Rest in peace, the Devil’s Slide

A typical eulogy for a highway
Published March 23, 2013

My first motorcycle adventure, in retrospect, now seems like a jog down the street. I rode with a buddy down to Alice’s, which seemed so far away and exotic.

I knew it was adventure at Devil’s Slide. I’ve since seen it a zillion times, but the visual impact thrust me into another world. To this day, it represents a portal into and out of my ordinary life. It’s just minutes away, but traversing the Slide is mentally transformative.

Devil’s Slide is a twisty stretch of California Highway 1. It is breathtaking. The two-lane highway hugs sheer cliffs two hundred feet above the sea and passes a couple of abandoned military bunkers that look like they were cleaved from massive rocks. Devil’s Slide is just two miles long, and gets its name from the adjacent mountain’s tendency to fall.

It seems every other year, Devil’s Slide is washed away by storms. Highway 1 south of Pacifica becomes impassable. The state grew tired of cleaning the mess and dug a tunnel through the mountain to bypass the fragile stretch of highway. Next week, the tunnel opens and Devil’s Slide is permanently closed. The Slide will be left to deteriorate. In time, the mountain will shrug the highway into the sea.

I will sincerely miss this ribbon of asphalt. May it rest in peace.