So we bade farewell to fair San Francisco…or not so fair, as it was raining pretty heavily the morning we checked out of (my first ever) American motel and hit the road. Our pre-roadtrip breakfast was in the diner next door to the motel, served by a waitress with a great sense of humour who was happy to photograph us, including her own selfie too.
David our German friend is driving, with Emma riding shotgun and me in the back. We cross the Golden Gate bridge and drive through Sauselito, a beautiful charming yet expensive looking area, then head north on Route 101, the freeway follows the coast up to Redwood country. The trip takes about 5 hours, allowing for stops, and one of these is at a drive-thru tree (cringe). We pay the five bucks and drive through this still alive redwood which has a hole wide enough for the average car to pass through. Judging by it’s width, this tree could have been standing for nearly 2,000 years. There are photographs from a hundred years ago of horse-drawn carriages full of people doing the same. Crazy humans. Nature has put up with so much from us…now is the time to shift our thinking, behaviour and actions and try to right the wrongs we’ve done and put back rather than taking away, don’t you think?
We drive along the Avenue of the Giants, majestic redwoods flanking either side, and an atmospheric fog hanging in the air. It has recently rained, and the road, ground, trees and air is moist, yet the sun is flooding through the foliage illuminating everything in stunning shades of greens and autumnal rusty reds, browns and yellow ochres. We stop early evening looking for accommodation and meet a French guy named Jean-Baptiste. He is preparing to sleep out for the night as the front light of his 650cc Kawasaki off-road motorcycle has blown and he can’t ride in the dark. Nor can he fix it himself, as all the bolts have been replaced by the mechanic with ones which are not compatible with his tools. Despite this, he remains upbeat and happily converses with us. He is heading north to Arcata too, and recommends places for us to see there.
We hit the road again and stop at a log cabin resort where all the roadside lodging are lit up like a Christmas tree. We stay in a cosy log cabin and fall asleep watching an Eddie Murphy movie, sleeping well until dawn.
The next day is the first of December. We mark the occasion by driving back along the Avenue of the Giants and stopping to hike into the woods. The smell is amazing. Earthy and fresh. Underfoot feels spongy and soft, as we are walking on so many layers of pinre needles and decaying leaves. The trees are breathtaking, both in height and in width. I notice many different types of mushrooms, including tiny delicate minuscule ones on the upright of the trees themselves. They are in such contrast to the trees who have been standing some of them for two thousand years. I sit against a huge tree and meditate for what seems like a long time. I connect to the sky above through my crown chakra, breathing the energy down to my heart, then connect to the earth through my root chakra, visualising a root piercing through the surface of the earth, delving deep underground, reaching into the hot magma centre of the planet, bringing the energy up into my heart. I merge with the tree and breathe deeply through my nose, drifting off to another place. When I come back to the here and now I feel very grounded and relaxed and at one with where I am.
We drive further north to the Redwood National Park which spreads out from the Pacific coast. I try my hand at driving and am pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. No need for changing gear, just accelerating or braking, along wide open roads. This certainly is driving country. The distance we drive from San Francisco to here would nearly take us the length of England I am sure (300 miles approx.) We stop at the national park and walk across the dunes through an area of beach scattered with lots of driftwood – this would be a prime location for a beach fire! – to where the Pacific ocean meet the land. It is wild and noisy, big waves crashing onto the shore and receding leaving a mesmerising shimmering on the surface of the sand. We walk to where a river meets the sea and are fascinated to be able to drink the freshwater only metres away from the sea. Nature is amazing.
Walking along the beach letting it sink in that I am actually in California… I believe it may not have fully hit me, even a week in to the trip.
Tonight’s stop is Arcata, a stoner town with a laid-back vibe. We are advised to be somewhat more on our guard here, as there is a higher crime rate, but as we drive through it looking for a motel we notice other travellers, hippies and chilled out people walking along in shorts and sandals eating ice cream in the early evening. So far so good. We find a motel which is really nice; comfy bed, good shower, free wifi and a tv. Soon we mission out for dinner…
Emma has just had some good news about an event down in Santa Cruz in ten days time. She has been asked to do some live painting there, at an event called The Human Experience hosted by Jonah Kai and the Heart Tribe. I will help with set-up and documenting with film and photographs. Emma has an artist friend in Santa Cruz we can stay with too. Thank you universe!
I was thinking in the car earlier how it is only really our own self-limiting beliefs which hold us back from doing or being what we really want. These beliefs can be formed because of what happened to us in childhood, our teens or twenties, or at any point really, but I believe it is the first few years of our lives that are the most important in shaping us. When we can change these beliefs, however we achieve this, is when we can start living our full potential, realising our truth and being who we really are, underneath all the layers of crap that have built up over the years. It is our responsibility(?) to shed these layers, dissolve them, see through them, to our true selves… We can choose to stay in our comfort zone of what is ‘safe’ and avoid challenging ourselves, and maybe this is okay for some, but certainly for myself, I feel that by putting myself out of my comfort zone and facing challenges and also believing I can do whatever I choose to, I am really growing as a person and doing myself justice.