This is the giant rock that sits in Moro Bay. Around a hundred feet high, it rests somewhere off the coastline of California, about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. I drove down route 1 two springs ago, just about this time of year; mid March, the heather was blooming in Marin County and California poppies lined the highways. The WordPress photo challenge this week was shadows; looking through my old photos, this shadowy landscape stood out.
The trip I took to California–a week in the bay area with my aunt and uncle, then driving down the coast, a few days in Los Angeles with an old friend–was my first real vacation alone, and it was glorious. This photo represents the one bad night of the journey.
I had been driving a banged-up rental car since nine in the morning; I took this photo around eight in the evening, when I arrived at the sleaziest motel in town (after a half hour of driving in circles, lost, desperate and exhausted). Moro Bay, I came to find out, is kind of a rat-trap town; it was the off-season for tourists and nothing was open except a few liquor stores and a lonely bar. I bought a two dollar bottle of wine and spent the night hiding in my room at the Motel 6 (or 8, I can’t remember–it cost $39.99 a night), typing up my notes from the day’s travel: what state parks I stopped at, where I got roadside coffees, how many times I had to pull off in Big Sur to stare at the ocean. (I wrote a fifty page travel journal of my two-week trip, with lots of photos and research; ask me for a copy if you’re interested). The door to my motel room was flimsy and the bed was like an old ironing board. All night long drunken locals were hooting and hollering, roaming the streets with guttural cacaphony. I took this photo of Moro Bay’s famed rock from the motel room window; you’d think it was a lovely view. Not so; the morning sun revealed an ugly power plant and hundreds of wires crisscrossing all the way down to the shore. Only in the evening shadows does this view look calm and pretty.
In the morning I left as soon as I woke up, having slept poorly, having poured the motel 6 coffee into a previous coffee cup on the floor of the rental car. Not only was I constantly awakened by the townies down on the sidewalk, some twenty feet away from where I slept, but I had been constantly, strangely aware of the rock. In the fading light it looked like a sea stranded monster, many miles from home. I dreamt about mountains with sad eyes and giant flightless birds. In the morning, when I saw the depressing industrial face of Moro Bay, I felt even sadder for the rock. After millions of years of sitting off a beautiful shoreline, people came and ruined its view.