Friday, January 13, 2017

California Reveals Her Coastline

Road Trip Day 8
Miles Driven today: 800
Total Miles: 2820

I packed the car before sunrise to be out of the city before rush hour. Jenna had started coffee for me so all I had to do was hit the start button and fill up my thermos. I’d be Driving through a desert landscape until I reached the ocean then I’d drive North towards San Francisco.

The rest stop right after sunrise boasted a bit of danger. Arizona was one upping Texas with the risks of peeing ...with scorpions. There were two working stalls. The rest being held hostage behind a steel gate which was open about two feet at the bottom. Irritated by this, I walked over to the gate and limboed under it. One of the other women in line attempted to open it further and with in a few minutes we now had access to 5 working stalls which eliminated the line. Women helping women. 

Despite the signs saying to stop for car checks at the border of California, I was waived right in. 
The next sign welcoming me to California. 

Its been awhile since I’ve driven through Palm Springs and was unaware of the wind farm addition. 
It was as if alien aircraft had landed and taken over the Coachella Valley.
I swear I saw them dancing in the background on Instagram in fedoras, feathers and Boho ponchos. The windmills tower above nature and just when I thought I saw the last one, another row appeared. Consulting Google revealed a shocking number, over 4,000, enough to provide electricity to power all of Palm Springs and the valley. Impressive. 

But was it impressive enough to pay for a tour?
“They go inside the fences where no other tour can go, to get you up close.”
 Ya know, like in Jurassic Park 3. They also boast to have the most delicious date shake in the Valley. 90 minute bus ride tour with a date shake, that’s a winning combination.

Traffic got a little nuts around LA and I was intent on driving past the crazy. But I was forced off the interstate when my car tank approached empty and my personal tank was full. It was not a convenient store kind of area and after getting stuck in traffic followed by super lost, I literally ended up at Warner Brothers studios. I begged a parking attendant to let me through a gate to turn around even though I saw the signs stating otherwise and then continued to look for a main street. 

The vast majority of that thermos of coffee along with a large bottle of Kombucha could no longer live together in harmony and I was in dire need of a bathroom. After paying $4 a gallon for gas ($1.89 in Texas) I made the inquiry. The Californian punk millennial replied, “well we do.. but its under construction…but I guess if you really need to go, you can use it...its around the side” as she waived her hand in the general direction. 
Having seen Walking Dead, I was prepared for this bathroom. There wasn’t a door knob, just a hole, but that was okay because there wasn’t a light. I left the door cracked and stayed in a protective stance that could also be used to launch my body at anyone that came in.  Surprisingly enough, there was toilet paper. I may have been safer with the Scorpions. 

California was playing hard to get but was about to reveal to me her coastline. As soon as I saw the pacific I squealed. I rolled the windows down, opened the sunroof and all was forgiven. 

I pulled over at the first beach access exit, Emma Wood state beach. Patrick and I ran to the water. 2500 Miles and the breezy beach air, sand and salt water properly welcomed us to California.

Driving up the 101 is iconic. You pass through different movies in your head. 
I'm infatuated with tunnels. I love the idea of driving through a mountain. That something wasn't completely destroyed, and instead we adapted to the landscape. 

Looking for another beach before the sunset, I stumbled upon Avila beach. Two large beaches separated by rock formations and a very long pier bridge. One beach is covered with frolicking dogs and the other with tourists. 

Dogs were not allowed on the people beach so we mainly stayed where we were both welcome. Everyone was happier and having more fun on the dog beach anyway.

The road along the people beach was pedestrian only and opposite local shops and restaurants.

I was about 200 miles south of San Francisco when it started getting dark. I wanted to spend day 9 pretending I lived in San Francisco. I contemplated saving money and sleeping in the car.  But after driving for 800 miles I also wanted a hot shower and a warm bed where I could stretch out. Every mile made the bed scenario sound better and better. I found a Motel 6 about an hour outside the city that was reasonable and all Motel 6 are dog friendly. It was surprisingly modern with Ikea-esque furniture and an unusually large and oddly shaped corner shower.  

The whole room was thick with steam. As I took the longest shower any woman has ever taken. I needed every muscle to relax. I turned on the BBC and watched a show on how caviar is made which was more interesting than it sounds and utterly disgusting at the same time. 
I laid out the clothes I’d wear tomorrow and my core necessities, which mainly involve coffee.

My road trip coffee essentials:
Electric Kettle
Stainless Steel French Press
Perc Coffee  (Ethiopia/Columbia)  
Wood Spoon
Stainless steel Tablespoon scoop with bag clip
8 hour stay hot Thermos

Patrick and I curled up in bed. I laid there thankful I wasn’t freezing in the backseat of my car. The excitement of San Francisco would have kept me awake had I not been so throughly exhausted from the day. 

Tomorrow ... San Francisco

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