We zoomed north up California Highway 101 on Saturday. Sometimes the speedometer said 85 mph. Could that be true? All the cars around us were going as fast. The flow of traffic is a crazy fast river of steering wheels and metal. There are places between San Luis Obispo and Salinas where the speed limit is 70 mph. We all know that's an invitation to go 90. Zoom zoom zoom. In our car the driver pays close attention to everything on the road, while the passenger sits and watches the world go by, a whirl of parched brown earth crying for rain. We take turns zooming and dreaming.
We remembered on this 300 mile leg of the journey to stop in Pismo Beach. It's a quick trip from the highway to the shoreline, and the sights there are always beautiful. This time we sat and watched the seals while we ate our homemade picnic lunch. The hypnotic hum of the highway disappears in the crashing waves, and we can actually relax and breathe in almost enough air to last us the rest of the trip to the beach house.
Sunday morning we packed the car for the 200 miles from the coast back to the foothills. We have a routine. We stop at Gayles to pick up some yummy breakfast biscuits and croissants for the road, and some unbelievably delicious enchiladas for dinner. Halfway between Capitola and Grass Valley we stop at the Lake Herman Vista Point and look out over Suisun Bay and the Reserve Navy Fleet that sits there rusting into the waters. We always call them the Ghost Ships. Here we sit and eat our brunch, sip our tea and enjoy the quiet before the final roar of highway home.
When we left the vista point, we were treated to a quick view of some White Pelicans flying high over the road. I tried to get a clear shot of them, but you know how it is with moving cars and cameras, always a blur of an image, but thrilling nonetheless. We thought that would be it. The highlight of the trip home.
We got home just before 1:00 pm, unpacked the car, the cooler, and the boxes. I went out to check on the hummingbird feeder. It was dry dry dry. Then I heard a sound amid the chorus of frogs. I almost didn't recognize it. I wondered what the neighbors might be doing to make a sound like this. I looked up. This only happens twice a year. Once when they are migrating south, and once when they are migrating north. The sky was filled with Sandhill Cranes. Hundreds of them. I ran to get to the camera which was still in the car. I ran out onto the deck to listen, to watch, to try and get a shot. They were gone in less than two minutes. Such timing. A thousand miles roundtrip and home to Sandhill Cranes.
So many times on the way home I would think we would be seeing Bonsai when we arrived. I had to remind myself over and over that wouldn't happen. So I sang Ringo's song, "Every time I see your face, it reminds me of the places we used to go. But all I got is a photograph, and I realize that you're not coming back anymore…" We miss that boy.