In this state of milk and honey good times happen without even trying. There is a reason so many songs are written about this place so pick one of your favourites and hum along while perusing the blog.
Despite the abundance of actors, authors and wanna-bees, the most inspiring people from California are our friends Shannon and Chris. They met us at the airport with a VW van that sits 8, a fold down table, and a cooler full of organic goodies and in a few minutes we were motoring north on Highway 101.
Within a couple days Mike flew solo to Calgary to pick up our van, the camping gear and a very distinguished white hat. The return to ‘Frisco was completed in record time but not before gaining a greater appreciation for American west, meeting a multitude of 5 minute friends and getting a great deal on a new used Coleman lantern.
In Mike’s absence Shannon and Chris looked after the flying 5 – 1. Based out of Treetops (a San Rafael condo complete with swimming pool), excursions were successfully launched to lush parks, a scientific exploratorium, and the Jelly Belly factory. The team says the factory tour was a bit of a flop – ask about the inside joke. Californian raw vegan cuisine helped fuel the voyages.
Upon Mike’s return a girls’ day out saw a visit to the San Francisco Ballet’s ‘Don Quixote’ while the boys explored the Mission area with its colourful murals packed with political punch .
Our trip to California included a get away to see mother nature at her finest in Yosemite National Park. We were awe struck to see waterfalls cascading down towering granite faces and crossed paths with a big gorgeous black bear that took no notice of us. Sorry folks, we did not take a picture! The 2000 year old Sequoias of Yosemite took us back in time as well as rooting us strongly in the present as they are the largest living being on the planet!
Back in San Francisco and the immediate area we explored Embarcadero avenue, Alcatraz, a cute vegetarian Mexican restaurant, Gracias Madre, ‘La lucha libre por siempre’, the San Francisco Academy of Sciences and its roof top, the How Weird Street Festival and giant Redwoods all the while eating on the 100 mile diet.
Upon leaving San Francisco and ‘Treetops’ we drove through wine country, camped beneath Redwoods and beside sand dunes, and played jump the seaweeds before ending up at Purnima’s (Meera’s cousin) place in Portland.
Portland and the American west is not only the heartland of the environmental movement, but is also home to tax-free shopping, the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi (Powell’s) and OMSI – home of the submarine ‘Blueback’. The rain even stopped long enough for us to be treated to an 80% solar eclipse. Thanks for everything Purnima!
The state of Washington was rather brief with our stop at Mt. St. Helens being a highlight despite the lack of sunlight.
The rain hasn't dampened our spirits....next stop Canada!!!