SF–>SLC

The drive from San Francisco to Salt Lake City was an interesting one. It took 3 days, although I did a lot of meandering along the way.

As I said in my previous post, leaving San Francisco was kind of sad. But knowing there are other places to see makes it a little less depressing. From San Francisco, I headed to Lake Tahoe, making a couple stops along the way. First, I stopped in Davis, CA. Davis was a cute little town – it actually felt more Midwestern than west-coast o me, but it felt homey and familiar, even though I have never been before. The people also seemed friendlier than most places.

next stop was Sacramento. I walked around the Old Sacramento area, which felt very old-west to me. It definitely felt a little touristy also, but the architecture and the feeling that a cowboy might gallop past at any second made it worth it.

From Sacramento, I went pretty much straight to South Tahoe from there. The drive itself was beautiful, and Tahoe didn’t disappoint.  It’s not the ocean, but it definitely rivaled Big Sur. I spent the afternoon doing some light hiking, attempting to swim and then freezing in Lake Tahoe, and climbing around on/around a waterfall.

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Lake Tahoe.

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You just can’t beat that view.

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For someone who is terrified of heights, this was a big accomplishment

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The waterfall was too tall/big to get the whole thing in the picture. 

I was intending to camp in Tahoe, but I wasn’t really feeling it. I felt weirdly anxious and a little restless, so I just decided to do part of the drive to Salt Lake that night. During the drive, I passed through Reno. Even though it was midnight, i decided to stop and poke around a little. I did a little bit of walking around the Downtown area, but after a somewhat scary experience being followed, I decided to get outta there. The city itself was just a weird feeling place. I have a short little poem I will share about it in a separate post.

The next day (yesterday) I did some exploring around Nevada. I drove up to Black Rock Desert and did some cruising. It was a beautiful area- unbelievably empty. I saw crickets the size of my hand, two cows, many small rodents, a group of what appeared to be wild horses, an antelope, and zero people during my ~5 hours in the area. I have never experienced that level of emptiness before, which was cool.

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Lonely cow.

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The “road,” and this was one of the most well-cared for areas

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I had dinner in Elko, Nevada before finding a place to sleep about 2 hours out of Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, today I woke up with a completely flat tire. Despite my car doing really well with yesterday’s off roading experience, my tires were not quite so lucky. Luckily, there was a gas station with a mechanic/tires close by, so I got it sorted out relatively easily, all things considered. I drove my car like it was s baby all the way to Salt Lake City, but everything seems to be in order.

I stopped outside of SLC to check out the Bonneville Salt Flats.  They were unbelievably flat. And white. it was so flat and white and hot that it almost made your eyes not quite see things correctly, especially things in the distance.

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Nobody ever wants to head back east

And neither do I. I know this trip is about movement, about change and new experiences. But I really have loved the first half of this trip, which included this time on the west coast. Leaving San Francisco tomorrow feels like a bit of a turning point in the trip, San Fran has been incredible, but sadly today was my last full day here. Luckily I managed to pack a bunch of good things into it.

This morning, I met up with Ryant and Eli, the two friends I made earlier in the trip. Sadly, we met up for lunch/some exploration as a way to say goodbye. Although I met them barely a week and a half ago, I never would have guessed how much we would all bond. Wandering San Francisco, hours spent watching the sun set over the ocean at Big Sur, fighting the waves in San Diego, nude beaching and karaoke in Austin, a music festival in NOLA- alright, I’m making it a little cheesy, but really – I really was sad to say goodbye to them today. They are both incredible people, and I feel like I learned so much and had so much fun with them during our travels together.  Saying goodbye to them is part of the reason that this feels like a bit of a turning point for the trip. It feels like we all reached sort of this end where normal people stop, and then I’m the one that’s pushing on.  I’m trying to focus on the ways in which that is exciting – the adventure is only half over.

anyway, walking around SF with them was a nice way to start the day. On their way out of town, they dropped me off in the Mission to do some cruising around that area. My Uncle picked me up from there, and we decided to go to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which was incredibly cool. It has just been redone and expanded in the past few years, and then it opened again last month. The building itself was very cool, and the art was phenomenal. Really an awesome collection of contemporary art.

This evening I went to an excellent sushi place for my last meal in the city. Sushi is one of my great loves in life, and I was not disappointed.  San Francisco has treated me well.

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Posing with an Alexander Calder sculpture at the SF MOMA

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Ugh these views could never get old

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Wandering the Castro

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Eli and I waiting for lunch. Really going to miss this dude and his squinty smile.

Coastin’

The past 5 days or so have been just magical. I have always loved California, but this has definitely cemented it for me. Being near the ocean just immediately puts me more at ease. Life seems to operate on a different schedule – a slower, more deliberate one. One that I really enjoy. I’m attracted to both ends of the spectrum: I love the bustle of New York City, the feeling of always moving, the energy that comes from the constant friction of bodies against the earth. But I also love the way beach communities move. There’s no rush. The ocean will be there at 11 am, at 2 pm, and so on. While there are a lot of outdoor activities and stuff, there doesn’t seem to be the same sense of always moving toward another place. people spend more time just being.

I spent three nights in San Diego. I visited Balboa Park, got sunburned at the beach, wandered around the beach community La Jolla, and did some hiking at Torrey Pines. The friends I met in NOLA and then hung out with in Austin (Eli and Ryant) ended up in San Diego as well, so we fought the waves and the freezing pacific and had a wonderfully exhausting beach day.

leaving San Diego, Eli and Ryant and I decided to caravan up the coast and do some camping in big sur. I had heard a great deal about big sur, but it managed to exceed my expectations none the less. We snuck around on some private property in the name of finding views and climbed out onto some cliffs to watch the sunset. I don’t know that I have ever felt so purely happy, so at peace as I did sitting out there on those cliffs, watching the sunset in silence with two people I’ve hardly known a week. It’s strange how travel does that. We ended up camping a couple miles off of highway 1, overlooking pine-covered mountains. I couldn’t have asked for is better experience.

Yesterday, I got into San Francisco. I’m a little bit obsessed with this city. I love it’s unique architecture, almost painfully hip neighborhoods, and perfect coffee shop/bakeries. I’m excited to spend the next few nights here.

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Balboa Park, San Diego

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Climbing for the ocean views at Torrey Pines.

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Eli looking majestic at the beginning of the sunset.

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Big Sur

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Big Sur.

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Making breakfast after waking up in Big Sur.

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Waking up to this view was incredible.

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SF architecture never ceases to amaze me.

 

 

Questions for an Aging Woman

Do you remember telling me the story of how you met my grandfather twice today?Why are your kitchen cabinets covered in sticky notes, a colorful mosaic of things you never do? How long has it been since you watered the stag horn fern beside your front door? You made that pot of coffee twice today. Did you remember to take the salmon out of the oven?