One of the best things about writing fiction is that research is often required. This does not always mean burrowing through the library stacks or sequestering yourself in a basement filled with musty tomes. Counterintuitive, I know. But sometimes it requires getting out into the world and experiencing some of the most beautiful places to be found. Case in point: a few weeks back I hopped in the car and headed down the coast to the Point Sur Lighthouse, part of a state historic park in California’s Central Coast.
A little backstory. I discovered this place while driving near Monterey and wondered WTF was up with that volcanic rock just off the shore with a little settlement on top of it. Turns out it houses one of the key lighthouse stations that keeps ships from wrecking in the fog and darkness of the Central Coast. Oh yeah, and it’s a beautiful spot. But you wouldn’t know it from the foreboding sign along the highway, as shown.
Of course a Keep Out sign for a crazy place like that means a protagonist somewhere must inevitably flaunt those rules. Voila, a major location for PCH Roadkill.
Day tours last for three hours, and are well worth the trek. They include a thorough exploration of the lighthouse itself and the grounds where operators and their families lived in previous decades. Here some snaps from the top of the lighthouse:
The diamond-shaped glass pieces are prism lights, similar to those used to light basements below sidewalks in large cities during earlier times.
I heartily recommend the tour to anyone driving the Pacific Coast Highway between Monterey and San Luis Obispo. If further incentive is needed, how about a view of the lovely Central Coast from the widow’s walk, looking Northeast toward Carmel: