Tag: Carmel

Big Sur’s “Heartbreak Road”

Big Sur’s “Heartbreak Road”

(Originally published June 7, 2017; last update on July 19, 2018.)

A half-century ago, in 1967, San Francisco experienced the “Summer of Love.”

A year later, I lived through a personal “summer of love” when on nearly every weekend from June through August I drove California’s scenic and fabled Highway from Monterey, through Big Sur, and down to Pacific Valley to see my girlfriend who was working as a summer hire for the U.S. Forest Service.

While you’ll be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love” this year in San Francisco, mud and rock slides and damage to a bridge on coastal Highway 1 means that you won’t be able to “do” the drive down the entire Big Sur coast south from Monterey as in years past.

(Davide D’Amico Flickr Photo)

But the good news is that enough of the road is open at its northern and southern ends to provide ample things to see and do in this part of California.

(Update, October 14, 2017: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the rebuilding of a bridge over Pfeiffer Canyon on Highway 1 near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has been completed so residents and tourist can now drive south from Carmel to Lucia at the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County line. Unfortunately, the highway south of that point remains closed due to mudslide earlier this year and is not expected to reopen until late in the summer of 2018 at the earliest. So “doing” experiencing the scenic drive up that entire stretch of California’s Central Coast is still not possible.

Update, May 1, 2018: The San Francisco Chronicle now reports that the highway south of the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County Line will probably not re-open until mid-to-late September of 2018, effectively precluding summer visitors from traveling the entire length of the “Big Sur Coast.”

Update, June 14, 2018: The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that the section of Highway 1 south of Ragged Point is now expected to re-open by the end of July, much earlier that originally anticipated, and allowing Big Sur Coast visitors to drive the length of the famous coast highway at least during the last weeks of summer.)

Update, July 19 2018: As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Highway 1 is now fully open, end-to-end. View this video of cars driving the newly-reopened road. But will the news of the reopening of the highway flood it was cars, making the scenic drive a trip from Hell? It may be best to wait until September, when weather along this stretch of coast is more likely to be fog-free, with fewer cars traveling it after school-age kids have returned to their studies instead of counting “99 Bottles of Beer on The Road” with their parents behind the wheel.

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