From where I live in Sacramento, I am two hours from Lake Tahoe (snow! skiing! a shinier, cleaner alternative to Reno!), two hours from wine country (vineyards! cuisine! free booze!) and two hours from San Francisco (arts! culture! diversity! streets so steep you question whether you ever DID learn how to properly use your parking brake in Driver's Ed!)
But of course, California is DEFINED by it's magnificent coast. Thanks, Pacific Ocean, you sure do make this state a very special place in which to pay one of the highest costs of living in the nation.
Since I am about to move hundreds of miles from the only ocean I have ever really known, I figured the Pacific deserved a formal and sincere farewell. So my friend Jen and I hit the beach!
We went to Stinson Beach and (here it comes again) it is about 2 hours from Sacramento. Northern California beaches are not the type of beach you see on Baywatch. Notably, there is not an abundance of silicone on NorCal beaches.
But there are often steep cliffs and rocks right up against the shore, so in order to get there you have to climb up and then down some pretty windy and twisty roads. There are lots of pine trees along the coast and their scent mixes with the salty air creating a mix not unlike a really clean taxi (minus the taxi driver) but much, much better. You will find yourself taking the deepest breaths you have ever taken outside of a Cinnabon. The skies usually start off overcast, but the fog burns off during mid-day and once it is gone, the sky turns a vibrant blue and all of a sudden the massive ocean is dwarfed by the endless sky in every direction.
If you wanted to recreate what it's like to stand in the Northern California ocean, stand in your igloo cooler while your pal pours bags of ice on top. Yeah, it stings. But just for a couple seconds. Because then your feet are numb and the roar of the waves have you hypnotized while your feet stay planted firmly in the velvety sand. I have evidence. Here's a little clip of my feet making out with the ocean:
For more pics, check out my flickr set. Then help me figure out how the heck I can pack this up and bring it with me to Oklahoma.