California is beautiful.
Everyone should go on a road trip vacay and drive down (or up) the coast through the central coast along Highway One.
The scenery is amazing and the views are breathtaking, BUT driving around Big Sur, the twistywindytwolanehighway is SCARY, more so if you’ve previously experienced a near death event.
One one side, there’s the vertigo-inducing views of the Pacific Ocean beneath a precipitous embankment, and on the other side, close enough so that if you open a window and reach out, you could almost touch the mountain.
“Mom, why is your lip bleeding?”
“Because I’m biting it to keep from screaming.”
“SLOW DOWN. SLOWDOWNSLOWDOWN!”
“See the red lights on the car in front of us? That is your very obvious CLUE that you need to react and SLOW DOWN.”
“Sssllllooowwwwdddooowwwnnnn…” says the crazy backseat driver.
“Heeheehee.” That’s Angel Boy chuckling at my terror.
“How about leaving a little more distance between you and the car in front of us?”
“Would that be too much to ask?”
My right thigh was becoming numb as I constantly phantom-braked during that entire death defying journey.
I clutched the dash so tightly, I thought they’d have to pry my fingers off of it.
In the back seat, DIL was listening to music and texting, observing this exchange between mother and son.
(I think she was laughing, too.)
My son lives his entire life by multi-tasking every single moment of every single day.
Even while driving, he’s eating, talking to his GPS, and carrying on two conversations.
His new name is Dr. Distracto, because the ONE thing he needed to concentrate on — DRIVING — what should have been his primary focus — was third or fourth on the list of what garnered his attention.
“Geez, pay attention to the traffic, would you?”
I was hyperventilating, fanning my face, telling him, “Do you want to give me a heart attack?”
Remember that film I liked, Guilt Trip, with Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogan?
(Read my review HERE of the best Jew-mom film EVER.)
This was OUR version of a road trip.
It was actually pretty funny. In reality, my son is a good driver in spite of being an absent minded professor.
When it was all over and we were once again on wide, straight roads, I apologized for my bout of insanity and praised his patience and even tempered disposition.
I highly recommend camping with one’s adult child and spouse.
I haven’t heard about too many other people who’ve done this. Let me know if you have and maybe we could start a club.
Popping a squat side-by-side on the trail with one’s DIL makes for a great bonding moment.
They had thoughtfully packed two tents, a huge family-sized Hobitat, and a smaller one in case I wanted to sleep in my own tent, and not with them.
I chose the “mother-in-law” unit because I didn’t want to disturb anyone or crawl over them if I had to get up and to to the bathroom at 3 a.m.
Two highlights of our road trip were day hikes to Jade Cove and Julia Pfeiffer State Park.
I’ve always wanted to explore Jade Cove but I had no idea that it was going to become the challenge of a lifetime.
I had no idea that the only way to get down to where the jade could be found was by rope. THIS was where the EMPOWERMENT really kicked in.
NO WAY was I gonna do that.
Nope. Never. Not in a million years.
It should have been an absolute dealbreaker, but my desire for jade and serptentine treasures made me think I MIGHT be able to take the risk.
It would have been such a shame to come all this way and give in to my fears.
My son patiently coaxed me and DIL all the way and made sure we safely descended the nearly vertical bluffs, while he scrambled down like a mountain goat.
I AM EMPOWERED.
(My hair looks HORRIBLE, but I’m grinning from ear to ear.)
The Jade Cove Trail is a simple flat path that loops out to the coast with a steep but short path down to the water where you can hunt for jade (please follow local regulations about collecting rocks.)
From the top.
Animal print kelp?Treasures from Jade Cove!
After that, we drove to Julia Pfieffer State Park for a day hike. This state park is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur country. The park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges. It features redwood, tan oak, madrone, chaparral, and an 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean from the Overlook Trail. A panoramic view of the ocean and miles of rugged coastline is available from the higher elevations along the trails east of Highway 1.
Overlook Trail and the cove with famous turquoise water.
McWay Falls, one of only two coastal waterfalls in California, where McWay Creek falls 80 feet over a granite cliff onto a sandy beach, or at high tide directly into the Pacific Ocean.McWay Creek
Majestic redwoodsSquint your eyes and you can see Angel Boy and DIL at the base of the gigantic redwoods.
And now FINALLY, tugboat man’s flight has been confirmed and I’ll be driving to the airport tonight. He might not be home long enough to go back to to Montana de Oro or Jade Cove, but here in SoCal, surf is up and the champs on ice, so life is good.
Bottom line: Empowerment is empowering. At any age.
Read the rest of my Empowerment Series here: