Friday, June 15, 2012

California

Getting into the country, Amy and I did a split covert entrance as imigration might not have liked the idea that I had ulterior motives to enter the country other than that stated on my visa. Crusing through undetected we now had to convince a taxi driver that we could fit 4 large bags, other small ones and a surfboard and three human beings into a Toyota Prius. He didn't think it could be done. I made it happen. For his none-belief, he got a bad tip! 
Getting right into it we collected our beast of an American car our Ford Crown Victoria aka "a cop car" which will lead us over the next month across the USA, West Coast to East. We had the first few nights in Santa Monica, staying at a friend's house that studied in NZ along with Amy. Made a good base for exploring the L.A coast without having to get too involved with that big old city. First stop for us just after lunch time fresh out of Tahiti was Santa Monica Beach.

Arriving here was the dream California arrival, rolling up in our mean wheels to a palm tree studded golden coast, glistening turquoise Pacific Ocean, sunshine beaming and just decent vibes all round. We couldn't believe we were really there. We dashed up to the Pier for out first American feed, Cheese burger, fires and a milk shake. The best I have had, serverd up by some friendly and chirpy African Americans. Still taking it all in, learnt walking bare foot doesn't work so well over here, as I got involved with some chewing gum. Didn't let it phase me! Straight back to the beach for a surf was what was in order. Ended up making friends with a dolphin, talked to two young locals and caught a few small California waves. Pretty stoaked about that.
Surfing at Santa Monica

Thomas at Huntington Beach
The following day we headed south down the coast just keen to see whatever came upon us. We found a few awesome farmer's markets where we got amongst some kettle corn, strawberries, asparagus and oranges. Nice little bounty! Was quite amazing how the whole coast is built up, in a very developed way it was quite lovely. Some of it much more exclusively than others but I doubt there is any cheap property for miles. Lots of cute piers and wharfs, shopping strips and lined streets of palms. Got to Huntington beach for another surf with some bigger waves but had some competition for them here. Made it as far south as Newport Beach in Orange County,  we were happy to see what was depicted in the TV show The OC was not exaggerated, in fact some people do live like that. Reality check, we're in America when you see a late teen handling a gun across the road while sitting at a red light in Long Beach, LA. But to even it out met some friendly whale watchers atop a cliff and saw some killer whales in action.

The California Coast
Heading north on Friday, a last look around Venice beach and finally decided on what skateboard to buy, big decision! Also last chance to turn down the offers from the people in green scrubs in front of "the doctor is in the building" sign, persuading you to get a medical Marijuana prescription. Went for a skate along the famious beach front board walk and headed for Malibu. Again very developed coastline but started to spread to some open stretches. In Malibu they pretty much build their houses right atop the beach. Stopped in to Santa Barbra for lunch. A really nice casual beach vibe here with a really cute central town area. Finally got off the big highways and onto the real Coastal Highway 1, a nice curvy open road that we followed up to San Francisco. But for the night it was Jalama Beach, our first night in our Walmart tent and air mattress. A windy night put it through its first test.

Happy Hour at Morro Bay
Stoked to play with my new Basketball and have the famous and yum Jalama burger before heading off. Heading north on another specular day making it for happy hour at Morro Bay. Very much getting away from the big busy Southern California here. Had some problems when we discovered all the campgrounds were full and had to venture up a seriously steep and windy road to a spot that might have some space. Ended up being a wicked as forest service campsite, a very basic but picturesque spot secluded up in the forest. 

By this point the coastline had become very rugged and exposed, with towering cliffs and some serious surf pounding in, still gleaming weather and a perfect driving road though. Following the coast was a real treat of seclusion and stunning scenery, a great precursor to the amazing landscapes that lay ahead for our road trip. We made it through the Big Sur coastline through Monterey and to Santa Cruz, where that place was just bustling. Roller coaster rides, motorbikes, beach goers the whole lot. We made it to Half Moon Bay for the evening, just south of San Francisco.
Thomas and Amy on the Big Sur Coastline

Santa Cruz

I started our day in San Fran with a surf in the famous frigid and wild waters of these parts, didn't find the 20+ft waves of 'Mavericks' surf spot but still got some grunty clean lines along with the crowd. Parking is a problem in cities, cost us $20 for the day. A day on foot, we must have walked 20kms in all. The financial district was very nice, then we found ourselves in a poorer part then to the posh financial guys homes on the hills. Over to the Golden Gate and a little wander round Fisherman's Wharf. Found salvation in a bar with, on our count, 68 beers on tap, nice to escape the mess of tourists and tourism that was just a debacle of a street! Out of the city and a bit of an adventure driving in the dark up, over and round the hills in Diablo State Park to find a campsite. A few hours drive the following day taking us to Yosemite National Park.......


2 comments:

  1. Cant wait to join in on the fun!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great update guys. Keep up the good work. Char.

    ReplyDelete