It was our choice to take nine hours of yesterday and two of today to get home. Scott, his sister Kristen and I took Highway 1 back from their cousin's wedding in Carmel, instead of the more direct route, and stopped approximately seven times. Three times in Big Sur because the water was the clearest we've ever seen it. Even from 300 feet up you could see the kelp swaying back and forth across the bottom. There were a hundred pelicans falling around the cliffs in a hundred shades of brown. There were people from India and Miami taking their picture. We danced and took some photos too, standing closer to the edges of the tall cliffs than our mothers would have ever allowed.
Another stop was in SLO for a beer and dinner. Neither Scott or I had ever been there. And honestly, something about the abbreviation of the name from San Luis Obispo to SLO (pronounced "slow") made me think the town must be kind of boring. I want to go back there sometime, though. It's a great place to stop for food on a California road trip because they have a lot of choices and the town has character. We ate at SLO Brewing Co which was right next to bubblegum alley, a disgustingly intriguing passageway between two buildings that might've been covered with 8,000 pieces of old gum. It was gross, so we took pictures and examined some of the aged pieces very closely.
There's more about this part of the trip, but I think I better start at the beginning.
We left Thursday afternoon, forgot our camera a half an hour into the drive and had to go back. We saw two fires on our way to Kristen's house in Ventura County and we passed them three times thanks to our forgetfulness. I couldn't help but be fascinated by the wild fires, even though it gave me chills to stare at them. They kind of seem like an evil version of the ocean.
We got to Kristen's just in time for happy hour. I had been hoping she had some sidewalks I could skate in her neighborhood because we don't really have any in ours. She did! Kristen went off one on a longboard which was both sketchy and impressive. It's a good thing nobody fell and got scraped, especially Kristen and I, because we were going to be in a wedding in two days.
We left for it that next morning with one pitstop at a skatepark in Paso. No one go hurt there either, but we did make some new friends. They taught us to sweep the leaves and sticks that littered the bowl into the drain by lifting it up with a key and scraping everything in with the grate. Kristen said visiting skateparks reminded her of traveling in another country because they help you get to know people you might not normally have connected with.
This next part of the story is all about the reason we went on a road trip to Carmel in the first place. Brittany, one of Scott's cousins on his mom's side was marrying Chase in the hills of California. She lived in two states and four countries before she was 18. She likes chia seeds and ashtanga yoga and a dog named Ralph. She asked me to be in her wedding even though we had only hung out a handful of times. I was honored. It's kind of like something Kristen said on our drive "Isn't it awesome we get to be friends forever?"
The location reminded me of the Napa house in the Lindsey Lohan version of The Parent Trap. Vineyards and hillsides surrounded us on all sides. Some horses, too, but I didn't have time to pet them. We stayed busy getting our hair and makeup done most of Saturday and even got to do some yoga in the morning. I'm not very good at yoga, but the teacher focused more on breathing and reaching up like trees trying to touch clouds. I liked this much better than the class I took by my house a few times that had an instructor who asked me why I wasn't more flexible.
Scott's dad did the wedding ceremony. He didn't make any mistakes at all. Not that I thought he was going to, but I could tell he was a little nervous to perform as pastor, mostly because he told me so at the rehearsal dinner. Brittany and Chase looked the happiest I've ever seen them when they walked back up the isle together.
Other highlights from the wedding were eating bite-sized vegetarian spring rolls, dancing in a barn and taking polaroid pictures for Grandma and Papa. There was a happy one Scott took of his mom dancing that he asked me to keep in the pocket of my dress. I showed it to Papa and he asked if he could keep it. Not wanting to give away the photo I was asked to save, I promised him I'd take another. When I gave the new one to him the next day, he slung it up to his shirt pocket and placed it inside carefully, like I had given him a tiny animal to protect. It's a nice feeling when you can witness someone appreciating what they have at that exact moment in time. I could hear all of his words just then, and maybe they will come back to me at other times too. They were simple. He said "Oh, thank you very much for this Devon" with a big smile that made his deep blue eyes smaller.
Back on the road again, we visited stinky seals that probably didn't help Kristen feel any less car sick. We stretched out in the warm street like it was carpet. I saw a few other roads out my window that I hoped to explore someday. They were the crooked kind, made by other people trying to make their ways to things they needed to see. I think we will be back this summer.