I’ve been reliably informed that I should head up to ‘The Mystery Spot’ before leaving Santa Cruz today. Located in a forest of redwood trees, the mystery is that’s there’s some (alleged) gravitational anomaly on the sight which causes weird changes in perception and height.I arrive and have to join a small tour, where our guide explains about how this anomaly was discovered in the 1930’s and still remains unexplained-with theories ranging from alien forces, and magma vortexes-to the presence of gasses escaping from the earth and causing a collective hallucination…
We walk uphill on uneven ground to a slanted shack, where our guide demonstrates that water and balls run uphill and back down, and standing up in what you think is a straight position actually places you at a weird 17 degree angle.
It’s making me a little dizzy to be honest, but it’s quite cool, and we all mess around doing matrix style lean-backs and climbing up the walls.
Whether it’s an optical illusion, or really caused by something in the cosmos, I’ll never know, but either way it’s a kooky experience.
I leave the forest and get on my final stretch of coastal road, taking in the last of the sights the one has to offer me. I pass Ano Nuevo State Park, and Pigeon Point where there’s a jaunty little lighthouse.
I stop at Half Moon Bay, whose historic Main Street has smatterings of coastal gift shops, wine stores and antique centres. I purchase an overpriced lemon meringue pie from a bakery, then I’m on my way again.
I drive through Devil’s Slide, where it looks like a hillside was smashed clean in two to allow the tarmac to pass; and onwards towards San Fran.
I’m elated driving along as my playlist keeps me company. I’ve loved this trip and being out alone on the open road, passing tiny little towns with hardly any residents-so I’ll be sad to be thrown into the heaving throng of a metropolis once more.
I pass through Pacifica and all to soon I’m at the signs for San Francisco. I pull onto the 280 and take in the bay-a vision of houses and industry-the tell tale signs of a big old city.
I thought I’d be swinging in just under rush hour, but no such luck, and I spend a hot 2 hours stuck in six lanes of traffic trying to figure out if I’m accidentally in the carpool lane or not (note: I think I was).
I join the I-80 over the Oakland Bay Bridge and finally make it to Berkeley where I’m staying. The downtown area is geared up for students who attend the university, and houses sit on wide avenues, winding into the hills.
I’m staying with a distant relative and arrive at her lovely home-an upside down house set on one of the hillsides.
It feels like I’ve dreamt the last few days being on the road, and the time has passed by in the blink of an eye. I’ve seen some amazing sights that I won’t ever forget, and felt a freedom I haven’t felt back home in England for a long time.
These next few days will be all about the city, but for now I go to sleep on this leafy suburban avenue, and pretend for just one more night at least-it’s only me and the ocean.