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My US adventures 2011 - Part Three: Road trip to LA

Monday 18 July

After hanging out at Button Makers, Peter picked me up to start our road trip adventure South from Seattle to LA. We then picked up a mutual friend of ours, Sheila, who I'd met last year at the Washington DC AR Conference at Greenlake. Sheila had been staying with her Aunt and Uncle for a few nights and her Aunt made the best hummus that we ate with kale. We travelled along the I5 and stopped at Whole Foods in Portland to get some snacks for the trip and dinner including Wild Wood tofu, Dave's Killer Bread and banana with Earth Balance margarine - my favourite.

Here's a photo of the grass where Sheila and I did some yoga when we had a break stop:

flowers

View from the road:

view

I am realising that Peter has bad music taste, he seems to be obsessed with La Bouche and bad 80s music. The grammar CDs are interesting and obviously the conversation between the three of us is riveting, however, something needs to be done about these 80s CDs that Peter keeps playing, Sheila is encouraging this behaviour too...

That night we drove around for ages and finally decided on sleeping at Newport in a WalMart carpark which is what a lot of people do in America as you are allowed to park there without getting moved on. It was freezing around 4am when Sheila and I went to the bathroom. It's meant to be summer over here and at this moment I'm not impressed with the weather.

Tuesday 19 July

 The weather is still not that accommodating. It's overcast but at least it's not raining. We stopped at a coffee shop to get some coffeee for Peter and Sheila and then we walked along the quaint, little streets where we saw this sign:

sign

We walked along the beach, the water was freezing, and the sand so dirty. Peter said it's due to the rain and the sand would normally be cleaner, I don't believe this. We have beautiful white sand and blue seas in Australia.

beach beach2

I had a shower at the local Newport pool while Peter and Sheila used the wi-fi outside and then we went Oceania Natural Foods Co-Op a great health food store with a cold salad bar and hot food bar. I had a bowl with brown rice, olives, tempeh chicken salad and the other vegan salad options. The below was US$4.75 - I love my photo below:

LC_salad

Sheila had this bowl full of goodies:

Sheila_salad

Peter had carrots, hummus, dips and apples. I also had a chocolate cookie and took an amazing photo when the cookie was in the paper bag! Hope you get as excited as I do when I take a great food photo!

cookie

Here's some various photos of our drive through Oregon:

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There is a lot of 80s music I love, for example: Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Kate Bush, Prince, Heart, Gloria Estefan, Tom Petty, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne, Rick Astley etc plus many other great one hit wonder songs, NONE of which were featured in any of the horrible 80s compilations Peter plays in the car. Just saying.

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In Coos Bays I saw a picture of the Ghostbusters logo on a store which also had a sign saying it was a paranormal shop. We couldn't pass by this! So we went into the PSI of Oregon shop who specialise in paranormal research and they had a few great stories to share with us including many a ghost sighting plus when to tell if a ghost is real or fake. I bought a great Road Atlas for US$1 (!) from the store and then we passed on through to a lighthouse opposite Brandon Marsh. It was a lovely place and here's a photo of Peter and Sheila on the beach:

dunes

Here's a great lil' beach shack that was on the beach. It's made up of a heap of different pieces of washed up wood that aren't stuck or held together in anyway. It was really cool.

beach_hut

Here's a pic of a lovely seagull who let me come up really close to him to take a photo. Poser.

seagull

I am not allowed to drive as Peter is scared that due to the fact in Australia we drive on the right side of the road and our cars have the steering wheel on the right side of the car, I would cause some sort of accident. Whatever. Here's a pic of Peter deep in thought when driving:

peter

 Then we decided not to drive past an amazing view along the coast, called Battle Rock due to a two week battle between the native Indians and the white settlers when the white people claimed the land without any okay from the Indians. For such a horrible story and history, it's such a beautiful place:

Battle_Rock Battle_Rock2

Peter took this photo of me, we ended up climbing the huge rock at the back right:

LC_Battle_Rock

island rock_islands

Just hanging out with the view:

the_view

I LOVE my photo below:

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Here's a bit of seaweed stuff that had washed up on the beach:

seaweed

 Here's a couple of pics of the caves beneath the large rock we climbed:

cave_looking_up cave

View from near the caves:

ocean

View walking up the rock and from the top looking out to where we parked:

incline_to_the_top view_from_where_we_were

Views:

view_to_house

more_of_a_climb

view_and_sun

After our big hike up and down the large rock, we finished our road trip for the night when we met up with Robert Cheeke from Vegan Bodybuilding at a motel in Cresent City. Robert was heading up North when we were heading South and had planned to catch up somewhere on the road along our trips. As he'd just had a cheque from book sales of his book Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, Robert paid for the four of us to stay in the motel that night. We went to the local supermarket to buy a few things for dinner including Gardein Tuscan "chicken" breasts, Wild Wood tofu, Sheila's Aunty's hummus, kale, Pico de Gallo: onion, tomato, coriander and avocado with tortillas for dinner. Here's the"chicken" version:

chicken_wrap

Here's the tofu version:

tofu_wrap

They were yum! We went to bed quite early.

Wednesday 20 July

Before we left the motel - due to Peter harassing Sheila about cutting his hair (which looked fine), Robert wanting a haircut and me needing a bit of a clean up of the back of my hair where I may or may not have a mullet - Sheila brought out her scissors and clippers and did her thang:

robert_before haircut

haircut2 robert_after

Peter and Robert being silly after their haircuts:

peter_after peter__robert

Then we hit the road and picked up a hitchhiker named Douglas who was on his way to Arcata where we were heading

fog

water

Along the way we crossed over Klamath River where there were a heap of people all along the bridge taking photos and looking a something in the water. We crossed the bridge and I asked one of the truck drivers what was so exciting. He said I'd not believe it if he told me and I said try me. He said that there was a mother whale and her baby who were hanging out in the area for about a month, today they were swimming underneath the bridge. So cute.

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So we walked over to the bridge and followed the whales from side to side. I'm sure the whales were having quite a time seeing how many times all the silly humans would follow them to one side of the bridge just to follow them back to the other!

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Here's the view of the river and another photo of us driving:

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Then there was a sign for an elk area so we drove there and I got some great photos of the elk hanging out. I may or may not have been allowed to go as close as I did to the elk, but the pics are good:

elk elk2

Here's a photo of Sheila, Peter and I that Douglas the hitch hiker took at the elk area:

Sheila_Peter__LC

We arrived in Arcata which has a similar vibe to Byron Bay/Lismore, dropped Douglas off and went to their Co-Op where we had some lunch. I bought some burritos and a mini pumpkin pie US$4.75 which I thought was savoury, but it ended up being sweet. Unlike in Australia, it seems pies are really only eaten in the US for dessert and especially for Thanksgiving.  

pump_pie

Then we made our way to Humboldt Redwoods State Park where people camp and there are walking tracks. We got out of the car and wandered around the park checking out the trees and following one of the walking trails.

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I love this pic of the trees:

trees

Here's a cute pic of Sheila and I, you know, tree huggers and all:

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Sheila took this great pic of me that if we're FaceBook friends you would have already seen. I just flipped it upside down and popped the colour:

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We'd heard of a tree that you can drive a car through, so we headed to Leggett where I finally got to drive the car - just through the tree a few times when Sheila and Peter were on the roof - but it's still my first time driving a car in the US:

car_photo

The tree is 2400 years old, with a height of 315ft (approx 96m) and a 21ft (appros 6.5m) diameter, it was pretty impressive:

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We all had such an amazing day with whales and elk and trees (oh my!) and ended up staying the night at a truck stop in Lost Hills in the middle of the desert very close to Los Angeles where we would be tomorrow for the Animal Rights conference. We saw rabbits and squirrels and the weather was great!

Thursday 21 July

The sun woke me up and I tried to get some more sleep outside on the sleeping bag moving with the shade of the car but after awhile it was too much and we ended up leaving Lost Hills. On the way out of the truck stop there were a couple of squirrels catching some shade from a sign on the side of a fence, they were spread out trying to keep cool, but were too quick for me to get a photo. Cutest.

After our wonderful road trip along the coast road with great scenery and exciting places to stop along the way, the way into LA was just stretches of different types of farms as well as concrete when we got closer. The three of us stopped off just before LA for Peter to do some photocopying and I caught up on some computer work. Some of the views along the way:

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We arrived at the Westin LAX Hotel just before 4pm (as Peter had promised) for registration. The three of us had such an amazing time on our road trip, thanks Peter & Sheila! Our next adventures are the AR Conference in LA!

USA_Adventures_CoverMy USA Adventures - the Book by Leigh-Chantelle (ISBN 978-0-9808484-2-7) is now available to purchase in paperback on Amazon US & Amazon UK, Barnes & NobleEspresso Book Machine and other online retailers. Wholesale info for Retail Stores, Libraries, Colleges, Schools, Universities: Ingram Books.
See HERE for more information.

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