Page 1: Intro
It is a seemingly simple ribbon of black asphalt, wrapping itself along California's coastline, but this famous scenic drive is anything but simple road construction. Stretching 644 miles, the Pacific Coast Highway crosses deep crevasses, protected wetlands and earthquake faults. One section took eight years to build and features one of the highest single-span bridges in the world, stretching 714 feet and standing 260 feet high. The road is punctuated by dramatic cliffs and sparkling seashores, as well as living natural wonders---ancient windswept trees, brilliant flower fields and beaches dotted with sea lions and elephant seals. While the spectacular scenery is always there, the view of it is not. Often Highway 1 (as it is also known) is mired in thick, billowing fog and, in winter months, heavy rains frequently cause rock and mud slides that can make driving treacherous.
We began our journey near Los Angeles in the summer -- hoping the warm days would cause the fog to lift early, resulting in postcard-perfect weather. The hour as the sun begins to set is the most magical of any day along the coast. It is then that the setting sun lights up the shoreline as if it were made of gold. It is this light, what a photographer friend once called "God's light," that makes the scenery even more breathtaking.