the road trip.

I've become really obsessed with pickles since the road trip started. I don't know why, but it's to the point where Rob has said "stop talking about pickles."
Oops. I did eat one of those pickles in a bag too. It was delightful. And not weird at all... Okay maybe a little weird.

There's so much funny shit that you see when you're driving around. When we were heading out of LA we saw a dude driving a van that was decked out in the words Jesus and Holy with streamers hanging off of it. Bad ass pimped out Jesus mobile - only in America. Then another time we were driving through one of the quiet coastal towns in California and a woman drove up next to us looking real casual and I didn't really think anything of it until I realised there was an extremely obese chihuahua perched behind her neck, just hanging out. No big deal. It was the fattest dog I've ever seen. It acted like a furry neck cushion for this lady. Then when we were driving out of Santa Cruz we saw this dude out for his morning jog, but instead of just doing the usual jog he added in another element. Juggling. BOOM. This guy looked like he was in his forties. Such a hipster juggling whilst jogging. I struggle enough as it is to not look completely uncoordinated when I run, if I tried to juggle too I would definitely slam my face into the sidewalk.

Our first major stops were Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. Both towns are cool, Santa Barbara is kind of classy, apparently a bunch of "Hollywood" people live around there. We ate at this awesome restaurant called The Palace Grill which is like a Cajun, southern style place. Oh my it was tasty. I love all that kind of food. If I lived in New Orleans, I would be a fatty no doubt. Santa Cruz had a completely different vibe, it's full of surfers and hippies. Really low key town, had an awesome wholefoods style grocery store. I always get excited when I find a store that sells proper food. In California proposition 37 will be voted on in November and it's on whether or not genetically modified foods should be labeled. So at the moment a whole bunch of companies are labelling that there food isn't GM because it's become such an issue here in the states. I definitely think food needs to be labeled if it has been essentially tampered with. I've researched GMO before, and that shit is nasty. They've found that GM foods can lead to cancer - not surprising really. If you've ever heard of the devil corporation Monsanto you'd be aware of how they've pretty much taken over the corn and soy industry in America using their genetically engineered seeds. And we all know that corn and soy are fairly awful for you, especially once corn is turned into high fructose corn syrup and other crazy modified corn derivatives. Monsanto has put countless American farmers out of business, caused thousands of suicides in India due to their intrusion in the Indian farming business and in my opinion are the main reason for why there is so much shitty food in the US (and hence so many sick people). Obama appointed a former vice-president and lobbyist for Monsanto as a senior adviser for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), conflict of interest perhaps? The whole thing is completely fucked. The corporate and government ties in the food and drug industry is staggering, surprise surprise the food we eat (that the government tells us we should eat and subsidises the farming of these foods to make it cheap) makes us sick, and then we head on over to the pharmacy to take drugs to help us get better. It's just a vicious cycle that people don't know how to get out of. Sorry, I didn't mean for this to turn into some crazy rant. But seriously, what kind of corrupt society do we live in where shit like this can happen? Go watch Food, Inc. the documentary or just google Monsanto and find out for yourself if you haven't already. That shit is scary! Okay, enough food activism. Back to the road trip.

San Francisco. Heck yes. I could live there. I love the districts, the atmosphere, the food scene... it's just pretty darn cool all round. We were there for fleet week however, so there were A LOT of people EVERYWHERE. Apart from the people thing though I thought SF was amazing. The buildings and architecture have so much character, I guess the downside is the hills. It is very hilly. Upside though - you'll have awesome looking legs. It would not be a fun town to walk through whilst drunk however. But you'd have no excuse to not exercise, hill sprints would become your best friend. I dislike hill sprints very much. I raced Rob up one of the hills. Bad idea. He has big man quads. I don't. Long story short, I lost. Depressing considering I've been running and working out and he has been doing almost nothing this whole trip because of his back. Oh well. Because I'm a foodie I did some research on where a good place to eat was that we could actually get into without having to book weeks in advance. I found the new local hipster place "Brenda's French Soul Food". Booyah. I didn't realise it but the restaurant was in the Tenderloin district, which is like the druggy/homeless spot. Of course the cool place to eat is in the semi-threatening area of town. We tried to get in for brunch at peak hour time, no luck. So the next morning we got there 15 minutes before they opened and lined up, was totally worth it. The coffee was properly brewed and came in what seemed like 2 litre mugs. Then we ordered beignets (a special kind of donut) and I had sweet potato pancakes and Rob had grits with pork belly. Guuhhhh. Beignets are the bomb. I've literally been wanting to try a beignet since 2009. Pre-paleo days obviously. So yes I glutened and sugared up for a donut, but of all the times to have a cheat meal, that was it. We checked out all the main spots you're supposed to go to in San Francisco like china town, the ferry building and market place, union square... but I think my favourite part was just wandering the streets and people watching. Rob and I both have a fondness for people watching. And not in a creepy way, just in an observant way. We drove over the golden gate bridge too, and yes, it was foggy.
ferry building.

The coastal roads up to Oregon were beautiful, we drove through the redwoods and saw the biggest trees I've ever seen in my life. Ridiculous. Rob was like "imagine how much timber you could get out of that tree!"... such a builder thing to say. Once we got up to Portland we detoured to where I used to live in Beaverton. Haha. Beaverton. I haven't been there for I think 13 years or something, and the house still looked the same. It was weird though, I remember the street being way bigger with more houses. I guess when you're a kid you're looking at it from a different perspective. Portland was sweet, it's a pretty indie city. We went to this book store that was three storeys high, and took up the whole block. They had maps so you could direct yourself in the store. It was awesome.

Powell's book shop.
We headed up to Mt Hood, I used to go there all the time when I was a kid. There wasn't really any snow though, but it was still nice to see it. Then we made our way to Mt St Helens which is pretty crazy. It erupted 32 years ago and there is still so much devastation. It looks like not much has grown there since. My Grandpa said he flew his plane around the crater a week after it had erupted and the ground was still smoking. My Grandpa is bad ass. He lives in an assisted living place now. He calls it 'the prison'. I can't really tell if he's joking or not.
driving to Mt Hood.
Mt St Helens.
One day we drove through three states - I got so confused. We went from Washington to Idaho to Montana. Or Mantana as Rob called it. Apparently the men to women ratio is a little out of control. They're also the second highest state of meth users. True story. Rob told me that too funnily enough. He's full of random facts like that. Useless, random facts. Just kidding Rob. They're very interesting. Then we went from Montana, back to Idaho and then into Wyoming. By that point I was just like "well I know we are somewhere in America!" That was when we went to Yellowstone National Park. You enter in from Idaho, but exit out of Wyoming when you drive through it. It's pretty freaking big. My favourite part of Yellowstone was when Rob and I ditched one of the main walking trails and headed out off the beaten track. We were surrounded by bison, a few fly fishermen, a plethora of geysers and that was it. At one point I thought I was in a staring contest with a huge bison. He won. You do not want to fuck with a bison. They are huge. And oddly out of proportion. They have massive shoulders and then strange tiny legs. It reminded me of those memes of guys that "work out" but they only do arms, shoulders and chest and then they look like a human triangle. God that's hilarious. Anyway, at one point one of the geysers shot up out of the ground and Rob and I were the only people there to see it. It was awesome. We were pretty lucky to see it happen too because they're so unpredictable. Apart from old faithful. That's the name of the main geyser that everyone goes to see because you're guaranteed to see it burst. Well it did, but it wasn't very special because there were a billion people waiting to see it happen and you couldn't get close to it. After that first geyser we saw with all the bison Rob said "nothing is going to beat that today". He was right. We only managed to drive through less than half of the whole park. But we were pretty satisfied with what we saw. On our way out we spotted some deer and moose. No bears though. But then a little while later I heard a guy got eaten by a bear there. Man what is with these people wanting to get up close and personal with hungry hungry bears? There's this TV show 'Yukon Men' that Rob and I love. These dudes live in Alaska and are freaking crazy. If the world has some sort of apocalypse, those are the guys who will survive the longest. If you willingly live in a place where for more than half a year you're in darkness, you are either crazy or just plain awesome. Or probably a little bit of both. Because all that lack of vitamin D would make you a little crazy.

a little geyser action.
old faithful.
human triangle.
I tell you what is a cool town, Jackson Hole in Wyoming. It's a little ski town, but it's not pretentious. That was nice. Wyoming and Idaho had really beautiful scenery. We headed into Utah and stayed with Rob's friend from Tasmania, Sam. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and two little girls. Salt Lake was great, we stayed there for about 5 days just hanging out and drinking lots of wine. Sam is so much fun too so we really enjoyed ourselves. And no, we didn't get converted over to Mormonism either. We did see the big ass temple that the Mormons built in the middle of the city though. There's something about those temples that creep me out. Don't get me wrong, they are very impressive looking. But I guess coming from me, a very non-religious person, it just seems a little intense is all. Here's a fun fact, Mitt Romney is a Mormon. By the way what kind of a name is Mitt? That's just confusing. Anyway, the Romney clan grew up in Mexico because his family (like his grandparents and great grandparents) wanted to be polygamists, and it was illegal in the states. Anyway,  his father was born in Mexico, and a lot of the family still live there near Chihuahua. What's crazy though is that they have been fighting with the drug cartels. Like serious, Mormons VS Mexican drug dealers. Craziness! Ah US politics, so ridiculous yet taken so seriously. 
Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah with Sam.
We made our way down to the Arches National Park further south in Utah. Woah. That place is unreal. You're surrounded by huge sandstone rock formations of all shapes and sizes, and it's so red that the colours don't even look real when it contrasts with the bright blue sky. We were able to head out onto a trail and walk up to the 'Delicate Arch' which is the most famous of all the arches. The park has over 2000 of them, they're pretty unbelievable to see up close. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Colorado was our next stop. We stayed up in Boulder, pretty much inhabited by college kids. It was a lot to handle. We drove up to the rockies and Estes Park though and that was pretty amazing. The lakes had started to freeze and there was even a waterfall that had completely frozen which looked really cool. I still think the Canadian rockies is the best place to go for mountains and forest, but it was still nice to see. Colorado has really bad drivers as well. That makes things awful especially if you've been driving for six hours and by that point if someone cuts you off you basically just want to ram into them and push them off the road. And I'm not even the one driving. We got to have dinner with Rob's cousin who he hadn't seen for something like 20 years, pretty ridiculous how quickly time goes by. He was living just outside of Boulder so it was great that Rob could see him finally.

After Colorado we headed back to Utah to drive through Zion National Park and then go to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. By that point, we had seen so many geographical sights that everything just seemed like a big rock. The Grand Canyon was definitely a breath taking sight, just the vastness of it is crazy. But I think Arches was my favourite park out of everything we saw in the States. 

We got back to San Diego on Wednesday. It felt good to not have to worry about driving, booking accommodation and wondering how to get somewhere and what to see. Getting in the car and only having to drive for 20 minutes is the bomb. Since then we've still been pretty busy, we had my cousin's halloween block party to go to last night. There were screaming kids everywhere. But then we found the make shift martini bar in the backyard of my cousin's next door neighbour's house. Booyah. Rob and I dressed up as bacon and eggs. I had to go as the egg. But we couldn't both have dressed up as bacon. That wouldn't have made sense. Bacon and bacon. I mean the concept makes sense to me. But we wouldn't have wanted to confuse people. Then we saw a couple with their child had dressed up the same, except their little girl was toast. They totally won that contest. Plus their bacon and eggs costumes looked way more real. Oh well. It was good to meet other people as passionate about breakfast foods as we are. Now I want bacon.

Almost my whole family has now tried to convince me to move to San Diego. It is pretty tempting. My Mum flew into town today as well, she said if I moved here she and my Dad would most likely move here too. Which is kind of awkward because they just bought what is meant to be their final house. They've moved about a bajillion times, and have moved from Australia to the US and then back to Australia as well. Moving across the world is not fun. I don't think I could leave Melbourne though, I love my friends too much. I'm so restless, it's like I'm always searching for what next to do or what new adventure I can embark on. I need to stay put for a while I think. I wish I just knew what I wanted to be doing. That bothers me. I'm not okay with not knowing things like that. And people say "don't worry you'll figure it out". When will I figure it out? WHENNNNN? Just kidding. This my friends, is what we call, a first world problem. And on that note, I am now going to drink some wine and enjoy this fine San Diego weather. I feel like eating a pickle.

P.s. sorry I don't have any more pictures, my iPad is having a semi-meltdown.

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