The Monkey explored California’s famous cliff-hugging Highway 1 back in March 2003, encountering some lovely beaches, giant trees, and favored haunts of a few literary giants.
The Monkey drove northern stretches of Calfornia’s Highway 1, which hugs the coastline through varied terrain—cliffs, mountains, lowlands, ravines—from Monterey to San Luis Obispo. The Bixby Bridge is one of a series of concrete bridges that were built by the 1930s Depression-era Works Projects Administration. This government program employed thousands of jobless U.S. workers in public works projects that would benefit society at large, and in so doing helped to alleviate some of the misery of the Depression.
The Monkey inspects some coastal flora at this beach south of San Francisco. Through the mist coming off the sea, you can just make out a stretch of California Highway 1 (the gray line above the Monkey). You can see what Schleppie got up to at this beach by clicking here.
California has declared numerous state parks along the route of Highway One. Quite near Monterey is Point Lobos State Park, which served as the setting for sections of a some of John Steinbeck’s novels, including Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. Here the Monkey clings to the cliffs to avoid the incoming tide.
Another beach at Point Lobos State Park in the Big Sur. The Monkey spotted sea otters, sea lions, various birds, coastal squirrels, and even some whales offshore during his time there.
The Monkey climbs a California redwood tree at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, a bit inland from the coast. By clicking here you can see a photo with Schleppie at the wonderfully secluded waterfall at this park.
At Pfeiffer Beach, about 40 kilometers south of Monterey, the Monkey had to take shelter behind a rock to avoid the strong winds and the sand granules it was kicking up. Nearby, he missed the opportunity to visit the Henry Miller Memorial Library, dedicated to one of his favorite authors. After making a name for himself in New York and Paris, Miller lived in Big Sur from 1944 to 1962, finding the peace and quiet he needed to plug away at a number of his later works, including the Rosy Crucifixion series.
The Monkey inspects a cross-section of a California redwood tree that one observer said was “not that big.” By counting the rings emanating from the center of the tree, you can tell how old it is. The green markings highlight a few years. The one closest the center signifies 1215, the year the Magna Carta was signed in Britain! This tree died around the age of 800!
No, it’s not the entrance to a cavern; it’s the hollowed out base of a towering California redwood tree. This “cave” is tall enough for a human adult to walk into standing upright. Look how small the Monkey is in comparison.
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