Monday, October 3, 2011

California Dreamin'

The past few days have been a whirlwind of sightseeing and serious drive time.

I had a wonderful visit in Blue Lake, CA with my boss and friend from my very first internship in Vermont-- Lauryn. We drank some awesome beer at the town's one watering hole (aside from the casino)-- Mad River Brewing Company and then ate late night burgers and shakes before bed... a perfect way to unwind from the 7 hours I had just spent driving down the coast (a gorgeous but LONG drive). The next morning, we hit the beach in a tiny town called Trinidad before I headed south to San Francisco.

San Fran was a mix of exploration and exhaustion. I spent night one in an awesome hostel in a national park in the Marin Headlands and night two in a less awesome hostel in the city, where my phone mysteriously disappeared and I spent the night lying awake imagining all of the diseases I was contracting from my bed. Between tracking down a new phone (FYI, California tax is RIDICULOUS-- $45 in tax for a $50 phone!) and walking all over town because I couldn't figure out the public transportation situation, I was beyond exhausted by the end of day 1, but day 2 redeemed the visit for me, as I headed down to Golden Gate Park to hear some world-class bluegrass at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and take in a fantastic Picasso exhibit at the de young Museum. I capped the day off with a sunset drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to my third hostel, which was in old lighthouse keeper's quarters right on the Coast. I unwound in their hot tub for a few minutes before bed-- the perfect end to a great day of exploring.

Yesterday, I decided to take the scenic route to Los Angeles and spent the day driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. It was a long drive... but I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on CD and stopped several times to take pictures and make friends with seals and other marine life.  I'm staying the next few nights with another friend named Lauren (apparently I know a few in CA) and after a few days on the road alone, I can't tell you how nice it is to spend some time in one place with someone who knows me well. I rolled in about 5:30 last night and straight away she helped me unload the garbage bags (yes, that's plural) full of dirty laundry from my car and took me to buy beer and eat fish tacos for 1.75 a pop-- this girl gets me!

We're headed out to Santa Monica today to stroll the pier and check out the scene on the beach, so I need to get going here.. but I'll leave you with a few of my favorite photographic memories from the past few days...

 Northern California Coastline=Gorgeous

 Quick stop in the redwoods (I took better pictures on my phone, but alas.. they disappeared when it did)

Morning view of San Fran and the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin headlands

View of the city from Buena Vista Park

Haight Ashbury

The GayBrohood

 Mission Dolores

 Mission Dolores again

 and again

Murals in balmy alley in the Mission district

My favorite one

 Balmy Alley

Lombard Street: The Crookedest (and most touristy) street in the world

Ricky Skaggs at Hardly Strictly

 The de young Museum

Apparently a lot of people biked to Hardly Strictly

One last city view

 Pacific coast sunset

My hostel

 Fog clearing over big sur

Elephant Seals!!

 My drive

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