Thursday, December 29, 2016

Last hurrah in California

Right before leaving California, I had to go on a road trip to some of my favorite places.  You can't leave the Golden State without spending time outdoors in the sunshine, cruising down Highway 1, exploring the small towns, visiting epic scenery and having a couple amazing days in San Francisco.

One of my best friends from Germany, Stefan, was visiting me for a week, so we rocked Santa Cruz and then set out in a rental car to check out the California beauty.  First stop was Big Sur, a top 5 place for me in the world and just an hours drive south.  Passing Monterey and Carmel, the shops and houses are left behind for grand mountains rolling into the sea.  I love this place and it was awesome to road trip along the coast, popping off for vistas and coffees along the way. 

McWay Falls

Soaking up that sunshine

We hiked the Ewoldsen trail, a perfect example of a California hike as you start way underneath the redwoods along a stream with waterfalls and slowly hike your way up, above the redwoods and into open pastures with oak trees.   From there on, it was time to find a free camping spot and set up the tent.  Pretty damn amazing sunset over the Pacific Ocean, with a mad amount of stars afterwards made for another solid night over in Big Sur.  You just can't beat that place.

Driving back up Highway 1, we stopped off in El Pescadero, small town California, to meet up with a good friend Shannon for lunch.  So many great places to visit along the coast, and this one is a classic, from the hipster coffee shop that charges way too much for vintage items, to the goat farm serving banquet dinners.

San Francisco was next up, with the main tourist sights getting checked off, lots of hills to drive up and down. It always amazes me when you drive and can't see the road under your car right before you go down a hill.  Just no clue about what will come next.  The adventure!  And that is to say nothing of parking perpendicularly on a steep street, having to pull yourself out of the car to get out.

From SF, it was back to Santa Cruz for a few days and then with a different rental car, I packed up everything and drove north to Portland.  From the balmy 60 degree weather by the beach, I drove into freezing rain, and eventually snow in the City of Roses.  Safe and fun driving up there, and then we were snowed in Portland style at the family house.  Which means that 2 inches of snow back up all the streets and no one goes to work.  So we just had good times at the house.  The family reunited once again!