I’ve been asked to give the Australian perspective on my part of the US west coast adventure with my German friends Jana and Lena, who have been kind enough to take me along for the ride – so here it is.
One of the things about travel so far that has struck me the most since I have been on the road is how you are (1) essentially forced to become more resourceful, and (2) very much rely on the goodness of friends and strangers met along the way – as you will soon hear about.
We started our adventure just a short drive from the US border, in Surrey, Canada at around 3 in the afternoon, and shortly we were at the immigration gate talking to a border guard who was about as friendly as you can imagine (which is not very much, he seemed to find it hard to believe we wanted to use our working holiday visa to actually take a holiday). We had to go through some more security checks and awkwardly answer some more questions and then we were off, on our way to Portland, Oregon, to stay with our American friend we met at Camp Qwanoes, Moriah. Her place was built in the 1920’s, and apparently for midgets, as we couldn’t walk up or down the stairs without bending our necks to a 90 degree angle.
After arriving at Moriah’s place (where we were greeted very enthusiastically), we had a late night chatting, and then got up early the next day to explore the delights that Portland has to offer (various highlights including the smoothest and creamiest ice cream I have ever had, a young adults church service, and would you believe it, even the rose garden wasn’t half bad). We spent the day after that wandering a bit more and , enjoying a great brunch, a beer at a VERY American themed pub, almost getting run over trying to get to a bakery and other antics which are probably not worth mentioning here.
We awoke the next morning at a particularly unreasonable hour (5am, leaving by 6am) as we had quite the drive ahead of us! We expected to get into San Francisco about 14 hours after we left (how wrong we were!). Taking the coastal road, we saw some incredible views of the Oregon coast and seeing the famous Californian redwoods (we even drove through one, literally, at one of the 3 drive thru trees California has to offer).
After various wrong turns, food/petrol stops and other breaks, it was getting late, and before we knew it, we were driving over the famous Golden Gate Bridge around 1am and arriving at our hosts around 1:30am.
We spent the next day giving ourselves a whirlwind tour of SanFran (we only had about 5 hours, and I was too much of a tightarse to pay for a hop on hop off tour, so I was our impromptu guide for the day. We first arrived at Golden Gate Park which had an atrocious view of the bridge (as the Germans would say, kommt nicht rüber – pictures couldn’t capture even what poor view we had of the bridge). We managed to figure out the public transport (thanks to various kind Americans}, and made our way downtown, wandering up and down the famous hills, seeing the windy Lombard St, glimpsing Alcatraz from afar, and finally, making it back to the Bridge for some actually quality photos and to just take in the view.
We finally met our kind and generous hosts around dinner that evening, and goodness me did they have some cool gadgets! My favourite device of theirs was a deadlock that you can unlock via an app (which allowed them to go to bed early on our first night and us to arrive well after midnight without bothering them).
The next day we left for LA, finally having the apparent ‘spiritual experience’ that is eating at an In-n-Out Burger, and driving through the famous Gilroy region where we could smell garlic inside our car even with all the windows rolled up.
But that’s all for now. Stay tuned for more stories to come!
Here are some more photos.