Santa Rosa Tire Swap

Trip Start Jun 24, 2012
Trip End Sep 21, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, August 3, 2012

We woke up really early today in order to pack our bags and be down in the lobby on time to leave San Francisco, and we also wanted to have enough time to nip to Starbucks with Taryn and Angeline for some breakfast. Laura decided to stay in the lobby with the bags whilst the three of us went to find caffeine based sustenance. We had an uneventful walk through the homeless people until one of them shouted that we looked like Charlie's Angels, and then proceeded to shout 'don't hurt me Charlie's Angels!' all the way down the street!

When we got back the others hadn't even arrived yet so we sat and chatted to Graeme until they turned up; we were then half an hour late leaving. We needed to get some grocery shopping and so popped into a Walmart, but then Graeme said that they didn't sell food (although we could see it?!) so we had to get back in the van and go to Safeway instead. When we'd finished the shopping, Graeme said he'd had a call from the office to say that the van tyres had been recalled and needed to be changed. Luckily, and incredibly strangely to me, we were not far from the place that the tyres needed to be changed, Santa Rosa, so Graeme kicked us and the trailer out at a park and told us to amuse ourselves for an hour and a half.

There was a small shopping mall two blocks away from the park, so we all trooped over there and split off into little groups to go shopping. Laura and I ended up with Claire and made a beeline for the Hot Topic store where we'd bought loads of quirky cheap t shirts in Florida last year. We had a good look around, but there wasn't anything decent in it, which was disappointing (although for our wallets, it was a good thing). Claire did manage to get a pair of jeans for like $6 though, which was really good. The man in the shop asked if he could feel my hair randomly and then we were walking back to meet up with the girls and get our lunch out of the trailer.

We had lunch in the little park we'd been dropped in and then Graeme turned up again to pick us up. We travelled onwards a little and then Graeme stopped us in a little town called Willits so we could have a look around. He also wanted to pop into one of the three second hand bookstores on the main street, and funnily enough, so did I! The first bookstore we went in was amazing; it was like a little maze and packed floor to ceiling with old books and furniture. I managed to find two Michael Crichton books that I don't already have, so bought them for a couple dollars each, which I was really pleased with; they'll keep me entertained for the next few days anyway.

We then popped into a little pharmacy - come - grocery store to stock up on a few items, and just so happened to find ourselves next to a fudge counter, where we were forced to buy root beer fudge, which is a-mazing!

After Willits, we drove onwards to a place called Confusion Hill which signalled the start of the redwoods and was completely bizarre. They had a totem pole carved from a single redwood tree which had been in the Guinness book of records, and claimed to be the home of the elusive 'chipalope'; like a jackalope but with a chipmunk instead of a rabbit! I love stuff like this, little roadside attractions which are a bit weird, so this went down a treat haha. They had set up a gravity house in the back, which is like a little shed with wonky walls which makes you feel dizzy when you go in it, and when I asked the woman on the desk why the place was called Confusion Hill, she gave me a garbled explanation that it could have been because of the gravity house, but she was also sure it had something to do with the popularity of Confucius in the 1950s......? Maybe the confusion is that no one knows why it's called Confusion Hill.

When we'd spent a while wandering around and pondering this conundrum, we got back in the van and headed onwards to Founders Grove, which is an old grove of redwoods with a little walkway through them. Redwoods are just immense...we knew they were big but we had no idea just how massive they were, they didn't look real! The ones in this grove were around 2,000 years old, which is just mind biblical times. It was all very 'woah'!

By this point it was getting past our usual dinnertime of 6-7pm, so as we were driving to the campsite, Graeme passed down a cheeseboard which he had prepared as everyone had been walking around the redwoods. This was really adorable of him, but also a bit odd...who passes cheeseboards down a moving vehicle?! Regardless, the other girls all enjoyed it (no cheese for me thanks!) and it helped to stave off their hunger as we were coming into the camp.

By the time we rolled up into the camp in the middle of a Native American reservation, on the land of the Yurok tribe, it was like 8.30pm...we shot up our tents and then loads of us mished off to the laundry as we had no clean clothes left, and the girls on cooking crew (glad it wasn't me!) got started on the burgers for dinner. Laura got in a little fight with some girls from another trek group who were in the same campsite as us, and who we've seen a few times, over the tumble dryer, but she stood her ground and they backed off and then after our clothes were done we went back to our camp to eat and relax.

After dinner, as we were sat around the campfire, we kept an eye on a fish cleaning station which had been set up about 200 yards away from our pitch, as we'd heard there were bears frequenting the area. The campsite is a base for salmon and steelhead fishing, and the station is used to clean up the fisherman's catches, so consequently the black bears who live in the area use it as a little bear-mcdonalds. Some of the girls are getting a bit hysterical about 'being eaten by bears' so we were hoping that seeing one from a distance would calm them down a little bit...not sure whether that plan will work though! The poor bears though kept getting frightened by people trying to take photos of them and running away. I'm not sure how I felt about encouraging the bears to come into the camp by having the fishing station right there...habituated bears are more likely to be destroyed as they get more comfortable being around people, so that doesn't sit easy with me.

We finally got to bed just before midnight, looking forward to going kayaking in the reservation tomorrow.

Deej x
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