Part XIX: Santa Monica, CA – Beach Play Time
Sunday morning I got myself up to Santa Monica for yoga playtime on the Greens, a place where many yogis meet up for acro and hand balance play every day, but especially on Sundays – and Sundays get crazy busy there. I arrived pretty early and there weren’t many people, so I had plenty of space and time to warm up and stretch. Then, some IG people I really adore showed up, some of whom I had planned to meet up and some I had not. There are a lot of yogis in the LA area. I got to do a lot of acro play – as a base and a flyer, laying on the ground and standing – and some more canes hand balance play. The great thing about both of these is that there is always more to experiment with! And it is still very new to me. It is hard work and it is all going to benefit each other.
After a bit of time on the Greens, L (who I had been hanging out with south of LA, in the Huntington and Newport Beach area, walked with me down to Venice Beach. She insisted that I walk down, because nobody else would walk me down there (as in, nobody else would offer it and I hadn’t been asking for it). And boy was she right and boy was it a wild ride and incredibly different from the beaches south of LA and the Santa Monica beach. Huge quantities of people, many homeless, many random tourist pieces of shit for sale, and lots of street performers. It was quite overwhelming, but totally worth visiting briefly.
After a very full day of fun in the sun, I went for some food, amazing sushi by myself and then some ramen with IG friends I made on the greens. Sushi Roku was hella bomb. Go there. The ramen was delicious, but not subtle, just lots and lots of pork fat and salt and thick noodles. Then one of those friends was kind enough to allow me to crash at his house for the night on a futon. The most fun part of arriving in that gated community was seeing three cop cars pull up (knowing they weren’t for me, but having that worry) and then watching them remove two people with a lot of bags from the woods between buildings.
Part XX: San Francisco – Are you going?
It was a long drive from LA to SF, reminding me just how massive California is. IT IS A BIG FREAKING STATE. When I arrived, I was pretty immediately overwhelmed by the density of the city. Tall buildings, narrow streets, and electric lines over head for the buses… It was a lot. After settling my city anxiety that popped up, I made my way to Tartine Bakery (of course) for some food. As you may know, Tartine Bakery was created by the baker who wrote the bread baking book that got me into making Sourdough. I had to go. It was everything I dreamed it would be and more. So many beautiful pastries in the case, baguettes, and loaves. I got a baguette to share at my next stop, the Fromage Blanc and Banana sandwich (all of their sandwiches are panini pressed). It was amazing. Crunchy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. And then I wrapped up my meal with a cup of brioche bread pudding with fresh fruit – berries and peaches! It was fabulous.
After food, I cruised around town, coming to understand how windy San Fran is and being surprised by how chilly it can get over here! The lack of humidity out here keeps it interesting. I walked around Fort Mason, enjoying views of the bridge, harbor, and so many pelicans. Seriously, where do they all come from? After a good bit of time there, I made my way to the ocean side of the bridge to watch the sunset – which was incredibly beautiful. So many colors! Lots of people were out watching.
With the sun down, I made my way back to the Haight-Ashbury district to spend the night with one of my sister’s very good friends from school who is in SF working with a 3D printer company. I was just there for the night, but she gave me a great suggestion for breakfast the next day – The Mill, another bakery that mostly sells toasts and coffee for breakfast. The only downside, in my opinion, is that the bake a lot of their loaves in bread pans, which I find makes the sourdough rather dense – doesn’t cook as evenly as on a stone. But that’s me. Still has a tender and delicious crumb, though! Before I got breakfast there, I went to The Mindful Body, a wellness company, for a Mysore class with a very entertaining teacher. It was a good practice!
After practice and breakfast (with some parking challenges in between), I made my way out towards Sausalito for a morning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. After some pictures there, I made my way towards the Sacramento Airport. Not a traditional stop, but I was gaining a road trip companion to continue forward with me. My cousin was flying in from Delaware to join in the adventures. Additionally, my parents were flying into SAC at the same time for their own adventures, so we said hi to them while we were there.
Part XXI: San Andreas – Farm Life
From the airport, cousin and I drove southeast towards Yosemite, to arrive in San Andreas (on the fault, I guess?) and join a work away farm/vineyard where a friend of mine from college is managing. The farm has about 10 acres total, one acre is vineyard, probably a couple acres of vegetable garden, and then a whole bunch of various fruit and nut trees scattered over the property including plumbs, apricots, walnuts, pears, apples, and more, plus boysenberry and raspberry bushes. Everything delicious.
When we arrived, they still had their market open, so we couldn’t do much until they were closed. Got a very abbreviated tour of the space and our beds, and I helped package some house made fruit leather. Once the market closed, it was dinner time, starring lots of vegetables from the garden, the Tartine baguette, and pesto they made from their basil and walnuts. So yummy!
The next morning, we were up to work on the farm! First, I did some yoga with my cousin and friend – lots of yummy stretchy time. With R, the farm owner, my cousin and N, one of the work-away folks, we hoed some rows for planting winter squash (once the plants are ready). We also weeded tomato plants and tied them up so there aren’t so many branches falling down. In the afternoon, we cracked walnuts which had been maturing for a month so they wouldn’t be bitter. Additionally, I got to take another crack at my Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, although this time I got to make them gluten free using some homemade oat and toasted almond flour and walnut chunks. They turned out delicious! I’m going to have to make baked goods from my own almond flour more often. For being gluten free, I found them surprisingly tender. Hooray!
For dinner, we grilled a couple dozen squash from the garden to taste test the different varieties of squash at different sizes to see when they were best. For better or worse, they were all tasty. Haha! So much squash to enjoy. There were also tasty tacos for dinner. And lots of cookies.
Part XXII: Crescent City, CA – Cruising the Coast for Redwoods
The next morning, we were out early and on our way to the northern California Coast to enjoy our first redwoods! It was a long drive. Like I’ve mentioned, California is a big state. Fortunately, having a second person in the car makes the road fly by. We listened to music, books, and podcasts, talked, and enjoyed the scenery. On the way across the state, my cousin really wanted to try In N Out Burger, a popular chain in Cali that is best known for its secret menu. So, as newbies, we weren’t well versed in that. For fast food connoisseurs, I would recommend going with someone well versed in it, or studying up online. It was incredibly busy, so no time to consult with the cashier on how one should order their food.
We made it over the mountains, to the coast, and in relatively short time found ourselves coming into the Redwood National Forest. Let me just say, those trees are incredibly huge! Indescribably huge. And you really need some sort of scale to understand how big they are. Looking at a person next to the tree makes it look so much larger than just looking at it. I mean, wow. They’re huge! We took a scenic drive through the Prarie Creek park and found the tree to drive through as we got further up the coast towards Crescent City.
We got into Crescent City maybe half an hour before sunset (although all of Humbolt County seemed covered in fog by now) without knowing exactly where we were going to sleep. Cousin was hungry, so we pulled up to a restaurant in hope of first eating and second talking to someone about sleeping somewhere. In luck, the restaurant we pulled into had pair of locals walking out who my cousin asked about sleeping and gave just the answer we needed! She told us how camping was tolerated most everywhere along the coast and the 101 corridor. We then found a little spot right along a cliff which turned into an absolutely beautiful spot at sunrise. Incredibly beautiful. And it was a big cliff. Haha
Part XXIII: Bend, OR – Mountains, Rocks, and Yoga
Getting up early in our tent by the cliff, we packed up and hit the road early to work our way further up the Pacific Coast into Oregon to eventually turn east to get to Bend. The road brought some stunningly beautiful views, vistas, trees, old logging towns, smooth rivers, and lakes. I knew I was going to love the PNW, but I didn’t realize just how much! And Cousin is so over moon loving it, that is beautiful. He came out here for an Outward Bound trip last fall and hadn’t expected to return for years, but now he is back nine months later and hyped to be seeing the same places again, and even seeing the instructors again! But that is a story for later.
On the way up the coast, we stopped at some dunes. Cousin hadn’t seen any before, and I’m amazed by how many places around the country I find them! NC, Michigan, petrified ones in Utah… and many more. This country is amazing!
As we drove east, we crossed the Cascades with more amazingly beautiful forests, taking the McKenzie Pass scenic route. Up at the top, we had incredible views of the Sisters, Mt. Washington, Mr. Hood, lava fields, and mountain lakes. I’ve kind of always thought I would love to live by a mountain lake and, besides the mosquitos, I still want to! There were a lot of mosquitos though…
Over the pass, we got into Bend, where we met up with our housing for a couple nights. With them, we walked down by the river – which is still beautiful in town. Then it was dinner with lots of conversation and mostly a telling of the story of the time we saw a friend almost fall down a waterfall in Malaysia. Maybe you remember that story.
The next morning, I spent some time working on this blog entry before going to a yoga class at The Yoga Lab a good, fast flow. Then, cousin and I hit up The Pancake Wagon – a stationary food truck by a Mountain Supply store in Bend, just around the corner from the studio. We found it as we rolled into town the previous night when Cousin decide to acquire himself a pair of Chacos. We met the women who run it and were pulled in by their “Purrito” – a pancake burrito. That’s right. Pancake. Burrito. I highly recommend it if you come through Bend. Or life in Bend. The owners are absolutely lovely and make freaking delicious pancakes. We got seconds.
Then, Cousin and I made our way out back into nature for some time among the rocks. We went to Smith Rocks, where Cousin had camped and climbed while on his Outward Bound trip. It’s just a beautiful site – huge rock faces, a lovely creek running through it, and some great sunshine. Unfortunately, when we were arrived, there were two individuals being rescued. Apparently one had had a heart attack, not sure about the other. A reminder to focus on keeping yourself safe while exerting yourself. Drink lots of water, pay attention to how you feel, don’t over do it. Otherwise, we really enjoyed the visit.
Then, we returned to Bend for the evening where I went to an Acro Jam at a yoga studio in a hip downtown area. It was blast! Nine people showed up, six of whom had never done acro before. So, “T”, the teacher, taught those six some Acro basics while I and two others worked on what we wanted to work on. We did a twist from folded leaf to straddle bat called “prasaritta twist” and a standing pose called camel where the base and flyer work together to get the flyer overhead. It was a lot of fun!
After acro, several of us went over to “The Lot”, an outdoor bar where a bunch of food trucks meet for a fun evening. There were five or six trucks there and all of the food looked tasty. It was a hopping joint. Everything in that area seemed to be! Just as we arrived at the food truck rally, though, Cousin ran into the instructors from his Outward Bound trip! He had been trying, without luck, to get in contact with them for a couple days AND thought he saw one or more of them while we were at Smith Rocks, but there they all were! The universe makes everything that needs to happen, happen. After chatting a bunch, we decided to go climbing with them on Sunday. Should be a blast. On the way back to the car, we saw a donut shop just closing and got a few tasty ones cheap.
Climbing today and then its further north before finally turning back east!