Blissful inner peace

Dear future me,

Someone was clearly not listening to me up (or down) there as I explicitly asked for warmer weather in my last blog. The title of this blog should be ‘Playing ice cubes in California’, but hey, maybe this Nennie should accept that everything is upside down in this journey. So I continued the road trip as an Eskimo down highway 1. The whole area is called Redwoods, because the giant trees were either very fertile in the ancient past or they secretly move in the night and use highway 1 for their walkabouts. Anyway, I could enjoy their company for another day as I was making my way to Fort Bragg. The scenery as I was riding can’t be described in words as it is too gorgeous for human language to label it appropriately. And partly because everything was a bit blurry. That had nothing to do with misty conditions at sea, but rather with the trembling of my body (and therefore my eyes) in my cold journey to Fort Bragg and the rain on my visor while going to San Francisco. But even in these conditions, my heart was beating twice as fast over the spectacular views and the thrill of riding next to steep cliffs over a small winding road. Normally that is enough to pump the adrenaline through your body, except that I dealt with this in a fierce storm, in the dark, when I was in the vicinity of San Francisco. When it wasn’t raining (thankfully, most of the day) I had to circumvent mother cows on the road who didn’t like my interest in the photo genetic skills of their offspring. Or I was acting like an acrobat, trying to balance my motorbike through 15 miles per hour curves while keeping my video camera in one hand to shoot the action. Problem: my GoPro (helm camera) completely quit on me, but I couldn’t get myself to accept this fact. It’s one thing to capture the magnificent landscape in still moments on megapixels, but another thing to relive the moment over and over again if you actually see the moving world on a screen. Sadly enough, the most beautiful rides always seem to be in the dark or/and in the rain, which I can’t reproduce through a video or a photo anyway. So there is no evidence of me plowing through fearsome wind gusts next to a roaring see on the side of a cliff or on the Golden Gate Bridge. You just have to take my word for it.

At least I entered San Francisco safely and (still) sound, making my way through the heavy traffic in this city. Where are the flying police cars that are running down hill, chasing a bad guy on his four wheels? You can’t trust those tv-series anymore these days, cause there is no way anybody could actually move an inch in his car. The only exciting thing here is being stuck in another traffic jam while getting up a 30% degree slope, so you can test your brakes thoroughly. Now I understand why San Francisco is so keen to use the cable car as a way to transport people over its hilly playground. As I bought a souvenir picturing the cable car, I couldn’t resist to do the ultimate tourist activity here and hop on this old tram. Or is visiting Alcatraz the most touristy thing to do here in San Francisco? Anyway, I loved all of these things and fell in love with the city while strolling over the pier promenades. Or crossing the endless long bridges that connect San Francisco to its neighbors. Oakland is one of them and home to my friends Alan and Zina. I met him in Dawson City, up north and was invited warmly into their place. I think they like to have famous people in their house, because first Alan send me to Adventure Designs to shoot a video about my travels (). Then I was sniffed by their dog to detect if I had any stardom qualities before I was allowed to enter the doorstep. I guess I passed the test as I was not only pampered by the hosts, but also indulged by Asher, this beautiful dog. He gave me many small blond presents, which I carry to this date on all of my clothes. Zina and Alan were great and it felt really good to be in the present of fellow bikers that like to explore the beautiful parts of America. But I did have to work for my living, because I had to paint a boat. After this very delicate and hard work for 5 minutes, I was served with the best taco’s I’ve had so far. Thanks, friend Jim!

Still heading south, after tasting the good life in the Sonoma and Napa Valley, I was armed with a list of places where to stop on the way. Too much to see actually, because I had to hurry down to Los Angeles (Santa Monica). Not before I could feel the warmth return to my bones while enjoying the splendid scenery of highway 1 again. Wow, the sun was out, the sea was more beautiful than ever and together they gave me some spectacular sunsets to watch. I’m still not good in arriving at my destination before it gets dark, but at least this way I can absorb the glowing orange, red and purple lights of the sun when it goes down for its nightly bath in the ocean. And every time my heart grows bigger. I’m feeling like the luckiest person on earth to witness that glorious moment. My travels brought me through Monterey, where the grandes aquarium shows the mysterious creatures of the deep sea and the rocks. Especially the jelly fish exhibition made me speechless; how in earth can moving slime be ugly scary and eternal gracious at the same time? Plenty time to think about that on the rest of my day trip to Cambria, where I had to pass Big Sur (a forest with a view, occasionally inhabited by a big hotel or restaurant where spending money is easier than losing money in Las Vegas). Here, you momentarily forget that you’re going through the more populated areas of California where you see Santa’s appear on a lot of town signs. Most of the names here are Spanish anyway and they represent the good life of California, because the houses are getting more and more impressive. Although the most impressive castles are hidden behind fences. I couldn’t detect Oprah Winfreys domain in Santa Barbara. Neither did I see any physical evidence of the soapy Capwell or Lockridge families. I just had to settle for a very nice coffee shop to get some personal fuel to undertake the last part of my journey. Santa Monica was waiting for me. Not only to finally give me the summer feeling I’ve been looking for lately (yahoo, 29 degrees Celsius) but also to give me a friend for the Santa holidays (see my next blog…..cliffhanger).

Now I’m really into the Californian lifestyle, I have to mention the different ways of the Californians. They seem to be more relaxed than the other states I visited so far. Maybe that’s because of the (supposedly) warmer climate or because they have a nice ratio of southerly inhabitants. Who’s says that Americans only speak one language? I’m starting to greet everybody with Buenos Dias, since you can easily mistake California for Mexico. But one thing I had to get used to – again – is the way you can move around on your motorcycle. In all of the other states, a motorcycle is just like a car. If there is a 1000 mile traffic jam, you just wait for 460 days to get to your next destination. Here in California, you can ‘share lanes’ again, meaning that you can throw you bike right in the middle. Too bad they have these reflectors on the ground too, so your passing through is a bumpy ride. A bit scary and with all the luggage on my back, somehow not my favorite action anymore (which is really strange, because in Holland it’s so normal to do). Parking on the sidewalk is however not done, so you have to park in a garage or on the street. There is no information whatsoever about the prices you have to pay as a motorcyclist to park your bike in a garage, but if you ask the guards they tell you it is free. It’s not on internet, because it is a secret and you can pay if you want. Yeah, right! In the end, this very relaxed state does have one uncomfortable thing: the most un-relaxed way of pumping gas. Not only do you have to go inside to pay with your card (always a drag if you are on a motorbike), but you have to master a complex skill of pressing the hose rubber stiffly on your fuel tank while keeping your grip tightly on the handle. It took me a while to understand this system as I was getting nowhere fuel wise, but now I just curse this person who ever invented this hardship. Thank god California is too beautiful to leave me in this angry mode for long and so every day I still return to the blissful inner peace that I found on the roads of America. Happy Holidays!

SYL,

Annemieke, 17 december

Reacties 7

Charles 18-12-2013 12:43

Hey Annemiek,

Leuk weer van je te lezen! En wat een land he! (China is leuk maar ik smacht alweer een beetje naar de plekken waar je rondrijdt nu.

Trouwens als je nog naar Albuquerque gaat!? Laat even weten, wij hebben daar ook nog superleuke vrienden zitten. (Je hebt pech, ze zijn recentelijk van Ventura, (LA) naar New Mexico verhuist maar daar is het ook erg gaaf). Laat maar horen dus als je wilt.
Happy & safe travels!
Charles

KIM 18-12-2013 15:11

Aloha Girrlly,

Goed te lezen dat je avontuurlijke reis inmiddels in Californië is aanbeland en dat het ook daar goed vertoeven is. Benieuwd waar jij je kerstkransje eet en de oliebol met poedersuiker verteerd.
Ik wens je in ieder geval al het goeds toe voor het nieuwe jaar 2014.
Geniet van het leven en je eigen legende.
Lieve groet, X KIM

Patrick Vergroesen 18-12-2013 19:23

Ik gun je de warmte van harte! Geniet ervan en gezellige kerstdagen gewenst met Ingrid samen. En voor 2014: een mooi vervolg van jouw reis!
Groet,
Patrick

Ineke Kooistra 18-12-2013 23:15

Ha Annemieke,
Fantastisch om je verhalen te lezen!
Wens je een goede jaarwisseling en alle goeds!
Tot ziens.
Ineke Kooistra

Jetty en Jan Janssen 19-12-2013 12:56

Hallo Annemieke.
We zijn onder de indruk van al die mooie plekken waar jij bent geweest. Wat een ervaring! als je weer terug bent kan je er een boek over schrijven met de plaatjes erbij.
Wij wensen je heel fijne kerstdagen en een goed begin van het nieuwe jaar en hopen dat je ooit weer aan het leven in Nederland
zal kunnen wennen.
Groeten en kussen van ons allemaal en heel veel goeds gewenst.
jetty

Yvonne vd L 22-12-2013 08:36

Hoi Annemieke,
Gelukkig heb je het nu wat warmer. Ook hier krijgen we vast geen witte kerst, helaas. Fijne kerstdagen en een mooi vervolg van je reis in 2014!!
Groetjes, Yvonne.

Tineke 23-12-2013 21:12

Lieve Annemieke,
Mijn mail is blijkbaar niet bij je aangekomen ....
Dan toch maar hier een reactie.
Wat een gave reis, moest wel aan je denken met al die kou, regen en donkere dagen.
Wens je gezellige feestdagen en een fantastisch 2014 met zonnige wegen.
Liefs,
Tineke

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