Things have definitely been moving fast around here. Wednesday Allen got a call that we had tickets, hotel reservations, and a rental car waiting for us if we could be on a 7:30 flight the next morning. One mad round of cleaning and packing later, we were all set. The flight over was uneventful. The most annoying part of it was Allen and I getting middle seats one behind the other for the second leg of our flight. I ended up sitting bodkin between two men. I'm grateful they were both rather clean cut and inclined to ignore me as opposed to some the other, more scruffy, specimens I saw scattered throughout the cabin. After we'd landed and gotten our rental car we headed out towards the Santa Cruz mountains and the Pacific Ocean. I'll admit my first glimpse of that great ocean was something less than awe inspiring -the ocean being tamed by both the bay area around Santa Cruz and the wharf coming out from the boardwalk. Heading north along California 1 though.....it's completely different than anything I've seen on the East Coast. The waves and general shape of the coastline are about what you'd see up along the coast of Maine, but the mountains are definitely western. Unfortunately we were trying to cover a bit of distance in a short amount of time, and we only took a tiny handful of pictures. We did stop one place with some trees growing right along the bluff edges and sling up Allen's new hammock for a few minutes to enjoy the view. Along the way up the coast we saw a lot of kite and wind surfers, and in Pacifica we even saw a Taco Bell right on the water. It looked like a beach shack where you'd get snow cones and overpriced hot dogs down around Panama City beach. As always the food was cheap, but for a view like that I'd eat 79 cent burritos most every day. Once we'd gotten up past Pacifica we turned inwards towards San Francisco and the bay. We made it there just in time to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge while the remnants of a sunset lingered among the clouds. I'd hopes to get there in time to walk about a bit, but since we hadn't we contented ourselves with driving up and down the hills of San Francisco -including a twisty jaunt down Lombard. By that point we were both plenty tired and decided to head back to Cupertino and check into our hotel.
The next day we roamed around the area trying to get a feel for the place and where we might want to live should Allen get the job. After lunch, I dropped Allen off for five hours of interviews and heading up to Ikea in Palo Alto. Didn't buy anything but got a few ideas for how to squeeze us into a smaller apartment. As anywhere, space equally money, but in Cupertino it can equal rather a bit of money. Once I'd finally figured out how to exit the store (Ikea can be rather confusing at times) I decided to go exploring some more and cut across to the coast again only to turn off after a while to head back into the mountains and get a look at some of the mountain towns. Some people commute into town from them, and I was wondering if it'd possibly be worth it. I will add that Allen asked them to get us a car with gps. I've never used one before, and I loved it. Except for a couple of times in San Francisco it never steered us wrong. I was wandering along all kinds of tiny little twisty mountain roads, and I never got lost. I did almost run out of gas, but I didn't get lost :D
That evening Allen and I headed back up into San Francisco to have dinner with a friend of his and subsequently got a lesson in what traffic would be like for Allen if we tried living up towards the bay area. From thence our time mainly consisted of packing up, getting to the airport, and hoping we'd get seats together. We did, and the journey home was spectacularly uneventful.
Allen feels quite good about the whole process. We both feel rather good about California. I don't feel compelled to move there, but then again I don't see anything much the matter with it (except for perhaps the cost of housing). Once I found out that if Allen got the job we'd get ample time to come home and visit folks for Christmas and whatnot I felt rather better about the whole thing. Our pastor has told up about a church up there. We might even be able to rent a house for the cost of an apartment, and I've been rather wanting to live in an actual house again. The coast is beautiful, and as I mentioned it appears that with careful husbanding of our vacation time we'd be able to visit family and even have time to do a little exploring ourselves. I still feel rather ambivalent about leaving Alabama, but I do hope that Allen gets this job. Lord willing I'm hoping we'll know something in the next couple days.