Latest Posts:

Being Distracted

· by Karl Auerbach · Read in about 3 min · (460 Words)
blog road trip santa cruz automobiles

Tuesday, 04 September 2007 18:32

I’ve been rather busy of late; I’ve been writing a lot of code in pursuit of my long developing ideas about self-healing networks and network troubleshooting (these may seem disjoint, but they are two ends of a spectrum.)

I needed a break, so this last weekend I fired up Doda, dropped her top, and headed south for a trip over the Santa Lucia mountains, from King City to Big Sur via the Nacimiento-Ferguson Road.

The trip encompassed landscapes covered by two of California’s greatest writers - Wallace Stegner and John Steinbeck. (All married people ought to read Stegner’s Angle of Repose and Crossing To Safety.)

It was a hot afternoon - it was 6pm and 101 F. when I went through the guard station at Hunter-Liggett. I was surprised to find that station manned by a Federal police officer rather than a soldier. I wonder whether the guard (who was quite nice and helpful yet clearly a no-nonesense type) is a Federal employee or works for a contractor.

It took about an hour to cross the mountains - it is a drive that I highly recommend; the east side is classic California chaparral - I was reminded of the Kate Wolf song about the "golden rolling hills of California" - and yes, the hills do turn brown in the summertime.

The road goes right through several of the army’s training areas. Fortunately I didn’t have to interact too closely with any passing tanks.

The west side is not for flatlanders who are afraid of a narrow, steep, and twisty road with no guardrails - like Tuna Canyon in Santa Monica mountains but steeper and narrower. You can get an idea from the photo.

Eventually I came down to California Highway 1. This road, from Morro Bay to above Fort Bragg, is a national treasure. (My office is only a few yards away from one of the more urban parts.)

Near Eselen I stopped to watch the sun go down and call my wife. It was surprisingly warm - nearly 80 degrees F at some points where the sun had heated the rocks. (Usually at this time of year the temperature is in the low 60’s F and the fog makes it feel much colder.) It was even warm enough that I could pick up the smell of jasmine near Carmel Highlands. Wow, night blooming jasmine, my favorite scent and one that evokes many pleasant memories of things that can not be described here without triggering an avalanche of web filters.

What a great way to take a break from writing code. The central coast of California is right up there with New Hampshire and Vermont in the late September/early October and Yosemite in the winter.