Our train left San Francisco at sunrise. John was nice enough to give Lono and I a ride to the Ferry Building where we would catch a bus to Emeryville to catch the train. I was very excited to go on a long train ride, as I'd only been from Harper's Ferry, WV to Union Station in Washington D.C. with Dad as a young lady, (and that trip I thoroughly enjoyed along with small scenic train rides). This day, we'd be going from bus to train, to bus to train again. The whole trip would total approximately 12+ hours, starting at sunrise and pulling in to San Diego around dusk. The bus took me over the Bay Bridge for my first time and into Emeryville where we quickly caught our first train. Lono was lucky enough to have his own seat, and even luckier that he stole the window seat before I could have it. I on the other hand, spent my time trying to peek over his furry head at the California scenery and occasionally used his head as a tripod to snap a few photos. :)
|Passing lots of pasture... Always something new to see.|
We passed some amazing scenery as the trains passengers came and went... from farm fields of green crops, to vineyards, to ghetto neighborhoods filled with graffiti and failing houses, to snow capped mountains off in the distance that made me wish I could get out and find my way back to Yosemite, one of my top 4 favorite National Parks. Our train stopped in Bakersfield to switch us to a bus, an ideal time for Lono to utilize the bathroom, AKA: super tiny flower garden off in a corner. The bus had no seat for Lono, so he napped in the aisle, getting loving stares from an elderly lady sitting across from me.
|Watching the surfers at sunset as I blow by in the train.|
We went through a few places who's names I wish I could recall... Large stone mountains and green rolling pastures, and then a lake emerged that looked like a reservation tucked between green hills. I wanted to run off the bus and go camp for a week, or a month, or a year in the endless beauty of these new places I had yet to discover. Passing them by was torturous and truly painful and I began to not like the powerless captivity of riding on a train or a bus. Our final train was from LA to San Diego, a rather short trip and so we quickly shared a 6" from Subway. The sunrise on the last leg was stunning; passing by miles and miles of beaches... speckled here and there with die hard surfers who had to have the last waves of the day. I again wanted to stop and join them... to sit on a board with my feet in the Southern Cal. water, watching the orange sky dim into dusk as I wait quietly for the last set to roll in.
|Not a bad way to journal... Eating apricots I got in|
Sonoma, Lono sprawled out taking a nap on my lap.
When we finally arrived at our destination, (historic San Diego), I was SO EXCITED to see my two great friends, John and Elise. They were expecting their first child, (my soon to arrive niece), and I hadn't seen them since they came to visit Maui. Funny thing about my dear friends is that I knew them both very separately before they ever began dating. John is my buddy from a few years back... I have many ridiculously fond memories with him and a few other guys that range from camp trips, to small house parties, jam sessions, campfires, birthdays, (one of my favorite birthdays to date was one they planned and surprised me with), holidays, boat rides, and surf sessions where I would photograph and watch them in awe as they effortlessly rode over head waves, (like Little Makaha and some off the beaten path place in Waiehu). I adore this guy.
And Elise, she appeared in my life around the same time John did, but we did not get to connect really until a few months before she left Maui. When we finally did find our friendship, I knew right away she would be a lifelong friend... a soul sista. I can honestly say that I have few lifelong girl friends... I can list them off the top of my head, (Kristina, my sister in law and best friend with too many great attributes to list; Genelle, my bad ass rock climbing, music loving pen-pal whom we sporadically write each other but it's always a books worth and leaves a smile on my face for weeks; and Elise, my surf partner and friend who will sit on rooftops, catch a wave with me, and even paint rocks and shells with me over smoothies just for the hell of it to throw in the garden).
|Enjoying my morning cup of coffee and|
just spending time with Elise.
|The Mexican restaurant... Happy to see these two!|
|Li'i and Lono at the beach! :)|
In the days I was there, we went to a local beach where our dogs, and other dogs, ran and played freely and leashless through the waters and on the sand... like the dog world should be; free of fear and strict leash laws with an all knowing that dogs are capable of working things out for themselves if they don't feel restricted by chains and ropes. Li'i is John and Elise's dog and I've never been one to attach to a small dog since I like my pooches to be hiking partners, but man, this dog is really pretty cool. Lono and Li'i got along great, and they both ended up in my bed at night, which was fine by me. We had super yummy soup and sandwiches from The Lotus Cafe, (a health food restaurant somewhere not too far from that dog beach). Other food places we endeavored in were Pizza Port, with an amazing pizza selection and an even more impressive beer selection. Then of course, I had to ask... another In and Out burger please!!! They had zero objections, and yet again, I was in burger heaven. One day we went to The Flower Fields, an absolute amazing sight of color and floral gardens.
|At the Flower Fields. Gorgeous gorgeous flowers.|
Poor Elise ended up with a bug and was feeling down and out, but some of my best times were hanging out at their home, sunbathing on the hammock on the patio with Elise and the dogs, having a beer with John in the lawn chairs after he got off of work, going through baby names, witnessing them take a picture frame out of the dumpster for some amazing artistic creation Elise will make later on, taking solo walks with Lono through the flowering neighborhood, creating our own food creations, and obviously feeling the baby bump and the baby moving multiple times, something that astonished me every time.
It all went by so fast, and before we knew it, Lono and I were off to the smallest airport I've ever seen, (Carlsbad airport), to begin our journey back to where I was born and raised. Waiting for the ticket lady/boarding lady/baggage lady to arrive, (she was an all in one package deal for this tiny place), we had our final beers and martinis and something non-alcoholic for Elise at the most awesome airport restaurant in the world where the owner came out with dog biscuits and a bowl of water and chatted us up for 10 minutes... and then it was not "good-byes", but "see you laters" for me, Lono, and my kind friends. The baby arrived just a couple weeks later... Her name is Harlow, (none of the one's we'd racked our brains around while I was there). She's a perfect little gem. :) You can see her, Elise, and Elise's amazing art work and blog at saltwaterdiary.com.
Now for your picture overload... :)
(Most of these images were taken with my iPhone).
|I was obsessed with snapping the little moments with these two.|
|Even the shadow has a bump... ;)|
|Lono's mind... "Beach, stick, ball, dogs, water... Play PLAY PLAY!"|
|Checking on how Elise's compost was doing. Gave it some water|
but it was pretty darn healthy.
|Beers with John while we let Elise rest. I really miss having them in Maui.|
|Bonding time with my boy... He makes a great pillow. And one of the|
last pictures ever taken of me with glasses on.
|Sharing a pitcher at Port City. Delish!|
|Name searching... None of which they chose, but the one they did choose|
practically days before she arrived was PERFECT
|Love bugs at the Flower Fields. :)|
|Elise's mug... My favorite ever. I must find one.|
|Yes yes YES!|
|Sunbathing with Elise and cuddling with the pooches.|
|You know I love my bees... At the flower fields.|
|Would you take a look at those colors?|
|One of my all time favorites. You really don't have to grow up ya know... |
Living proof this last statement is true.
|Feeling Harlow moving around. I think she likes the beach!|
|Two old buddies reunite.... Like peas in a pod. John has been a godfather|
and good pal to Lono since he was brought home from the Humane Society.
|Happy beautiful Elise!|
|Dad feels Harlow moving. So awesome!|
|Airport restaurant for Happy Hour drinks to settle my nerves about|
flying, (yes, I do it a lot and still fear it).
|Right before take off, one more hug.|
Love and Aloha and More to Come,
Danielle (Queen B.)