Visiting Uncle Sam – Part 2

Hey there,

welcome to my second post about my road trip on the US West coast.
In the previous post, I left Seattle and was on my way to Oregon.
Let me now share with you what happened next.

(daily miles 22, cumulated miles 22)
Down on the Interstate 5, I am a bit late on my schedule due to my visit at the EMP museum and so I decide to skip Portland and to turn directly on the historic route 30. This famous route goes through the Columbia River Gorge and is very scenic. The weather is very nice which makes perfect conditions to enjoy the numerous waterfalls along the road.
The most famous ones are the Multnomah waterfalls. The Vista house also offers a nice view down on the Gorge.

After a total of 239 miles I finally make to Hood River where I’ll spend the night.
(daily miles 231, cumulated miles 269)

On the next day, I drive down the Highway 35 to the Mount Hood national park. Mount Hood is the highest peak in Oregon (11240 feet) and at the time I was there, the top was still covered with snow. I chose a trail called Elk meadows (8.2 miles).
511px-ElkMountainMap
Arrived at the trailhead, the weather is quite warm. However once in the forest and the climbing part, I am surprised to see that the trail is still covered with snow. On the last quarter of the trail, I am progressing very slow as I sometimes have snow till the knees but after around 2 hours I arrive at the elk meadows. Unfortunately I won’t see any elk but from there, I have a very nice view on Mt Hood.

Back down at the trailhead, I jump in the car to my next destination: Bend, where I’ll stay at Katie’s AirBnb.
(daily miles 143, cumulated miles 404)

Katie’s place is very nice. It is a small farm with different kind of animals: chicken, ducks, horses, dogs, a cat and funny turkeys that keep following people everywhere and look through the house windows when nobody’s outside 🙂
The whole family is very frienly. Katie’s husband, Steve, is very knowledgeable about the area and helps me planning the next step of my trip. After a good night and a short visit of the farm, I leave Bend to take a look at the city of Sunriver a little bit further South West. This city is very interesting as it is partly in the middle of the forest and has a lot of roundabouts. After a quick lunch, I am moving further to the Newberry crater area. This is an amazing hiking place located as its name indicates in the crater of an old volcano and where we can find 2 nice lakes: Paulina lake and East Lake. I chose to hike on a short trail between the 2 lakes. From the top, I had a nice view on the mountains still covered with snow and on one of the side covered with obsidian volcanic stones.

The next stop of the day is at Crater Lake. It is a big famous lake located on the crater of an old volcano. As it is sourced only from rain, the water is very pure and has a very beautiful blue color.

I spend the night in Talent at another AirBnb.
(daily miles 240, cumulated miles 644)
My AirBnB host, Cynthia is very friendly and allows me to take a look at her garden that she created following the permaculture philosophy. Permaculture was invented by 2 Australians and is a way of reproducing the rules found in the local nature, each plant having a specific role, and by improving the whole system to integrate human needs.
After my night in Talent, I head down along the coast to reach Crescent city, my first stop in California.
There I hike a bit on the beach and along the coast and as I go down to a viewpoint, I make my first experience with the californian coast fog. In less than 10 mins, I can’t see far anymore and I have the feeling to be in the middle of the big cloud. This is a good time to get back in the car and drive further down through the nice Redwood National Parc.

I spend the night at a funny AirBnb in Arcata. Daniel, my host, is living in a trailer. It is a king of big mobilhome used for camping. I am really surprised by the inside as it is quite big and has all usual commodities including restrooms and shower.
(daily miles 196, cumulated miles 840)

My next stop is San Francisco where I’m really happy to spend some days at my friend Geraldine. Geraldine was one of my swim training partner in Munich (at a time when trainings were still not followed by a pizza, a burger or a kebab 😉 ) and she’s living now in SF with her family.
On the first day, we meet in Napa, which is located in the very famous Napa/Sonoma wine producing area. As we drive back home, I am a bit scared by the steepness of some streets. It reminds me a bit of the “petit chene” street or some funny bike trainings in Lausanne. I planned my visit to be in SF at the same time as Mandy&Seb, 2 other friends from Germany. We spend the evening catching up around a barbecue.
(daily miles 316, cumulated miles 1156)

On the next day, after a nice brunch, we go for a walk on the North beach area. Unfortunately, there is too much fog to be able to see the Golden Gate bridge. However We can see the famous Alcatraz island. We then drive to Twin Peaks where we have a nice view on the city. A few blocks from Geraldine’s home,  the road is blocked by the police. After a few minutes, we see a lot of black cars following each other. In one of them, a woman is waving to the crowd. We’ll find out later that it was Hilary Clinton campaigning to become president of the USA. Unfortunately, it is then time to say goodbye to Mandy&Seb. Their holidays are over and they have to catch a plane back to Stuttgart. On the way back home, we drive a bit through the city to get a feeling of the atmosphere. We drive through the areas Castro, Mission and then Japan town. It’s really cool to see the different atmospheres from one street to another.

On day 2, I walk a touristic loop on the East part of the city. I start with the North beach area where there’s again too much fog for me to see the Golden Gate bridge. However, this day I get to see another candidate for the US presidency. Bernie Sanders is holding a speech near the beach to his fans. I then walk to the touristic Fisherman’s Wharf, where I practice my nautic knots (shame on me, despite my swiss lake sailing license, I already forgot how to make them). After that I climb the Filbert steps to the Coit tower. On the way home, I walk down through Chinatown where I can see the Columbus tower and the Transamerica Pyramid and I walk up again on Nob Hill where I see the famous cable car.

Day 3 is a pilgrimage for my Nerd side, as I decide to visit Silicon Valley. First stop on the way is Stanford. The campus is huge and is very nice to visit. It gives me some ideas for after my trip.

In the Silicon Valley, I visit first the Intel Museum where I can see a cool collection of all Intel processors, including the one I had before (386, 486, different generations of Pentium,…). I drive then around to see where major companies are located. Among others, I saw LinkedIn, Apple and Google. Nothing really spectacular, I was expecting more signs or advertising. I also planned to take a cliché picture at the Facebook thumb up sign, but I prefered to skip it at the end due to the traffic on the highway. On the way back home, I drive through the nice Golden Gate Park.

(daily miles 105, cumulated miles 1261)
For my last day, I decide to go to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which reopened a few weeks ago after a long period of renovation.
As the weather is very good as I get out on the street, I decide to try one last time to see the Golden Gate bridge and it worked. No fog finally, I can take some good pictures.

The SF Moma is huge, with a total of 7 floors. I follow the director’s suggestion of the visitors guide to see only the most important exhibition. It still takes me a bit more than 2 hours. There are a lot of different topics and very cool paintings and sculptures.

On my way home, I walk through Japantown and very good thing for me, the arcade game place is very small so that I don’t spend time playing there.

In the evening, I meet Bianca, another friend from Munich, who stopped by at Geraldine’s during her holidays in California.

After a last night in SF, I start my national park campaign with the Yosemite National park.
Complete report in my next post! Stay tuned!

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2 responses to “Visiting Uncle Sam – Part 2

  1. Pingback: Argentinian amazing nature – Part 1 | .: Follow Saypra around the world :.·

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