Monday, October 17, 2011

Travel stories: Big Basin Redwoods State Park

This story took part on our road trip in 2010. A road trip that took us all the way up the American west coast from San Diego to Seattle, then inland to Yellowstone and back down through Salt lake city and Vegas until we came back to California. Our trip had started in L.A and we had been driving up the breathtaking coastal highway 1 towards San Francisco stooping just 2 hours short of S.F in the town of Santa Cruz. Driving up the highway 1 is enchanting but something had caught our attention that made us leave the ocean for awhile and pause in Santa Cruz for the night. That something is redwood trees. There is something magic about redwood trees that has fascinated me since I was a kid and first lay eyes on them on a trip to Cali with my parents. Well of course it has something to do with their role in a famous scene in the 3rd Star wars movie(I know it's technically the 6th one but who cares), but that's not all of it. They're like a lone reminder of some ancient time where dinosaurs and giant bugs roamed the earth and people hid in caves and danced around fires all night. A comic book fantasy that I had to share with M, and we had heard that Big Basin Redwoods State Park was just the place to experience it!

So since we wanted a full day in the park we decided to take a break in Santa Cruz since the park is pretty close. We drove around aimlessly until we stumbled upon a motel within our price range. It had Wifi which is pretty much the only thing I care about with a motel. That and coffee in the morning! National 9 motel was the name of the place and though it looked like any of the random thousands of motels across the states it came with a great bonus. It is in walking distance from one of the best dining experiences in the world, Santa Cruz Diner! I mean this diner is open 24 / 7 and it serves one of the most extensive diner menus I've seen. Not to mention all the great vegetarian options. Filled with all kinds of knick knacks on the walls and seemed like it always was packed with regulars both at night when we had a late dinner and in the morning when we came back for breakfast. After our hearty breakfast we decided it was time to hit the road. Having no clue where to start driving we relied on American hospitality and asked a friendly biker for directions.
Driving in to the park entrance takes you up narrow winding roads and I doubt that a RV would make it up there(but don't take my word for it). It was such a cozy drive though. We sang along to a goofy road trip country music collection M had picked up at some Walmart and just enjoyed the drive. Nature was leaning in from all sides of the road as we worked our way further into the heart of the forest in search of it's majestic giants.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California's first national park established in 1902 and is a popular destination for hikers with it's many trails and astounding nature. There are apparently some really neat waterfalls in the park which you can hike to with or without guides on longer day tours but we only had a few hours since we didn't want to be climbing back down those roads after dark. Anyways we were there for the redwoods!
We parked the car and and there they were. You know the expression you cant see the forest because of all the trees, but driving up I couldn't really see any big ones and now we were surrounded by them and man do they make you feel small. Temperatures were rising fast so we brought plenty of water should we find ourselves lost. We walked up to the information center situated in a log cabin to pick up a map and I was struck by that wonderful smell which i can only imagine would be from some kind of combination of tar and old wood. A smell that like Proust(and his famous madeleine cake) takes me back to distant childhood memories. Map in hand we started exploring one of the shorter hikes. Surrounded by these giant redwoods you just feel like you are stuck in some kinda Spielberg adventure movie. I couldn't resist to use my Iphone light saber app with accompanying star wars music but for some reason I found that so much more fun than M.

We spent a few hours walking around and i envied all the people setting up camp in tents when we got back to the car. Spending the night there must be magic! There's not really much more I can say about the park more than if you ever drive close by it make sure to make a visit. I promise you you will love it. We,  however left with joy in our hearts since we were about to revisit our beloved San Francisco which I have plenty to write about some other time. Until then, take care folks and remember that nature like this is not to take for granted. Hope to write to you all soon again!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seasons changing...

I woke up thus morning to the very unpleasant call from a telephone sales person. Not only did he speak without pause for about 10 minutes he also tried to make me agree that i had made a verbal agreement for him to handle my pension funds. When i pointed out to him that I am not in the habit of agreeing for anything over phone, especially not after just waking up he got really rude and since he NEVER stopped talking I pretty much had to hang up the phone on him. Not the best start of the day. Adding to that I've had the second night in a row with really bad nightmares so my mood wasn't the best this morning. However walking out the door to buy breakfast cured me of my disbelief in humanity. It is a stunning autumn day outside. We've had an for sweden unusual indian summer that lasted all through september with high temperatures and still it's pretty warm outside. These photos are taken right outside our door this morning.
I finally had the opportunity to eat breakfast with M who I don't see to often nowadays since she is doing her internship right now at a center for asylum seeking children. Since we slept in till noon we decided for a more sturdy breakfast/brunch and decided for breakfast burritos. Our trips in the U.S have opened our eyes to the mexican cuisine and we're both addicted to a variety of hot sauces by now. I couldn't tell you if the food we consider mexican is representative for Mexico since the only place we've been to is Tijuana. Probably this is more an american take on the style of food deriving from the huge latin american population in states such as California and Texas.
This monster of a burrito is filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, red onions, tomato, salsa, sour cream, salad & tomatillo sauce(which is a new favorite). I finished two of these babies with a large pot of black coffee and now I feel ready to embrace fall in all it's pride as well as my task of the day which is my present course at uni, database design. So time to dig in I guess. More road trip stories will come but for now i have a date with Date!