19 August 2012

A weekend away of awesomeness

It is week 4 of my time at this Bed and Breakfast in the North of California. It is funny to think that before I arrived here I had absolutely no idea what to expect and was worried that it wouldn't work out, just hoping that I could at least stay a week or two. A month later and I am still here, having an absolute blast.

Although I am indeed working hard mind you! Some days I put in 10 or more hours of work. We aren't expected to do that much of course, in fact we are only expected to work 4 hours a day about 6 days a week, but when I am out in the garden for instance just free to do whatever I like (as long as it is productive of course) and the sun is shining and I have my music playing, the hours just melt away and before I know it it is way past dinner time and I haven't been inside since the morning.

However hard work needs a break, and it just so happens that my good friend Anthony from Australia was to be arriving in San Francisco on the coming weekend, sweet, so I planned to go meet him. It also just so happened that two cool helpers here at the Weller House Inn, Felicia and Sadie, were also heading down to San Francisco that same weekend... and they have a car, so they offered to give me a ride down, win!

Not without some fun on the way of course =D

Saturday midday we said our goodbyes to the other helpers and Vivien and made out way inland. Our first stop was the Mendecino Redwood forest... it was amazing! The trees I would guess were 100m tall, and the entire place was extremely peaceful. For some reason I only took one photo while in the forest. I guess it was that great of a place that I was too entralled to remember to take more?

The entrance to the forest. These aren't the 100m tall trees I mentioned, those were much further in.
Felicia snacking after our hike through the forest
It was around this time that I thought giving driving a go would be a fun idea... keeping in mind that they drive on the opposite side of the road here in American than they do in my home of Australia, ha! I'll be honest here... there were a few close calls and shouts of alarm, but I managed well enough!

There are some amazing landscapes here in the North of California

San Francisco is about a 3 hour drive from Fort Bragg, but none of us were in a hurry to get there so we decided to spend the night camping, cool! I haven't been camping in such a long time and it is one of my favourite activities to do, so suffice to say that I thought this was a brilliant idea and was really excited.

We entered a town called Ukiah to pick up supplies and have some dinner. The restaurant we went to for dinner was brilliant... although it doesn't appear that I thought so because of what happened next. Upon leaving the restaurant I accidentally (honest) kind of somehow managed to take the cook's apron out of the restaurant with me... and by the time I realized what I had done it would have been too embarrasing to walk back into the restaurant and be like "umm... I have your apron, I accidentally took it outside with me"... so I stayed quiet and just put it with the rest of my stuff once back in the car... ha! So now I have obtained an apron in my travels, who would of thought.

We hadn't booked a camping ground, and despite it being a Saturday night we all had complete faith that something would work out. To test this idea we went to the busiest, but also the best, camp ground around. Upon arriving it was completely crowded... it wasn't looking good! But, hey, let's give it a go anyway. Sadie got out to talk to reception, who informs her that they had just received a cancellation and there was one camp site remaining if we wanted it... win!

Our camp spot for the night. We were 30m from the lake...
After I managed to start a wicked fire (I am pretty awesome at making fires) we drank a lot of beer and wine, put a blanket by the waters edge, laid down and watched the stars on what was a completely cloudless night. It was an epic night to say the least =)

The next day, was ridiculously perfect...

Our tent
What we woke up to. A 30 degree cloudless day by the lakes edge. Pure bliss.
How did I get so lucky?
It was an extremely casual morning. By 10am it was already a warm 25 or so degrees... so we went for a swim! It has been quite some time since I last swam in the ocean or a lake, it was ridiculously refreshing. The remaining few hours before checking out was spent with the calming swoosh of the shimmering lake, the rustle of trees and the squeals of excited children as our atmosphere, as I chuckled and laughed hard at one of my favourite book's of all time, The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. (Seriously, this book cracks me up so bad, if you haven't read it yet, then go do so. Right now). Such an amazing, unexpectedly great time.

Alas, it was time to leave paradise and continue our trek to San Francisco. Not before stopping at a few wineries of course! Now... these next few hours were some of the most bazaar, cringeworthy hours I have had in a very long time. Felecia and Sadie (the two girls I was traveling on this road trip with) are good looking girls, so naturally attention is going to come their way. Which is fine by me of course. The problem was that at this particular winery the attention was coming from four or five 60 year old men who either had forgotten the art of subtlety, or just didn't care how forward they were out in the open anymore. Man was it bad... and terribly painful to sit through for two and a half hours. I vow never to be like them one day... ha.

The girls however seemed oblivious to this and abslolutely loved all the attention they were receiving, apparantely thinking these oldies were simply being friendly. Sorry ladies but no, I can tell you right now that if it was just me and some male friends instead of you two, we would not have been offerred a ride on their boat, a chance to sleep at their houses, free wine... nor had our photos taken with them all... haha!

Finally we escaped from that place and continued on to a few other wineries, which were pretty amazing.

Although... in all the excitement of being the stars of attention whilst at the wineries, Felicia and Sadie drank too much wine thus couldn't drive anymore. I'm from Australia and have never driven in traffic on the American side of the road before, but sure, let's attempt to drive to San Francisco shall we?

Again there was more close calls, but I actually managed damn well and actually ended up driving the entire rest of the way to San Francisco! I even got to drive on the Golden Gate Bridge! And I even drove in San Francisco city!

Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge! I think my expression is equal parts excitement and fear.
Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge!
And that was my weekend adventure with Felicia and Sadie. It was pretty amazing.

The next day I fulfilled the whole point of coming to San Francisco in the first place; to see my friend from Australia, Anthony! He was not alone however and was with his good friend Khalia, who I hadn't met before but she was awesome so that was cool. We had an awesome two days too! After spending 6 weeks in San Francisco a little while back I have a fair idea of the city and what's good to do and where to go, so it was cool to be able to share my excitement of this city with friends.

Khalia, me and Anthony at San Francisco bay
Khalia and Anthony getting a taste for the crazy hills here, ha!
Everyone constantly asks me if I have been to 'In and Out Burger', a fast food place only here in California. Despite spending four months in America thus far I had yet to go. Finally it can be checked off the list.
I had an awesome time with Anthony and Khalia. For one it was nice to be able to speak proper English for a change without having to slow it down or dumb it down for other English speakers. I have known Anthony for about 11 years now, and while we aren't the closest of friends I do enjoy keeping in touch over the years since we have left high-school. Not to mention how cool it is that we could meet up in San Francisco, all the way from Australia!

Anthony and Khalia left for their plane to return home soon after, so I met up with a San Francisco friend and hung out with her for the night, then managed to get a cheap hostel room, and at 5.30am the next day I was catching the bus to head back to the Bed and Breakfast in Fort Bragg once more where I plan to stay for a while longer yet =)

Golden Gate Bridge at 5.30am
Now that was a great three day getaway.


Tom said...

Looks like you had a blast mate!

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