My dad loved to drive. He came from a family of drivers. His parents would pile all of the kids (he has 3 siblings) into whatever car they owned at the time and would take off in some direction for a weekend drive, a Sunday drive…you get the idea. Many of the family stories I grew up hearing involved being in the car, Uncle Pat falling out of the car (again), following the ‘Indian’ (the chrome figurehead on the front of their Pontiac sedan) to wherever it wanted to go, driving to the Idaho desert and bringing home a 40-pound rock (Bring your Mother-in-Law home a rock!, the roadside billboard in the desert had said) that would trade resting places between my grandparents’ home and that of their in-laws for several months or years afterward.
How did the rock get from Rainier to Portland? Why, the family all got into the car and drove it there, of course. It was an event.
My grandfather, Rusty Lincoln, was the town auto mechanic in the 1940s through the late 50s in Rainier, Oregon. The car was a key part of their lives as it was with much of the rest of the country after World War Two. From a source of income to family travel, the Lincolns loved the road. My dad and his brother later got involved in autocross and amateur auto racing at Sears Point and elsewhere. Uncle Pat continued his amateur racing career into the 70s at the now defunct Baylands Raceway in Fremont and at the San Jose Fairgrounds.
This is a long way around to the point of the story, which is that occasionally I feel the pull to get in the car and just go somewhere other than to or from work or to the city to hang out.
When my brother and I were kids, we’d all jump into the car on weekends when ‘it was time’ and we’d go wherever it was Dad decided we were going. Many times it was a trip over to the ocean from the peninsula to Half Moon Bay via Kings Mountain/Tunitas Creek or Highway 92 to Skyline, then down Highway 84, THEN to Half Moon Bay. Sometimes we would stop at the little market at Skyline and 84, across from Alice’s Restaurant, to get a molten hot piroshki with which to burn our mouths and tongues into oblivion. Still other times we’d throw in a ‘fishing’ venture (fishing was comprised of cutting up smelly anchovies, baiting hooks, then sacrificing the tackle my dad had just tied to the bottom of the ocean where it would snag immediately and break the line as we attempted to retrieve it) at the Pillar Point breakwater. My dad loved to buy, tie and dispose of tackle with us, apparently. We never, EVER caught a fish.
The drive was the thing.
Regardless of the destination or the other activities , the drive was the thing. Whether in Dad’s ’74 Ford Courier pickup (which he called Sergeant) or later in his ’84 BMW 318i (which he called Kurzweg, or shortcut, in German), he instilled the love of driving and of cars into both my brother Greg and into me.
So, yesterday I got in the car with the camera and drove over to the peninsula, up 92, south on Skyline and down Tunitas Creek Road to the coast. There were a total of 3 vehicles I saw from the time I turned off of Skyline and onto Tunitas Creek until I reached the coast. Two of them were the same plumbing van as it first went uphill, then back down, perhaps looking for an elusive roadside address.
In keeping with Dad’s tradition, I left the engine running and coasted along the downslope of the mountain road with the windows down, enjoying the aromas of the forest and stopping where a photo presented itself and where it was safe to do so. Dad had a massive appreciation for the forest and its flora (he kept an Audubon Guide to Plants under his driver’s seat) but only late in his life did he decide to pick up a camera. For this drive, I wanted to stop to record some of the spots that we had seen so many times together but that none of us had ever photographed.
The fog was waiting at the coast as it usually is during the summer. I spent just a little while walking along Pescadero Beach before I’d had enough of the cold, fog and wind and retreated to the car to head to town for dinner at Tres Amigos.
My dad moved to Half Moon Bay in 1982. He used to posit to us kids (we were a captive audience and he had tons of material) that the summer weekend hordes who clogged the roads should all go home to tell their friends that Half Moon Bay is ALWAYS cold and foggy, hoping that somehow it’d keep them away so he could drive on open roads that beckoned to be enjoyed rather than just travelled. I miss him.
The drive is the thing.
In the spotlight
Sheep Shower and old roadway posts