Hop in the car and drive anywhere in the United States and most of the time, no matter where you stop, there will be something familiar that feels like home. You see the familiar Starbucks cups, McDonald wrappers and huge billboards on street corners.
When J. and I were dating and living in Sacramento we frequently went on weekend getaways (usually with very little planning and preperation to them!) This spontaneous weekend began by hopping in the car and heading northwest. We wanted to escape the Sacramento heat by heading towards the coast but, we also were looking for something “distinctly Californian”. What better than the Redwood Forest, then? We quickly discovered that the Redwood Forest is pure majestic beauty, oddly personifying California in its familiar uniqueness.
At several points along the way we stopped our car for a leisurely stroll through these majestic trees. Standing among the forest floor the amazingly, ancient redwood trees form a canopy which blocks all but the strongest sun rays from reaching you. Walking among the cathedral of trees you experience the unsettling feeling of being alone while also learning a lesson in humility.
We spent the remainder of that Saturday driving among the Giant trees flirting along the coast with our windows rolled down breathing in the clean, fresh, cool air. We stopped in an Indian reservation, had our first taste of fresh Buffalo burgers and spent five minutes staring eye-to-eye at a mother elk as a herd meandered across the highway.
Bright and early the next morning – 24 hours had passed since my last mochachino and another inspiration strikes, Oregon! We drove the windy roads through the trees and every once in a while spotting another small quaint town without a Starbucks or billboard in sight. There may have been a lot of driving on this quick weekend getaway and saw many little towns laid out in a similar way, yet each one more unique in their redundancies than any big city block.
On this weekend my intention was not to escape from American commercialism that bombards us every day, but as is so often in California, a simply journey to “somewhere I’ve never been before” turns into an extraordinary memory and experience.