In the academic year 2012-13 Max did a year abroad as part of his University degree and went to the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. It was a great opportunity for him and he had a great trip, although the distance was hard at times. I kept myself busy with uni work and kayaking here in Scotland until the 27th of December, just after Christmas with my family, when I flew out to San Diego to meet Max. My first long-hall flight was a rather intimidating experience but knowing I would be met at the other side was reassuring. There was an 8 hour time difference so the jet lag was pretty bad initially but I recall vividly my surprise at the heat at 9pm in the middle of winter when walking out of the airport!
Max had with him two friends, Chris and Mathias, who had journeyed with Max from Seattle on their own road trip to Las Vegas, Yosemite and Mexico, arriving in San Diego in time to pick me up.
We didn’t stay long in San Diego and the next morning headed north along the coast of California to Long Beach in Los Angeles. We ventured into Hollywood to do the tourist site-seeing.
It was great to wonder round but the city itself didn’t hold much appeal to me and I was happy when we moved on to Santa Monica, Malibu and Santa Barbara – beaches!
Big Sur was the next destination. As we were students, we mostly slept in the car (Peter – a 1998 Ford Windstar) that Max had purchased earlier in the year. Occasionally we forked out on the cheapest motel room we could find (within sanitary reason), but on this particular night I slept in the passenger seat, Mathias and Chris slept on the back seats and Max slept outside on a roll mat. And it was freezing cold! Okay, well 3 degrees anyway, and that didn’t make for a pleasant night. In fact, Max had the best sleep of all simply because his sleeping bag was so good. However, the views the following morning definitely made the unpleasant night worth it.
San Francisco was one of my favourite places that we visited! We were there for New Years Eve and New Years Day which was amazing. The weather was wonderfully sunny (it must be very hot in summer time!) and the firework display was a fair rival to those from Edinburgh castle at Hogmanay!
In San Francisco we said goodbye to Mathias and Chris and continued on our way. We stopped at the University of Berkley, visited more Californian beaches and then headed to the Redwood National Park – which has to be one of the most fantastic places on Earth!
After the Redwoods and Cresent City, we drove through Oregon to Portland to buy some Voodoo donuts (honestly, try them!) and them into Washington and to Max’s place in Seattle. Max had uni classes the following week which gave me some free time to wander around the city, but we also managed to head out to Lake 22 and hike through the snow! We even found the time to go white water kayaking so that I could try out my new drysuit!
Before I knew it, it was time to leave Max again and fly back to Edinburgh for the start of the new semester. Though it has taken me a long time to get round to writing this entry, I’ll never forget that trip and look forward to heading back to the Pacific North-West when I finish at University.