Saturday, March 29, 2014

The California 1 drive: Santa Cruz and Carmel

The earth slipped from beneath my feet when I saw the blue beast at the SF airport. The guys had hired a Mustang for the day for one of the best drives of the world. The legendary California 1 highway was to be taken and we were about to savor the picturesque coastline.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a quiet town with a great coastline and we hit a great brunch place called 'Gilda's' here. The eggs and pancakes are truly worth a mention for they ensured that I remember the name of the place. You may also witness some surfers if you are here in the right season.


Carmel is a small town which can easily be a synonym of opulence. Historically,this has been host to many artists and played a vital role in the rise of the art era. I repeatedly kept asking the guys as to what makes this town so grand even today; what do its people do? There had to be a reason why the homes were so regal, half the Porsches of the world are here. I was informed that this town is where all the silicon valley people retire. So once you've made your million (or billion), you get a Porsche, a grand home in Carmel and spend rest of your life visiting cafes here. I was informed that this city has a strange law which mandates obtaining a permit before wearing heels. History justifies this law citing the record number of lawsuits filed by people who tripped over thick tree-roots. While driving back, we hit the town of Monterey.

The drive along CA1 is epic. And today we were out in the 305bhp Mustang. The distinguished growl of the American muscle, the fresh California sea air in your face- this was pure magic. We often hear Floyd, Maiden etc and wonder if the lyrics describe despair, hope or elation. Today, playing on the Mustang's stereo; along with the V6's growl- it was ecstasy. I envy all the Californians who can drive down to this place every weekend. The winding roads, the lovely air and the occasional sprinkles of sea water make it one of the best drives I've ever had.

We did get to the Ventana wilderness of the Los Padres national forest by 3 and started our trek towards the sea. We braved a river, swamps and slush: in the company of deer. However, the swamps grew uglier and it was the fearless Sid who braved the last one. After calling it a day, we headed back with drivers switched and Praddy ]; I in the back seat with the top down. Now this move put us in a different world altogether. While the windshield streamlines the air in the front, the rear is open to nature. I confessed to these guys: I now understood why dogs stuck their heads (and tongue) out of windows of speeding cars. I am proud to have experienced that pleasure that is rightfully canines'.

Note: the final race in Need for speed starring the Bugati Veyron, the Lambo, Konnigsegg, Saleen, McLaren

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