Cruising Down California's Newly Reopened Highway 1 - Here Magazine

I’d never been to the west coast before the summer of 2018. California existed only in my imagination, a dream fabricated through  tales of those who were born and raised in the Golden State (apparently the “best coast”) and too many movies starring sun-kissed celebrities falling in love to the sounds of surf rock and the sights of big, blue waves washing up on sandy shores. The Pacific Coast Highway—known to many simply as Highway 1—took part in those dreams, whether I realized it or not: impossibly attractive people coasting along in convertibles, long hair blowing in the breeze, arms thrown in the air, nothing but craggy rock, cerulean skies, and an expanse of ocean surrounding them.

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.

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Tiana Attride

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    Journalist & photographer