One of the best things about living in California is the range of environments that are all within a days travel. Sometimes more rewarding than that, is sharing the love of the land with non-natives. Raised in Nova Scotia and wondering through the lands of South America and Australia, our friend Bianca Buckley recently found herself in our great west coast.
Hollywood. After about thirty hours of flights, we landed in LA, got the rental car, and drove straight to a seedy motel in Hollywood. We ate cheesy poofs and donuts from a 24-hr shop where kids were hitting bongs in a booth. The next morning, we found our way to the Hollywood Hills. As you can see from the photo, we didn't exactly get up-close and personal with the famous landmark. If you look really close, you can make out the words "Hollywood."
Flower. We spent two days in LA, longer than we had planned, because we lost the keys to the rental car and stayed, out of pure desperation, in a dirty hotel on the Venice Boardwalk, called "Cadillac". We did not sleep much there, and were happy to get out of there at first light. By the time all was sorted, we were elated to be on the road towards Big Sur. Out of the chaos of city life and straight to the beautiful seaside cliffs. We drove and drove into the night until we couldn't bear to drive any further. Just as we pulled into a turnout, I remembered the Californian flag. I remembered the bear. Until that moment, I had not even thought about the possibility of wildlife. I started to imagine bears and cougars sniffing around our tent and possibly eating us. In my overtired delirium, I refused to get into the swag that my boyfriend was setting up in the dirt. I proclaimed I would be sleeping in the car as it was much to dangerous to be sleeping in the wild. Eventually I was convinced to get in the swag, and moments after we were zipped in, I was out cold.
We woke up hot, zipped ourselves out, threw the swag in the back, and got on the road. We were in Big Sur. Our first taste of the sea was breathtaking. We got coffees and sandwiches at a little hut with a big view, and embarked on our first hike. We ended up hiking high above the clouds. At the summit I found some white sage growing next to the path, which I now keep on my bedside table to remind me of that place. This is a picture of little waterfall on a beach, taken from up above. I love the flower in the foreground.
Sweaty and exhilarated, we continued along this winding road. We stopped for steaks and red wine. We still had no idea where we were to sleep, so we drove a little further and found a tavern. After a couple beers and chats to local groovers, we had sussed out a spot to lay our heads. They gave us the name of a dirt road to take and follow up for about fifteen minutes. We drove up this winding road in the pitch black and pulled over, pitching the swag in a spot just metres from the road. We drank some wine, made love, and passed out on the side of the road in our little cocoon.
Since we had driven up in the dark, we had no idea of the beauty we would witness on our descent. Looking to the left, we saw beautiful hills encapsulated in morning mist, to the right we could see a huge stretch of coastline. We are so grateful to those locals who pointed us there.
Cows. We met some cows who get to enjoy this view every day. They seemed pretty used to it. I asked if I could take their picture, they mooed with indifference. The light leaks produced the beautiful simulation of aliens coming down from above to beam the cows out to space. I can assure you this did not happen, no cows were harmed in the production of these film photos.
I decided to get a closer view of the cows. My boyfriend giggled from the car as I timidly walked towards them, unsure if they would charge at any moment. He apparently is used to cows from his childhood summers spent in Switzerland. They just looked up intermittently between mouthfuls of grass.
We ended up driving all the way up to visit a good friend of mine in Half Moon Bay. You never truly appreciate a real shower until you've been sleeping on the side of the road for a week straight. Things that are horrid at the time become memories that we can chuckle about for years to come. Thank you California for your jaw dropping views and awfully helpful people.