We split week nine into two parts because so many people helped us this week! We managed to remember a few more names for the second part of this week…

Sunday Assembly

We power walked 50 minutes to the South Berkeley Senior Center as we had read about a free event on sf.funcheap.com called ‘Sunday Assembly‘. It’s a godless congregation that began in England and meets to hear talks, sing songs and generally celebrate life. Their motto is “live better, help often, wonder more.” Isn’t that great? We listened to one guy talk about his experience in the Peace Corps, another guy talk about how he’s doing his best, we sang Imagine by John Lennon and Dancing in the Streets. They also organise meet ups such as a book club and hiking. Afterwards they have a potluck. We felt guilty as we had nothing to contribute but after talking to a few people they assured us there was plenty of food to go around so we dug in! There was such a positive atmosphere at the event and what a great way to meet people in your community. We sat and chatted to other members and it was heartwarming to hear what a positive effect it has had on their lives.
Sarah wrote an interesting blog post on how we’re all trying to be better in some way (read it here).

Building Development Guy

We had tried to arrange a lift to Yosemite National Park on Craigslist rideshare and Couchsurfing discussion groups but had no luck so we decided to try and hitch there. We debated whether we should because it was a detour away from the coast (as our route was taking us south to L.A) but it’s Yosemite! It’s worth the detour. Also, the route from Berkeley to Yosemite is not a straightforward, one road kind of deal so we knew it was going to be a complicated hitch.

We set off early and walked for about an hour until the sidewalk ended. It was cold. San Fran has these micro climates so depending on where you are, the weather could be lovely and sunny (where we set off) or freezing cold and foggy (where we started to hitch). We stood dreaming of some tourists that would take us all the way there, would want to camp with us and spend the days hiking…If only. After about 1.5 hours a guy pulled over who was working on a building development. He dropped us in Alamo. Alamo sucks and unfortunately we spent most of the day there…

One woman yelled out of her car “YOU’RE NOT ASKING FOR A RIDE OFF OF A STRANGER ARE YOU??!” No, no, that’s not what we’re doing. We’re just holding up a sign telling people to have a nice day. *Rolls eyes*. We yelled back “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet!” She didn’t seem to get it.

Another guy “Hitchhiking! Ha! You’ll never get picked up!” – Great thanks for the vote of confidence.

Then the police arrived. Yaaay. Apparently they had received three phone calls from local residents ‘concerned’ about us hitchhiking. He told us it’s illegal to hitchhike in California. We said it’s not. He checked and obviously read that it’s not illegal, ran our IDs, suggested we move to a different location and left.

This was now hours later so we sat in Starbucks for a bit to appease the police and decided that maybe we have to accept that Yosemite isn’t going to happen.

Asia Smith

Now we had to get back to the coast and decided San Jose would be a reasonable next stop, hoping to reach Santa Cruz by nightfall. We stood opposite Starbucks for a while until a lady  with bleached blonde hair and bright clothes with a parrot on her shoulder wandered over walking a tiny dog. Here we go, we thought. She asked if we were teenage runaways and was going to offer to drive us to the bus station. She said that people will be weary because it’s an affluent area and a 15 year old girl has recently gone missing…do we look like one 15 yo? FS. The fear.

We decided to stand back where we were before the police moved us on as it was the busiest road. Finally, Asia pulled over and she dropped us a little ways down the 680. We really wouldn’t have cared where she dropped us, as long as it was out of bloody Alamo.

Delivery Guy

Super nice new father. Tried his best to get us a ride with other delivery drivers that might be going to Santa Cruz but no luck. He dropped us in San Jose.

Jessie

Jessie was a lovely super chatty guy who dropped us in Santa Cruz.

Josiah

We arrived in Santa Cruz and were super hungry with no where to sleep. Our mood was low so we had some trail mix and tbf the chocolate M&Ms cheered us up a bit. We sat near the beach and watched as people caught Pokemon and entered restaurants. We decided to walk to Pacific Avenue, the main strip in Santa Cruz, where there were street entertainers and homeless people that might know of somewhere to camp. If not, we’ll sit in a bar until closing. We sent out Couchsurfing requests to everyone in Santa Cruz on Couchsurfing but had no response. We found a bench and thought we might as well drink moonshine for dinner. If we’re going to sleep in a doorway we might as well be pissed right?

Then we received a message on Couchsurfing from Josiah! YAY! We walked a couple miles to his place and were very very relieved. We passed out soon after arrival – not from booze but from tiredness!

Medical Marijuana Salesman

So you’re a drug dealer than mate? Ha. He had cool hair that was like a blonde monk’s tonsure and he dropped us in Moss Landing where there was only workmen passing us, which isn’t great for a lift because they tend to be local (not driving far) and lechy.

Forgot His Phone Guy

After being eyed up for about an hour we got picked up by a guy was going to take us a ways but had forgot his phone so just dropped us down the road.

German Kayak Woman

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She’d just finished work where she takes groups of tourists out in kayaks. She dropped us in Carmel-By-The-Sea which is just before Big Sur where we were hoping to camp for the night.

Jonny from Joshua Tree

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We’d not eaten anything of substance since leaving the co-op the day before so our energy was running pretty low. Jonny was from Joshua Tree and he had bought a camper to live and travel the country in. Really lovely guy. We loved his attitude to life and we would have loved to have spent more time with him but he had a potluck to attend back in Monterey but he said it’s such a nice drive to Big Sur that he doesn’t mind dropping us down there! He didn’t have time for us to use his cooking facilities so bought us sandwiches from a deli! Avocado mmmmmmm.

Wolf & Dave

A couple of boy racers from Hawaii picked us up and took us about a mile down the road.

Older guy with grapes and cherries

An older guy picked us up and shared his grapes and cherries and dropped us at Kirk Creek Campground where we decided to try and camp.

Young brothers from Washington DC

We hid our bags in a bush so that we could scope out the campsite looking for the best people to ask if we could share their camp pitch. We asked one guy who was on a cycle trip but he was so hesitant because if you’re without a car you pay $5 per person rather than per pitch and so didn’t want to wind up getting caught and having to pay for us. Fair enough. Deterred, we sat and watched the sun set over the sea, drinking moonshine and laughing at our situation. With a bit of dutch courage and darkness falling we casually asked a couple of brothers if they’d mind us using a patch of their spot. They didn’t mind, phew! Cheers fellas.

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