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Closing Time in Big Sur

She was cruising down the Big Sur coast,
Looking for a little romance.
I was walking the edge of Highway One,
Hoping for a second chance.

She pulled that Ford to the side of the road.
I opened the door, got in.
Said, “My name’s Adam, baby. What’s yours?”
She said, “They call me Original Sin.”

She didn’t look like no high-school sweetheart.
She was no obvious beauty queen.
But she had something every man knows,
That fire that’s felt not seen.

We coasted down that seaside highway
Until the evening fog rolled in,
Then checked ourselves into the Pines Motel,
Where I first knew Original Sin.

When I awoke the next morning
The room held nothing but me and a note.
“Nice knowing you, Adam, but I gotta roll.
See you around sometime,” she wrote.

I wandered on down the side of the road,
Feeling just strange, drained, and tired.
Stuck out a thumb and trucker pulled over,
Said, “You want a job moving, you’re hired.”

We rolled slow down the curves below Sur
For most of that foggy morning,
Crawled over a hill and into a bunch
Of cops and cars with no warning.

Below the carved cliffs, out on the rocks
Was the smoldering wreck of some Ford.
Gulls swarmed above it, calling and calling,
Looking for their midday reward.

“Another damn fool,” said the trucker.
“Took the curve just a little too quick.
I seen it before and I’ll see it again.
It’s a killer of a road when it’s slick.”

He edged round the cops and the gawkers,
Hit the gas, downshifted the gears.
“Pull over,” I said, “and let me get out.
As far as I go is right here.”

I walked back to the Sur and got me a job.
Worked hard, got some money laid in,
And opened this bar by the side of the road,
And I named it Original Sin.

And sometimes halfway to morning,
When the last of the drunks have rolled home,
I find myself down by the Pines Motel,
And I know that I’m never alone,
Know now that I’m never alone.

And that’s my sad old story, pal.
Just one of a million I hear.
But this one’s mine to know and to tell.
Tell me yours and I’ll buy you a beer.
Tell me yours and its worth
One cold beer.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Terry October 4, 2019, 6:48 PM

    There must be a million romantic stories to be told of drives on Hwy 1 and the beaches the road passes. I know I have a few.

    Watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean horizon and then the moon at midnight.

    And attempting to keep the sand out of . . . everything . . .

  • jwm October 4, 2019, 8:26 PM

    I may have brought this up before, but has anyone set this to music?
    And if not, why not?
    I could hear The Grateful Dead with it, or it could as easily go country, Allman Brothers…
    Who Else?


    • Lance de Boyle July 19, 2022, 7:37 PM

      How about Bob Seger?
      Lyle Lovett?

      • Vanderleun July 19, 2022, 9:03 PM

        Seger fur shure. And Lovett too now that I think of him.

  • Phil in Englewood October 5, 2019, 4:31 AM

    jwm – agreed, sounds like the bones of a Garcia/Hunter song..

  • Vanderleun October 5, 2019, 7:54 AM

    I’d set it to music but I don’t know how.

  • MarkInKansas October 5, 2019, 9:59 AM

    Reminded me of “Tangled Up In Blue” but that guy has already done this song.

  • Sam L. October 5, 2019, 10:16 AM

    Ya done goooooooooooooooood, Girard. Seems to me that someone who can DO music would pick this up. Oughta be someone who reads this could know that other someone…

  • Tom Hyland October 5, 2019, 4:32 PM

    I think this song has already been written… and recorded quite well. Take a listen to “Caught In The Rain” by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks.

  • Tom Hyland October 5, 2019, 6:24 PM

    Just gave Dan Hicks another spin and what you’ve written here, Gerard, is very fine. Dan’s piece is quite insipid in comparison. A fun song, like everything Dan did. This poem of yours is more like tragic heartbreaker stuff. Wille Nelson or, I know… David Bromberg, could sing this song very well. I wish there was an edit button here where I could delete or change my words occasionally.

  • Terry October 5, 2019, 8:18 PM

    Bill Cosby may do the recording for nothing.

    He did this one in 1967:


    Use the instrumental part of the track, reduce the tempo, recite the words and go for it.

  • mushroom October 6, 2019, 5:35 PM

    Go Leonard Cohen on it.

  • Jim October 6, 2019, 9:45 PM

    spent years driving that highway. From 1967, to the summer of love. Then living in New Monterey, PG, Carmel. Ending up caretaking for allan Funt, who owned the house on the point just north of Bixby Bridge. Spent a year there, pretty magical. One of the few things I miss about California.

  • another one October 8, 2019, 8:44 PM

    In 1972 my little girl was seven. I was a single mom–not angry with my ex–he was a good friend and great dad. I drove my little girl down the coast to show her the Big Sur. We couldn’t afford to eat at the famous place, so I stopped on the highway up above and took out my copy of Robinson Jeffers poetry. I read those poems to my little girl hoping that someday in the long distant future she would remember the sound of the surf and the way it made poetry sound.

  • John October 9, 2019, 9:56 AM

    Ah, yes, Adventures in Big Sur. Mine happened suddenly. Picture a brilliant beachy afternoon, driving north back to San Francisco talking about Emile, A French artist who moved here from Paris back in the day. At about the same time we both remember he’s known for his gregarious nature and likes to entertain his mostly female models in his home and studio, and you can find it pretty easily because it’s on Rt 1 and everybody local knows where it is. We stop to ask and discover we’re just about there, so a few moments later we pull in at his front door. I knock and in moment the door flies open and I’m shaking the hand of the Man himself. Welcome, please come in, he says–to my girl friend. Beaming a grin he turns to me and says, ‘beautiful, beautiful, thank you, thank you! ‘. Then he takes her hand and with her in tow, blue bikini and all, they vanish inside. For awhile. Just when looking at a blank closed door gets pretty old, it opens and out she stumbles, half laughing and half concerned about whether or not she still has a ride home or something. At least she got a poster signed by Emile; what else she may have acquired I’ll never know. We were married for about 20 years and remain good friends. Art for art’s sake, of course.

  • RebeccaH October 10, 2019, 10:46 AM

    Johnny Cash would have got a Grammy for singing this one.

  • Chain Lightning July 19, 2022, 7:04 PM

    Highway One roadtrip as a child in a Winnebago was a turning point.
    LRRP father taught me how to recon and map read.
    Read this map properly or they will find our bones in the desert, bwahaha!
    And he picked up a ravishing Cali Girl blonde in Long Beach where some comrades climbed in the air vent and stole the vodka.
    Great times!

  • Terry July 19, 2022, 8:24 PM

    Wow. I was telling my wife just an hour ago that the furthest south I used to venture snorkeling for abalone was Big Sur. Warm water and warmer girls indeed. No abalone however.

    So, turn around and head north on HWY 1 to Fort Bragg area. Lots of large abalone, but no warm girls, and darn cold water.

    About half way between those two destinations there were a few warm girls and a few small abalone.

  • ghostsniper July 20, 2022, 4:32 AM

    Going Back To Big Sur


    It’s a cold and rainy Friday night
    City life’s got me all uptight
    My mind keeps wandering far away
    Vibrations tell me it’s time to leave L.A.

    Going back to Big Sur
    Wish I could leave today
    I want to walk beneath those Redwood trees
    Just south of Monterey

    A little cabin, quiet and alone
    No television and no telephone
    Water trickling down this little stream
    Makes you wonder, is it all just a dream?

    Going back to Big Sur
    This time, I might just stay
    Going back and straighten out my head
    Just south of Monterey

    Groovy people all around
    Never try to put you down
    Makes you feel like someone new
    And they don’t care who you are or what you do

    Guess I’ll drive up highway 1
    Dig the ocean, kiss the setting sun
    The stars dancing in the sky
    Sort of puts you on a natural high
    And that girl

  • OneGuy July 20, 2022, 7:55 AM

    Everyone seems to have a Big Sur story. my first time driving Big Sur was in 1966 on a motorcycle. My brother lived in Pacific Grove so I drove down from Oregon to see him and went on down Big Sur to LA. But my romantic connection was in 1988 when I took a young blond beauty on a trip and drove Big Sur and stayed at Deetjens. She became my wife of 33 years now and a few years after that initial trip we moved to Monterey and Big Sur became our favorite weekend escape. I love the California of many years ago. It is a shame to see what the politicians have made of it.

  • RevBroGenerik July 21, 2022, 2:55 AM

    Driving my split window microbus on this route, homeward hauling a bunch of sick rainbow gathering survivors; I remember it well. This girl, Jessey,was just yakking her rap towards the back perched in between my co pilot and me as we watched this hauling ass pickup being pursued by PoPo barreling into view in our lane; oncoming disaster. Nowhere else to go but over the edge as I held on tight and stayed in our lane. I’m here to tell, so they must have slipped by. Keith and I met eye to eye, and I started shaking. Jessey kept yakking, oblivious.