Did you know there is a scientific term for fear of Friday the 13th? I read it online so it must be true. It’s “paraskevidekatriaphobia”. I challenge you to say that three times fast. Or actually, even once. There are many theories as to why Friday the 13th came to be known as unlucky. Some say it’s because Christ broke bread with 13 apostles with on the day before his death, Good Friday. Others say it’s because its because Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307. Whatever the reason, my friend Allison and I decided to tempt the fates and attempt to have a lovely day on this particular Friday the 13th.
Last winter pounded the coast of California mercilessly leading to mudslides, trees down, bridges collapsing, power outages, roads washing into creeks, etc all winter long. Many areas are still recovering and attempting to rebuild. The area south of my home town of Santa Cruz was hit particularly hard. The rugged Big Sur coast line, steep and treacherous under good conditions did not fare well. The Pfeiffer Bridge sagged beyond repair cutting off access from the north and a massive mudslide 40 feet deep dumped over a million tons of rock and dirt across the highway cutting off access from the south. Big Sur Island they started calling it. After the helicopter rescues ceased and the dust settled, the residents and business owners needed some sort of access to their homes and business so a hiking path was built through Pfeiffer State Park, up and over to circumnavigate the failing bridge. It took 8 months to rebuild a new bridge and today, Friday the 13th it was due to open at 5pm. Cyclists from as far and wide had been making lemonade out of lemons all summer and riding the gorgeous stretch of highway while it was closed to cars. Today was our last chance!
We loaded up Beatrice (my car) and motored down the coast. It was a clear, glorious, fall day but smoke from the Napa fires 200 miles away, was very evident. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost their homes and loved ones. What will happen to all the beautiful, ancient vines? All those people who have lost their homes and livelihoods? We send out prayers and thoughts to them and all the firefighters who are struggling so with getting the fires under control.,
We asked the ranger at Pfeiffer State Park for directions to “the path” and I thought it was funny that with all the hiking trails in Big Sur we didn’t need to specify which path we were looking for. Allison and I shouldered our bikes and hoofed it up the switch backs and stairs. Boy there’s nothing to get the heart pumping like having to carry your bike up a hiking trail.
This is California. We love our Mexican food. Anything remotely resembling an event should be celebrated with tacos.
We saw lots of cyclists soaking up the sun, taking in the views, and enjoying Highway 1 sans traffic. We even met a guy from China who was riding 6,000 miles from Alaska to Mexico. No joke.
It warmed my heart to see that the beauty of Big Sur had not diminished with the winter pounding nor dampened the spirits of the quirky, artsy community. It was so good to see the businesses, many of which had been closed for 8 months, sweeping and washing, organizing and polishing and getting ready for the opening of the bridge which will restore the flow of tourists and visitors to bring much-needed dollars to the area.
While nothing profound happened, the day just made me so happy. I was profoundly content. Sunshine warm on my back, a little sweat, my bike wheels singing along the pavement, watching Allison’s pony tail whip in the wind, the salty tang of the ocean in the air, a few conversations with friendly strangers…maybe a simple day can be profound.