Driving Highway 101 North

After a fun day of bike riding with Brittany in San Diego I hit the road again on Wednesday. My next car rental was actually planned for Saturday, but the people at Hertz were so kind to change the dates for me. That’s a few days earlier than planned, which’ll allow me to take it a bit easier and make more stops. My first stop is at my favorite coffee place in this area, Pannikin in Encinitas. I enjoy a cappuccino and a cinnamon swirl and call with a friend for a while before I continue driving. The next stop is Hollywood, I always love to see the famous Hollywood sign and the movie studios. It’s a very hot day again, so this time I don’t hike up to the sign or take a tour around the studios like I usually do. I just enjoy the drive and take a few pictures. I follow Highway 101 up North again and get all the way to a campsite at Oceano, a few hours north of Los Angeles. I’m glad that Matt helped me on the last road trip with learning the tricks of camping and setting up my tent, because now I can easily do it by myself.
In the morning I drive to a Starbucks for a few hours of work. Getting some work done helps me to get some peace of mind. My goal for the coming time is to really enjoy the vacation and don’t work too much. That way I’ll probably get more rest and have more energy after the vacation to get back to it.
Just like the first roadtrip of this vacation I drive via San Francisco and make a stop at the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I can skip a few stops from the first trip and drive all the way to Eureka to say hi to Phil and Ruth, the friends of Matt that I met on the first trip. It’s nice to see them and the kids again and we hang out for a while. When it’s getting dark outside I say goodbye again and drive another hour to Redwoods National Park to camp there. I’m lucky to get an unintentional free campsite since it’s already late when I arrive and before sunrise when I leave again without seeing any park ranger. I’m excited about my next stop which we didn’t came to on the first trip, a placed called Secret Beach in Oregon. It’s a hidden beach just by Highway 101 and takes a short hike through the forest to get to. It’s a beach with beautiful rocks in the water. Because it’s not very known, there are not many people here. There is one other guy on the rocks this morning and I ask him if he wants to take a picture of me. He asks me if I’m also from the Netherlands and I’m happily surprised by that. He recognized my accent and we continue our conversation in Dutch. He introduces himself as Semir and tells me he’s traveling here with his wife and children for two months. I give him some tips from my previous travels and we help each other taking some pictures before we hike back up to the road. I drive further North, but then feel that I want to spend some more time at Secret Beach and turn the car around. Fortunately I was only about ten minutes away, so I’m quick back at the beach. There are a few more people now and I meet a friendly elderly lady named Rosie who is also traveling by herself. She gives me some tips for places to visit and tells me that she used to go to school with Steve Jobs in Cupertino. As an Apple fan I find that very interesting of course. I sit down at one of the rocks to do some writing in a notebook while Rosie keeps talking with me and some other people. At one point she shares some timely wisdom with me: “When you travel, the only special moments are when you engage. If you don’t stop and look around, you’ll miss the essence of the journey.”
I love that and write it down immediately. As the sun is getting higher, it’s heating up outside and it’s time to back in to the car with air conditioning. I follow Highway 101 further North and stop in the town of Bandon where I find a nice coffee place to take a break and do some writing. And that’s where I’m sitting right now. Instead of making another very long post of a week full of adventures, I figured it’s probably nicer to write some shorter stories a bit more frequent. I think I’ll continue following the coast up to Portland and head land inwards from there to visit a few national parks. Mount. Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades are on the list.

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