Strange happenings

Dear future me,

All the sightseeing in the outback on the motorbike left me longing for a place where they have a hostel, a cinema and spots to visit within walking distance. The answer was Las Vegas. Although walking distance may not really apply to this town, as it took me a full hour to walk back from the Strip to my hostel. In the rain. But at least the town has lights; an occasional street lantern and a few buildings that want to tell you they are there. I think these buildings slightly have a inferiority complex, because they try to be the spitting images of famous old buildings from Europe. I could see right through them though (o well not really, I was too much blinded by the neon colors and the rain drops in my eyes) and knew that I didn’t sleep walk myself into a plane that brought me back to the old continent. No, I was right here in the middle of the craziness of what we call America and guess what? I liked it! Maybe it was the company, I met up with Azure and Roel again, or because I really admired the architectural statues around me and their fabulous insides. Outside it was “pitch black” while inside I was walking in Venice by daylight. And how many people can say that they get into a casino, just to be screaming their voices raw when torpedoed through the roof in a rollercoaster?  And how many people can actually say they lost five dollars in the casino after betting five dollars? And how many people can say it took them 40 seconds to do that? No, casino’s are not meant for me, I rather spend 400 dollars for a service on my bike. At least I can say that I was leaving Las Vegas with far less money than before!

Next stop: from lively Las Vegas to Death Valley in California. In my mind I was entering a frying pan full of sand, where nothing lives except for scorpions and where you will triple over dead skulls. But the thought of camping in the warmth of the night, got me excited. When I arrived however, I did see nothing of that kind I just described. That could have something to do with the fact that I arrived in the dark and when I say dark, I don’t mean the Las Vegas “pitch black” kind of dark. I mean the riding-with-your-motorbike-headlight-to-every-single-camping-pole-and-still-see-nothing kind of dark. It took me hours to find myself a available campsite, because everybody in the USA decided to give thanks to each other in Death Valley. Why???? I soon found out, because after returning from dinner, I found a grandfather, father and two sons around a campfire on my spot. It turned out to be their spot, they actually paid for it. But they were in the thanksgiving mood and invited me to join them at their campfire. Cheering over beer, a smore and good conversation with these San Diego guys, I slept pretty good that night on my free site after saying goodbye to them (they left for a hotel….only paid to have a campfire!). The next day I discovered the true beauty of Death Valley. No idea why it bares the Death name, as it was very much alive. Okay, with people. I don’t recall seeing any animals except for Raven (the bird of Death?), but still. If I would crash here or get lost, I would only have to turn and talk to the fellow behind me to ask for help. And why all these signs about heat exhaustion? This 21 degrees Celsius surely won’t kill me! No, Death Valley is actually a very nice place to stay. And surprising, cause it is full of different shapes and materials. I guess the alien kids went on a little stroll and had some fun over here too.

Maybe I do suffer from a heat stroke: rain in Las Vegas, a Living Valley?? What’s happening? At least one thing stuck to its natural plan: the Tioga Pass (10.000 feet or 2900 meters) which would have brought me to Yosemite, was closed. Due to snow. So instead of going north, I went south to find a lower pass over the Sierra Nevada. And somehow, I found this most gorgeous road ever that took me right through this familiar territory of (granite) rocks and mountains. Not that I’ve ever been in this area before, but somehow I recognize it from….television?? At first I crossed some real dessert, with cactuses and lonesome ranches with propelling windmills. But soon I entered a canyon which took me further into the rough Sierra Nevada and all the way to the top, were a whole new world exposed itself: magical forest with giants (trees that is, not big humans). That’s weird, as I always learned that if you go high up a mountain, at one point the trees will vanish. Somehow, nobody told these trees about this common rule and see what happens: they grow all the way to the sky. It’s a good thing they can’t move or else I surely would have been smashed by one of the big guys. Instead I just hugged them, since trees are my favorite beings in this world and one of them let me sit on his lap, where this Nennie dwarf was feeling very humble. I had arrived in Sequoia National Park and really didn’t want to leave anymore. Still so many things to see, I had to keep on moving. Yosemite was waiting for me and showed me her own pearls on this planet: gigantic granite rock formations, towering high above a beautiful valley that seems to be bursting out of the earth. Yes, Yosemite is a queen, but I must admit that I didn’t experience the majesty in the same way I had in the other National Parks. Maybe I’m getting tired of sightseeing?

Or my body and mind are just burdened by the many miles on the road and the images I have to store in this little brain of mine. Time to relax and, although I’m still a backpacker, I couldn’t resist the spa in my hostel in the mountains. It was a nice place to stay, but I got lost in the enormity of large groups of travelers. It’s funny how it works, but the more people around you, the lonelier you get as they form an unbreakable wall around you. No, I prefer smaller hostels, but here in the States I don’t have much choice. Most of the times I’m lucky though, as I staying in big hostels in the wrong season. And now Thanksgiving is history, at least for this year, peace and quiet returned to my nocturnal dwellings. And yet, when you’re peacefully dreaming about the wonders of the world, someone is screaming in the middle of the night in your room. Bedbugs!!! I didn’t wanted to believe it at first and ignored the American lady completely, but she made a real scene. So when I got up, I saw one little guy crawling over the bed next to me. As I already had been bitten by another insect, I passed for this vampire to nurture on my blood and moved to another room. I couldn’t help feeling itchy for the next few days. This all happened in Sacramento, a town that was very disappointing. Nobody lives in the center of this town, except for all the homeless people and there is not much to do. So, happy to leave again, I headed to the north to take a beautiful winding road through the mountains to get me back (after 40 days of absence) to the coast. Not that I saw much of the winding road, because it was already dark again, but I did feel it. And it brought me to this lovely town called Arcata and this romantic little guesthouse Redwoods Lily, where the lady owner poured the wine as I told her about my adventures in other parts of the world. It’s cozy in here and the few people that are around, warm me up with their own stories. I need the warmth though, as it is very chilly over here. In fact, I almost didn’t survive my little trip to the Red Woods to see some more giants. It is so cold, they even closed the scenic route through the park due to black ice. At sea level!! As I said….I don’t know what is happening, but these last two weeks were pretty strange. Thank god I’m moving to more normal places: San Francisco and Los Angeles. Please let it be warm!


Annemieke, 4 december

Reacties 2

Yvonne vdL 06-12-2013 19:09

Hoi Annemieke,
Ik hoop dat je binnenkort wat warmere temperaturen bereikt! Wij hebben hier net het heerlijk avondje achter de rug. Sint en Piet hadden het moeilijk met die harde storm.
Groetjes, Yvonne v.d.L.

Jan 08-12-2013 13:45

Hoi Annemieke,

Je verhalen blijven boeiend, ook met een klein beetje: o, ja dat weet ik nog.
Goede PR voor de VS.

Groeten, Jan


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