The feeling of just driving without having to follow an itinerary is pretty great. I woke up that morning, published the last travel journey before leaving the Inn, and then I just drove around without looking at the NAVMII at all. I found a seven-eleven and bought a few things, amongst those my breakfast in the form of an egg sandwich. Then I drove some more and happened on a beach that I liked. I paid for my parking and sat myself under a tree on the beach and ate my sandwich amongst tourists taking photographs of the ocean and beach bums sleeping in the sand.
I felt a sense of peace there I haven’t felt in a long time.
There was a little girl towing a kayak with her father. He was doing the heavy lifting of course and they slowly headed to the ocean. When they got there, after quite a bit of hassle, he lifted the little girl into the boat and they rowed off together.
When I finished my sandwich I just sat there for a while. People came strolling by, some where running, others walking the dog, others probably doing the same I was – taking in a new scenery.
When I felt I had taken in enough of that particular beach and the large trees I sat by, I got into the car again and drove off to follow the shoreline. Soon I got fascinated by the houses. Such beautiful houses everywhere and as I got closer and closer to Carmel the houses became more and more extraordinary.
I parked the car in a slope and walked in to see a little of the shops. There was a smell there, a wonderful smell that I couldn’t place. I wandered around but when I saw a bookstore I went inside. It was a small establishment with wonderfully peaceful atmosphere, full of books on yoga, zen and meditation but other things as well, like books contemplating big questions like HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CAT IS TRYING TO KILL YOU? I also found it amusing that the title ART OF WAR was beside THE WAY OF ZEN by Allan Watts. I bought two books of poetry. It seemed fitting to make sure my bag home get even heavier than before and I’ve been enjoying having them to read on the road.
I spent a while in Carmel wandering the street, bought a couple of more items before I walked back to the car, left the things there and wandered down to the beach. I didn’t stay long on that beach before I drove off again, following the coastline further, in awe of the houses and the easy feel of this town.
I decided it was time to tank the car before heading off to Big Sur. And I was standing by the pump when I realized that I had NO idea what to put on the car. In Europe it’s important not to tank the car with the wrong type of petrol and so I spent quite a while reading the manual and the car rental papers before I went into the station and asked.
“You can put anything on the car,” the woman told me.
I was hesitant and explained “Where I come from…” and she just smiled and told me “We don’t have diesel here”.
Ok. So I put petrol on the car and moved on. Lesson learned. I guess we Europeans have the tendency to complicate things.
I started off towards Big Sur. There was no need to put the GPS on, Highway 1 is easy to follow. And once the curves and the cliffs meet the ocean it’s impossible not to stop EVERY chance you get. And there are a lot of stopping chances. So I jumped out of the car with the camera and took in the ocean and the cliffs.
There was a form of myst in the air and the light is so bright that it creates something special in you, a form of eternity, a promise that there is a Neverneverland somewhere waiting just for you. It’s the promise of peace and happiness.
I found my INN but was too early so I just kept on driving. The roads here are so much fun to drive and the landscape doesn’t get tiring so I just drove until I realized that I would never turn around, EVER, if I didn’t do it just then.
So a little reluctantly I turned around and drove to the RIVER INN. I’m very glad I decided to spend two nights here instead of the initial one. The INN is cozy, wooden cabins, restaurant and behind the INN the river runs. If you walk towards it you’ll notice several chairs have been placed in the river.
This morning when I woke up (as late as 8.30 I might add – kicking that jet lag) I went to have breakfast at the restaurant. Got a small stack of pancakes with bananas that were delicious and way to big for me to manage the whole thing. I drank coffee and when I had paid I went to the river and sat there for a while.
I used to sleep well to the sound of the creek back in the summer house in Iceland a long time ago. I still have my best night sleep in the silence there, silence that lets you hear the creek from afar.
When I was finished I drove off to see some of the things around here. I visited the HENRY MILLER LIBRARY which was wonderfully quirky and nice. I browsed the store and took pictures, not just of the house, the piano and the typewriter but also of the books.
Then I went to one of the parks around here and walked for a while amongst the redwood. Amazing trees but I couldn’t spend too much time there as my allergies started to kick me in the ass, or ears rather. So I went back to the INN – ate a sandwich and washed the pollen away.
Then I hit the road again and went to see if I could find a way to see McWay falls. – I did but the trail to the beach was closed so I had to make due with taking pictures from afar.
I drove further on. Over the bridge and further still. I love this road. I could spend my life on it.
There are tourists here, but there’s also a feeling of ease – a relaxing vibe that seems to seep through you and let you breath out, sigh out your troubles and breath in a buzz of happiness.
This place makes me happy.