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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 21 Oct 2009

Location: California, USA

MapCalifornia...hrm.

359826 G20kms (4094kms total)
Last two days of driving:
19th 395kms
20th 585kms

Leaving Oregon yesterday, I knew we were leaving something good, I was hoping that what was to come was even better. We crossed the border and the first town we came to I wanted to stop at a visitor centre for some information on the Californian coast. We were told that because of the states financial situation that all state camping spots had increased to $35 6 weeks ago! Great! We had been paying $13USD in Oregon and had the most amazing brochures to tell us the best places to camp and compare all the different facilities between camping spots. We got a map of the expensive state parks but nothing about their facilities – one $35 site we pulled over at got you a parking spot and a dirty toilet – there was a wonderful view but we are getting spoilt with these daily so we continued driving.
Maybe I should state right at the beginning of the day and discuss the nights adventures later. The first place we got to drive through was Redwood National Park. This park was recommended to us by the Starbucks man and WOW! These trees are giants, every tree I look at from now on will never be the same. I haven’t got any statistics on the trees on hand but its extremely difficult to take a photo of the whole tree – or even just the base of the tree. When you back up to get more in the photo you run into ferns and more giant trees. I’m so glad that these are a part of a National Park because im sure they would be gone by now otherwise. As you drove out of this green wonderland there were redwood carvings being sold for miles in the towns surrounding the forest. The main reason why the trees were protected in the first place because some idiot wanted to cut the biggest one of all to make a dance floor on it and a group banded together to stop him.

A few small towns, more driving and I got J to turn off onto Hwy 1 as it hugged the coastline all the way to San Francisco – well on the map anyway! The straight line on the map with one wiggle in it turned out to be about 40miles of the windiest driving I had ever done. Great Ocean Road eat your heart out. The scenery was to come later but for the first 30 miles in was twisty, turny, roundabout, turn around on yourself kinda turns amongst dense forests and around mountains. A challenge even for the most iron of stomachs. Finally we made it to the coast and it was stunning for the moment we got to snap a picture before a giant sea fog came in. Hours more driving had us very close to San Francisco and it was time to find a camping spot. No books to help this time so we just drove and looked. We got nothing, one RV park wouldn’t even let cars stay – that was a first for us! So California has high petrol prices, crappy roads, expensive camping...I was hoping it was going to get better. It was well after 8pm and pitch black outside when J pulled over to ask a service station attendant in a small town we found, he gave us in his broken English directions to the place we are parked in right now. $22 sounded better than 35, but I was worried about even getting a toilet let alone a shower! We got both and the honking of the distant lighthouse lulled me to sleep.

When I awoke this morning there was a beautiful sunrise stirring. I am sitting here writing this while I watch it and wait for that picture perfect moment, its not far away now. I can still hear the lighthouse honking but in amongst that is breaking waves, sea birds and sea lions with their gruff grumbling. I might do a bike ride to get a closer look at them this morning.
So heres hoping today that California makes up for what it has lost to me. It certainly has alot to live up to considering the beauty & hospitality of Oregon. I guess I shouldn’t really be comparing but for those that live here – Oregon is only one state away, they are certainly not encouraging people to stay here, no matter what their t.v advertisements say.

San Francisco & Alcatraz here we come! Looks like sunshine too. X