The Pacific Coast Highway I’m most accustomed to is made of quiet two lane roads. It’s straddled by farms and steep cliffs and secret beaches. Aside from the farmland and a home or lighthouse here and there, it’s a place where an understated wildness can still thrive; where solitude is welcomed by the most perfect natural company.
Santa Monica’s Highway 1 is the opposite of that. The car-laden pavement spreads to the edge of an unnaturally large beach that is flattened regularly by the tractors that drive on it to pick up trash. A narrower bit of pavement runs through the sand for bikes (and pedestrians and rollerbladers too — if you don’t mind justifying your presence to an angry biker or three). Perpendicular to that are paved paths that lead to the ocean, because heaven forbid you get a little sand between your toes on your beach day.
It’s a bit of a silly scene and oh so LA. It’s definitely not as beautiful as the more wholly craggy and undisturbed coast I’m used to, but it is endearing. I like the purposefulness, the activeness and the accessibility of it all.