We left San Francisco after two days and drove south to Big Sur. We stayed up late at Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, sitting on the floor with a bottle of wine, pouring over journals left in the room. (It's a thing, apparently.) We read about others' children, divorces, travels, sex lives, dreams. We laughed, and each cried a few times. Ashlee worried about a ghost a visitor claimed to have seen in the room (in the journal from 1992). I laughed.

Midnight came and we went south along Highway 1—our weeklong guide—to the Esalen Institute for a night bath. We met at the side of the road and a man with a flashlight led a group of us down to the bathhouse. We changed out of our clothes, only in our skin, and we bathed in hot springs on a cliff. The hot water and the cold Pacific air, everything dark except for the stars above, everything silent except for the waves below. It was 3 a.m.

Seattle to San Diego  |  August 2013

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