06 June 2011

on the road 2011 - usa - westcoast 5th may - 10th may

It was the 4th may when I left for Brussels, I had planned to arrive around midnight at the train station as I had to take an early train to Paris the next morning. It was impossible to reach Brussels by train so early, so I went there the night before my actual departure hoping to find a somewhat comfy waiting area, one that you normally find at airports and some trainstations, but i guess not this one. Little did I know that the area where you could wait during the night inside the station did actually not exist at night time. It was closed from 12 midnight and opened again early in the morning, offcourse, belgium logics ...

So without any sleep I got on the 8am train to Paris, arrived at the airport smoothly and went to check in my luggage, only to find that the transport system for the luggage had broken down. After half an hour they collected the luggage in a big cart and told us to go ahead, it would all be ok .... You can probably guess what never got to san fransisco that day ! The fact that my suitcase would now arrive one day later meant that I had to sleep somewhere else than my tent, as that was inside my suitcase that was still in Paris. Luckily the airline gave us an allowance of 130 dollars to spend on things we needed as a result of the missing suitcase. So I booked myself a luxury hotelroom by the beach, and close to the rv park where my parents had parked their bus.

But again it had been necessary to show some persistance at the airline desk as not every one got to hear the rule they had about the 130 dollar allowance, neither were they given a comp toiletry bag with usual stuff like tootbrush and shaver etc but this one also contained a plain nice white tshirt, so I was all ok when I left the desk and went on to go see my parents, who must have been waiting for almost one hour.

The choice for a good hotel turned out to have been a good choice and ideal, with a great breakfast the next day although it was still hard to eat due to the excitment of what was finally unfolding itself ... .

It was nice to see my parents again, I guess I felt very fullfilled in seeing them have completed the panamerican highway, from argentina to san fransisco, more than 20.000 kilomters and on the road 6 months. I guess I felt proud too! Very proud actually, because it is quite something to travel together for such a long time in such a compressed space. I mean it is a vw transporter, and well equipped, actually pretty nifty in design as it has everything you could possibly need on the road: it's a tdi 4 motion, with foldout roof with double bed that sleeps like a dream, the bench has an ingenious slide and flip mechanism so it folds out to a double bed too.

Stealth mode camping requires me to sleep below, not allways, but only when far away from civilisation or well hidden from view and bears. It is bear country that I am travelling trough after all. Smiling .... It has a smal sink, a fridge, airconditioning, heater, nifty lights and a cabinet for your pots and pans. Also the clothes can be hidden away in the sides and it really feels like a little home on wheels.

So as me and my parents spend the first days in the san fransisco area we discovered a nice spot in sausalito, a little town just across the city right after you cross the golden gate bridge. There are loads of bigass houseboats, but few remain from as they were in the 60s and 70s but there was still one small area that felt different, and it turned out that the small piece of land in front of the boats, that served as entrance, the parking area was their own property too, so I was welcome to be their guest said a guy called Scout, who came to say hello and wanted to buy my dads bus ... and so this little encounter turned into me finding my first free camp spot.

As we drove around the bay area we visited my old dorm that was my house away from home and had soon turned into my home, along with 200 other students among whom loads of foreigners from all over the word. What a wake up call that was ... I am still very gratefull that I have been able to have had that experience, that realy threw off my blinds and woke me up.

So we also went to chabot college, to see the field I played at for their famous soccer team and worked in the bookstore to make some money to spend on my first raves that I was exposed to in 91-92 ha ha .. my house is your house and your house is mine.

Chabot college was nice to rediscover, bookstore had moved, canteen was still serving great food and drinks ... Berkely was again nice, and the 49mile drive was too ... including the crookedest street in the world .. lombard street with its 9 bends and my mum and dad driving down it with my dad hanging out of the window, and my mum waving with one hand whilst driving the bus down the street and me photographing it all at the crossing right below, I had gotten out of the bus as we had come down for the first time .. ...

We also went to dream out loud for my mum ... we went to see yosemite national park, I had booked a spot at one of the few campsites that was open that time of year as there still some snow in the park, so they said ... and so it was ... man, did it snow when we were there .. it must have been my brother sending us some snow flakes and perfectly round and soft hailstones that were perfect for making snowballs ... the huge sequoias were a perfect target .. trees that had been standing there for 2400 years .. some grown together with their brothers and sisters, forming a huge wide base and multiple crowns ... the crumbly red of the bark of the trees and green of the fresh leaves from the tress that had only just started to sprout, all in a layer of snow .. it was magical to be there, and as later that day we had the joy of the sun that accompanied us for some areas that we visited, magic pure magic ...

being on the right path can give you it all, just make sure you dont try to hard to get somewhere ... strange how nike made that into : there is no finish line .. just like they had brilliantly stolen the: just do it line ... ah well, as long as they print 1972 on their shirts, I wil buy one and even wear it .. (found some for 5 dollars a piece in the nike outlet store, sorry mum, more shirts on the way ...)

So after Yosemite for two days, it was time to head back to San Fransisco to drop off my parents at the airport, they were heading back home, leaving me with the bus to hit the road .... for 3 great months ..... And boy am I glad I am not driving one of these huge fuckers ... everywhere you see tourist who have rented one of these huge things, struggling to cut corners, or get their bus parked at the campsites or various tourist sites .... and here is me ... I guess the bus is the same size as the average pick up truck with 4wheel drive that most americans are driving here .. only big difference is that the bus does 25 miles to the gallon .. and these huge v8 engines drink fuel like water rusn down some waterfalls in yosemite after all this snowfall ....

So much for the first part ....

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