From so cal all the way to the top of the state- cali. rocked. my. world.
I stayed in Oxnard for 2 weeks with Greg. I got to take a drive up the famous pacific coast highway with a Mexican friend in his SWEET convertible. We drove through Malibu and ended up at the Santa Monica pier, where we got out (paid $8 to park!!) and walked all around the beach, the pier and up into the outside shopping mall. Cali beaches are HUGE and amazing.
We barbequed on one of my last nights there and I had so much fun cooking with Ricardo. I love meeting new people from different cultures. He was teaching us how to really taste food, "with your lips and your tongue, don't just shove it back!!" He also took us to the MOST AMAZING taco joint. I seriously will never be able to enjoy taco bell ever again. We had some tacos and this shrimp diablo dish, diablo is spanish for hell, and the name was perfect because these shrimp were literally making us sweat.
I left southern California and made the drive up to San Fran, where I stayed one night. Got up the next day and stopped at the Golden Gate bridge. It was such a sight to see! Alcatraz was off in the distance, and driving over the bridge itself was very cool.
I made it to Eureka, CA in the early evening. I took the redwood highway all the way up. I LOVED this drive. I stopped off at a little creek and went for a quick swim to cool off. I think this was my favorite spot ever and I honestly did not want to leave. Eureka was a funny little town on the Northern California coast. Lots of hippies and wandering souls. I camped out for a night and had one of the best times at a camp site since I've been on this trip. A few sites away from mine was a kid from Switzerland. He flew to the US and took a language class for a month or two, and I was very impressed with his english after such a short time. We played some ping pong and then made a fire and we listened to each others music. I taught him some words, like 'wicked' and 'bad ass' as well as what things like "Government" mean. In the morning he made me pancakes before we both took off in separate directions. I picked out a place for him to stop and he picked out a place for me.
I ended up on this CRAZYYY drive North East to Mount Shasta. I took the big foot scenic highway, into old highway 99. This was tough, and beautiful all at the same time. The roads were SO very curvy and narrow and anything but straight. It was a challenge but I really enjoyed this day of driving. It is something you do not get to experience everyday. I went to Weed, Ca (where my swiss friend told me I needed to visit) and met a man holding a 70 pound yellow boa constrictor. Not too far south of Weed was Mount Shasta, where I camped out for a night. My site was at the foot of the majestic mountain, and it was wonderful. Made a small campfire and chilled out before bed.
The next morning I set out early (mother's day!) and took I-5 all the way to Springfield, OR (home of the simpsons!!!) My mom's brother lives out here with my cousins and his wife. I haven't seen them in years, so I felt like I was driving to a stranger's home. But as soon as I arrived I felt so welcomed and loved. My cousin Jeff took me to the top of this drive to see the whole city. Afterward we were extremely hot from the weather so we both decided to jump into the river with all of our clothes on. My cousin Jeff did a x-country road trip in 2010, so we had a lot to talk about and compare. At night my uncle made a huge feast of BBQ chicken, potatoes, salad, burgers and we had some yummy micro-brews. When the sun went down we all got into the hot tub.
Everyone LOVED my hula hoops. I stayed up well until midnight with my aunt and uncle just talking and catching up. It's so great to be here. I think I'm staying until Thursday before possibly heading up to Seattle and then eventually making the trek back across the U.S. Right now I'm at the library in Eugene. I am feeling very at peace here. Until next time...