Made it to California! Spent the last 2 days hanging out with an old friend of mine and his girlfriend. It has been really good to hang out with an Englishman from my generation. As great as Americans are they just don't seem to grasp the finer points of some things:- like marmite on toast, or the vibe Christmas has in England.
Ironically my first night in Cali was spent celebrating Oktoberfest in a large German bar. Aside from the facts that I am drinking Muller beer, and that the women are actually attractive, I could almost be at home. Sam introduces me to an American drink by the name of Four Loko. At 12%, and rocking more caffeine per m/l then Red Bull, its a party in an over sized can. After drinking 2 of those (huge cans, bigger then a pint), combined with gratuitous amounts of beer, my recollection of the evening is hazy. I do recall someone climbing on top of an RV for no apparent reason though.
Note :- I am writing this on the Amtrak train and we just passed through Fullerton!
Made it! Ended up using public transit out to Santa Monica beach for $2 and then I started walking. On the first day I walked along the coast - literally on the beach for allot of the way, and the Pacific Coast Highway when not possible. As I got to the west side of Malibu the sun was starting to set, I found myself a small alcove on a private beach (probably slightly illegal) to sleep in. The waterline from the last high tide was about 15ft from where I rolled out my sleeping bag, and it looked like the weather was going to be good - had been a completely clear day so far. I had a stack of rocks to climb out of where I was with some ease. So if I had misjudged the situation, worst case scenario was I would get wet. I lay back and watched the sun set over the Californian coast line. Absolutely beautiful. I was completely exhausted from hauling my pack all day and fell asleep pretty much as soon as it was dark.
I woke up a few hours later to the sound of the waves crashing onto the sand and rocks a meters away from me. the moon was very big and very bright, making it easy to see on this completely clear night. I watched the ocean breaking so close I could almost touch it until I fell asleep again.
Woke up at around 5.30am just in time to watch the sun rise. After consulting my map and realising that it was going to take forever to walk to Santa Barbara I decide to go and climb in the foothills along the beach in the state park. I reach the top of my chosen mountain (probably nothing more then a small hill but shh) at around 1pm. In the baking heat atop this hill I can see for miles in either direction along the coast, miles of rich blue-green ocean crashing against the jagged rocks and hills typical of this region. I stop for a while to meditate, absorb the moment, and smoke a little joint before beginning the walk back down the hill.
Back on the highway I walk in the right direction with my thumb stuck out, figure if I cant catch a ride I will walk, but I may as well try to catch one! Before to long a Mexican construction worker who calls himself Pedro stops to pick me up, and gets me as far as Oxnard.
Hiking out of Oxnard along the railway track that evening I pass by some strawberry fields next to the tracks. I snag a few for breakfast and set up camp amongst the lemon trees in the next field over. Again I fall asleep very quickly after sunset being completely exhausted from walking and heat, feeling slightly sunburned, and incredibly happy.
From my camping spot I could see the Highway a couple of fields over, so after a breakfast of strawberries I quickly pack up my things and start walking along the highway in the direction of the next exit, and its inevitable gas station primarily to catch a ride, but also to use the bathroom there! Brett picks me up fairly quickly in his black 4x4 once I get myself set up on the ramp. He is from LA originally, and is working there currently. He spends most of the year however in Idaho for the snowboarding and mountain biking. Brett is headed to Capinteria for a meeting. Capintera is about 15 miles east of Santa Barbara, I can walk the rest.
In Santa Barbara Brett takes me out for breakfast of bacon with fried eggs, potatoes and orange juice. I am in heaven as it is the first real meal I have had in a few days. Over breakfast Brett tells me that he will be driving back to Idaho in a few weeks time, and if I want to, i am welcome to come with. He will sort me out with cold weather clothing so I experience the winter sports in the Idaho mountains before I head home. Sounds VERY tempting.
I give him my email and he hands me a card as he heads off. I start to walk towards the beach to chill out for a bit. I don't have a place to sleep tonight, but I really cant be bothered to worry about that right now.