BACK ON THE ROAD!
Back on the road! It has been nearly a year since we left our beloved Sheldon (our campervan) with Tina in Oregan. Needless to say between Tina’s support team and the awesome vehicle that Sheldon is……he was as good as a 30 year old campervan should be ie style machine on wheels!
However, before we get to picking up the van, I must share our first experience of San Francisco. Phil and I are not great city magnets, but San Francisco has appealed to both of us for years so before we started our gypsy life again we stopped in this great city for a couple of nights. I had pre-booked a funky B&B and a taxi pick-up. We were not disappointed with either. Our taxi driver was a heavily tattooed and pieced lady called Reese who was a part time musician and was as enthusiastic as any Bohemian loving citizen of this eclectic city should be. Despite feeling shattered after our long flight, by the time we arrived at destination, Reese had been so entertaining, I could have gone out for the night!
We stayed in a traditional city house with all the glory of its relatively bygone years embodied in the colours and features of every crack and of course on an incredibly steep street. Judith, our host had decorated in a style that I would if I had taste and could do that kind of thing. It is full of interesting things to see, feel and smell from the fairy lights up the stairs to the original pieces of art and artefacts from around the world. Awesome. The fact the house itself was yellow and blue on the outside was one of the reasons we booked it. We enjoyed home made bread and fresh coffee on the deck overlooking the distant but neighbouring city and harbour while still being immersed in the heart of a terraced houses. Brilliant.
We set off on our tourist day on bus, tram, underground and finally a boat that took us around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. We were lucky with the weather……everybody kept telling us that. It was a blue sky day but the Bridge still gets covered in the fog from the Pacific. We were lucky enough to get stunning views the whole way, apart from when we had our twee ‘couple’ photo taken under the Bridge when the fog came in and dominated our backdrop. We are obviously not meant to be ‘twee’.
We walked the town for the rest of the day and wore ourselves out completely. All good stuff between China Town and the Hippie District where Bob Marley’s image would turn in its own stonework if he could see the capitalist profiteering going on in his name. A street full of retro clothes shops punctuated by ‘smoke’ shops. There is a feeling for the 60’s peace and love but it all has a price tag and those days will probably never come back and feel authentic again, with or without ‘smoke’.
We were staying in Neo Valley, a once trendy area but now a yuppie and cool area. The next morning we had time for some cool café culture along a road that was fun to people watch. Young, old, funky, cool and everything in the middle. Where did we fit in? In conclusion, we think SF is a stunning city that is small enough to be fun and the feel and look is not overwhelming and certainly not disappointing.
Next stop….Tina! We flew to Eugene from SF but our flight was cancelled and we ended up having a free night in a nice hotel with widescreen TV….. happy Phil. When we did arrive in Eugene, there was Tina with her big smile, big car and huge welcome as ever. We spent the afternoon going around Eugene Market which was brilliant and more in tune with what I expected from the hippy part of San Francisco and judging from the aged hippies free styling to some live jazz music, maybe this is where they all moved to when free love stopped in the big city.
The market had the biggest collection of hand made goods I had seen in a long time and I managed to meet a cute pet camilion by talking to a lady who had it crawling on her head. I love that people are different!
We stopped off at a micro brewery on the way home to test the goods and very fine they are too judging from how much we were talking…..Phil. Tina and Vito invited their fishing gang over on the Sunday so we could meet their world and what a great bunch of folk they are too. We laughed for most of the afternoon and finished with a card game that made Phil say things I would never have imagined only hours before……very funny!
Then it was time to say our goodbyes as we drove off to Smiths Rock for some down time. I can honestly say I have not felt this tired at the start of a trip so the first week has been pretty mellow. I haven’t even picked up the camera much. However, we have found some free camping in some bush area away from the road, cheap showers, stunning bike rides and of course the climbing is just perfect. As a bonus we saw a bald eagle carrying a fish as we just finished a climb. Good start to the week.
We have adopted Sisters as our favourite town this time. It is small enough to be friendly and big enough to have some fun things going on but their Coffee House is awesome and we all know how café culture is a big part of our trip. We are loving the lazy morning starts and slow evening sunsets. I am sure I will speed up again soon…..but no rush.
That’s it for now folks