Day 57: Here I go again on my own

route1

DAY 57: Pacific Valley, California
Miles traveled: 7,456
States visited: 20
Weather: 72, sunny

Nothing like a Whitesnake quote to kick off a blog post. The last part of my journey was fun – my friend Jason joined me in Austin and we had a great time driving to the west coast. Now I’m undertaking Leg 3 of the great summer cross-country adventure (or, as one friend refers to it, The Hobo Express.) Let’s review the trip for those just tuning in.

PART 1: South & west, from Pittsburgh to Austin (solo)
PART 2: West from Austin to Los Angeles (with Jason)
PART 3: Up Pacific coast from L.A. to Vancouver (solo)
PART 4: East from Vancouver to Pittsburgh via Yellowstone & Chicago (solo)
PART 5: The northeast states from Pittsburgh to Maine & back (possibly with Robin)

Here’s the route I’m tentatively scheduled to take over the next few weeks.

WestCoast

If I’m honest, leg 3 is the one I’m least looking forward to. I think this is true because it only covers three states, and I’ve already been to most of the big cities there (San Francisco, Portland, Seattle.) Plus, once this leg is done, more than half the trip is over. The finish line is in sight, and it’s not a pleasant thought!

What I need to do to make this stretch worthwhile is to change my mindset, to spend less time in the big cities and more in the smaller towns. Instead of 3 days in San Francisco and 1 in Northern California, I should reverse that, to give myself time to see areas I’ve never seen before. I also want to find a campground and stay there for a couple days, like I did in South Carolina. It’s funny, but I’m actually pining for those days – I’m already reminiscing about the good old days of April 2009, when I was alone in a campground with no worries, no internet, no human contact.

Yesterday I began my drive up the coast. I followed route 1, which runs right along the ocean. I drove for 100 miles as the road hugged the coastline.

roadwideshot

There was one vista where elephant seals live. This was very similar to the seal cove in La Jolla, except these seals were literally three times as big. They were absolute monsters.

elephantseals

The squirrels at this cove are not afraid of you.

squirrel

Neither are the birds.

birdocean

Driving along the coast was exhilarating. People had said it was great but I didn’t believe them until I did it. Traffic was light because it was a Monday morning. And I was playing my ‘Essential Sigur Ros’ mix CD at the time. There is nothing more peaceful than feeling the cold ocean air blowing in while watching the water and playing “Hoppipolla” or “Saeglopur” on the stereo.

bluewater

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