Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Ritual #23 Exploring California
So my friend Michelle for this ritual suggested that I see more of California as it has now become my home. This past weekend I went on quite a trip through Northern California!
Although this is part of the Redwood adventure I feel that I got to explore a lot of Nothern California this past weekend. I thought before that California was beautiful in certain spots like Malibu, Santa Monica, etc but when I traveled up north I was just speechless with the beauty of the scenary. Northern California truly feels like another state or country compared to Southern Cali. Our trip through the beautiful landscape of Northern California was comparable to the immense beauty of being in the Redwoods.
Janis and I flew into San Francisco on Friday night, the 15th pretty late. We had some adventures before we even got to where we were staying that night. The car rental place wanted to give us a 2009 Nissan Hybrid. I was excited but a little uncertain about taking a car I knew nothing about. We got in and couldn't even figure out how to turn the damn thing on! It was pretty late, around midnight and after a few minutes of looking at the manuel to figure out how to drive the damn thing we said forget this! It felt a little unsafe to try to drive a car that we had to use the manuel to even figure out how to turn on the car. So we had to go back and take more time to exchange it.
We went to this amazing Hostel called the City Center in San Francisco. It used to be an old 20's hotel and even had the elevator where you had to pull the gate closed. The rooms were pretty nice and there were a few big common rooms. Some had computers/internet access, some with just couches to lounge, and areas to watch movies and relax. There ended up being a lot of people from different countries all converging at the hostel. I had some flashes of the horror movie Hostel but figured I was pretty safe. We woke up our roomie for the night trying to struggle to open the door but creeped around after. Its a very interesting experience to stay at a Hostel. I really love the community feeling. At breakfast everyone serves themselves and washes their own dishes. I got to meet this guy Ben from Australia who was out traveling and was looking for work in America. What I found on my travels were more and more foreigners who were leaving their countries because of no work. This gives me a better picture of how other countries are failing as bad or perhaps worse with the declining world economy.
Janis and I piled up in our rental car and then went off to visit her friend Kenny who works at the company that puts out the SIM'S games, etc. and lives in SF. Over sharing some coffee I ended up discovering my camera was malfunctioning and the zoom lens wouldn't go back in. It continued to say len's error and would shut off. It was a pretty low moment as I was so looking forward to capturing some of the beauty I would see on the trip. I pulled through and tried to look optimistically at the fact that my friend Janis had a camera too.
We said our goodbyes and were off to the Klamath, CA. I drove through SF, over the bridge, and out of the city. The city of SF looks different than any other city I've been. Janis states that it looks somewhat similiar to Chicago where I have never been, yet :). Driving out of the city we shortly after starting to see more open fields and hills. It was a beautiful day to just drive on the open road. The city traffic dispersed and we were able to drive at a good pace. We blasted music, had the windows down, singing and laughing. We stopped when we saw signs for wineries but unfortunately for some reason they were closed so no dice. It was still beautiful to drive past the wineries though. We stopped at a little town and grabbed some sandwhiches at a convenient store/deli. After we were fueled up we continued on our way. We drove past the ocean, hills, forests, plains. It was another side of California that I had never experienced before. I just took as much of it in as I could. We switched off right after we entered under the sign welcoming us to the Gateway to the Redwoods. Janis was excited to drive as she lives in Boston and no longer uses a car.
Somewhere as we got closer we found this amazing radio station, The Lost Station! It was old rock, some metal and totally fit our silly moods. We totally rocked out to this song, Balls to the Wall from Twisted Sister. Balls to the wall! I had an image of both of us being in our 50's on a road trip rocking out and singing to the same song. I shared that image to her and we decided that it would be our song! We stopped at this real bizaro place called Confusion Hill. We saw signs of question marks and we pulled over. It had all these carved/painted animals all over the place and was a bit creepy. When I told Brian about it later he said that he thinks it was the same place he had been when he was little. Supposedly the Gravity there is different than anywhere else. Needless to say Confusion Hill left quite an impression on us.
Then we slowly drove into the forest. The trees loomed mysterious and large in front of us. We had to control ourselves to not just pull over in the middle of the road and get out and gawk. It was just so beautiful. We continued our way through the town of Eureka. It was only around 9/10 at night on Sat., it was the more "happening" towns we came across (come on it had a Sizzler), and it was completely barren of people. Very odd. So all of the sudden we were in Klamath, CA. The motel, Ravenwood, we ended up staying at seemed to pop up from behind a tree out of no where.
We pulled up and went in to speak to the front desk. We met Gary. Our first impression over the phone was that he was a little odd and perhaps a little creepy. When we met him though we discovered that although definitely eccentric Gare ended up being extremely friendly, nice, and helpful. He did talk our tired ears off however about the difference of politics from Northern Cal/Southern Cal and how Northern Cal/Oregon were trying to seperate before Pearl Harbor happened. He talked about wanting to take up the cause again! We joked with ourselves later that perhaps he was part of the original group that was trying to get this through. He seems a big wig in the small town of Klamath. We found our room extremely comfortable and had this really cute nautical theme. We tried to sleep but stayed up later than we wanted, excited for the next day when we wood explore the Redwood forests! - Stay tuned for next blog entry about the Redwoods!
I feel like I really got to see a lot of California just traveling to and from the Redwoods. It gave me a new perspective and love for California that I didn't have before I started out. I still had missed the Eastern woods, nature. Although they will still have place in my heart always I do now have a new love which is Northern California.
Thanks Michelle for encouraging me to explore my "newly" adopted state of California!