When I was a kid, I really loved California. I dreamed of driving Highway 1, laying on white sand beaches, and rubbing elbows with celebrities. I would tell my friends that I was going to college at UCLA to become a pediatrician, and I planned to spend my weekends surfing when I wasn’t out on the town with my own version of an older, cuter Doogie Howser. My entire knowledge base came from movies and books. It was just so glamorous! I finally got to go when I was 14, and it was nothing like I envisioned.
We went to visit my sister just outside of L.A. and honestly, I remember very little of the trip. Only that I was let down that everyone didn’t drive a convertible while wearing over-sized sunglasses and scarves and that Long Island beach was dirty, gross, and COLD!!
OH! And where the hell was Corey Haim!!!??? (Nevermind…don’t answer that.)
We were there for a couple of days and then off to visit more family. I spent the next 25 years learning how much I didn’t like California. Again, I could thank television, movies, and now the news. Having no real first hand knowledge other than the 48 or so hours I spent there in 1990, California did NOT get a fair shake from this girl. I got an opportunity to go back in August, and, well…I get it now.
I flew into San Jose and planned to spend a long weekend. I had no idea what to expect because I was so torn between my childhood fantasies, my original disappointment, and the opinions I had made over the last several years. But once I got past the crowded urban areas, and ridiculous driving conditions, (it’s either Mario Kart/every man for himself, or post apocalyptic/everything at a stand still) I was really surprised at how beautiful it is!
My life long dream of driving down Hwy 1 with mountains on my right and cliffs that dropped into the ocean on my left was now a reality! I went to Monterey and had lunch on the Wharf. I went through Carmel and drove past the unique, beautiful, magazine-worthy cottages. I took about a THOUSAND pictures. I stopped in Big Sur and bought a postcard to commemorate my trip down Highway 1. FREAKIN’ Highway ONE!!!
And the weather!? OMG! I’m from Texas. Humid and hot does not cover it in August. I left 100 degrees and found myself in the high 70’s. My second night in town, I went to see the Golden Gate Bridge and had to wear a jacket! I slept with the windows open and got cold. In August, ya’ll!
I realized that I was missing out on months and months of outdoor life because Texas is so hot. So I get it. I get why people pay the high prices and fight the crowded roads. I get how people are willing to laugh off an earthquake and ignore the pending doom. The outdoor life is amazing! Don’t worry, Texas. I still love you, and I’m not going anywhere; but California! I will be back! I have a lot of things on my ‘to do’ list now. Just please don’t fall into the ocean anytime soon, ok??