When I think about Highway 101 I get this warm feeling, like I was just washed in summer breeze and golden hour sunbursts. I imagine the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean turning the deep green water into white foam against the jagged rocks of the Oregon coast. I can smell the salt in the air and feel it on my skin. I envision myself spinning around with my arms out, barefoot in the redwood forest. Highway 101 is my fairytale, my happy place, my west coast wonder.
Days one through four of my road trip with Miette were possibly the most magical of the entire month; they were the days that we spent driving south from Washington to southern California. Writing these chapters of my memoir From the Same Quiver I got to relive that magic from nearly seven years ago. As I was describing the sensations, I got to experience them for a second time. This may be one of the best parts of memoir writing.
Below, an excerpt from my book—from the exact moment the above photos were taken.
We climbed into the car, both of us with a recovered joie de vivre, and continued south with the ambitious destination of San Francisco, which was over nine hours of driving away. Nearly two hundred miles, three pee stops, and many snacks later, we noticed the trees around us getting thinner and taller until we found ourselves surrounded by the quiet, noble redwoods of the Redwood National Park. The ocean on our right sat calmly below a dizzying cliff, and all around us the trees reached for the sky with a cloudy mist resting softly on their branches. We stopped the car to wander through the woods, and I was reminded of a verse from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. It felt like a dream; there were most definitely fairies hiding nearby.