I last left you in Hollywood, with every intention of partying (like a rockstar). Well, I did, indeed, have quite a blast. We walked a little less than a mile down Vine Street to Avalon Hollywood, a pretty popular club for the DJ/ electronic music scene. We had to wait in line for maybe 20 minutes, but it was well worth it. In spite of the fact that the cover was $20, it was $4 to check my jacket, $8 for a drink, and $5 for a bottle of water (which, by the way, I still have because I couldn't bring myself to throw away a $5 bottle even though it's empty), I got to hear some great music. I was surprised at the dancing, though. It seemed "uncool" to let lose. There was a huge Asian crowd that was rocking out, but everyone else seemed inhibited, which is way uncool, in my opinion. It didn't affect me too much, though, because I danced till my feet hurt too bad to walk (literally). It was really fun, though the walk back to the hotel was wicked painful. After a short but sweet sleep, we partook of the continental breakfast, and hit the road, trying desperately to snag a shot of the Hollywood sign on the way out of town.
We headed back to the coast, to see what we could see. The next stop would be San Francisco, but we knew we wouldn't make it there that day. I honestly don't have words for how amazing the coastal highway is. There were a thousand miles and a thousand sharp curves of ever changing landscape and constant ocean. My soul feels at home that close to the sea. Being able to look out the window at any given moment and see her there, so stoic and constant and fickle and ever changing... it was just... breathtaking.
We spent all day driving and stopping and loitering on beaches, and when the sun finally set we found a place to camp just beside the ocean. I got really cold that night, but being able to hear the waves crashing all night long was very worth it.
The next morning we continued along the coast, with more and more never ending breathtaking beauty. Around 1 or 2 we made it into San Francisco, where I missed the exit into the actual city and wound up driving us across the Golden Gate Bridge, and then back across so we could actually stop and see the place. There's no toll going northbound, but it's 5 dollars going south, so just because I missed the exit, I had to pay to go back. Oh well. Frankly, I was unimpressed by the Golden Gate Bridge. Maybe it's just way too built up because it's such a tourist attraction, or maybe seeing the Pont de Normandie spoiled me. It also could have been the smoggy skies surrounding the whole area. Whatever the reason, it was just a bridge.
Rolling through the city felt a little surreal. I didn't much care for it. It seemed dingy and dim. We found a place to park, and wandered around Fisherman's Wharf for the afternoon. It was cool seeing all the boats, and all the buildings you hear about. Also, Alcatraz is visible from there, so I geeked out a little because I know how much my dad would have loved that. At least I got to send him a postcard. Well, I didn't want to stay in San Fran, so we hit the road again. We finally found a cheap enough motel in Cloverdale, CA. The guy at the desk told us the best and most beautiful route to take the next day to get to the redwoods, so it was well worth being there just to get that little tidbit of information. In the morning, we hit the road, following a little scenic highway out of Cloverdale to get back to the coastal highway. This scenic drive was absolutely enchanted. The landscape was unlike anything I'd ever seen. It made me feel like I was in the land of Faery. On top of that, there were dozens of wineries all along the way. This area was absolutely ripe for grape cultivation.
After a while, we connected back to the coast, where I got to placate a little more of my addiction for the Pacific Ocean. We stopped a couple times so I could blow kisses to the waves. :)
We finally made it north enough to enter the land of the giants: Redwood country. They say it's magnificent, grand, breathtaking, unfathomable even, to be close to one of these trees. They are wrong. There are NO WORDS to describe this feeling. These majestic trees are so tall and so wide and so abundant, and they exert such a powerful energy that you just want to be one of them. So, we drove along and took the Avenue of the Giants as well. I was thoroughly impressed by the whole experience.
By the time we were back on the highway, it was getting dark, so we started trying to find a place to park the car and sleep. Sadly most places along this part of the state post $1000 fines for overnight parking and camping. A bit ridiculous, considering. Well, we finally pulled into a larger town, and parked at this seaside overlook. I fell asleep and awoke to a cop shining a light in my face. She told us we couldn't park there because it was for day use only. Whatever that means. So we moved the the parking lot of a grocery store and got some shuteye.
That brings us to this morning. We started driving right after sunrise, back on the coast. I seriously couldn't get enough of that ocean, and that view, and how the coastline changes so drastically but you can always see the waves. The farther north we got, the more trees sprouted up. These beautiful tall evergreens became abundant. We crossed into Oregon a couple hours later, and along the coast we started to see these huge rocks. They were everywhere, and the waves crashed against them with such ferocity. I've never seen anything like it.
A couple hours after that, we headed inland to find Interstate 5. After driving for almost 8 hours (the most I've driven in a single day on this trip yet) I found myself 50 miles south of Portland and exhausted. I'm now sitting in a hotel room at that exact location. It feels weird to be so close to Portland. Portland is my Ithaca: my dream of moving there was the whole reason I left Massachusetts when I did, then the whole reason I left Utah. Now I'm so close to it, and I don't even want to see it. Somehow seeing it will feel like the end of something.
Tomorrow we head straight for Seattle where we'll meet up with Court again for 4 or 5 days. After that, I'll head back down to Portland... saving it for last, you know. Once I get a feel for the place, I'll have to make my ultimate decision: To live there or not to live there? That is the question. And only time will tell...
I'm sure I'll have some wonders to tell of from Washington, so keep your eyes peeled.
Love and light.