it's a subject and claim that's going to be rife with both objectivity and strong opinions. But read this if you want to know where I am getting my information. To say it is thorough is a massive understatement. THE top result of the google search "best burrito in America", so there's that.
I was skeptical, but also quite excitable of course. Being a SoCal native, I like to think that I've had the best burritos a person can have. That said, I'm always ready to have my mind blown and my palate pleased by a better one, or even just a good one when far from home. And make no mistake, both were achieved here. Everything in Nate Silver's report about the burrito in question (Carnitas Super Burrito, El Dorado style) is dead on. It's truly a perfect burrito, and was actually worth the formidable line snaking through the seating and spilling onto the sidewalk. I have a problem with big lines for food, and it's just a thing in San Francisco. Every place with a buzz has it's own snake up there.
Besides eating and waiting in line to eat, we found a few extra moments to hoof it around the city and through some it's more beautiful locales. Land's End, Golden Gate Park, Twin Peaks.. some of the spots that I have been wanting to see for some time. They didn't disappoint, at all.
Every road trip has a soundtrack. Sometimes it's silence, but it's often music. Mine are usually a mix of songs I know and love and sing harmonies to sprinkled with new discoveries. The top three on the list below are new additions to my "starred" section. I listened deeper into the catalogue of each, but these were the tracks that hooked me in.
Much love, friends. And any would-be enemies. Be well. - B
Highway 1 Playlist
Hometown Hero - Andy Shauf
Weathered - Jack Garratt
Gimme All Your Love - Alabama Shakes
Hollywood - Tobias Jesso Jr.
Lost in the Light - Bahamas
Jack Daniels - Eric Church
Heavy is the Head - Zac Brown Band
Like a River - MMJ
Gold Coast Sinkin' - Blake Mills
Am I Safe - Ryan Adams
I Was Made For Loving You - Tori Kelly
Harder to Lie - David Ramirez
The Handler - Muse
Between Me and You - Brandon Flowers
High Dive - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Want to Want Me - Jason Derulo
It Will Come Back - Hozier
TIl It's Gone - Yelawolf
West Coast - Lana Del Rey