One thing that I am quickly learning about Americans is their different attitude towards the concept of distance. I think it was Bill Bryson who once said that Americans would travel the length of John O’Groats to Lands End for a taco; I think that this is partially true. We rounded off our weekend in Redding driving over what felt like half the state (but was only a tiny tiny fraction!) to visit Mount Shasta, California’s fifth highest mountain, with our expert guide Danie – the rock-chick aviator-glad member of the Leuck clan.
The sacred ‘white mountain’ for the Wintu and Yana Native American tribes, the volcano has become a spiritual epicentre for many new aged hippies – some even believing it is the home of Atlantan like creatures ‘Lemurians’. (A people from the lost continent Lemuria who now live in tunnels under the Mountain.) We arrived at Castle Lake for our ritual ‘taking of the waters’ and I can certainly say the crystal clear lake does hold a serene atmosphere, even if I didn’t spot any white robed Centinal beings. Being such a shallow lake the waters were warm and one could almost walk right across it.
Religion creeps into almost every avenue in the states, not only is Redding a popular Mormon haunt but even their fast food joints are laced with Christian overtones. Popular California eaterie, ‘In ‘n’ Out Burger’ is not only an example of the American’s superior service level and efficient production lines, but each coke cup is stamped with Proverbs 3:5 –
‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’
With heavy hearts we bid the Baker-Leuck family a fond adieu and joined the Amtrak bound for San Francisco. We did have a brief dabble with fame on the platform as we were interviewed by Fox News for our reaction to an earlier train heist – http://bit.ly/1bmP5Gq.
One should not underestimate how damn hilly San Fran is. I’m not sure if we were just insane or stupid but we lugged our luggage all the way up Nob Hill, famous for the car chase in Bullet. Crippled by hysterics, I collapsed on the doorstep of our apartment block, a building which would not look out of place on Sesame Street and over 100 years old, we worked the manual gated lift to arrive at No. 16.
And that my friends is where I leave you for now!