Across the country from MD to CA and back to NY/CT

Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
Trip End Jul 20, 2020

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Flag of United States  , Maryland
Saturday, August 22, 2009

My friend Paul was transferred to his new assignment at Lemoore base in CA and was planning on driving to CA. I jumped on this opportunity to go with him so that I could visit my friends in San Diego. We had a great time traversing the country staying 2 days with his sister in Ohio. While there, Paul got to play with his niece and nephew and I got to go horseback riding with his sister. We also went to the local arboretum. Our next stop was Missouri but before getting there we had to brave some severe weather conditions in Indiana - torrential rains accompanied by frightening lightening strikes and thunder. In MO, we stayed with my friends Dave and Chris who cooked the most wonderful chicken on the grill - juicy and tender. Dave also introduced me to another delicacy, pumpkin flowers. We ate them raw, breaded and friend and in an omelette. Yummy!!
Dave lives in Clifton where the Katy Trail passes through. While Paul went fishing, I went horseback riding with Dave's brother Phil and then went on a 32 mile bike ride on the Katy Trail. This part of the trail was nothing to write home about but the trail does feature stunning scenery further up when it snakes parallel to the Missouri River.

After Missouri, our next stop was Santa Fe, NM where we stayed with Margaret who is an excellent tour guide. We visited the oldest house and church in the US, strolled around bike trails and around the city and scoured the Native American market in Santa Fe. From here, we made our way to hot Phoenix, AZ where we stayed one night with a friend of Paul's. Around noon on Saturday we left for Big Bear, CA where we planning on staying overnight to see our friend Bob compete in the Rim Nordic mountain bike race on Sunday morning. Driving from AZ to CA is rather uneventful to say the least but we did make a point of driving through and stopping at Joshua Tree National Park. There, we hiked up Ryan Mountain. The top of the mountain affords a 360' view of the park, with the towering sentinels of San Gorgonio and San Jacinto looming to the West. We got to Big Bear around 10.30pm and stayed at
Grayson's Big Bear hostel. The hostel is THE place to stay if you want to get away from the city and do some serious hiking, biking, adventure racing and wintersports.

It was great to be back in San Diego and run at the beach and do some mountain biking on base at Camp Pendleton. The best part though was to see some of my friends and catch up on news in their lives.

Back in Maryland, I had two days to relax and pack for NYC. I applied for my visa at the Chinese embassy in Washington DC. After 3 years working in China and having the company take care of my work visa, I had to apply for a tourist visa again as I am planning on travelling around China and South East Asia for a couple of months. It went pretty smooth despite the fact that the embassy was busy with applicants. After the embassy I headed to Union Station and took a bus to NYC where I stayed 2 days with my friend Heather in Queens and 2 days with Irene in Hartsdale. NYC was hot and humid and crowded with tourists so I had no desire to be a tourist. I met with my friend Linda who I knew from Beijing and later took a stroll on Roosevelt Island. During my stay in Hartsdale, I went to Manhattanville College, where I used to work and study, to Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and met up with friends in CT.

My time here in the US is coming to an end as I will be returning to China on September 2nd. Over the next couple of months, I plan on travelling around Sichuan and Yunnan and later through South East Asia.

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