The sedate choice is with Highway 92, the same trail used by creaky stagecoaches 100-years-agoâand the breathtaking alternative, Devilâs Slide, a raw 11-mile stretch of twisting roadway, 1000- feet above the crashing Pacific surf, originally blasted out of million-year-old rock by the Ocean Shore Railroad engineers in the early 20th century.
I canât remember when I first drove Devilâs Slide but it never bored me, even after a 30-year relationship.
Some people donât believe that Iâm not intimidated by the SlideâDevilâs Slide plain old scares them, particularly when the winds shake their cars and the thick fog makes their headlights useless.
I suspect itâs more than fear that keeps these folks off the Slide. Devilâs Slide brings one face- to -face with raw nature, the wind and the rock and the surf, some folks canât handle that, they want to see nature harnessed, civilized and confined like a photograph on the wall.
Whenever people become complacent, Devilâs Slide reminds them where the real power resides .The Ocean Shore Railroad, an iron road that cut through the mountains along the Pacific, barely lasted a decade before the Slide twisted their tracks and reclaimed the roadway.
It was a constant challenge to the automobile commuters–using the same roadbed as the failed railroadâbut in 1995 Devilâs Slide ruthlessly attacked, collapsing the road and shutting the Slide down completely for almost a year.
Itâs been 11 years since then and things have been pretty quiet. An occasional car crashes into the surf but by and large itâs been peaceful.
Now Iâm at home and the recent incessant rains have angered the Devilâs Slide gods. Theyâre hurdling four-ton boulders onto the roadway. Itâs been closed a couple of weeks now and Iâm heartsick at the prospect that my love affair with Devilâs Slide has been broken off again. I hope not for long.
The planners are already digging a multi-million-dollar, one-mile-long tunnel that they hope will âneutralizeâ? Devilâs Slide.
I have a feeling their project will prove to be futile.