America '98
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America Trip
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Days 4 to 10
Day 11
Day 12
Days 13 to 14
Day 15
Days 16 to 18
Days 19 to 23
Days 24 to 34
Days 35 to 38
Days 39 to 44
Days 45 to 49
Days 50 to 57
Days 58 to 70
Days 71 to 86
Days 87 to 100
 Days 71-86: West Coast!

We stayed in Seattle about three more days, still at Cindy and Torrin Fry’s place. We mostly wandered around town, looking at the different areas, and watching the Seattle people. One of the nights we went to a park, and hiked around some trails through forest area and a stream. We met up with a girl, Debbie, and went around the University St. area and watched a movie. Seattle has a pretty laid back lifestyle and the people seem pretty easy going. Despite what everybody has told us about the weather there, it never rained during the week we were there. On our way out of the city, we saw a friend of Gu’s, Patricia. She works in Renton, and we saw her during her lunch break, and she showed us around that part of the city. The views leaving the city were amazing, seeing Mt. Rainier. It is Washington’s highest mountain, and was covered with snow and ice. While traveling south, we also saw Mt. Saint Helen’s. On the highway, a van passed us, with a guy yelling at us, we turned to look at him and he was waving a Northern Arizona University hat, and we had a brief moment of bonding with a fellow N.A.U. student. Crossing over into Oregon, we entered Portland. Mt. Hood loomed over the city, and we explored town for a little while, and continued on to Eugene, where a friend of ours, Serena, just moved with her family. The next day Gu, Serena, and I drove to the coast, and spent the day on the beach, among the beach, cliffs, and waves. It was a little chilly and windy, but the day was a lot of fun. We then drove along the coast and found a spot to camp for the night. There are a lot of State Parks in that area, but as usual they charge a fee for overnight camping, up to $15. We did our typical search and found a piece of land near a back road. In the morning, we continued along the coast. The coastal highway is great, as it curves along the hills with beautiful view of the ocean, with waves breaking on the rocks and cliffs. We drove back to Portland, and did a little tour of the city. We ate lunch in a large city park, and saw the downtown district. We returned to Eugene, and stayed there for about a week. During that time, we hung out with Serena and her brother, saw the city, downtown. I rode a city bus for the first time in my life. Eugene is a nice town, with an artistic downtown and has the University of Oregon. The locals were telling us of the ‘Heat Wave’ that Oregon and Washington was experiencing. Seattle got to 90 and Eugene reached 95. Serena had just moved from Phoenix, and 90 is nowhere near as bad as 115. We walked along a river path through the city, and had a local flavor of pie, Marrionberry. Delicious! After our stay in Eugene, we headed south, and stayed the night with a friend of Guru’s, Jason, in Ashland. It is a pretty small town, with a downtown reminding us of Flagstaff. The town sets in a large valley with mountains all around. Jason was living at an apartment complex, and we met his neighbors and roommate. People were coming and going, and we met many of them. He showed us around town the next day, and we left for San Francisco. We left in the afternoon, and the drive was very scenic. We headed towards the coast, and passed through the giant redwood forests. These trees were amazingly tall, towering hundreds of feet tall, most of them bigger around than my car, and were alive when Jesus walked on Earth. We reached the coast, and continued to drive in the redwoods, seeing the huge trees on one side of the road with the ocean on the other side, waves breaking on cliffs and rocks. As we were driving through the windy forest roads, a clearing opened up and thousands of people were parked there, with campers and tents. We stopped the car to investigate, and it turned out there was going to be a reggae concert that evening. Most of the people were ‘grunge’ style or hippies, and I’ve never seen that many at one place. The concert was sold out, and we walked around the area for a little bit, but weren’t able to get in the concert, and we drove on. Signs on the road pointed to a drive through tree and we went to see it. It was in a park, but it was closed for the evening. That was a good thing, since they had a sign saying there was a $3 fee per car. The road was gated closed, and we walked along it and came to the tree. It was night by then, but we had a strong flashlight and the area was lighted around the tree. The tree was 24 feet across, with a section cut out so that cars could drive through it. We walked through it, and watched the tree. It was the largest tree I’ve seen ever, more massive than most buildings I’ve see on our trip. A sign stated that it was about 2,400 years old, and it’s still growing. It looks like it could withstand any force that nature or man could bring upon it. We walked back to the car, and drove to San Francisco. Gu’s friend, Charles Lee, had moved there a couple weeks ago. Charles moved from Iowa, and we had visited him there on the first part of our trip. Driving through the city at night was interesting, as the lights of the city spread all across the horizon. He lives in the Berkley in a house that has other students living there. Next morning we walked around the Berkley area. It is a fascinating area, with lots of college age people. Venders on the street are peddling various wares, and lots of restaurants are around. It is here were an amazing coincidence happened. Back when we were in Washington D.C., near the Smithsonian museums, we saw a guy with Hare Krishna books for donations. We talked with him for a little while. Didn’t think too much of it at the time. Later that evening, while in the D.C. subway, we saw him walking along. Now, about a month and a half later, across the country, in Berkley, we saw him standing on the sidewalk with his Krishna books. I immediately recognized him, and we talked again. We told him we saw him in Washington, and we’re travelers from Arizona. He was pretty surprised, and gave us one of the books. I don’t know what the odds are for running into someone on opposite coasts of the country, but it must be phenomenally high. We walked more, and had lunch at a Korean restaurant. Charles drove us around San Francisco, and we saw some of the sights. We passed by Alcatraz, saw the downtown district, and parked at Fisherman’s Wharf, and walked around the area for a while. The Bay Area is beautiful, cool waters against the pier. Fog rolled by the hills and over the water, creating a mystical look. Street performers were everywhere, singing, playing instruments, and painting and drawing. I was most impressed by people playing steel drums. Funniest ones was a group of street punks, with ragged clothes, piercings, dyed and spiked hair, holding signs "Get your picture taken with freaks". After checking out the wharf, we drove around some more. Street there was very steep, some feel like going up and down a rollercoaster. We drove on a street I remember reading about in the Guinness Book of World Records and the steepest and most twisted street. We parked and walked around Chinatown. San Francisco has the best Chinatown we’ve seen on the trip, and we had dinner at a fancy restaurant. By far the best Chinese food I’ve had. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed back to Charles' place. We only stayed two nights at his place, as we are running out of time to get back to Arizona, since I had to be in Willcox on the 7th before going back to Flagstaff. The next morning, we ate in Berkley again, and headed to Los Angeles. Traffic was bad leaving San Francisco, and we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway. Driving along the coast never fails to be wonderful, and heavy fog rolled in from the ocean, stopping at the shore. We watched the sunset there, and headed into L.A. It is a gigantic city, way too large for me to feel comfortable in. Taking almost two hours to go from the northern part of town to Long Beach, we saw the city extending to the horizon in all direction constantly. We arrived at my the home of a friend of mine, Scott Jennings. He and I drove around the city late that night, showing me some of the parts. The next morning we all went on a 14 mile bike ride along an urban bike trail from Lakewood to the beach. It was a nice ride, and good exercise after being in the car so long. We stayed a couple hours at the beach, walking along the shore and watching the great looking women. When we returned we went out to eat at a local Mexican food restaurant, and then cruised the streets as he pointed out stuff. We went up Signal Hill, and had a pretty good view of the city. Again, it stretches out in all directions as far as I could see. The smog was pretty thick, a brown band above the ground. We drove on, seeing the ports, several parks, downtown buildings, and walked around on 2nd Street, which is one of the trendy places to hang out. We returned to his home, and several of his friends, Amber and Tony stopped by, and we went to their home for a while and talked. The next morning, we left Scott’s house, and Gu and I explored the city. We went to the Los Angeles downtown, and went up in one of the largest skyscrapers. The view was miles of buildings and roads covered by smog. We saw Little Tokyo, and drove on Sunset Blvd. I was amused to see a club that I saw on a couple Guns n Roses videos. We went on through Beverly Hills, among the mansions of the stars. People were trying to sell Star Maps all over. We went up through the hills along Mudholland, Hollywood and Ventura. Gu’s sister, Heather, lives at Canoga Park, and that is where we currently are staying. Comparing large cities of the west and east coast, I find many differences. West coast cities were all built after the automobile, and were designed for it, as opposed to the east coast cities. New York was difficult and slow to drive from one part to another, and I found absolutely no place to park. Parking garages there were over $30 per day. L.A., on the other hand, is easy to get from opposite ends of the city, or from any other place. The freeways quickly move people, and I never had any problem parking. Parking is very cheap, even prime downtown lots only cost $3.00 per day. I was told that you need a car in L.A. to make it, and the public transportation is pretty lousy. New York is great without cars, as things are close together, and subways are really comprehensive.