Woke up this morning pretty nervous and excited about the trip ahead but I shouldn’t have worried everyone was really nice. Amanda (my room mate) is lovely and we really got on and ended up talking till about 11pm last night.
We all met in the hotel foyer at 7.30am and were introduced to Jake our leader. We then through paperwork and other formalities before introducing ourselves. There are 10 of us in total on the trek doing coast to coast north and 4 of us doing the trailblazer. 5 girls ( Lucy, Morgan, Roisin, Amanda and myself)and 5 boys (Mo, Alex, Rich, Yo-man and Go-man). The people doing the Trailblazer are Mo, Roisin and Morgan so I will be spending 64 days with them whilst the others only go to New York. Everyone seems really lovely and I will go into more detail about everyone as the trip goes on. The girls I am going with on the trailblazer with were feeling a little worse for wear today as they had been out drinking till the early hours they seem a right laugh though.
Our first stop once loaded in the van was Hollywood Blvd. I had totally forgotten how crazy it is there. People dressed up in super hero costumes and people trying to flog CDs and rip you off. I literally grabbed an iced tea from Starbucks with Amanda and took a picture of the Hollywood sign before we headed back to the van to take a drive around Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive and then the long drive to Monterey. We hit a major traffic jam just outside Santa Barbara but ended up playing a game which kept us entertained for hours.
The scenery is absolutely breath taking. Rolling sand coloured hills, some covered in vines whilst tiny ranches dot the countryside. We drive on the 101 and the view of the coast is spectacular and everything I imagined it to be. Phantom Planets California was playing and it felt magical us all singing along whilst on the road. It is such a great way to see USA and really take it in.
We stopped off for lunch in a little place where Amanda, Rich and myself raided trader joes for healthy food and snacks whilst the others went to the burger place as we were all starving and was way after 2pm. We made a little picnic in the parking lot.
After we had another epic drive down the Pacific coast and Big Sur. It is lovely following the coast down with lots of twists and turns on the road. On the way Alex and Rich were being taught a Korean slaps game which was hilarious to watch.
The next stop on the trip was to check out the elephant seals. They are huge and just lay there really content and not bothered by the crowds at all. By this time the light was changing as it was about 5pm. We stopped at this place called rugged point which again had an amazing view. The Aussies all saw a squirrel and there was a lot of excitement. After this stop everyone was getting tired and a lot of people had a kip.
We next stopped at a park to look at this amazing waterfall we had a small hike to get there but nothing really challenging it truly was beautiful and it falls onto a secluded beach it reminded me of James Bond film. Very stunning. It is apparently one of the only waterfalls to flow directly into the pacific.
Lucy, Alex and myself who were fortunate to be awake as we went down the next part of the coast saw the whales jumping out of the water which was special.
It was a very long day of driving to Monterey and was dark when we arrived at 8.40pm so we had to put the tent up in the dark which was fun but we all managed it, helping each other. Had a lovely shower and then as we were so late Jake ordered pizza. Some people then went to Walmart to get a few bits and bobs.
Everyone seems really lovely and so far we all seem to get on and everyone has so many different jobs and interests it is great chatting to them and finding out about there lives. There is a lot of people like me who are taking a career break and discovering what they want to do next and the age ranges from 21- 36.
Some of us headed to the beach by torch light at around 11pm with beers and sat on the wall chatting taking in the sea air. It was a magical end to an amazing first day.