Leaving Albuquerque and New Mexico was always going to be hard. Really hard. Moving out of somewhere we’d called ‘home’ for the last nine months, and not knowing if or when we would ever come back – our last couple of weeks were emotional, to say the least.
Luckily, for some of us, the end was not quite the end. We decided to do some travelling and made a list of all the things we wanted to do the most. We invited people to join us wherever and whenever they could, and so every city seemed to have a different group of people looking around it.
We started in San Diego, and in our nicest accommodation for the next four weeks. It was almost a shame, because we knew it was only going to get worse, but it was so lovely and so close to the beach! We picked our car up here, and promptly named him “Dougie” for the alliteration (he was a Dodge Caravan). Doug was to become home to the six of us in the photo at the top for the next ten days, and we loved him to bits. We felt like such a family, all piling in to such a big car!
Doug was especially useful in LA, as it’s such a big city – you have to be able to drive and have a car. When we came here at Christmas we spent a fortune on ubers, but this time Doug had us sorted. A small highlight for me was when our two friends piled in the car with us and we drove very slowly (and slightly uncomfortably) around Beverly Hills, all pointing out the biggest and prettiest houses. That’s the dream, eh.
Doug took us all the way up the coast – aside from the part of the coast at the Big Sur that has recently collapsed into the sea – and then inland to Yosemite for the day. I wouldn’t know how to describe Yosemite except to say that it’s indescribable. I’ve added a photo at the end of this where the background looks particularly unreal. But it was real, and we saw it, and we got soaked by the waterfalls and climbed over tree stumps as if we were true adventurers and weren’t going to finish the day by driving to San Francisco. Yosemite was one of my favourite parts of our trip, and I only wish that we could have spent longer there.
San Francisco was where we said goodbye to Doug, and after spending the weekend looking at bridges and going out, we flew to Seattle, Washington. We were told, when we were there, that we were particularly lucky with the weather. It was so gorgeous, and we sat outside so much enjoying being warm that I wonder if I would have loved Washington quite so much had the weather not been that lovely. Perhaps not. My only warning from Seattle would be not to buy Salted Caramel ice cream: I wanted a refreshing, delicious flavour and instead got a bowl of salty liquid. Never again.
Our final stop before heading to the East coast was in Vancouver, Canada. One of the most exciting things about stopping here for me was the fact that the legal drinking age is 19 and I could buy my own alcohol and use my own ID for the first time in almost ten months (damn July birthdays). I was so smug holding up my own driving license to get in! We got a bit of a break from the amazing weather here, unfortunately; it rained. A lot. We thought it was preparing us for coming back to England, a little bit.
All in all the west coast part of our travelling was just so much fun, and that’s due in part to the people I was with so big up to them. I wish I was still there!