It felt very very odd to come back to our home state. We landed last Tuesday evening at SFO and I was totally bewildered. Was I home? Was I not? Why were we heading north up the 101 to stay with friends rather than heading south to Foster City. I missed my cat. I suddenly felt very unsettled.
Luckily that feeling didn’t last too long so I was able to enjoy our bonus day in SF. We stayed in Brisbane with dear friends, but to make life even better, the lovely Lisa drove up to meet me at some ungodly hour on Wednesday morning for one final morning run! It was Global Running Day so it felt particularly special to squeeze in four miles of running hills and catching up, but it was horrible once again to say goodbye.
That Bonus Day, the boys headed off to do indoor skydiving as we had unused vouchers. They had an awesome time….
My friend Jenny and I went into the city, for one final coffee at my beloved Warming Hut under the bridge. Karl the Fog was out to say goodbye. It was grey and cold, the warming hut was snug and warm. It was perfect.
We left on Thursday morning for the start of the road-trip part of our journey back to England. We’re heading across the Southern Tier of the US and there are so many places I’m looking forward to visiting as we head east. But Thursday took us a long way down California to Anaheim for a few days at Disneyland. I have to admit that theme parks are NOT my jam. I don’t like rollercoasters, I don’t like the crowds and the whole theme park ‘thing’ but my boys LOVE it and I love my boys, so off we went.
Over the next few days we packed in about 24 hours of Disneyland action! I know! We all preferred Disney California Adventure, which was much less crowded as well as newer and cooler. I got slowly better at rides (I’m a big chicken). We all loved the Cars Land ride and the fantastic Soar above the World which takes you flying above beautiful places on earth, I could have stayed on that all day.
The Dude lived out the Husband’s childhood fantasy by doing Jedi training and then fighting some bad guys…
…and then the Dude plucked up all his courage to go on the terrifying California Screamer, leaving me tearful at the bottom watching him go upside down. I learned a lot of lessons about facing your fears by watching that little face try to decide whether to ride or not and I burst with love at his delight when he got safely down to earth again.
And then I found the fake redwood grove and my world was happy.
We were pretty much done with the Mouse Kingdom by Saturday so we drove down to Oceanside for a day at Legoland on Sunday. I squeezed in a quick morning run and then we headed to Legoland. It was excellent but we’d missed peak Legoland visiting time by two years, so whilst we enjoyed it, we didn’t love it. If you have a 5-year-old though, they would LOVE it. Best of all, the lovely Kate, of Crazy Cat Lady fame, came to meet us for the day. It was fantastic to see her again and get to hug her once more before we left.
Our time in California ended on Monday morning, fittingly with a trail run. I took the Dude and Big Brother on what was intended to be a 1.3 mile loop at Lake Calaveras, near our motel. Alas, we got slightly lost and ended up doing 5km but it was fantastic. The trails were pretty and although there were numerous rather scary rattlesnake warning signs, we only spotted one non-venomous slitherer. This MADE Big Brother’s day, he’d never seen a snake in the wild before so he felt like a real trail runner! My new Brooks Cascadias felt great too!
And that was it. We got in the car and drove east through vast swathes of empty high desert. It got more arid and less populated as we drove until I found myself wondering how on earth we were in the same state as San Francisco or the lush redwood forests of Humboldt county. The size of California never fails to astound me, as does the variety of land within its borders! People assume that California means SF and LA, it means liberal politics and granola – it’s easy to forget just how immense, varied, beautiful and truly diverse the Golden State is.
And then, suddenly, we crossed the border and we were in Nevada. No more California.
I may have shed a little tear.
Onwards. Nevada, we’re here