When a massive landslide nearly destroyed the road in May 2017, it took with it more than just a route from Mendocino to Orange County. Without warning, away went one of the state’s greatest gems, access to iconic landmarks like Big Sur and Hearst Castle, and the ability of many residents to enter or leave their towns. After 18 months of closure and hundreds of hours of work, the road reopened in August 2018, and to no small fanfare. Symbolizing the 84 years the iconic highway has been open, 84 classic cars took to the streets for a celebration of America’s most beautiful road trip.
You would imagine that speeding down the edge of the continent might conjure up a sense of fear, but no. Riding along, watching the Pacific disappear and reappear behind mountains veiled thinly in sunlight and fog, I experienced a sense of absolute, unbridled freedom. It was the introduction to California I never expected to have and I hope for many after me to receive—a dream drive come true.