California’s Pacific Coast Highway: Dramamine Drive in photos

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T [/dropcap]he car swerved left and right repeatedly while waves pounded the boulders hundreds of feet below. Our southward direction placed us on the cliff’s edge, with no buffer lane and no protective rail.

Which is the way it should be, given that this is the quintessential highway of the state that most loves life on the edge. And I’d been here enough to know that we would be fine (in fact, I repeated it inwardly each time my foot slid towards the imaginary brake on the passenger side). As long as we didn’t hit a cow as we rounded the next bend….

The wild Northern California Coast, whose rolling hills end abruptly in a sheer cross section to a turbulent ocean, is traced by the famous Highway 1, aka the Pacific Coast Highway. The two-lane ribbon of road – barely a thread in some parts – twists and turns to precarious heights, particularly along a stretch just north of the town of Jenner nicknamed “Dramamine Drive.”

Not for the fainthearted, it has inspired awe, passion, art, vertigo . . . and countless car commercials.

Following an afternoon of wine tasting in Anderson Valley we cut over to the coast at Elk Cove and a few days later made our way down to Bodga Bay (the scene of Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller The Birds). The resulting photos capture the scenery that has lured many an adventurous soul, and now hopefully will entice you, too (click to enlarge):

 

The initial coastline view at Elk Cove delivers on the “wow.”

Sea arch at Elk Cove

Sea arch at Elk Cove

Gold rush and new age architecture:

Anchor Bay

Anchor Bay

The Russian Fort Ross

The Russian Fort Ross

Barn along Northern California coast

Sea Ranch Lodge Chapel

Sea Ranch Chapel. Photo by Bruce Harrison

 Hues both muted and vibrant:

The mouth of the Russian River at Gualala, California

Overlook near Gualala, California

Texture and more texture:

Sunlight through the brush

Sunlight through the brush

Wood shingles on the Sea Ranch Chapel

Wood shingles on the Sea Ranch Chapel

Seagulls near the Russian River

Seagulls near the Russian River

Frame-worthy views from way up high:

Frame-worthy views from high vantage points

View along the coast from Highway 1’s “Dramamine Drive”

Popular surfing spot Goat Rock Beach, near Jenner

Popular surfing spot Goat Rock Beach, near Jenner

Who will film here next, Audi or BMW?

Who will film here next, Audi or BMW?

Highway 1, from a distance

Highway 1, from a distance

 And Sea life:

Gulls in flight

Gulls in flight. Photo by Bruce Harrison

Sea lions and gulls on the Russian River

Sea lions and gulls on the Russian River. Photo by Bruce Harrison

Be alert for inopportune cows

Be alert for inopportune cows

 

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Comments

  1. Wow, I can’t believe how well these photos turned out, considering some were taken from a moving vehicle! Really loved your Ansel Adams-like shots (the sunlight through the trees and roof of the Sea Ranch Chapel). Next time we take the trip remind me to install a brake on the passsenger side of the car!

  2. Brings back memories of fun times! Your photos really turned out well, especially considering it was overcast much of the time. We’ll drive more slowly next time, lol!

  3. Beautiful photos and a spot-on accurate description. I’ve used that imaginary brake many times before.

  4. Great photos. Very inspirational.

    If you go to California again, a really interesting contrasting image is the border between Baja California (in Mexico) and “American” California. The Mexican side is teeming with shacks and vibrant life (but not necessarily where most people would want to live), compared to the calm (some might say sterile) US side.

  5. I’ve never crossed the border before… Hmmm.

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