In the Winds of Change We Always Find Our Direction
Cars, Trains and RVs!
SO much has happened in the last few weeks I haven’t had time to write! It has been VERY exciting as well!! The last blog I wrote we were in Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada, now we are in Lincoln City, Oregon! But we arrived here in some unexpected ways!
After Lake Tahoe we drove back to Los Angeles in one night and two days. We had to drive quickly to return our rental car! We spent the night at a place called Bakersfield, where it was 42C and 110F. It was boiling hot. We sizzled in the small motel room we got for the night!Thank goodness there was a small swimming pool that even though being luke-warm, was very refreshing! In the morning we broke our fast at the complimentary breakfast room where we met a few of the friendly truckers who drive all day and all night, but are allowed to stop and eat at little motels like this one.
After eating, we piled into the searing hot car and drove the 600 kilometers back to Los Angeles! On arrival we were greeted by one of our new friends whom we had only known over Skype and the Internet – “David”, who lived in Topanga Canyon, a national park that served as a refuge from the crazy hecticness of LA. He invited us to come and meet his family and to stay a couple of days! The drive up to their bungalow was BEAUTIFULLY BREATHTAKING, the rich colors of the canyons varied from a light sparkly beige to rich reds with golden swirls in the rocks and cliff sides, salmons and light pink colors lined the edges of the slowly drying pools of water and brought an oasis-like feel to the whole place! We definitely weren’t in LA anymore. Topanga Canyon felt like the real city of the angels! After doing a bit more sightseeing up in the wilder parts of the canyon, David took us to his lovely home. We met his wife: Mathilde and their three children, Leo, Angelo and Sophia.
On arrival, we were given a tour of their backyard and front porch area, which to our delight had a nice big, aqua POOL! Lalika and I canon-bombed the pool with Leo and Angelo before warming up in the jacuzzi! It was great fun, hanging out with Leo and Angelo and enjoying the four days we spent there with them! We had a blast, playing basketball; raiding a costume shop, well…not really raiding…just having fun going through and trying on lots of costumes; climbing out to the tall hill just beside their house and looking down on Los Angeles and of course, playing every single board game in the house! One morning we drove down to the beach with Sophia, Angelo, Lalika, David and my Dad and went swimming in Malibu’s ocean beach! Unfortunately, an oil company wanted to set up camp there so the habitat of many different species of birds and wildlife was threatened! We met a lady who was one of the protesters and she explained what was happening. We spent the whole afternoon swimming in the deep blue sea that had a lot of seaweed in it before having ice-cream at “The Grum”. Those four days passed as quickly as flash lightening!
But towards the end of those four days, we had to make a decision about where did want to go and what did we want to see in The US and most importantly how would we get there! So, we solved the problem with one decision: by buying our very own Recreational Vehicle also known as an RV, Camper or Motorhome! We had found a great RV online for sale in perfect condition with no problems except one hiccup: It was in OREGON! One state up! How would we get there?? But we had an answer! The Amtrak Train was coming to town and it was heading to our destination: Eugene, Oregon! We spent all of the next day packing all our things.
In the end, we fit everything into 15 Bags! BUT we had extra bags with food for the journey and bits and pieces we had already bought since arriving.
There was a sad goodbye before we left because Lalika and I didn’t want to leave Leo and Angelo in their paradise of Topanga Canyon just yet, no matter how exciting going on The Amtrak would be! But we had booked tickets and our new home was waiting for us at the other end of the line! So we packed all our 26 bags into Mathilde’s big white Van and drove down and out of Topanga Canyon, through the extremely busy Highway and finally arrived at the huge Train station where we unloaded everything and checked in after bidding a final farewell to Mathilde and family! The train was in no hurry to arrive on time, so we spent a good hour waiting for the sound of the train pulling into the station. It was a scramble to get on the train with all our bags and only two minutes to do so. We moved like high powered machines, pushing and pulling and throwing all our bags onto the train. We made it in record speed! and after placing all our “Carry On”s in the overhead compartments we settled into our very comfortable seats for the long 24 hour journey.
Of course, not one minute was boring! The Amtrak Superliner had one of the prettiest routes in America! Soon after eating a quick lunch we headed into the sightseer lounge where the whole carriage is made of window glass! Even the roof! The perfect place to spend the whole afternoon marveling at the view or reading, (I did both :D) and all to the sound of a voiceover tour which pointed out all the places of interest that we passed by, including a top-secret American Military Rocket Base. The views were better than any car and the whole scenery changed right before our eyes, from Seaside to rolling hills and pine forests and then back to seaside and after that even to desert! All this in the space of a few hours! Lalika and I soon made friends with a lovely lady called Judy, who was SO nice and fun! She took us to the arcade where we played the racing cars! Then together we played Gin Rummy, Crazy Eights, Memory and Snap with AMTRAK cards all while the sun was setting over the ocean! The time had passed so quickly and before we knew it, it was nearly 10:00pm! We had to say goodbye to Judy who was getting off at Redding (Near Mt Shasta) at 2am in the morning! We would miss her!
By this time we were all quite tired and we tiptoed through all the coaches by the light of the moon, walking past all the sleeping people to get to our comfy chairs which extended into makeshift beds. We all fell asleep to the dim light of the carriage bulbs. Now, I can say 100% that so far into our journey, this night on the train was the one where I had the best sleep! I slept soundly and comfortably and this was in economy class! I loved it and the best thing was waking to the beautiful view of a mountain towering before us and a lake surrounding us! It was very beautiful!
Soon after waking we all had breakfast and we were about two hours’ away from Eugene when our train just suddenly stopped on a very remote part of the tracks and no-one knew why until about half an hour later, when over the speaker came a voice saying “Ladies and Gentlemen, we apologize for the delay but a freight train has broken down in front of us and we cannot continue until the freight train is repaired or removed”. Oh well, what can you do? Lalika and I were a bit bored until about half an hour later, when we met a boy named Tate, who was a couple of years younger than us, but we all loved to play so we went down to the arcade with NO tokens and hung out there checking out all the games but not playing them 🙁 The train stayed there for two and a half hours! Not budging an inch! But finally at around 1:00pm another announcement came over the speakers: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now back on track, our next stop is Eugene Oregon”. Everyone in our coach cheered!
The rest of the journey passed smoothly and we spent the next hour staring out the window at the very back of the train (as our cart was the very last one) with Tate. Finally at 2:36pm The Amtrak Train pulled into Eugene’s Train Station which was quaint, as Eugene is more of a University Town. We unloaded our baggage with the same speed as when we got on and made our way to the parking lot, where there, parked in the middle lot, was our new RV!
Lalika and I almost immediately named Husky for her coziness and roaring 350 horsepower engine! “Paul” the previous owner of the RV had to go to his son’s birthday party so he wasn’t able to stay and help us right then, but promised to return the next day to show us how EVERYTHING worked! As we began to unpack we realized that four of our bags were MISSING! We enquired at the train station and we found out that they had been checked in to the next stop: Albany! But it was not a worry, as it turned out the same train would be returning later that day, so we would get all our luggage back! Until then we had a Spring cleaning session, which is much quicker in an RV 😀 and unpacked all our items into our new home! At 18:30 we returned to the station to receive our dusty but completely fine backpacks and afterwards we had a dinner of Margarita and Vegetarian Pizza at a place called Ambrosia. For the next two days, we cleaned and unpacked and learned every trick and tool “Husky” had to offer! Finally after two days we were ready!
On the second day of our exploring escapade of Eugene, we went for a walk and ended up at “Hayward Field”, the place that inspired Nike’s birth, the shoe company, not the Greek Goddess. It was also where the famous runner Steve Prefontaine, ran into the halls of running glory. I ran around a mini race track of 400m and did it in 112 seconds but I only jogged. After playing some football (soccer) in the artificial pitch all together, we walked to Sundance Wholefoods where we bought some groceries for our onward journey. Our exploring adventure had truly begun and we felt so excited at the prospect of traveling all across the USA!
Our first stop was Lincoln City at Chinook Bend RV Park in Oregon where I am right now writing to the delicious smell of mushrooms and onions grilling on an open fire for dinner 😀
I feel so free and excited and I know I am so lucky to be able to experience life this way! Stay tuned for my next entry and comment down below on the photos! Thank you.
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