I’m not sure abut how I feel about California.
With a population of 38million it is the most populous of US states, and indeed it would rank as the 12th largest economy in the world in its own right, so it isn’t to be ignored.
I’ve spent about two weeks here – partly to see Yosemite and the Xerces blue parts of San Francisco, partly to see Monterey Bay and a roadrunner in the Joshua Tree NP and partly because I knew it would be a good place to watch wildlife at either end of the day and write in a cheap motel in the middle of the day. All that has worked well.
California seems less American than quite a lot of America. The only times on this trip when, so far, I have encountered anything close to English off-hand rudeness were in California.
And there are masses of people and with them come the masses of parking lots and sprawling malls and casinos and just stuff.
But then, arriving in eastern California from Nevada it was like another world from that of the Central Valley or the ghastly Los Angeles – remote roads and beautiful country.
And then in the San Joaquin Valley there are wonderful wildlife refuges and kit foxes and coyotes and butterflies.
I’ve hardly scratched the surface so there’s no reason for me to have a view on California but as I drive out with the Beach Boys playing I carry a rucksack of good memories with me – of blue whales, of Liam the butterfly man (and actor), of my first roadrunner, of Mexican food, of sea otters, of El Capitan, of giant sequoia, of a very good Caesar salad, of avocados, of heat in the desert and of some good walks and some friendly people.
And a trip like this is for filling up the memory bank so that you can dip into it in the future. I’ll be dipping into my California memories for some time to come.
Still looking for Hawaii (won’t happen), South Carolina and Rhode Island license plates.
Bird list on 235 species.