Originally published 3 January 2015
Getting home was a bit of work.........
We dropped the rental car off in San Diego and headed to the terminal. We were plenty early, cleared security, and had a bit to eat. Our flight was on time and we arrived in Dallas with a little more than an hour between our flights. We had to basically cross the airport diagonally. Dallas is a huge airport and things are a long way apart. We arrived at our gate with a half hour to spare.
We grabbed a bite to eat and boarded the plane on time. Where we sat......wondering where the rest of the passengers in line to load the plane were. I used the American Airlines app on my phone this trip. It was handy, with electronic boarding passes, notifications of boarding times and baggage locations. It also notifies of something else......delays.
We are sitting on the plane and my phone notifies me that the flight is delayed an hour, AND the gate has changed. In that we were already on the plane, we suddenly realized we were moving to another plane.
Devil's Churn, Oregon
We got our bags and started down the aisle. The flight attendant asked where we were going, and I told her that they were moving us to another plane and we were delayed an hour. She asked how I knew this and I told her that the American Airlines app told me. She said "I wish they would give US that app!" The app only works if you have an active ticket....so it won't work for flight crew. Seems like it would be wise if it did. The app was killer and I knew every piece of information before anyone else.
We move all the way across the airport AGAIN and rode the little train. After an hour, we board and head towards Nashville. The flight is uneventful, but we bounced a bit on landing. Cross winds were a bit tough. We were supposed to arrive Nashville around 10 pm. We ended up getting there at 12. By the time we got luggage and the car, and got home....it was 2:30 am. We were beat. I've slept, split kindling, unloaded, and completed some other tasks. Here is my wrap up on the trip. As in the past, they are in no particular order and written as they come to mind.
Cannon Beach Oregon
1. Oregon is still rugged. It's a beautiful coast, and very rocky and windswept. It's sometimes similar to parts of the coast in Scotland, as is the weather. Fog, mist, rain, and wind are common on the Oregon coast. It was the least crowded of our trip, always a pleasure where we are concerned.
Eat here when in Garabaldi, Oregon! Trust me on this!
2. Food. We seemed to have more consistent results with food when we traveled in Europe and the southwestern U.S. Our dinners tended to mostly be good, but breakfasts were a real roll of the dice, running from bad hotel food in Portland, to dungeness crab omelets in Yachats, Oregon, to a breakfast burrito on homemade tortillas in San Rafael and San Diego.
As for dinners, we had bad fried seafood somewhere in....I can't remember, I must be blocking traumatic experiences. We had good seafood in Crescent City, CA and a very pricey gourmet meal for New Years Eve in Santa Maria, CA that was excellent and quite a surprise. We did find that the places we expected the least from delivered the most. I guess this is a lesson in keeping an open mind.
Family and friends in Mill Valley, CA
3. People. This was a short trip and we stayed nowhere more than one night (with the exception of San Diego). This made it more difficult to meet people in a social context, but we did nonetheless. We invited someone to share our table on New Years Eve and made a new friend. We met family and friends in the San Francisco area for a great evening. We talked with the family from Australia who were next to us in a restaurant in San Diego.
We chatted briefly with people along the way, on the beach, on hikes. We ran into grouchy and grumpy people in a wealthy coastal enclave in California. People are people.....and the people we encountered were all different. Some friendly, some not.............just like everywhere else we've been. The key to experiencing the people in a new place is to TALK to them. Say hello. Ask them about where they're from. Don't be shy. It works nearly every time.
Giant Redwoods are aptly named.
4. Town vs. Country. There were many towns that we would have spent more time in, but we had to make choices as we had a finite amount of time. We made the choice to see nature and the outdoors over seeing a town. We did wander San Diego and had a great time.....but faced with the decision in other places, we wound up in the woods or by the ocean. We were rewarded with breathtaking coastal views, whales, seals, all matter of wildlife, and giant redwoods. I know of no town that offers these things. While towns may be interesting, they seldom can surpass what nature shows us.
California State Line
5. California. It's a different mentality in California. The sights we saw in California were obviously the high point and it is such a beautiful place to visit. Big Sur and the redwoods were simply amazing, as were many other sights. The people we met were, for the most part, very nice. Traffic is a bit crazy at times and the drivers quite aggressive in the urban areas......especially LA. We loved the availability of ethnic food as we love being adventurous in our eating habits.
As for living there....I would think it kind of oppressive. There are rules and laws about EVERYTHING, from where and how you can park, what kind of shopping bags you are allowed to have and that you must pay for them, to how big a soda you can have. It's difficult to keep up with them all, and this breeds a contempt for the laws and rules that can sometimes be seen in the locals. You can also violate a law or a rule simply by putting your trash in the wrong can or other similar actions that those of us from other states don't even think about. Laurie so aptly noted that everything is controlled out here, either by rules, laws, or money.
The laws and rules seem to be particularly intense on things that don't even matter in other states, like soft drinks. I don't know what the big deal is with soft drinks out there and why they have such issues with them and have so many rules about them. You can buy medical marijuana and you can buy liquor for a good 20 percent less than back east due to low liquor taxes, but a 12 pack of cokes costs 3 times what it does in Tennessee. It's like having your own state appointed mommy to point out what you should and shouldn't eat. But liquor and weed are okay. I just can't figure this one out. And there are other rules and laws in California that are just as confusing.
Oregon Ocean Caves
I love my new job at the university. I like what I'm doing and the people I work for and with. I also like the flexibility and freedom that comes with it, having 11 days over the Christmas holidays to travel. Any time we can travel, meet new people, and learn about new places, we are in our element and just love it.
We saw places and things that just boggle the mind, like forests sloping off into the sea, the redwoods, and a brilliant blue ocean. We had mostly good meals, and enjoyed the local cuisine. We made new friends and saw old ones. We went weird places, like prison. We went normal and popular places, like the Santa Monica Pier. We drove over 1300 miles and saw places that we had only read about or seen on TV. It was good....and every trip leaves me wanting to do it again.
The more I travel, the more I want to see.....and sharing it with Laurie is the best part. It's time to start planning the next one. I'll see you then. Thanks for following along.
Laurie had a few comments as well. They are as follow:
Laurie in one of her favorite stops......the Redwoods
The coastal areas of Oregon and California are both similar and very different. The northern coast was rocky and moody, with fog and mist creating a solemn mood. It never really got clear there, and the days were short and gloomy. But there is a beauty in that type of weather and rawness that I almost prefer to the unrelenting sunniness of the southern CA coast or the desert. There is more mystery in a foggy day than one of bright sunshine.
As we went south the drama of the cliffs rushing to meet the ocean was still present, but the beaches in southern CA are enviable. Wide expanses of sand and tidal pools were so inviting I wish we had more time to walk and explore them.
Laurie's take on an Oregon sundown. This is a fantastic photo.
The Redwood forests were probably one of my favorite places. The primordial feel of these ancient forests resonated with me on a level I can't really explain. The smell, feel of the air, sounds of forest life were so intimate and inviting. I love trees and to be standing among these life forms that have lived longer than we can really imagine was awe inspiring. I can't understand how anyone could cut one down. Again, I wish we had more time to just sit and 'be' there. It was great fun seeing sea lions, elephant seals, whales all just doing their thing with no regard to us. CA is kind of a strange state. So much is either government regulated or privately regulated. But we managed to stop along the coast numerous times to see wildlife. etc. without anyone telling us what not to do.
Malibu beach house. Yours for the low price of $10M
And then there was the clear dichotomy between those who have more money than anyone really needs, and those who have no money. Malibu was just confusing. I have never been anywhere that has such a visible and large homeless population as in CA cities and towns. It seems more wrong when there is so much money there.
All in all, it was an interesting trip. It and I would love to go back to the Oregon coast, the Redwoods and San Diego. We also didn't get to see Portland at all. The west coast is very different than the east coast, both in geography and in attitude. Oregonians seem much more laid back than those in CA, but maybe it helps that there are a lot fewer people up there than in CA. Too many people in one place tends to make for grumpy encounters. However, when we sat and talked with people, we made some really nice connections.
I look forward to our next trip!
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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