First out on the road, on a weekend morning, Chryslers and Dodges, convertibles
and sedans, rental cars for tourists. Next Gas 33 Miles
Black asphalt, solid yellow double lines, freshly-plowed fields. Umber sandstone
bluffs, black jagged rocks, white foam, and a cold, blue, shimmery-velvet Pacific.
On the long straight-aways, seventeen Harley-riding bikers rumble two-abreast.
Some cars slow to turn into dirt driveways where handlettered
signs proclaim: Fresh Sweet Corn Pumpkins. East on Verde Road, one
of the old roads of the coast, before this Highway 1 was built, is the cemetery with
headstones dating back to the 1800s and deeply surrounded by poison oak. Don’t
Trash California – $1000 fine for littering
San Gregorio – Stage Road connecting to Pescadero, where Charley Parkhurst
drove a stage team. Only after Charley died was he discovered to have been a
Follow the telephone poles along Highway 1, they veer from the highway to
travel along the back country roads, this is the route the Coast Road used to take.
Pomponio State Beach named after a Coast Miwok, raised in the mission system
of the early 1800s. Pomponio ran away from the mission, up into these hills.
Soldiers from the Presidio helped the mission track down Pomponio. They
brought him back, locked him in the mission jail, secured by leg irons. The
soldiers didn’t search Pomponio. In the night he took out his hidden knife and, in
desperation to gain his freedom, he sawed off his heels in order to slip out of the
leg irons clamped around his ankles. Pomponio fled Mission Dolores on his
hands and knees. He crawled away from the mission lands, up into the forest, to a
cave he knew from an earlier time when he once hid from a grizzly bear. A
couple days later he met up with members of the Ohlone. They nursed him back to
health. For two months he remained hidden up in the hills. The soldiers kept
their search for him. Three versions circulate over the final moments of
Pomponio’s life; one says Pomponio was shot as he lay sleeping near the
headwaters of this creek that flows out to this State Beach, a second says he was
taken from his cave then north to Novato, where he was shot, and the third ending
claims that Pomponio was found by soldiers and taken away to Monterey where
he was tried, then shot by firing squad. The archive room at the Monterey
Presidio has a death certificate for Pon-Pon-i-o. Eucalyptus ridge. Lane Ends
Sand spatters cars at windy Bean Hollow.
Scent of skunk near Coastways Ranch.
Trees planted as windbreaks. Monterey Pines in a perpetual backbend, protect
farmstead buildings from the constant wind. Private Property – No Trespassing
Misty ocean air. Mesh and cable fence full of boulders. Slide Area Next 2 Miles
At Big Creek Lumber, the bright green nylon windsock droops. Old ranch fences
sag. Telephone poles knit alongside the road. A faded red tractor sits at the edge
of the field overlooking the sea. Leaping stag – Next 3 Miles
A brotherhood of bikers in packs of four or six, straddling fast accelerating
motorcycles, give each other five, then blast through a break in northbound traffic
to turn east on curvy Swanton Road. Scott Creek – narrow bridge – calm days
bring out surfers and beach goers. Windy days bring out only the seagull’s
outstretched wings riding the air current. Hay for Sale. Seaside Pumpkins.
Davenport Elevation 84
Filled-in train trestles south of Davenport to Santa Cruz block the view that
existed of many coves. Creeks dammed by the earthen wall, drain through a pipe
to reach the sea. Engineers have had to reroute the drainpipe placement to the
north of the coves so that sediment could continue to replenish the beach. Dip