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2006

5th May - California

USA | Saturday, 6 May 2006 | Views [613]

Bike riding in SF

Bike riding in SF

Hawaii

We left Hawaii for the mainland after a few more days of doing very little, we did manage a trip to Pearl Harbor though, but we need to relax, we are on holiday after all...

San Francisco

What a mental place! I had to get right back into London mode of looking only straight ahead and not making eye contact with anyone, honestly the streets in the city centre are full of weirdos and beggars who don't just sit there begging or being weird like in London but come right up to you and ask you things.  Eoin says it is the American way to be more proactive and I think he's right, these people seem to have a lot more get up and go than their London counterparts.  Now I've made the place sound horrible, it isn't, it's lovely, I felt like I was on a film set there because it looks just like it is in the movies, and there are lots of friendly people too. And lots of nice places to eat and drink coffee.

Our friend Helen flew out to see us in San Francisco so she joined me trailing around behind Eoin, up and down San Francisco's hills adn ruond and round Chinatown.  We left the city after a couple of days and headed North to Sonoma and Napa - more wine regions.  I know all we ever seem to do is visit wine regions but we were getting withdrawal symptoms after two weeks in Hawaii. Eoin was designated driver so he ferried me and Helen around as we glugged lots of wine. Mmm.

Back in San Francisco, we spent a day on bikes, we hired them to ride over the Golden Gates Bridge, the bridge itself was shrouded in mist / fog which according to a lady we spoke to doesn't clear til September but it was sunny a couple of miles away.  After Helen had bought Vicoria's Secrets out of body lotion we said goodbye and headed off down the coast on the next leg.

Camping

I won't  bore you with th details of our car hire saga but pre-paying for six week of car hire in UK and then finding the US company has never heard of you when you turn up expecting a car can be stressful! We eventually had to hire a temporary car for two days til the UK firm could sort us out but at least we were on the road..and back under canvas!

Predictably, our tent poles snapped on our second night, again...that sound actually makes me feel sick now!  However, after discussions with an outdoorsy looking type in an outdoors store, we finally found out what was causing the problem, user error.  Oh dear, a small mix up with where the poles and pegs were meant to go! In our defense, before you all strart rolling your eyes at us, it never said in the instructions that came with the tent.  So all that hassle in New Zealand was totally avoidable.  Anyway, we're all fixed now, hopefully for good.

Camping in the US is a bit more rugged than in New Zealand, for a start there are no kitchens here so we have a little gas stove now.  There are no warning signs for rattle snakes in New Zealand either.  Going through our guide book, I immediately strike out any campsites with the word primitive in their descriptions.  Pit toilets, no thank you.  Not for me.  So far we've managed to get places with hot showers.  It's great here though, we're staying in really beautiful forests and there's hardly anyone around.  Lots of wildlife though and you can hear animals scratching and sniffing around the tent at night.  We seriously have to toughen up, we're not even in bear country yet and we lie awake at night, scared of the noises and I think it's only squirrels.  They're not scared of you here, they sniff round your feet and one even got in the car earlier.

Yesterday, an old couple walked past our camp site and told us to watch out for Poison Oak.  Poison what?  Turns out we had pitched our tent in a site surrounded by stuff that gives you a rash that itches like mad for two  weeks if you touch it. Nice.

So there we are, I'll update again soon and try to get some photos on soon.

Tags: Adventures

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