Choices, choices, choices…

We are back in San Francisco. Eventually we spent another week in Santa Cruz, it was just such a nice place, Erik needed a little more time to do some work and we skated a lot. We then drove on to Montery. A chic place on the other side of the bay, with a total of 12 golf courses! The route to there went through agricultural area full of strawberry fields and it smelled so wonderfully sweet. For the lunch break we stopped under a few trees that were full of hummingbirds, fantastic! Driving with the new surfboards went fine, by the way. In Montery we spent a night at the campsite in the middle of the city park. It is right next to the army base and so we too were woken up in the morning by the sound of a trumpet haha. The camp ranger was also a skater and offered us his longboard so that we could skate down the hill in the morning, but we were out early and didn’t see him again. From Montery we drove south to where the highway 1 was again a beautiful coastal road along high cliffs. We slept at a campsite on a small river that ran to the sea and made a nice walk to a waterfall in the morning. In addition to everything else, we now also have to watch out for rattlesnakes.

The next morning drove to Morro bay. Everything was pretty dry and hot there, very dry fields, almost no trees, and loads of bare hills. The only greenery that we saw were cacti and vineyards. And again a lot of rich people. Ferrari and Maserati one after the other pushes us off the road, clearly a different atmosphere than in Santa Cruz. Along the way we saw more sea elephants along the coast. This time really close to us. And a whole herd of moose, led by one male with a huge antler. The campsite in Morro bay was practically on the beach. But setting up a tent in the soft beach sand was not practical haha. A squirrel tried to come in through the tent window in the morning. But being so close to the sea was ideal for surfing of course. Was it not that the water was still too cold without a wetsuit. I walked into the sea up to my ankles and immediately got a brainfreeze but then off my feet. Erik wanted to give it a try, came back after half an hour with completely white hands and took quite a long time to warm up again. We saw Ibis fly over and a huge bald eagle.

The next day we drove together to Santa Maria to collect a water tank with a carbon filter. We ordered it online and had it sent to a post office. But apparently we both didn’t look well enough at how big that thing really was. It turned out to be a 10 liter tank haha, oops, a bit exaggerated. But it has a very handy shower head on it, jeej! I was laughing so hard for half an hour at the first sight of that huge monster on the back of Erik’s bike.

In Morro bay we made the decision not to drive further south. A number of reasons / things have changed at home, making it a bit more favorable for us to go back a little earlier. But the main reason is that we have really run out of money. We had hoped that everything would become cheaper after the high season, but that did not happen. In fact, we are now in a much more expensive area. In some places they even ask 100 dollars (90 euros) for a camping spot for one night !! That is not normal anymore! It has simply become unaffordable here. Finally we arrived at the bottom of our budget  and we had to make a decision. Now driving to Mexico and especially Baja California also means driving through very high temperatures and arriving in the middle of the hurrecain season. Also it is a bit of a gamble since we HAVE to drive to Panama than because San Francisco is the last place beforre Panama from where we can send the bikes back. The bikes have done so well so far that we want to send them home again. We have kept money aside to send the bikes and ourselves back to the Netherlands. And for a music / Spanish language course in Cuba. If we continue to drive, we will have to use that budget and we will have to sell the motorbikes to buy airline tickets for ourselves. Let alone that we can still go to Cuba. And we think that is a great pity. Moreover, I really want to go to Cuba. Now that the Castro’s are no longer there, that country could change quite quickly.

Of course it is also a bit of a pity and we took a week to make that decision. But we both feel really good about it. And of course we would have preferred to have driven a little longer. But before we left, we also told each other that we would just keep driving until we (financially) could . And we are very happy with what we have seen so far. That is already much more than I expected. I had a reasonable picture of Canada, and of San Fran and the Redwoods too. Not from North America at all. And that was really surprisingly beautiful! And so much wildlife too! We have driven a nice 4500 km on our bikes.

We have now turned around and are back in San Francisco. Along the way all the campsites were full so we looked for the cheapest motel during the first two nights, so we could arrange things right away. Watch ours of Law and Order and trying the vegan burger of the Burger King (which is really super tasty, except for the dry bun) Also in this motel again, plenty of prostitution. People often asked about a certain Evi. Erik was asked on arrival by a strange man if he happened to be busy with Evi upstairs, whahaha! The following evening, Big D knocked on the door next to us quite late (yes, that’s how he called himself) With the question whether Evi was there. Apparently he didn’t  hear the neighbors (an older man with his wife) in the room next to us say no and just opened the door, after which Big D apologized very very hard and run away. We couldn’t stop laughing anymore. Fortunately we didn’t get a visit from Big D.

To get through the weekend (the prices will rise even further), we moved to the only affordable campsite in the area after the motel.  And the new water tank turned out to be pretty handy since I burned myself quite well. I was lying on the couch of the picnic table and Erik was making coffee. But the percolator was not positioned properly, with as a result that it fell off when the water started boiling. I got the full load of boiling hot coffee over me. My left shoulder, back, armpit and spots on my stomach are burned. Fortunately, the water tank with shower head was next to me and I was able to cool in no time. I think that has ensured that it all remained first-degree burns. But about 15 centimeters in diameter. The rest of the afternoon I lay in the tent with intense pain. Cooling with a wet cloth was not enough. It had to be wet again every few seconds. The first aid bag contained a kind of gel pad that should have a cooling effect. Did not work at all. Another burning gel didn’t do anything either. Eventually I took a painkiller. Yes, that is really exceptional for me. I always try to use as few medicines as possible and opt for simple ailments / things rather for something natural or just nothing at all. The last time I took a painkiller was 10 years ago. But this painkiller did work a bit. However, the pain still persisted for about 5 hours and there were times when I thought I was going crazy of the pain. To distract me, Erik has read to me from my own book for hours. That was very sweet. After dinner I could finally take the wet cloth off. We are now a week further and I am still in pain, but it has recovered considerably. Two days after the coffee incident we drove together on Erik’s motorbike to the village. Erik looked just a little too long at a few nice deer along the side of the road and drove into the gutter. It was such a deep gutter with lots of pine needles in it. As a result, he could no longer brake and we crashed together. Guess who has another blue shin full of scrapes? Not Erik ..

Furthermore, it was a bit boring in the area but our neighbors more than made up for it. Next to us were three ladies, one of whom has been upset all day because her husband cheated on her. Occasionally, the man himself called and a lot of screaming went on. The girlfriends themselves also had quite a fight. Day 1 she had chartered Erik to help put up her tent because she herself did not have the strength (read .. she was as drunk as a tor) one day later one of the friends had driven off angry, the other had moved her  tent to the other side of the campsite. Opposite us was a couple, who had a two-day non-stop fight. We even woke up  at night because they were still fighting.

Monday we drove further back to Santa Cruz. We had again found a place at the campsite full of fleas. We didn’t really have a choice. Fortunately this time we had some shadow and no fleas. Erik rented a wetsuit and had a nice surf at pleasure point. I didn’t dare. My leg is full of wounds from the fall and there are sharks swimming here. Not those little innocent reef sharks, no really big white sharks, brrr. I  just went skating and did a lot of yoga. We also visited the butterfly groove again. The last time there were no butterflies but this time there were quite a few monarch butterflies, really beautiful to see. Santa Cruz is a wonderful place with a great relaxed atmosphere. I already miss it a bit.

Today we drove the last leg back to San Francisco. It rained. We were a bit sad because the motorcycling part of our journey  has now ended. But above all we are very grateful for everything we have been able to experience together. Glad the bikes did so well and we feel very enthusiastic for what is to come.. Cuba! What an adventure! We are currently in an airbnb in South San Francisco. It is super luxurious and everything works in a voice-controlled way, haha. They have provided us with crispy clean white towels and bathrobes, wowie! And there is a great kitchen with an oven and food processor, so we can actually make something else to eat such as .. pasta with homemade pesto sauce numnumnum. It will take some getting used to being in a house again. We have been driving and camping for 2 months now and therefore always outside (and before that also 2 months in the van in Spain).

We have booked this luxury casa until Wednesday, looking at the shampoos and other stuff in the bathroom there must be another guest too but we will probably find that out tonight. That will hopefully give us enough time to take the bikes to the port. And then we fly to Cuba. We have already arranged  everything.  We are going to do something completely different there. First spend a few days in a casa particular and then we will do a Spanish course and a tailor-made music course for us …