Happy Trails #1 – Exploding Korean planes

My first post comes from the delightful red necked heavy area of Redding, North California – one day after the nation will be celebrating the almighty achievement of Andy Murray winning Wimbledon! (And a success which has completely bypassed this rural quarter of the states!).

For those not quite in the loop, I managed to cajole my unsuspecting younger brother to take off to the south eastern coast of Britain’s greatest offspring. (I thought I’d start the over patriotic tone from the very beginning – not entirely sure why, but one does feel the need to over compensate on the whole Britishness.)

Our journey started in true ‘Friend’ fashion, where we manage to pick a day where a exploding Korean plane shuts down the international runway at San Fran. Mid flight, half comatosed, I hope I mishear when the pilot announces that we’ll now by touching down in Vegas. Although it was lovely to see the Las Vegas strip, it was 2 weeks to early. After much calamity and an added five hours later (and the longest passport control line I have ever seen, why do the states need a record of my prints?) we are warmly received by a bewildered pair of Rach’s quite frankly stunning siblings.

After hitting the sack amongst a mountain of christmas trees, baubles and ribbons, in the family business studio, affectionately known as the glitter trenches, we headed up to the families’ rural retreat. If you’ve ever met Rachel, you’ll know that her mom, to use the vernacular, does Xmas bigger and better than most places – which means the family start preparing circa July.

We cruised up the freeway from SF to Redding, with each mile northwards increasing in dry heat intensity and scrub trees replacing the olive groves of the Napa region, with California-cool Alan at the wheel and Shelly selecting a soundtrack of sunny vibes oozing from the stereo.

Finally, we turn down the dirt track road in hill country to reach Rach’s Dorothy-esque family home and arewarmly received by a worried modern-day Walton family clan. (In the kind and generous sense, and not in the hillbilly way). The pool was a welcome relief after the best part of 36 hours on the road. We ended our days sat round the large family table, (there’s 9 members in total!), tucking into corn on the cob and apple pie.

In days to come, we look forward to exploring this more rural small town side of Cali and the bohemian depths of San Fran. I’ll be sure to you posted.


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