Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Full Circle

This part of the story starts in San Diego, where we finished off last time. My second trip to San Diego, the first having been a few years back when I was 12. However it did seem familiar. I did the tourist thing again, saw USS Midway, the zoo and had some amazing fish taco's. Our host for this week was Wyn who again is lovely. We also drank Wyns boyfriend's Champagne Cider... Welshie aptly named it 'shagmouth'.

A view from the beach
Last thing we did was have some delicious cup cakes. Fully loaded it was time to head north to San Francisco and collect our beast for the road trip.
After a few names we settled on "Brian the Pioneer" as its big and white. For those who don't know this is a family guy reference. We also collected a mascot, known as Kevin the Great White Shark. Savage being a tool we were to meet him later in Eugene not at the original planned time in San Fran.
We headed out over Golden Gate Bridge signalling the start of the road trip, a classic send off that many have done before (I myself have done it at least twice before, by bike too and also from below). The plan was to head to Nicks Cove for an oyster lunch, a thing I failed to do last year. After a few hiccups (welshie almost flipping the van) we became accustomed to American roads and hit our target, a tasty lunch. We then headed north to Fort Bragg for a bit of roadside camping and an awesome sunset.

Golden Gate Bridge


Fort Bragg Sunset

In the morning we headed off to the Redwoods, huge coastal rainforest trees that grow huge and are 2000 years old in some cases. One tree is so big you can drive cars through it but not our van. We did some walking and headed to Jebidah Smith national park where we had a michelin star sandwich and went on a couple of walks through the huge trees. This ended with a knee deep river crossing and a swim in the deeper part of the river.
Drive thru tree

Climbing a downed Redwood

Crossing the River

Being thwarted by any camping opportunities that werent £££ we headed for Eugene, Oregon where Welshie has more friends. This drive was again spectacular and well worth it. We met Callie, Welshies old friend from camp and her Boyfriend Kyle. We were instantly taken off for drinks deals and a whirlwind tour of Eugene. Eugene is a hippy hang out and this showed from the first instances when we were driving around lost.
Day two we were whisked off to Portland for more shenanigans. We met Callies Mother at a cocktail bar and she picked up the bill, which was awesome. Then we went off to a nice dinner, I had a fantastic slice of Halibut. Callies mum once again picked up the bill, easily dismissing our attempts at paying (probably non-existent attempts)
Another bar stop off and a dull club we headed to a house party where things got interesting. I shan't say anymore so as to not incriminate anyone. Far too hungover to manage much else we returned to Eugene, where I was tasked with collecting Savage while Welshie had a nap.
Savage had arrived at about 8am, so obviously we were still in Portland. Figuring Savage was a big boy we left him instructions on how to find the house. He failed, so found a bar and got drunk. Good work.

Savage sorted, we refreshed ourselves in the river and headed off to Whiteaker Block Party. Everyone was in a world of pain/tired so although fun it fizzled out rather early.

Eugene over, we said our goodbyes and headed off north to Seattle. Seattle was almost an impulse decision to drive all this way as it would almost certainly put us over the mileage. It also led to an amusing series of events. Finding the 'hostel' really a Hotel masquerading as a hostel. Im reliably informed that Mercedes also made this mistake, as did her friends. We dosed up on microwave meals (we had expected a hostel with a kitchen you see) and beer we headed to the local bar called 'The Hurricane Cafe'. This was a bar and cafe with a retro arcade attached to the side... guess what we did... after some Time Crisis 2 the bar guy came over and told us Savage had been accosted by some strippers, intrigued we headed over. The truth wasn't quite as fun. We found a stripper, a lesbian and a 'Dude' (transgender). Welshie tacking on to the stripper we as good wingman let him be and amused ourselves with pool. Welsh in due course invited all three back to our hotel room... the 'dude' passed out on Welsh's bed, Savage also passed out and I distracted the remaining concious person while Welshie continued his charm offensive.

Next day we headed to the EMP, an exhibition place hosting a lot of Jimi Hendrix guitars and memorabilia, A Battelstar Galactac exhibit, a Nirvana history and also an behind the making of Avatar. It was all quite interesting especially the Nirvana and Battlestar (to me anyway). The building is a Frank Gehry montrousity, I get his style, but its boring when everyone instantly goes "oh another Gehry" kind of gets boring after awhile. Anyway this particular one is supposed to look like a Hendrixs smashed guitar from the Space Needle... it does not.

A sunset trip up the Space Needle and we retired to the Hotel to crash still tired from the last weeks antics. Final day in Seattle we saw Pike Place market, the original Starbucks and had a tasty seafood lunch, at a place which is in 'Sleepless in Seattle' before getting ourselves in order. We met some more of Welshs old friends from Camp and returned to our Hurricane bar to meet Welshies stripper again. At some point he (and I have no shame repeating this cheese) used the line "I would freeze the oceans and come find you" in response to something about being lost. It apparently went down a treat.

Space Needle

Lots of Guitars

Sunset from the Space Needle

Seafood place in Sleepless in Seattle

Seattle is so close to Vancouver (relatively 160 miles or so) and thus makes my loop of the North Americas complete, see image below. Hence the title 'Full Circle'

The North American Loop

We left Seattle after an awesome breakfast of Hash Browns covered in Chili. We stayed one more night in Eugene on our way down south and headed to Crater Lake for awesome views. Failing on the camping at this location we headed to a quaint site near Union Creek, where we got absolutely hammerred, Savage vommed mid sentence... it was epic. Savage blames the worlds 'best' wine  - Franzia ($10.99 for 5 litres) Then we headed back to California....

Crater Lake 7000ft

Savage and Welsh at Crater Lake

This is all for now, next time Californication!

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