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California Highway

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half moon bay

Current day

Tyler is awoken from his nap by someone knocking on his front door. He ignores the loud beating and covers his head with a pillow, hoping whoever it is at the door would give up and go away. But the knocking continues. “Tyler!” a voice yelled. “I know you’re in there. Come on. Open up.”

The voice belongs to one of Tyler’s friends and band members, Robert. He is one of Tyler’s closest friends. They met at The Old Tavern when they both were showing up for open mic night. The two of them started playing together, and they have been friends ever since.

Robert is a tall, well-built African American man. His glasses make him appear brainy, and his mouth proves it. He is not one to remain quiet. He likes to give his opinion, which is one quality that Tyler likes. Robert tells the truth. He takes his friendships personally and works hard to let his friends know that he would do anything for them. But if you get on his wrong side, he is also not afraid to tell you to take a hike.

Tyler is happy to hear Robert on the other side of the door. So, he crawls out of bed and walks to the front door to let him in. No eye contact or any words were said from Tyler when Robert entered his home. He simply turned away and walked towards the kitchen to pour himself some juice.

“Dude,” Robert enters the house. “What the fuck happened to you last night? It’s all over town. It’s even in today’s newspaper.” As Robert followed Tyler into the kitchen, he placed the news article on the counter.

Tyler looks down at the paper and reads the headline, LOCAL MUSICIAN ARRESTED FOR SOLICITATION. “Great,” he mumbles. “I fucked up, I guess. I didn’t know she was a whore.”

Robert had no idea who Tyler was talking about. “You didn’t know who was a whore? Did you even know who she was?”

Tyler thinks for a moment. “She said her name was Michelle. I’ve never seen her before. But, dam, she was smokin’.”

“Well, we’re going to have to do some damage control.” Robert walks over to Tyler and stands next to him. “This might affect our future gigs. And god knows what will happen if Josh finds out. You know he’s still jealous of you and Karen.”

“Shit,” Tyler said with concern. “I didn’t even think of that. I really fucked up.” He took a sip of his juice. “I lost my job. Karen left me, and now this. What’s next?”

Robert’s eyes get big. “Holy crap, Karen’s gone?”

Tyler continued on, “Yeah, she left a note on the door. I found it when I got home this morning.”

Robert put his arm around Tyler to console him. “Listen, Dude. Everything’s going to be okay. This is just a bump in the road that you need to get over.”

“Thanks, dude,” Tyler responded. His head was hanging low, not knowing what to expect next.

Tyler looks at his phone and sees the message that Josh had left earlier. “I forgot I have this message from Josh.” Tyler presses the play button and put his phone on speaker so Robert could listen as well.

“Tyler, this is Josh. I heard what happened to you tonight. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m going to have to cancel all of your gigs at The Old Tavern. Nothing personal, I just can’t deal with the publicity. Maybe when things calm down, you can come back.

Talk to you later.”

“Ah, fuck…. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.” Tyler was now even more visibly upset. “Dude, what am I going to do? I lost my job, my girlfriend, my gigs, all in a span of…” Tyler pauses to look at the clock, “eighteen hours.”

Robert sits at the kitchenette table. “You know. Maybe you should just take this as a sign. Maybe you just need to get away for a while. Take a road trip somewhere. Clear your mind of this shit and get yourself together.”

Tyler ponders for a moment. “I like that idea.” He walks to the bedroom, Robert close behind. Tyler grabs his large knapsack and starts packing it with clothes.

“This will be good for you,” Robert said, “You can clear your mind and maybe even write some new songs about your adventures.”

Tyler continues to pack. “Yeah, I like that.” Suddenly he stops loading his knapsack and looks up. “Crap! I just remembered. I can’t go anywhere. I have a court date for this mess. The cop gave me a citation with the date on it.”

“Where’s the citation?” Robert asked. “Maybe it’s a while away, and you can go and be back in time for court.”

Tyler starts looking for the citation the officer gave him. With everything that was going on that morning, he was having a tough time remembering where he had placed it. He and Robert start to search around the house.

Tyler finds the citation in his pants pocket. “Here it is.” He opens it up to read the court date. “Appear on June 15… two weeks away.”

Robert chimes in. “That’s plenty of time for a road trip. You can do this. It’s not like you’re going cross country. Just for a few days, right?”

“Yeah,” Tyler starts to pack again. “I can do this. I’ll probably head to my mom’s or something.”

“That’s a great idea. Just make sure you’re back by the 15th, and your gold.”

After packing, Tyler throws his knapsack into the backseat of his car. “Alright, dude,” He turns to shake Robert’s hand. “I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.”

“Alright. Be safe and clear that head of yours. Tell your mom I said hi.”

Tyler gets in his car, turns the ignition, and puts the car in reverse to pull out of the driveway. As he is leaving, he waves to Robert, and Robert waves back.

* * *

Tyler stops at the gas station to fill up his car before hitting the highway. As he is putting fuel in his vehicle, he starts to ponder this road trip. “I don’t want to go to my mom’s,” he thinks. “I need relaxation and scenery. Not family and misery.”

Tyler’s road trip is about to head in a different direction. One that will lead him into several events that will change his life. “Highway one. Here I come.”

Tyler finishes fueling his vehicle and hits the road with a new plan in place.

 * * *

Highway One, known as the Pacific Coast Highway, is one of California’s most beautiful drives in the state, if not the nation. Tyler knew it, and that is why he chose this route. The road winds through coastal towns and lush forests. And the stops along the way are some of the most beautiful sites you will ever see. Tyler knew this was the perfect choice to clear his mind.

To keep notes and ideas, Tyler decided to bring his journal along to log his journey. This would allow him to look back on what happened and get possible suggestions and ideas for new songs.

Tyler’s first stop was on the western side of San Francisco at Ocean Beach. He decided this was where he would start and plan his journey south, and it is here he entered his first journal entry:

It is funny how life can throw you a curveball. In this case, I feel like I have been playing dodge ball with balls being thrown at me from all directions. And each ball seems to be taking a direct hit on me.

With Robert’s help, I have decided to hit the road. Take a trip on the open highway. Robert suggested heading east to visit my mom. But instead, I’ve decided to head south on Highway One. I need some peaceful scenery to assist in clearing my mind. The ocean breeze, the beaches, rocky cliffs… all of that will help me focus.

So, here I go. I’m starting in San Francisco, Ocean Beach. Let’s see where I end up next.

Highway One… Take me away!

Tyler picked up Highway One in Montara, a small community on the coast. When he saw the waves crashing and the seagulls flying, he knew this would be a good trip for him.

His first stop was south of Montara – Another small community called Half Moon Bay. Tyler decided to stop and have lunch there.

He ended up at one of the local delis and picked up a sandwich and a soda to drink. He then headed to Poplar Beach to enjoy his lunch on the sand, soaking in the sun and fresh ocean air.

It did not take long for Tyler’s mind to start thinking about everything that had occurred over the past twenty-four hours. He was still in a sign of disbelief of all that had taken place. He thought about the night working at Bella and that lady, Michelle, walking in. If he had only resisted the urge, none of this would have happened. He thought about all the opportunities that he had to avoid the event. He did not have to flirt with her. He did not have to agree to meet her outside of the restaurant. And he definitely did not have to go along with having sex with her. “Wait a minute,” Tyler thought for a moment. “I never said I wanted to have sex with her. We never agreed to any of that.” He knew he could possibly have an out when this thing goes to court. Tyler remembered that he was on this road trip to forget about everything that had taken place. He started to eat his sandwich once again and take in the fresh air and ocean breeze.

A few minutes had passed by when Tyler noticed a person walking on the beach, about a hundred yards from him. It was an older man with a long white beard and hair to match. He was wearing a white t-shirt and beach shorts. Tyler’s first reaction was that this man was a bum – a homeless man, and would probably be asking for money as he passed by.

The stranger came closer to Tyler and gave a friendly wave. “Hi, how are you?”

Tyler’s opinion of man changed in an instant. The man had the voice of someone that seemed to be well educated and friendly. “I’m fine,” Tyler responded.

“Are you just visiting?” the man asked. “I haven’t seen you here before.”

“Yeah.” Tyler decided the man was harmless, and it was okay to continue the conversation. “I’m from Benicia. I’m just taking a drive down One to get away from things.”

“Ah, nice. Highway One is a great drive to help you do that. My name is Dave, by the way.” The man extended his hand for a handshake.

“Tyler.” Tyler returned the gesture.

“Get away from things, huh? Do you mind?” The man motioned to Tyler, asking if he could sit down next to him.

“Go for it,” Tyler responded.

The man sat down on the sand facing the ocean. “It’s amazing how big this world is. You look out there, and you think you can see forever. But in reality, you are only looking at a tiny part of this world. Just think of how overwhelming it would be if you could see forever. There would be so much going on and so much to deal with. It’s probably a good thing that we can only see a small portion when you think of it. We see just enough to deal with things and to help us get by.”

Tyler was starting to think this guy was the resident crazy person. “Yeah, sure. I guess.” He did not quite know where Dave was going with his comments but felt he would soon find out.

Dave continued. “I came to Half Moon Bay about twenty years ago. I was in Santa Barbara, living with my wife of ten years. The marriage was rocky, at best. She told me to go find myself as she handed me divorce papers. So, here I am.”

As soon as Tyler heard the “find yourself,” his ears perked up. He began to listen to him more intently. The story was starting to sound familiar.

“When I ended up here,” Dave continued, “I thought I had found the perfect place. A small town where nobody knew me, and all I had to do was hide from the rest of civilization. That’s all I wanted.”

“What happened?” Tyler asked as he continued to eat.

“Someone recognized me. That’s why I grew the beard and let my hair grow. Once they recognized me, my life was just as hectic as it was in Santa Barbara.”

Tyler could not resist asking, “What? Are you famous or something?”

Dave laughs. “You don’t recognize me? That’s the best thing anyone has ever told me. David Tittle. The one and only.”

Tyler tried not to choke on his food. “Oh my god. David Tittle, the actor?”

“Yep, the one and only.” Dave smiled.

Tyler was amazed at whom he was talking to. “I thought you died or something. I haven’t heard anything about you in years.”

Dave continued, “Yeah. Funny when you try to get away from everything, things still seem to just follow you around. It takes a lot of effort to finally disappear.”

Tyler could tell Dave was in deep thought. Probably remembering back to the days of being famous.

“When the time came when I finally could take a walk without being noticed, it humbled me. I started to see what life really was like. What life was really supposed to be,” Dave looked at Tyler as a teacher would look at a student.

“It’s when you finally get to breathe in a place and finally can call a place home. Your friends don’t judge you. Your neighbors wave hello. People look at you as a normal person.” Dave looks out to the Pacific Ocean and takes a deep breath.

“Yeah, I think I know what you mean.” Tyler was starting to understand this guy a bit more as he talked. Tyler felt he was beginning to recognize why he was on this trip, too.

Tyler felt it was time to disclose some information about himself. “I’m a musician… well, a singer/songwriter. Everyone knew who I was in Benicia. And one thing happened, and everyone started to judge me. They think you are now someone else, just because of one event. When the fact is, you are nothing like that. You are still the person you had always been. I guess you’re only as good as your worst mistake.”

Dave looks at Tyler. “Well, dude. You seem to be an okay guy. I hope this trip does you well. And, if you don’t mind, I’m going to leave you with one piece of advice that has helped me move forward.”

“Sure,” Tyler could not wait to hear what Dave Tittle was going to say to him.

“In life, you will always be given many times where you will have to prove yourself. Like in baseball, having to hit the winning run in. Or as a teacher, having all your students ace an exam. So, when your opportunity shows up where you must prove yourself, just do it. Don’t overthink it. Just do it. You know what to do. You know how to do it. So, just go out and do it.”

Tyler pondered the advice and asked, “What if you’re asked to hit the winning run in, but you don’t know how to swing the bat?”

Dave smiles as he stands, “Well then, you shouldn’t have been playing ball in the first place.”

They both laugh. “Tyler, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks for the talk. And I hope you find what you’re looking for on this trip of yours. It’s a great world out there if you only open your eyes to see it.”

“Thanks, Dave. It was a pleasure talking with you.”

Tyler finished his lunch and sat for a moment, thinking about the conversation with Dave. He felt there was a purpose for Dave showing up. It did not happen by chance. “Journal,” Tyler thought, “we have a good entry today.”

Funny how things seem to happen for a reason. Today, while having lunch on the beach in Half Moon Bay, I met a man named Dave Tittle. He gave some advice that will make me think that this road trip will do me right. He said that you will always have to prove yourself in life. And when you must, then just do it. Don’t overthink what you already know how to do.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

My next stop is Santa Cruz. I will be crashing there for the night.

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