You'll have to wade through a little background to get to the heart of the story. And the pictures. I apologize for not knowing how to insert them into the body of the post. So as you read along just look down and the photos should be in chronological order. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to have two old cars as daily drivers. I usually alternate weekly between my '39 Dodge tudor sedan. It's powered by an old '55 Super Red Ram hemi backed up to a Torqueflite transmission. The seats are covered in Army blankets, my shift knob is an old glass doorknob from my best friend's home in New Orleans that I took off the front door before we left 3 days before Katrina washed the house away. The cowl vent knob is a cold water faucet handle from the same house. If you have been anywhere around California, there's a good chance you have seen it. I mean, I drive the piss out of it. Or I'll drive my '56 Ford wagon. It's a one owner car that I got from a lady who taught with my dad. Powered by a mildly rebuilt 312, it scoots along just fine. Granted a fun little scoot that rides like a Cadillac, but I get a bit more enjoyment out of the '39. Both cars have proven to be extremely reliable. They both served as transportation throughout my commute to university and have provided me buy in and "street cred" with my students. But I'm digressing. I was having an incredibly shitty week at work. As a mandated reporter I'm required by law to report to the Dept. of Family and Child Services if I suspect abuse, molestation, rape, or that a student may cause self harm. It's the downside to being a teacher. Unfortunately, I had to make two reports that week, and it's never fun. In addition, I was reprimanded because during an audit a red flag was signaled when multiple students were found to have missed all of their classes for the day. Well, except mine. Apparently my students will come to my class to learn about the joys of the English language, read literature, and suffer many hand cramps through the torturous act of essay writing. Usually when I have a bad day at work I hop on my bike, an 80 Harley Shovelhead sitting on a rigid frame that was built by Mendy Fry's dad and ridden in the Fremont area. I got home from work on Friday, rolled the bike out of the garage and kicked. Full of compression, it kicked back. I put all 145 pounds of my drained body into it and kicked again. Like a tiger, the bike roared to life. I grab my jacket and take off. Luckily we had a minimum day so I would be able to milk about 5 hours of sunlit riding. Just as my mind wandered, the bike wandered all around Southern California. Up and down PCH I rode; inhaling the sweet, salty ocean breeze in hopes of clearing my mind. Through parts of downtown LA looking at the "high rises", around Pasadena and South Pasadena gazing at the Craftsmen, Victorian, and Spanish homes and recalling what it was like to live in a time where people took pride in what they built. I pull the bike into the driveway that evening and walk into my house feeling a little unfulfilled. Something is wrong. Usually, a ride like this has my mind set back to normal. Not today. I go to bed and find my eyes wandering back and forth across the ceiling. I listen to life go on outside. Cars pass by. Intoxicated neighbors play pool, discussing the finer points of god knows what. I glance at my clock. 1am. I can't sleep. My mind is still recalling the events from the past week. I know what must be done. The pictures tell part of the story. My words fill in the rest. I have two options. My '39 with steering that is looser than Tiger Wood's morals. But fun as hell to drive. My '56 with tight steering, but a chopped steering wheel with a brody knob. Still fun to drive. My mind is made up. I'll take the good steering. Especially since it is supposed to rain over the weekend. I know that I'm going for a drive. Where, how far, how long remains as mysterious as why a dog chases his own tail. I fire up the wagon, positive that I will have startled my neighbors from their peaceful slumber. And raised the eyebrows of my neighbors still lurking in the shadows of the night. I look at the gas gauge. The tank is full. Good, at 15 miles to a gallon, I can go some distance before needed to refill. I find myself on the 60 freeway blasting through downtown LA and connecting to the 101. Maybe I'll go watch the sunrise in Santa Barbara. Sure enough I'm in Santa Barbara as the sun rises. My mind still isn't clear. I keep going. I gas up and keep heading North. I soon realize that I'm in San Luis Obispo and I'm a bit hungry. I grab a quick bite to eat and some more gas for the wagon. Call it OCD, but I like to keep the car closer to full as opposed to empty. Either OCD or I just don't want to be stranded on the side of the road, out of gas. Before I know it, I have pulled over to look at the elephant seals sunning themselves on the beach in Cambria. I know where this trip is heading. I know that deep down my foot will stay glued to the floor until I end up in Big Sur. There's something about the area that brings me peace. Maybe it's the redwoods. Maybe the ocean crashing on the shore. Maybe it's a bit of both. I begin my climb up PCH into Big Sur. Maybe subliminally I knew I was coming this far and so I brought the car with the better steering box. Maybe I just wanted to take the wagon. Either way, I find that every time I stop to watch the waves crash, smell the crisp air, or just stretch I find the previous week's problems melt into oblivion. Sure enough, I spent time in the back of the wagon listening to the rain fall. The drops hitting the metal roof serenade and carry me to a world where I have nothing to worry about. I'm surrounded by nature. If lightening were to strike and fell a tree on my car, there would be nothing I could do. Maybe it's that realization that puts me at ease. Or maybe it's the fact that I just drove over 300 miles in an old car and through the music that a flat tappet cam and dual exhaust creates I was able to find clarity to get me though another stretch of life. I wish as I drove home in the fog and mist that my camera could have captured to splendor of a full moon smiling down on the car. But it didn't. That'll be for another adventure.