California Dreamin'

D and I decided to spend some of the last of our time together traveling down to California so he could finally get a peek of this fabled land ^_^ He is very interested in experiencing the *typical* American city. Seeing as his entire time here has been mainly in Seattle that had definitely not happened. Since we are both great lovers of camping we decided on a camping trip down the coast (not to mention the cost is WAY less) We started our journey by flying down to San Francisco. I love this city. It is truly a beautiful place, with it surrounded on all sides with water there is always a nice viewpoint around the corner. The houses that line in little rows down the street are so quaint and the people seem SO friendly. We didn't do the whole tourist thing. Although we did have to visit the Golden Gate Bridge and wandered through China Town.
We set out on a sunny day down the coast and were quite excited. We had brought our tent with us and most of the things we needed and had planned on buying a mat or inflatable mattress in a store before we set out, unfortunately there wasn't a Walmart, Kmart or any other of that type of store in sight anywhere along our route. We chose to travel down Route 1 as it is a wonderful highway that hugs the coast the entire way down.

The scenery was awesome. I had forgotten how really beautiful the California coastline is.

We spent our first night in a Redwood Grove. Since we hadn't found a place to buy a mattress yet we did our best with the thick comforter we had brought and layered our clothes and towels. It was a cold uncomfortable night but I survived ^_^ On rising the next morning we took the guided walk through this beautiful grove of trees.
Some of the trees were just huge! The one below was hollow inside and it was big enough to stand up inside with room for at least ten people. there were shelves cut into the side and you could tell that people had inhabited it before.

After leaving the redwood grove we stopped in to Santa Cruz to visit an internet cafe so I could search out a store to buy a mattress at. We found this interesting cafe and had a lot of fun looking at the funny T-Shirts, etc. that they had on display there.
They had some really nice sculptures by the front door...

D got a big kick out of this massively dirty 4x4 in the parking lot, he said this was the first one he had seen that actually looked like they were using it for what it was made for. I have to agree with him...the highways seem full of shiny new looking 4x4s that I wonder if they have ever sullied their tires by actually leaving concrete.

Right before we searched out the store we stopped at a beach that was set WAY off the road. I traveled down a back road that turned back and forth wondering if I would ever reach a beach. It was interesting though because everywhere we looked in every direction were fields of strawberries and artichokes. I had never seen an artichoke plant and neither had D.

We had to leave Route 1 to go inland to find a store for a mattress but fortunately there was a highway that took us back toward Route 1 that came out by Carmel-by-the-sea, one of my very favorite places in California. Upon arriving to Carmel we took a long walk on the beach and then down a few side streets. the town is absolutely charming and it is one place I would love to live at. Unfortunately we forgot the camera so I have no pics of this beautiful town =\ We didn't stay long though as we had wasted half the day searching out the store we went to so we had to push on to reach a campsite. The trip down to Big Sur could take your breath away though the way was very winding and quite exhausting for me to drive.
Upon arriving at the campsite where we had planned to camp it was already closing on dusk
and much to my dismay we discovered that the campsite was not even close to the parking lot. We walked down the path to where it was supposed to be but it went on and on, going quite close to the edge of bluffs and across a little foot bridge. I was too afraid to try to make it back there with our camping things when it was getting so dark and gloomy. All I could imagine was lunging off the edge and breaking my leg! So....we went further down the road hoping to find a good place to stay and lucky for us we came across a very nice campsite right beside a wonderful mountain stream.
Setting out the next morning, we hadn't went too far down the road and we came across this beach literally covered with Elephant Seals...
We were able to get right up close to them and they were quite fun to watch. They love to flip sand up on their backs and roll on their bellies ^_^
After the seals the terrain seemed to change a little. The areas about seemed more desert, the colors going more gray, but still just as beautiful.
Soon after we started seeing vineyards.
We took a side highway into Santa Barbara and went up through a mountain pass and past this beautiful lake, we were supposed to be able to see Micheal Jacksons house along the way but we never saw hide nor hair of it...I wasn't disappointed :p
Driving through Los Angeles was hectic and I remembered why I didn't want to go through there. Unfortunately the city is SO large you have to drive through it cause it would take three times as long to drive around it LOL! What surprised me was how bad the traffic was in San Diego. I think I had it worse there than anywhere else. I swear I think they are trying to pave the whole of Southern California!

On our way back up north after visiting San Diego we came across a bit of a sand storm. Fortunately it wasn't too bad, but we did have a windy night that evening.
On our way back through Los Angeles we took the route that led through Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Bel Aire. I thought as soon as we landed on Sunset Blvd we would be in Poshville. Boy was I wrong. The beginning of Hollywood looks like a slum but it did look a lot nicer as we went along.

Our last campground was up in the hills of Malibu.

On the way up to our campsite we drove past a college campus. On the lawn, right there next to the road was a small group of deer. They didn't even seem to notice all the cars and people around them.

It was truly an eyecandy trip, beautiful scenery and long peaceful days. I admit that on reaching home I was more tired than when I left but it was definitely worth it. D and I both agreed that neither of us would want to live in San Diego though! I think it is a town that grew up too fast for it to fit properly. Huge freeways everywhere and a layout that constantly confused me. Now living on the beach outside San Diego....that's another thing ;)

Time is slipping away

Sorry I haven't blogged much. This last week has been a whirlwind of activity. I've been working my fingers to the bone trying to catch up on this steady stream of work. My birthday was this week and it was very quiet. We did go to a nice hotel as a getaway and I really enjoyed it. We also had a wonderful little get together with several friends. Amanda, my best friend, had it at her house and really went to a lot of effort. Starting with a spread of finger foods. She had a nice baguette sliced and accompanied with boursin, a plate of deviled eggs, some roasted pork tenderloin, crackers, sliced cheese, etc. Then for dinner she made a wonderful salmon with a rub that turned out delicious. Also she had planned on making stuffed mushrooms but they were too small so she put them in a dish covered them with the stuffing and then added dollops of cream cheese on top, interesting but very tasty! She wrapped little sausages with bacon, and yes she is a pork fanatic, I think her favorite food of all time is bacon! She also had a nice fire in the back yard and barbequed chicken that she had soaked in chicken broth, salt and rosemary. It was delicious.Being as I am moving to France very soon she was in a quandry as to what to buy me for my birthday...so she bought me consumables LOL! lottery tickets, a pack of fancy colored cigarettes and a bottle of Jack Daniels. She was sure that they would all be gone before I left for France. I'm not so sure as I really haven't been drinking much but I guess I can save that bottle for a going away party. If I don't drink it all I'm sure my best buddy Jesse will :) We are leaving in three days for California. I'm so excited. I haven't been to California in years and D never has. We are going to spend two nights in San Francisco and then go camping along the coast all the way to Los Angeles. I'm really looking forward to it. I will surely have tons of pictures to post for you when I get back. Until then I guess it's back to working my fingers to the bone ^__^