Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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Starting in San Francisco, California, I headed out to the coast and down toward Monterey. Alas, opting for speed over scenery, I soon headed inland for the ultra-fast US 1. After visting friends in LA and San Diego, I headed out to the desert-oasis Santa Fe for several days. Eventually I got back on the road off to Dallas.

California is just a great state. For as long as I've considered it, I've taken it for granted that I'd eventually be sucked out in its direction. Not only does Silicon Valley draw me in like a moth to flame (a sadly fitting metaphor), but it just has so much to offer. From the deep forests and mountains of the far north, to to foggy Bay Area, secluded oceanic coves, and pristine beaches -- it just has it all. Drive one direction and you're hip-deep in snow, and drive another direction and you're hip deep in saltwater (though the water isn't too much warmer...). Even after circling the world, I'm confident that California will come out on top.
The road between San Diego and Santa Fe, though not terribly spectacular, did have some highlights. In particular, I managed to have my first date shake and visit the Mission San Jose de Laguna. However, the most memorable portion was the wind. Ohh, the wind. It was howling from the moment I set foot on the pedal. In addition to the wind, was the fog. Or the snow. Or the tumbleweeds. Anything and everything that can be blown by wind was blown by wind, generally right into my path. However, the wind wasn't all bad. Indeed, there was one very pleasent side-effect of the incessant wind, which I found when I stopped to sleep at a nameless exit in the middle of nowhere: it makes the stars sparkle all the more. And that makes it all worth it.
Santa Fe is just a great place. I'm at a loss how to summarize. It is home to countless local artists -- many of whom trace their ancestry back hundreds of years to before America was even a dream. There are row upon row of fantastic restaurants, with every dish containing some distinct variation upon hot peppers (hearing "would you like green or red peppers" is more common than "you want fries with that?"). It is even home to world's finest tea houses (as far as I know).

Step outside the city and you find a lush landscape full of endless trails and quiet valleys, despite being located in the center of a desert. It has waterfalls, hot springs, rivers, lakes, forests, grassy glades -- it has it all. But most importantly, it has space. Lots of it. Santa Fe and all its wonders are but a pinprick upon a huge landscape that I couldn't possibly explore in my short visit, or likely in a lifetime.

Copyright 2021 - David Barrett -