Northern California ᛫ October 4 – November 17, 2017

USA | 0 comments

I had been wanting to go to Northern California for a long time. So, of course, I was very excited on my way there. But my arrival to NorCal turned out to be not so much fun. I took two Greyhound buses from Reno to Eureka, which took almost 15 hours. While I was on the road, a Couchsurfing host accepted my request and told me to meet him in Arcata. Arcata was the last stop of the bus and only a 15-minute drive away from Eureka. I had bought my bus ticket only to Eureka but thought I shouldn’t be a problem to go one (very close!) bus stop further. I was wrong.

Rasta girl and dog during sunset at Moonstone Beach in Norcal

The couchsurfer’s dog joined me for a beautiful sunset picture at Moonstone Beach. One love!

Negative Vibes at Night

We arrived in Eureka at 5:15 am and I asked the bus driver to go to Eureka, offering to pay cash right there or upon arrival. He didn’t only refuse my petition but was also very rude about it. Another passenger noticed the situation and offered that I could take his ticket, which was valid until Arcata because he stayed in Eureka. But the bus driver didn’t give in and also couldn’t tell me how and when I could get to Arcata.

The worst part was the circumstances in Eureka. The “bus stop” was just on the side of the road, it was dark, very cold, nothing (not even the McDonald’s across the street) was open and the only people on the street were drunk and/or drugged.

On Google Maps, I found out that the first public bus to Arcata was going to leave more than an hour later. Thankfully, there were some other backpackers who had no place to go either so I stayed and waited with them. Nonetheless, some intoxicated people bothered us. I filed a complaint about the bus driver later on the Greyhound website, but never got any response.

Couchsurfing & New Friends

I was very relieved when I could finally take the bus to Arcata. There, I waited in a coffee shop for my Couchsurfing host to pick me up, having some nice and warm breakfast. He came with a girl who was driving, dropped him off at his workplace and then went to his house. It was located just outside of Arcata in Bayside and surrounded by trees and forest.

There were about 10 other people staying, too, most of them still asleep when we arrived. It was a beautiful place with lots of art, plants, a sunny balcony, a dog and some cats. I had to make the dog leave his place when I first got there because he occupied the only free space on the couch and I needed nothing more than sleep.

Friends having good time at Moonstone Beach in Northern California

We had a very fun time at Moonstone Beach. I met many cool people thanks to Couchsurfing.

I later met all the cool travelers staying at the house. They were from the US, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, and Spain. Everybody was very nice and there were many good vibes going on. Yet, I was the only couchsurfer. The others had met the host before or had come with someone else who did. Some of them had stayed for over a week already and others also recently arrived.

There were some beds, couches, mattresses and a tent in the backyard. I spent two really great days there, chilling, sharing stories and ideas, meditating, cooking, making music (well, I was just listening 😉 and going to the beach.

A Sudden Move to an Airbnb Place

Sadly, the third day turned into my first negative Couchsurfing experience. It was around 7 pm when I came back from grocery shopping with one of the guys who was also staying there. The host took me aside from the others and told me that I had to leave because the house was too crowded. I suffered a snub because I had expected to be able to stay longer. Although my Couchsurfing request had only been for two nights, conversations with the host and others led me to believe that I could stay longer. There was the same amount of people as the previous night, plus, I was sleeping on a sheep fur on the floor and not taking anyone else’s comfy spot.

The negative part about this was the timing. Had he just told me about this in the morning, I would have had enough time to pack and find a new place. But in the evening, I had to hurry and it was a very uncomfortable situation. It took about two hours to pack everything and find an Airbnb place in Eureka. I was lucky that someone answered quickly because there were no hostels or cheap hotels in the area.

I ended up not writing a negative Couchsurfing reference for the host because the days I originally requested had been awesome and nothing really bad happened. It was just so unexpected to get kicked out with a questionable reason after two days of lots of love and happiness.

Victorian house Carson Mansion in Eureka, CA

The Carson Mansion in Eureka was built from 1884-86 and is regarded as the “most grand Victorian home in America”. You can’t enter because it’s a private club, but you sure can admire it from the outside.

My Airbnb wasn’t really cheap, but I had my own bed- and bathroom. It felt sooo good to have my private space and sleep in a double bed after all the different sleeping arrangements I had in the previous weeks.

Nice Places in NorCal

I stayed in Eureka for a while and later I rented a room from a nice couple. Living in their place was really great. They had a hot tub, surrounded by trees, and a bicycle I could use. The only disadvantage was that there was no wifi. But with the bike, I could frequently ride to the next Starbucks and use it there.

Eureka is a cute city with art, creative stores, and beautiful Victorian houses. The beach was a 30-minute bike ride away, but it was too cold to go swimming. I met many cool people and had fun times with the couple and their friends. During my time there I also worked on this blog, but couldn’t finish and publish it yet.

Besides Eureka, I also went to Laytonville, Willits and Fort Bragg which are all cute little towns. I stayed with more Couchsurfers, Airbnb hosts and even camped. The camping part in the mountains was an adventure because it was very cold (some nights even freezing) and I had to use three sleeping bags plus blankets. 😀

Colorful marijuana plants in Norcal

Not all marijuana plants are green. This beauty impressed with many different colors. And I can assure you – its smell was just as nice as its looks!

Visiting a Weed Farm

I was also very happy that I got to visit a cannabis farm because marijuana is legal there now and I had heard that there are many farms in Northern California. The growers of the one I visited were a young couple and answered all of my questions happily. They had done an awesome cultivation job and grown the best weed I had ever seen and probably will see for a while.

California is not only liberal when it comes to their weed laws, but it is also more socially accepted than in most other places. I met and talked to many different people, of course, and even some who used to work illegally in this industry. One thing that became even clearer to me while I was there is that the criminalization of marijuana mostly hurts the common consumers and maybe small dealers because the “big fish” and also the government make the real profit.

Although California’s new laws are a step in the right direction, there are still some aspects that they should improve in the next years. One huge problem is that getting licenses for legal farms or dispensaries is so expensive that only big corporations can afford it. That’s sad considering this is an industry where small businesses could really flourish.

I hope they will figure out this part soon. Right now, the distribution of weed profits is not that different from before legalization because it predominantly goes to big companies and the government. Even so, some of the advantages of legalization are certainly access for everybody (especially for those who need it for medical reasons), quality and the consumers’ safety. 😉

Rasta girl next to tall cannabis plant in Northern California

Some of the cannabis plants were taller than me. I learned that one single plant could produce more than 3lbs/1.4kg of marijuana!

My Struggles Leaving NorCal

I had a couple of good weeks in Northern California, but leaving it was also not so much fun. My flight was going to leave from Oakland and when I wanted to book my bus ticket, it was already sold out. So I decided to hitchhike, which I had done before and worked pretty well on highway 101.

I didn’t wait very long in Eureka before being picked up by a nice girl my age. She dropped me off about 30 minutes later in Fortuna. The name of the town didn’t become true for me because nobody wanted to take me. After waiting for almost two hours, I knew there was no way I could catch my plane anymore. On top, it started raining.

After waiting some more, I got a call from a girl. She had read the post on Craigslist I had made the night before and luckily came to pick me up. She had a big pick up truck with a surfboard in the back. There was another girl in the passenger seat and I sat in the back seat which was pretty comfortable. They were very nice and lifted my mood. I canceled my flight and booked a new one while we were on the road.

Back in San Fran

We arrived about five hours later in San Francisco and five minutes before my original flight was scheduled to take off. Since my new flight left late at night, I could hang out in San Fran for a while. So I ate dinner at the Westfield Centre and chilled in the Yerba Buena Gardens before taking an Uber taxi to SFO. Then finally, six hours later than planned and for double the cost, I left California and was on my way to Richmond, VA.

I feel like I should point out that I had a very nice time in Northern California. 😉 Most days were good, but I wanted to give some examples of bad experiences because that’s also a part of traveling. Spoiler: My bad luck continued when I reached the East Coast.

I had been wanting to go to Northern California for a long time. So, of course, I was very excited on my way there. But my arrival to NorCal turned out to be not so much fun. I took two Greyhound buses from Reno to Eureka, which took almost 15 hours. While I was on the road, a Couchsurfing host accepted my request and told me to meet him in Arcata. Arcata was the last stop of the bus and only a 15-minute drive away from Eureka. I had bought my bus ticket only to Eureka but thought I shouldn’t be a problem to go one (very close!) bus stop further. I was wrong.

Rasta girl and dog during sunset at Moonstone Beach in Norcal

The couchsurfer’s dog joined me for a beautiful sunset picture at Moonstone Beach. One love!

Negative Vibes at Night

We arrived in Eureka at 5:15 am and I asked the bus driver to go to Eureka, offering to pay cash right there or upon arrival. He didn’t only refuse my petition but was also very rude about it. Another passenger noticed the situation and offered that I could take his ticket, which was valid until Arcata because he stayed in Eureka. But the bus driver didn’t give in and also couldn’t tell me how and when I could get to Arcata.

The worst part was the circumstances in Eureka. The “bus stop” was just on the side of the road, it was dark, very cold, nothing (not even the McDonald’s across the street) was open and the only people on the street were drunk and/or drugged.

On Google Maps, I found out that the first public bus to Arcata was going to leave more than an hour later. Thankfully, there were some other backpackers who had no place to go either so I stayed and waited with them. Nonetheless, some intoxicated people bothered us. I filed a complaint about the bus driver later on the Greyhound website, but never got any response.

Couchsurfing & New Friends

Friends having good time at Moonstone Beach in Northern California

We had a very fun time at Moonstone Beach. I met many cool people thanks to Couchsurfing.

I was very relieved when I could finally take the bus to Arcata. There, I waited in a coffee shop for my Couchsurfing host to pick me up, having some nice and warm breakfast. He came with a girl who was driving, dropped him off at his workplace and then went to his house. It was located just outside of Arcata in Bayside and surrounded by trees and forest.

There were about 10 other people staying, too, most of them still asleep when we arrived. It was a beautiful place with lots of art, plants, a sunny balcony, a dog and some cats. I had to make the dog leave his place when I first got there because he occupied the only free space on the couch and I needed nothing more than sleep.

I later met all the cool travelers staying at the house. They were from the US, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, and Spain. Everybody was very nice and there were many good vibes going on. Yet, I was the only couchsurfer. The others had met the host before or had come with someone else who did. Some of them had stayed for over a week already and others also recently arrived. There were some beds, couches, mattresses and a tent in the backyard. I spent two really great days there, chilling, sharing stories and ideas, meditating, cooking, making music (well, I was just listening 😉 and going to the beach.

Surfer during sunset at Moonstone Beach in Northern California

Although it was pretty chilly, there were still some people going surfing. With the right wetsuit, they seemed to be fine. What an amazing location and setting to do this sport!

A Sudden Move to an Airbnb Place

Sadly, the third day turned into my first negative Couchsurfing experience. It was around 7 pm when I came back from grocery shopping with one of the guys who was also staying there. The host took me aside from the others and told me that I had to leave because the house was too crowded. I suffered a snub because I had expected to be able to stay longer. Although my Couchsurfing request had only been for two nights, conversations with the host and others led me to believe that I could stay longer. There was the same amount of people as the previous night, plus, I was sleeping on a sheep fur on the floor and not taking anyone else’s comfy spot.

The negative part about this was the timing. Had he just told me about this in the morning, I would have had enough time to pack and find a new place. But in the evening, I had to hurry and it was a very uncomfortable situation. It took about two hours to pack everything and find an Airbnb place in Eureka. I was lucky that someone answered quickly because there were no hostels or cheap hotels in the area.

I ended up not writing a negative Couchsurfing reference for the host because the days I originally requested had been awesome and nothing really bad happened. It was just so unexpected to get kicked out with a questionable reason after two days of lots of love and happiness.

Sun shining over ocean in Samoa, Humboldt County, CA

Samoa is located close to Eureka in Humboldt County, CA, and has a long and wide beach.

My Airbnb wasn’t really cheap, but I had my own bed- and bathroom. It felt sooo good to have my private space and sleep in a double bed after all the different sleeping arrangements I had in the previous weeks.

Nice Places in NorCal

I stayed in Eureka for a while and later I rented a room from a nice couple. Living in their place was really great. They had a hot tub, surrounded by trees, and a bicycle I could use. The only disadvantage was that there was no wifi. But with the bike, I could frequently ride to the next Starbucks and use it there.

Eureka is a cute city with art, creative stores, and beautiful Victorian houses. The beach was a 30-minute bike ride away, but it was too cold to go swimming. I met many cool people and had fun times with the couple and their friends. During my time there I also worked on this blog, but couldn’t finish and publish it yet.

Victorian house Carson Mansion in Eureka, CA

The Carson Mansion in Eureka was built from 1884-86 and is regarded as the “most grand Victorian home in America”. You can’t enter because it’s a private club, but you sure can admire it from the outside.

Besides Eureka, I also went to Laytonville, Willits and Fort Bragg which are all cute little towns. I stayed with more Couchsurfers, Airbnb hosts and even camped. The camping part in the mountains was an adventure because it was very cold (some nights even freezing) and I had to use three sleeping bags plus blankets. 😀

Visiting a Weed Farm

I was also very happy that I got to visit a cannabis farm because marijuana is legal there now and I had heard that there are many farms in Northern California. The growers of the one I visited were a young couple and answered all of my questions happily. They had done an awesome cultivation job and grown the best weed I had ever seen and probably will see for a while.

Colorful marijuana plants in Norcal

Not all marijuana plants are green. This beauty impressed with many different colors. And I can assure you – its smell was just as nice as its looks!

California is not only liberal when it comes to their weed laws, but it is also more socially accepted than in most other places. I met and talked to many different people, of course, and even some who used to work illegally in this industry. One thing that became even clearer to me while I was there is that the criminalization of marijuana mostly hurts the common consumers and maybe small dealers because the “big fish” and also the government make the real profit.

Although California’s new laws are a step in the right direction, there are still some aspects that they should improve in the next years. One huge problem is that getting licenses for legal farms or dispensaries is so expensive that only big corporations can afford it. That’s sad considering this is an industry where small businesses could really flourish.

I hope they will figure out this part soon. Right now, the distribution of weed profits is not that different from before legalization because it predominantly goes to big companies and the government. Even so, some of the advantages of legalization are certainly access for everybody (especially for those who need it for medical reasons), quality and the consumers’ safety. 😉

Rasta girl next to tall cannabis plant in Northern California

Some of the cannabis plants were taller than me. I learned that one single plant could produce more than 3lbs/1.4kg of marijuana!

My Struggles Leaving NorCal

I had a couple of good weeks in Northern California, but leaving it was also not so much fun. My flight was going to leave from Oakland and when I wanted to book my bus ticket, it was already sold out. So I decided to hitchhike, which I had done before and worked pretty well on highway 101.

I didn’t wait very long in Eureka before being picked up by a nice girl my age. She dropped me off about 30 minutes later in Fortuna. The name of the town didn’t become true for me because nobody wanted to take me. After waiting for almost two hours, I knew there was no way I could catch my plane anymore. On top, it started raining.

After waiting some more, I got a call from a girl. She had read the post on Craigslist I had made the night before and luckily came to pick me up. She had a big pick up truck with a surfboard in the back. There was another girl in the passenger seat and I sat in the back seat which was pretty comfortable. They were very nice and lifted my mood. I canceled my flight and booked a new one while we were on the road.

Sunset illuminates weed plants in Northern California

I really enjoyed the sunset in Norcal’s mountains. It beautifully illuminated the plants at this weed farm that I could visit.

Back in San Fran

We arrived about five hours later in San Francisco and five minutes before my original flight was scheduled to take off. Since my new flight left late at night, I could hang out in San Fran for a while. So I ate dinner at the Westfield Centre and chilled in the Yerba Buena Gardens before taking an Uber taxi to SFO. Then finally, six hours later than planned and for double the cost, I left California and was on my way to Richmond, VA.

I feel like I should point out that I had a very nice time in Northern California. 😉 Most days were good, but I wanted to give some examples of bad experiences because that’s also a part of traveling. Spoiler: My bad luck continued when I reached the East Coast.

See More Pictures of My Time in Northern California

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