Kiri and Mary were driving down to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving with their family and offered a ride. I could use the sunshine anytime and Portland had been mighty murky lately so I took ’em up on the offer. The drive down wasn’t too scenic as it was raining cats and dogs, and we didn’t even get to see Mt. Shasta. The California Central Valley smelled bad going down and coming back up too, just like vomit. I wasn’t impressed. But Los Angeles was nice and sunny as promised and I had Thanksgiving dinner with an old rugby/blogging friend and his family and interesting friends, and got to hang out with the Lovely Dingo and his new squeeze. We went to the Japanese Town and stopped by at the Hello Kitty store for some cuteness:
Photo by Mr. Dingo Pup.
After L.A. I broke away from the grrrls and drove over to San Francisco to meet up with some friends, including Moby. Well, the ONLY reason I went to California was to meet up with Moby so we could talk about BrettCajun, and boy did we gossip for hours over cocktails. “OMG gurl blah blah blah gurl did you hear what she did? Blah blah blah ‘squishy’ blah blah blah tennis…” Etc. It was exquisite and well worth the trip right there.
But the cities were wearing on me so I decided to head north for some nature, which was a good thing I cut loose early as the trip back to Portland took longer than expected. The roads were windy and the weather was foul the rest of the way, but I got some beautiful pictures:
This was the coast just north of San Francisco, you can barely see S.F. in the distance.
Most of the coastal towns were expensive getaways for people from the Bay area, but as you drove further north the towns got smaller and more genuine in my opinion. My favorite community was Point Arena:
On one foggy night where I was tired of driving I was forced to stay in a luxury resort with a private stretch of coastline. This is bull kelp washed up on the shore:
I had brought my camping gear with me, and wanted to camp on the shore so I could hear the surf. But the locals had warned me of a Storm of the Decade that was coming, which I scoffed at as the sky was clear and the moon was full. But I didn’t sleep well in my tent, possibly worried about the storm or perhaps no longer able to sleep on the ground at my advanced age. Tent structural failure came at 6am due to high winds making for a rude, wet awakening the next morning. The surf was pounding the shore and it was raining hard, so I threw my gear in the car and continued to head north and inland to the Humboldt woods to see the giant trees.
On the way up I spotted some harbor seals. Can you see the black oystercatcher behind the seal? Click to embiggen:
The rain continued as I stopped by one of those giant redwoods that the locals gutted and turned into a tourist attraction. You could maybe drive a Ford Festiva through it:
The redwoods left to themselves were more impressive:
I spotted some elk as well:
It was a memorable trip but by the end of it I was ready to be back in my own bed in Portland.