"I’d driven up the coast to San Simeon. We’d reached a point in history where even a castle built of the spoils of empire could seem a lovely melancholic folly. Having driven that far, I decided to go to Big Sur. It was a hot day, and I drove north with the top down and felt Central California turn into Northern California. The fever had long since burned through me, and I stood on a cliff, looking down on the fog and the rocks and the waves, enjoying the cold. And I realized this part of the country, of California, was in my blood, having outlived the fever of Viet Nam."