Highway 1 & the Magic of a Simple Road

Highway 1 © Renard Teipelke

By Renard Teipelke

Have you ever thought about a sabbatical year? Going away. Writing your first novel. Trying to find the meaning of life. Leave all your problems of everyday life behind. Finally succeed in renouncing Twitter, iPhone, Facebook, DirectTV, and all the other technical and social network stuff related to permanent pressures and imperatives of constant up-to-date activities. It does not matter for which reason you might particularly seek for a (temporary) exit strategy – Highway 1 is perfect for escaping. Traveling on Highway 1 is ideal for finding your inner soul and understanding your true dreams and feelings in the here and now; and at the same, Highway 1 is just right for looking forward into the future to see opportunities and imagine coming paths in life. This all is connected to a simple, two-lane road along the California coast.

Highway 1 is a twisting and winding road, a real challenge for every driver due to endless turns, narrow passes, a hard to overlook road lay-out, dangerous slopes, and hardly any route alternatives, not to speak of towns or gas stations. But is it not a place like this one, one has often dreamed of and never found?! A place where really nothing gets on your nerves?!

Highway 1 © Renard Teipelke
On Highway 1, you will find help! You will have the chance to experience the natural equivalent of a ‘sofa therapy.’ Highway 1 can hardly be described by any words. So many phenomena, versatile weather conditions, a multitude of different landscapes, plenty of opportunities to do nothing and to just enjoy nature. On the road, you pass steep cliffs directly adjacent to wild beaches and the rough sea. Unbelievably high waves are crushing against the shore. Totally in contrast to nice beaches like Venice Beach, Long Beach, or Laguna Beach, the ocean along Highway 1 is a brutal one. One feels fascinated and intimated at the same time. It is here that forces of nature are fighting an endless battle.

The journey on Highway 1 leads you through extensive forest with sapgreen trees that are building tunnels where the intense orange sun only shines through from time to time. A bit up north, you can see the mountain range with bright yellow bushes that create, together with the warm sun and the lively forest, such a positive feeling in you that you will not avert your gaze.

Highway 1 © Renard Teipelke

While driving over the tiny bridges that connect Highway 1 along the cliffy shore, you recognize how much nature has prevailed in this place. Owing to the “state park” label, construction projects are rarely permitted. The few buildings next to the road are more like shelters from this endless place that seems to be completely isolated from the outside world.

What often makes other places unpleasant create the whole magic of the Highway 1 wilderness: crazy varying weather conditions. You drive through gloomy spots and in the next second the sun breaks through the clouds. Rainbows arch from the one side of the horizon to the other side. Fog is rising at an incredible rate from the cliffs over the road up to the mountains. Your journey resembles ascending higher and higher points, and then again, sliding down through the fog to the shoreline.

It is on Highway 1 that you can experience an archetypal journey. One that is not easy to undertake. One that is not free of surprises and challenges. One that brings you close to nature – to its beautiful side as well as to its brutal side. This all happens in both a colorful mixture and a clash of forces of nature. It is a journey that you will rather keep in mind instead of remindering exact images. In short: Highway 1 is a worthwile journey.
Highway 1 © Renard Teipelke

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