After strolling through the historic town of Calistoga ( famous for its mineral springs) we hopped back into the car en route to Kelseyville which appeared as a small dot on the edge of Clear Lake, California.
Marco’s online friend Dan had invited us to stay with he & Carolyn for a couple of days. Friends in the online way, they had met through a Recording forum several years before and they were both excited to finally meet in person and especially to talk studio stuff and music!
We pulled into Kelseyville mid afternoon. Sleepy, dusty, hot..the town looked like it had been left behind in another time. Marco rang Dan and we realised we had come about 15 minutes too far. Their house was actually back in the other direction and not in town at all but on the side of a hill overlooking the most beautiful lake landscape.
After welcome hugs all round we settled into our guest quarters and spent an enjoyable evening getting to know Dan & Carolyn. Friends for many years and co-owners of their Recording Studio and Publishing house, their affectionate banter made us feel right at home.
Our intitial stay of 2 days stretched into 4 and even then we felt we could have stayed longer sharing happy times with this incredible pair. Together we worked on and recorded our new song Rivulets which you can listen to on our My Space page at http://www.myspace.com/theloooooooonggoodbyes . What an amazing experience…coming together with beautiful people; Dan, Carolyn and guitarist extraordaire Pete, sharing life stories, both funny and tragic, we left with a sack full of groceries(thank you Carolyn!), signed copies of Carolyn’s books, various natural health remedies, wonderful memories and a promise from them that they would come to visit us in Australia in 2010.
We hit the road again with a target of getting to the Avenue of the Giants to stand amongst the ancient redwoods once again (first time for the girls), and then push onto our destination for that night, a caboose in Eureka overlooking the ocean.
We tend not to travel with a too organised schedule, preferring instead to allow the openings necessary for serendipity to pop in and surprise us now and then. Staying in the caboose was our first welcome visit from land of Happy Coincidences. A chance meeting in Southern California had led to a third party invitation to stay on a remarkable property in a caboose on top of a hill overlooking the ocean….sounds perfect we thought! Right up our alley! By the time we were able to connect with the owners (The Jackson 4) we found that unfortunately they would be away when we were passing through but that we were more than welcome to stay anyway and they would have the caboose set up for us.
What an amazing property and easy to tell…amazing family as well. Nestled amongst the pines with extraordinary views and the kind of loving and arty touches everywhere that made us feel right at home. We are really grateful for the kindness and generosity from people we have never even met. We spent a wonderful two days exploring Eureka and hope to be able to stop in again on the way South to actually meet The Jacksons in person. I’ve got a feeling we have a lot in common.
People often asked if we have kangaroos in our yards in Australia and we can honestly answer that in our area, yes, we do! On the road out of Eureka the next day we were amazed to see that in this part of the world people actually have Elk in their yards! A magnificent male had set himself up under the shade of a tree in someones front yard and caused quite a sensation. Like intrusive paparazzi people were lined up with their cameras along the fence. Some (no names mentioned!) even went so far as to trespass onto private property with their video cameras…well, its not every day you get to see an elk up close and personal!
Northwards once again we pushed towards Portland still another 12 hours or so away we decided to drive as far as we could and spent a long day carbound ending up in the nondescript town of Florence, famous for its miles and miles of sand dunes enjoyed by recreational enthusiasts. Feeling too tired to set up camp for one night we opted for the ever so charming Econolodge, unpacked and headed off to find dinner. We gave in to the girls pleas for McDonalds but decided on investigating the busy looking taqueria we had passed on our way into town for Marco and I. I enjoyed a scrumptious margarita while we waited for our take away order of chile rellenos and enchiladas and then we headed back to the motel for a delicious dinner and bed.
Last stop before Portland was to see the Sea Lion caves just outside of Florence. The brochure had promised the worlds largest known Sea Cave accesible by an elevator shaft which shot you down 200 feet to the underground abyss. Not being much of a fan of enclosed spaces or caves I was understandably trepidous. My last venture to overcome myself of such silly fears was inside a submarine in Darling Harbour and resulted in a massive and highly unpleasant panic attack.
As we headed down the path towards the elevator I passed a skeletal woman on her way back from the caves, perhaps ticking off the things she wanted to see before the end of her life, her head bald, every vein showing through translucent skin. Suddenly my ridiculous fears seemed petty and I entered the elevator without any anxiety at all. The stink of the caves was overpowering and the noise of the Sea Lions bombarded our ears. Like the Elephant seals we had seen earlier in the week, life for these creatures seemed to consist of swimming, eating, hunting, fighting, mating and sleeping. What an amazing opportunity to actually be inside the home environment of such fantastic wild creatures.
Later in the day, bored from the drive we decided to play one of our favourite games “Lets embarass Santana!” We drove through Newport which advertised itself as the worlds friendliest town. We decided to test that theory by waving and smiling wildly to people on the street. Santana slunk down in her seat..” Do you have to?” she moaned. Outside of the town and into the country there was nothing to do but flick the radio stations and sing along loudly to old hits from the 70’s and 80’s. Is there anything more fun than making a 14 year old cringe!