America – California


“It’s [Los Angeles] mostly full of nonsense and delusion and egomania. They think they’ll be young and beautiful forever, even though most of them aren’t even young and beautiful now.”
― Christopher Hitchens

Californians oh California. When family or friends from California would come up to Washington for a visit my dad would say, “Hey, how’s the land of the fruits and nuts going?” It seemed to be a common sentiment.  To  some, California and it’s people can seem eccentric and  bizarre in comparison to the rest of the states.  The common misconception that surrounds California is: everyone has plastic surgery, fake tans and everyone is fake and a bit loony.  I would have to disagree.  I think Northerners were just jealous of Californians for years of good weather, open minded attitudes and having the ability to retire up North.

In the words of others:

“In Los Angeles, all the loose objects in the country were collected as if America had been tilted and everything that wasn’t tightly screwed down had slid into Southern California.” – Saul Bellow

“Everything is just better in California – the wine, the food, fruits and vegetables, the comforts of living. Even the instrumentalists are generous and curious. Everything is wonderful.” – Beth Anderson

“Growing up in northern California has had a big influence on my love and respect for the outdoors. When I lived in Oakland, we would think nothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one day and then driving to the foothills of the Sierras the next day.” – Tom Hanks

From its majestic mountain and ocean vistas and amazing beaches to it’s constant striving to be just a little more than any other place in the world, California is the most eclectic state in the United States  and for this I love it because it makes it one of the most unique states to visit.

“Best way to live in California is to be from somewheres else.”
― Cormac McCarthyNo Country for Old Men

I had the great opportunity of teaching 1st and 2nd grade in an elementary school in San Bernardino back in 2003-2005.  My two years of living there taught me how much more it can be if given the chance.  I was able to really explore Southern Cal. I made a multitude of friends and had some really great times from Los Angeles to San Diego to San Francisco.  So here began the final stages of my cross country travels.  (June 4-15)

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.”
― Jack KerouacOn the Road

I started in San Francisco.  I had been to San Francisco previously but only for very short trips and I felt that I had not had the chance to really explore this amazing city.   San Francisco is huge and there is just a ton to do and so I decided to spend a few days there just walking around with my friend from high school and a day with a well-researched private tour company called “Carried Away”.  These ladies were amazing and we were able to put together a special wine and dine tour which brought us to nearly all corners of the city in a private vehicle which allowed us to stop, go or change our plans as we saw fit.  They were fantastic.

I was able to explore alone and with a friend, by foot and tour company the Castro District, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Towers, Haight-Ashbury, Sausalito, China Town, Mission District and Union Square just to name a few areas. (Links to all the areas I visited and more)

I spent the last couple days in Los Angeles hanging out with friends in Pasadena and North Hollywood.  Both very cool districts with tons of history as well as being up and coming areas.  Which is an excellent way to explain California as a whole.

Californians oh California.  From naked runners and bikers, street performers and graffiti to reunions with friends and dental appointments.   All in all it was a great way to end my travels and yes I did leave my heart in San Francisco as well as all of the other cities I visited on this month long trip.  Enjoy.

“It was a splendid population – for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home – you never find that sort of people among pioneers – you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day – and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, “Well, that is California all over.”
― Mark TwainRoughing It

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6 thoughts on “America – California

  1. Nice post! I don’t live in CA but I live right next door and have taken several trips up and down the coast. Although, being a native desert dweller sometimes being near the Pacific for days at a time can be a bit surreal and, in some ways, overwhelming at the same time.

    • When I lived in CA I had a friend who was a desert dweller.. could NOT convince her to go to the beach… she could not explain why but just didn’t like it. sort of funny.. but I get it

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