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my journey

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here’s a country song playing on the radio about a guy who’s drinking whiskey to soothe his broken heart. Normally I’d sympathise, but today I’m in a Mustang with the top down, winding my way along the west coast of California, the scent of pine wafting through the car like a natural air freshener. On one side the trees are so dense I can barely see beyond the first row of trunks and on the other side the Pacific Ocean spans forever. I’m having a Thelma and Louise moment and no country crooner can dampen my mood! As we cruise further up Highway 1 we pull over at a viewpoint just north of San Simeon and join the gathering of muscle cars that seem to dominate this stretch of road. I soon realise why this is such a popular pit stop. The radio is drowned out by a loud chorus of honking caused by hundreds, possibly thousands, of elephant seals, all wallowing along the shoreline, fighting for that perfect sunbathing spot.

tempting to take out a kayak and paddle around. The clear water of the shallows turn eerily black the deeper the patches I paddle through. The depth of the lake has also tempted scuba divers and the new Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail explores sunken boats and barges which lie undisturbed up to 60 feet below the surface. Back on shore we’re met by Mike Frye from the South Lake Tahoe Tourist Board and taken on a gentle hike through a forest floor scattered with wild flowers and pine cones the size of a rugby ball! While we’re rambling I’m so busy intently listening to tales of bears breaking into houses and wrecking cars that I nearly miss a break in the trees offering the most breathtaking view of the smaller Fallen Leaf Lake, the reflection of snow-covered mountains rippling on the surface. The bear stories continue and I learn that this area is a hive of wildlife activity in the spring, thanks to the salmon that gets caught in the weir. As if on cue, an eagle skims the water’s edge before taking flight in front of me. It might not be a bear but I’m ok about that considering my current situation. South Lake Tahoe teeters on the state line between California and Nevada and a trip across the border to Heavenly Valley, just a 10-minute drive from the quiet, lakeside views of the Azure Hotel where I’m staying, gives a small insight into a state known for its blackjack and roulette.

An eagle skims e the water’s edge befor taking flight in front of me

Shaded by a sequoia

Highway 1’s iconic cliffhanger views

Tahoe treasures The journey inland towards Lake Tahoe makes for a dramatic change in scenery. During the winter months the lake serves as a popular ski resort and it’s blanketed in snow from November until April. Now it’s the middle of June, which sees highs of 25C – but we’re still seeing patches of snow. In reality, Lake Tahoe is 75 miles in length and North America’s largest alpine lake, but search for it on a map of California and it looks no bigger than a teardrop! All that fresh water makes it too

Call of the wild While I was impressed with Highway 1 and its ocean views, the journey from Tahoe to Sonora takes me completely by surprise. What started off

My Journey California.indd 76

7/22/19 09:08 PM

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Selling Travel July/August 2019  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Caribbean, plus how to sell... Mediterranean • South Africa • Middle East • California • Canada • Na...

Selling Travel July/August 2019  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Caribbean, plus how to sell... Mediterranean • South Africa • Middle East • California • Canada • Na...