25 January 2018

A road trip through the US of A - Part XI: California, quite awake

Yosemite National Park
After our time in the mountains and National Parks we could barely wait to see the sea again. And I could barely wait to see things that weren't that new anymore - I have been to Sebastopol before. I remembered our wonderful friends Judy and Jeff, whom we this time met for a coffee on the road because we crossed them on their way to Montana when we drove to California. And of course I remembered their llamas, cats, the turkeys in their garden and all the other beautiful animals. The good food, the wild garden, the organic fruits and vegetables. It felt like heaven, and I knew that would expect us again.


Before all that was another National park waiting for us though: Yosemite! We heard about it for such a long time. The Half Dome is world famous, not only amongst climbers. When we finally saw it, we were impressed. It feels as if you met a super star in person. And the scenery around was equally amazing. We climbed on some of the rocks along the street and were fascinated by all the shapes of rock and color. It was soooo beautiful. We didn't stay for too long, but what we saw was great. We parked our camper on a campsite a little of the main valley. There were warnings of bears everywhere and it reminded us that we're not in the Swiss alps, even thout there was a lot of stone around us. We absolutely enjoyed our time there, made a little tour through the vally and continued our journey in direction of Petaluma, our next bigger goal.
Half Dome, Yosemite Valley

As our friends from Sebastopol were in Montana when we came to the area, this time we could stay with my sisters friends Derek and Allison, another awesome couple. They were perfect hosts and it felt as if we knew each other forever. Thanks to them we enjoyed cool beer at Lagunitas, just around the corner from their place (which means about a good 20 minutes drive, but well, there this is around the corner), which came with interesting sound and people - it was a blast. And to lose a couple of those calories again, we could spend the days at the gym that Derek frequently goes to. He gave us som coupons for people who consider moving there. Well, why shouldn't we consider it for a couple of days so that we could use the gym. Who knows, maybe one day we're eventually done with Switzerland...

Redwoods
We also drove around, did the tour along the coast, went to the Redwoods - and I realized how close we were to Sebastopol and that Judy showed me that already. But last time I had a terrible cold and barely saw anything (but it was wanderful anyway, thank you again Judy!!!). So I got to enjoy it with Fabs this time. And it felt a bit like home. And that made it even better!

So after Crab Chowder, Lagunitas Beer and tons of other delicacies we had to head South. Through San Francisco, all along the Highway 1. Legendary road, spectacular views. On the road we passed by Phyllis' new home, so we decided to check if she might be home. And she was! Too bad John wasn't there. But well, maybe next time. I am pretty sure we'll come back to the US, or we might have a chance even to meet in Switzerland. After a nice lunch and a tour through the interesting residence for people over 50 we drove on with a lot of fresh energy.

That bridge
We spent the nights on camp grounds along the Highway and enjoyed a last couple of spectacular sights of the Pacific, knowing that our trip would end soon and that we had to hand back the van, our home for three months. And it was the right decision, to rent that van. Another time we might buy one and sell it after the trip. But for this time it felt good to not deal with all the papers, insurance and stuff as our time was limited and the road long.

When we looked at hotel prices (especially in this extremely touristy area), as we considered enjoying the luxury of a night in a real bed, we realized once again that the costs would have been crazy high without the
Highway 1
van. I am way too scared of snakes to sleep in a tent in the US, so the option would have been Hostels, Motels or Hotels. All of them way too expensive for what you get (in our opinion). The last night we spent on a camp ground in the mountains behind Santa Barbara. It was about 40°Celsius and we could barely breath in that oven. But thinking of the fact that we'd fly off to Iceland soon and then get back to Switzerland eventually it was absolutely fine to feel the heat a last time. And we knew we would long for that when we'd try to sleep in a freezing tent with 0°Celsius outside. I definitely preferred the heat.

Back in LA
Nearly a bit sad we finally reached Los Angeles again where we started our road trip through the US. But this time we actually enjoyed our time in the city because we knew we'd have fantastic hosts. Our friends Nagat, Bader and the kids gave us a wonderful home for the last night. We loved the time with them when we were in LA before. Nagat and the Kids were travelling, but Bader was still hosting us and we loved the discussions we could have with him. So that was probably the best end we could imagine for this adventure!


More pictures from our road trip through California

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