This morning I drove from Santa Barbara to Montecito via the back roads. For those of you who don’t know, this route is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, especially in the morning. The sun is rising in the East over an exclusive range of mountains, one of only a hand full of ranges that stretch both north and south and east and west. When it gets over the peak, the sun stretches its golden arms out across fertile farm valleys, sleepy beachside towns, and the blue Pacific Ocean, hugging California with morning light. Ahh, it’s good to be back.
This got me thinking, as one easily does meandering their auto coach through eucalyptus lined lanes, about back roads, route 66 probably the most famous, a novel I started reading in junior high but never finished called Blue Highways, and my Dad who always had a time saving route that never saved much time but offered better view. I caught onto his tactics at an early age. I love back roads. I love going slow. I love the view. I love less traffic—which is why I’m not going to name any of my Santa Barbara roads.
When I was 12 and my parents were going through their divorce my Dad would drive us to school on his days. Every now and then he would drive right past our school and head south. We would take PCH or Highway 1. We’d drive along the ocean. These trips always coincided with a big ocean swell. The waves would splash up over the rocks and on to the road. My Dad would talk story and point out famous surf spots like County Line and Malibu. We’d always stop at the Malibu Inn for a cheeseburger. Now that I’m out of school, my Dad uses airport drop off and picks as an excuse for some back road rambling. The traffic has gotten worse, the surf breaks are more crowded but the stories haven’t changed and sometimes, if your lucky a bit of the Pacific will splash your windshield.