Diverse is the word we would use to describe one of Americas best-known states. From the wilds of the redwoods to the materialistic and plastic coastline to the south, and the affluent vineyards in-between, California really does seem to have it all.
Our first experiences of California had us riding in a very sweaty 38.C, and then into a very cold and foggy, yes foggy, Crescent City at just 13.C. The differences in temperature were matched only by the differences in the people, as we headed south through the most liberal of States to date.
Our first and much anticipated stop was on the Avenue of the Giants, a place we had both talked about since the inception of our trip 2 years ago. We were not disappointed. With some of the trees dating back to over 2000 years old, their scale really has to be seen to be believed. One was even large enough for us to drive through. A real highlight was a pre-marathon training run along the Avenue of the Giants, something we will both always remember.
We knew our time in California was going to be relaxed and at a much slower pace than we were both used to, as we were a little ahead of schedule for the anticipated arrival of friends and family. This was by no means an issue as Lorna had been longing for some sustained sunshine. From the Giant trees of North California we rode into the Vineyards of Napa where the Italian and French architecture made us feel a little closer to home. For the first time on our trip there was a familiar vibe to the culture, once more, all the Vote Trump signs had disappeared, a sight that we had become accustom to seeing. V8 Dodge Ram pickup trucks were replaced with hybrid electric cars. The all American feel that we were used to had definitely turned into a more liberal/European way of life.
From Napa we chose to put in our longest day of the trip so far as we were keen to tick off Los Angeles and all that is has to offer. One of the more frustrating aspects of California is the jump in price as well as the terrible traffic. Our ride took over 12 hours before arriving in the most expensive campsite in the world but as our Facebook update said, the views of Malibu beach made it worth the price tag.
The Temperature rose as quickly as the prices and the sights that we saw were straight out of the movies. We were “treated” to views of Beyoncé’, Tom Hanks, Leonardo Dicaprio to name a few, summer homes. Something that neither of us were overly bothered by, at times we felt we had slipped from travellers to regular tourists. This was confirmed by a lengthy Beverly Hills tour, delivered by an irritating tour guide! Oh well, LA can be ticked off our list and we have both managed to re-charge our batteries and get a good tan!
Our Journey would turn north for one of its few times in its entire duration as we slowly meandered towards San Francisco- one of the worlds most renowned drives. A journey that we had previously completed in one day was now to take over a week. It was time for Tom to chill out and take easy, something he does not find easy. Luckily, Lorna was there to show him the ropes! After all the hype and anticipation, Highway 1 was frustratingly busy and foggy making what should’ve been a fantastic drive somewhat disappointing. However, catching the sea lions at Monterey was a highlight, we were also looked after in Santa Margarita by a wonderful family that we promised to see again in San Diego. Arriving in San Francisco rested but ever so slightly fed up with our slow place and the heightened costs of living, we were both looking forward to the arrival of friends as well as our 13.1-mile run!