Summer Road Trips: A Novelist’s Love for the 101

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Novelist Jerry Tervalon on the road. Photo by Giselle Tervalon.

For most of us, the roads we travel on are just that, roads, functional ways to get from the proverbial Point A to Point B. But for some people, there’s an awful lot of life history and memories bound up in certain stretches of pavement.

That’s the case with novelist Jervey Tervalon, author of such books as “Dead Above Ground,” “Understand This,” and “All the Trouble You Need.” Jervey’s works often tackle gritty themes of murder, revenge and addiction. But the road that’s closest to his heart is one that’s often associated with sun, light and the California Dream. It’s the 101 stretching from Los Angeles, through Ventura to Santa Barbara.

Novelist Jerry Tervalon on the road. Photo by Giselle Tervalon.

Jervey’s been going back and forth on the 101 since he left South L.A. and entered the University of California Santa Barbara as a freshman student. In the years since, the highway has been a kind of companion to Jervey, sharing in his very good times and very bad ones. In this edition of KCRW’s Summer Summer Road Trips series, Jervey shares his affection for this famous California highway. He doesn’t have a particular destination in mind, but he suggests traveling on the 101 just north of Santa Barbara, maybe finding a tranquil stretch of beach to relax on for a few hours, and then coming back. He promises it will be good for your soul.

To get there:

Just drive… Jerry starts in Los Angeles and heads North on the 101.

ake notice of the mountains on the east side of the road. Jervey calls the landscape “beautiful and intimidating.”

Once you get to Ventura, it becomes really spectacular with “amazing vistas… sun and fog.”

Follow it all the way to Santa Barbara and you might feel transported just like Jervey does when he drives the 101.


View Summer Road Trip #4: Highway 101 in a larger map

Find more California road trips on our summer page!