Tuesday, January 09, 2007
One of the more interesting reasons I love San Luis Obispo is for it's unique and curious twists off Highway 101 into the little town. You may think I am strange, but every single time I am driving down 101, I look at each offramp and notice how the freeway disappears into the brush, curves behind a hill, or sometimes even drops into the unknown! Bushes, trees, and flowers line 101, like a great wall, maintaining the secret and locking away the mystery of San Luis Obispo. In other cities, each exit and where it leads is clearly visible. Usually, the freeway is flat and straight and every store, restaurant, gas station, and home is dangling, vulnerable, next to the loud rush of traffic for everyone to see. I always imagine what it's like to be foreign to SLO - wondering what's beyond the patch of pavement, hidden behind the foliage. Perhaps the chosen exit will lead home, to a lover, a friend, to a college education, or maybe a career. Maybe a wrong exit will allow one to discover something new; a vintage building, a new restaurant, a dead end. San Luis Obispo is special. It is a hidden treasure. Just at the bottom of Cuesta Grade, San Luis Obispo welcomes travelers and residents into it's loving arms, as if mother nature is protecting the little town, tucking us away between the lush, green hills.
Next time you are driving through San Luis Obispo, look at each offramp and notice where it leads. Invite someone new to come visit our town, and watch their eyes as they wonder what SLO has to offer and what's outside Highway 101.