Day Two.

We woke up after a comfortable night sleeping on the side of a residential street in Gerberville, CA. Dad walked a block or so and brought Mom and I back some Cafe Mocha and we hit the road. We hopped onto the 101 Fwy and we were on the way….a crucial error soon had us wishing that we could rewind and start over. The sign up ahead gave us a choice of continuing down the 101 or going down the beautiful coastal route…HWY 1…Well we chose the Beautiful, Stunning, Picturesque road to HELL.

I must confess, the error was mostly my fault. You must understand that I have inherited from my mother the Beachcomber gene and have been an ardent fan of the sea-breeze in my face as I pick up the gifts from the sea… sea glass. On the Coast Highway, in the town of Fort Bragg, there is a beach that is like Disneyland to sea glass collectors…we decided we should go there and that set us up for one harrowing day.

The California Coast Highway has been praised in tour books, on websites. and documentaries..it has been the backdrop for many a movie and it holds a certain allure for anyone who has visual abilities.  Described as unparalleled beauty, awe-inspiring views of the coast, nature at its finest, glorious, and breath-taking, along with a few 1ooo other adjectives trying to capture its true essence….all of which are quite true. Very true! It is stunning in its beauty. First you drive through the beautiful forest, with tall majestic trees and beautiful ferns and wild flowers and it smells so fresh and clean…then you break out onto the coast. The sea sparkles like a thousand diamonds and the waves roll in one after the other crashing onto the rocks, throwing up beautiful sprays producing prisms of rainbow colors into the air. Seal lie on the rocks and beautiful beaches and rock croppings provide inspiration for artists and songwriters…but they forget to write about how you keep your eyes clinched tightly shut so you won’t have to see how far the cliff drops down into the ocean and they forget the lessons on how to control your vivid imagination from picturing yourself plunging over those cliffs in a 1989 Allegro RV with Ray Cook at the wheel, and Carol Cook clinging to the RV curtains for dear life….without wings or angelic intervention. I kept looking over the side from time to time and not seeing crashed cars or RVs on the rocks helped me keep my sanity on those narrow, curvy roads. Thousands of people drive on that Highway and are still alive to tell the tale…we would survive too.

Remember, Dad had careers as an RTD bus driver in the City of Los Angeles and he also drove Semi trucks with double tractors all over the place. We are talking about a very experienced driver; so I kept reminding myself  that this man knows how to handle BIG AND LONG MACHINES…because this RV is BIG.  However, when Dad started squealing on some of those hairpin turns, confidence flew out the window…Mom was sitting at the table, looking towards the back, so there was limited screaming on her part…just white knuckles and loud gasps to SLOW DOWN RAY. Okay, this is a little crude, but it describes the ride well and this is a quote …so don’t blame me. Dad said: “My arsehole done bit buttonholes in the seat cushion!”  By the time we got off that road, my neck muscles and shoulders were so tense..What I would not do for a massage..but we are alive! To tell the truth, now that it’s over, I would do it all again. It was hilarious, invigorating, scary and an experience that I will look back on and laugh about for a long time.

We decided to get off that Highway once we got down to Bodega Bay…so we cut across to Petaluma. There we met Donna Pallaski, a long-time friend from our Covina days and enjoyed a visit while dining on Indian Food. After a nice catch-up session, we said goodbye, climbed into the RV and went down another side street, where we parked, pulled the drapes and fell into bed…happy to be alive and off the beautiful @#&%$ Coast Highway.

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