Driving along the coast, just north or south of San Francisco is terrifying and breathtaking in the same moment. The varying drops off the side of the mountainous roads are steep. And I have a thing with vertigo and windy (as in wind a clock, not wind and sea; although I suppose that fits, as well) roads. But it’s also beautiful. The fog rolling in creates this amazing visual that is hard to describe and even harder to capture.
On our way up the California coast from San Francisco to Sonoma Valley, we took a long and curvy road up into the mountains (well, they looked like mountains to this Great Plains girl), & I was more than a little terrified. Brian was driving through the curves as if he had been doing it all his life (I suppose that’s the Irish coming out), when he told me that in Ireland, the hill roads were the same…ONLY NARROWER.
Um. I’m never going to Ireland. (I’m lying.)
We stopped when we discovered a space to pull off the road and snap a few pics for you. It was harder to do than I thought. The fog isn’t very accommodating in the world of photography. But I tried. For you.
Brian LOVES the mountains and the fog and the cool weather. (There’s that Irish thing again.)
I wasn’t terrified at this stop. It was quite neat, actually.
On our way down to San Jose, on the other hand…I freaked out a little when we stopped. And wouldn’t get out of the car.
So driving out of Sonoma, we took a seriously scenic route. We rolled down through San Francisco, and further into the woods. We thought we’d check out a state park south of San Jose. In that time, we ALMOST ran out of gas, drove in a giant circle, and couldn’t find any flipping redwoods. It was like a horror flick waiting to happen. We had to pull up to some random worker dudes on the road and ask for the nearest gas station. With a rental car on E.
The gas station was a little dive in the middle of the forest and I feared for things like kidnapping and murder (I saw The Vanishing one too many times as a kid). After we filled up, we passed the same workers…coming from the same direction we had before. 40 minutes later. (See. Giant circle.)
And the we started climbing up the hills again. Beautiful and scary. Epic.
At one point, I was trying to take pictures out the window, and Brian offered to stop to get better images. I was all about it. Until we stopped and I was about to get out of the car. I was a bit nervous, and Brian cracked a joke about not falling…and then he volunteered to go take pictures for me. I let him. I looked out from the safety of the parked car while fearing that my boyfriend would fall down with the keys in his pocket and I would be stranded and panicking about Brian. I have a bad habit of imagining the worst case scenario for every situation.
We had picked up snacks and sandwiches for a little picnic lunch in the forest, and it was getting late for me. The hangry was creeping up on me quite rapidly, so I pulled out the Tostitos Mild Salsa Con Queso and tortilla chips. Brian warned me to not spill the cheese (like I would EVER consciously waste cheese like that.) I told him that the only way this cheese was going to spill was “if we were to fly off one of these cliffs. And quite frankly, if we’re going to die, I’d want to be covered in cheese.”
He realized I made a fair point and promised not to drive off any cliffs.
We finally arrived at the entrance of the state park, enjoyed lunch and were on our way. By then, we were both too exhausted to hike through the forest, and I had a party to get to a few hours later. So we rolled out. Even still, the drive continued in a frightening pattern. Instead of just curvy roads, we were now encountering those one-car-width roads PLUS curves PLUS steep inclines and declines.
Oh! And CHRISTMAS TREES!
Marin County California, what a wonderful place.I looked those pics and was 20 years old again, seeing the mountains for the first time. I’mure they are the same north of San Fran as south. Look the same. Beautiful.
It was beautiful. 🙂
Driving up the very curvy and narrow roads to our cottage atop the mountains of Gatlinburg was sorta disconcerting.
Yep. That’s the best word for it! Disconcerting.
I was so worried about driving through the mountains to get to the Poconos for our honeymoon, but they really weren’t that bad for the most part (though we did stay on I-80 the whole time, which probably helped). The only part that really freaked me out was we came around this curve and all of a sudden there’s this VERY LONG, VERY HIGH bridge ahead of us. And of course I was the one driving at the time. The whole time I was terrified we were just going to drive right off the edge, even though there was no logical reason for that to happen (though when you have a phobia, I suppose logic doesn’t really enter into it).
On the way home, I made sure Pat was driving for that part.
Now I want to go to the Poconos…but only because I would make Brian drive. Because that bridge sounds terrifying…but nearbyish mountains sound awesome.
I have driven the Pacific Coast Highway which is an awesome view, and also through the winding and narrow Smokey Mountains which is also amazing but a bit hairy at the same time!
Cool! I think I’ll always be scared while mountain driving, but it’s seriously so breathtaking, that I can’t not love it at the same time.
Love the pics and the story. I wanted to say thanks so much for your donation to our WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S.
And ABSOLUTELY! I’m all for supporting fellow bloggers in their fundraising endeavors.
Road to Hana, did not drive it but was on a tour with a little filipino man who knew way too much about the plant life that was our guide. Anyways, there was no way I would ever drive on these roads!!!! When you look outside the window of the van and can not see a road anywhere, just down the side of a cliff and the ocean!!!!