map of SF region   -   San Jose, CA   -   Postcard Cable car   -   Alcatraz   -   Golden Gate bridge    (I have borroved the pictures)

Sunday sept 27: Alarm clock started to get angry at 6.30, but my body didn’t get into vertical position before 7.15. Packed my bags, checked out and entered the sightseeing bus. The bus picked up people at different hotels and at the RV-park. Ended up outside the Tabernacle – went and listened to the televised Sundayconsert. Later we walked around the area guided by ”Missionaries”. During the lunch break I met with 2 sisters from Minnesota, who had Norwegian bloodline, and got envelope with name and address to be returned with Norwegian stamps.

- Soon Monday. Back on Bus – Greyhound bound for Reno, and we are now entering Wendover, Nevada. The Casinolights glimmer in this city. The busdriver listens and acts like a real mean figure, he tries to compete with God himself in issuing Commandments of the type THOU SHALL and THOU SHALL NOT! – Or else you will be thrown out of the bus. Not a nice experience here in the ”Desert state” !!  He gave out transfer tickets which we have to take care of like pure gold, .. or else !

Monday morning (sept 28.) 7.30 AM Pacific time. I have slept quite a lot trough Nevada, noticed we started to descend downhill. In Reno we had to leave the bus while it was cleaned and prepared for the next leg to San Francisco. The last miles I had a small boy beside me. He brought a BIG pillow and slept like in angel’s hands. Looking at the fellow travelers, we seem to be quite an international bunch. The new busdriver is a lot less authoritarian then his predecessor. We start out from Reno half an hour delayed. …… Oh, here is a sign saying Squaw Valley…..

Lake Tahoe, we are in California. Here are mountains and pine trees, here and there I see marks from forest fires. I expect this is the district from where we listened to radio in the early mornings back in the winter of 1960, Olympic gold medails to more Norwegians. Along the road here the landscape is much more virginal than in Beitostølen, and Beitostølen had no Olympic winter games! Now the busdriver announces: ”Next stop downtown Sacramento”. I remember  the city name from ”Snowshoe Thompson”, the novel that I read in ”Norsk Barneblad” (Norwegian Children’s Magazine) , many, many years ago. The roads fall nicely into the terrain, just like in the mountain areas home. Here and there there are spruce, a bit greybrown in the needles though – Donner pass, ski resort, ….

Monday sept 29 abt noon: The busdriver told me I could follow this bus into Oakland, by that I would save time. In Oakland the suitcase was placed on the bus to San José, and I managed to get into the bus the second before the busdriver closed and left. I had queued in line 5 and thought that I as usual had to ”wait in line”. In San José I soon found a free cab that without delay took me further. Vi stayed on the northbound highway for a long time before breaking to the west and Saratoga, which is a residential area, in my eyes for the rich people. The Smiths came here 40 years ago, when the area’s building boom  started. At that time, they say, land prices were reasonable, interests were low. Today it’s another dance…..

Tuesday sept 30: Took a morning stroll around the area. It’s an enormously rich vegetation here, everything from palms, needle trees, larix with BIG cones, roses, and a lot of species I never laid my eyes on before, neither know the names of…

Yesterday night our smalltalk touched the theme politics, and my relatives, the couple being retired teachers, told me that most of that group will not be furnishing actor Schwarzenegger with their votes on the upcoming election. California has for years been a Democrat governed State, I was told.  I must remember to copy the necessary pictures from Norway, I hope my 4. cousin will help preparing the pictures for his mother. Tomorrow we will either go to the hills in west and today  maybe visit the technical museum in San José.

Wednesday Oct 1. Trip to Santa Clara at the Pacific coast. We crossed the western hills (1800 ft). Here is a lot of spruce/pine but also some very tall leaf trees with huge dimensions. On the east side was a big water-reservoir that clearly was expecting winter rain. Down in Santa Clara we went out to the pier, took photos of the ocean and the birds.  The gulls look bigger then their relatives along Norwegian coast! The browngrey colored are young birds .  After a dinner rest I accompanied Marshall jr., Silvana and Christian (my 4.cousin) to their home – checked the bus schedules and left for dinner at a Thai-restaurant. I expect Christian to have made a strong mixture of my orange drink, because the Thai food did not feel that spicy (I was warned about strong spices). After dinner we left for meeting in the local orchid-union, where I was presented for the dignitaries. The speech on preservation of orchids in the rain forest was very professionally done (2 slide projectors and one overhead commandeered by one person)

Thursday Oct 1.  Left for Mission Santa Clara and ended up at a very well tasting lunch table, afterwards  we visited the Mission. Together with Mary I went into the huge Cathedral –3 ”absolution-chairs” on every side of church. In the afternoon I went with the younger part of family to the movies in Saratoga. The Film was a German production, ”Luther”. Interesting – gave good background on  the big religious change and German national battle in the time of electoral Prince Friedrich.

Friday Oct 3: Copied and put names to most of the pictures left for Mary, tried the new, glossy photo paper. It was not at all easy to wave goodbye to the friendly, nice family. Christian drove me to San Francisco. He asked me to keep a good jacket ready. The closer we came to the city, the fog tightened. Parked in a P-house, 3.floor not far from the bus station and went with the Cable car (first part by bus) from Market to Fishermen’s Wharf. Next step was the boat ride out to Golden Gate.  The waves made the last part out to the bridge quite ”jumpy”  and if there are salty spots in my diary, the salt will be from Puget Sound where we turned – north around Alcatraz and inside mole and calmer conditions. We were lucky to get waterproof blankets for cover, placed in the stern of the boat. Traveled together with a father and 3 children from Arizona. The smallest boy started sleeping on the wet sitting pillows when we returned inside the mole. Took a walk along the quay, followed the ”tourist stream” visited some of the ”tourist shops” (rebuilt seahouses) and took the Cable car back to Market.  Bade farewell with Christian outside the bus station.

Eugene, Oregon   -   Bridges of Portland  -  Powells House of books   -   Spokane;Washington   -   Coeur d'Alene, Idaho  (I have borrowed the pictures)

Took the bus to Sacramento at 8.30 PM, the bus to Portland should leave at 10.30PM.  Clock ticked away, 1 hour , more and more delay, probably both a bus and a driver had to be brought into  the daylight (nightlight). Our lady driver probably missed the road later in the night; she ended up calling instructions on her mobile phone how to find the bus station in Redding, where another driver took over.  .. I used the time thinking what was the name of the ”member-shop” we visited in Santa Clara ?? Yeah, Cosco.  Another chain I observed was called Target.

Saturday morning  Oct 4: sun not over horizon yet – relaxed and slept well this night. Made a stop at Yreka at 6.30 AM, had breakfast, this time Taco Bell. 2 tacos with cheese, vegetables and meat + fried potato and mineral water for abt $6.

In the waiting line in Sacramento I had a conversation with a Canadian nurse, married to a retired plant breeder – we had an interesting discussion on our near history and what this world will develop into in the future. I have to add that I had few possibilities to get in touch with my e-mail the last days. The Macintosh in Saratoga did not appreciate my touchy fingers, and did it’s best to disconnect me from the Internet as soon as possible. I know my son has left me a message, which still is unread. Now it’s day in Åbjør, here at the Pacific coast we are 9? Hours behind. Said probably goodbye to the last palm tree in the middle of the night. We are now driving between low hills clothed with needle trees – at home the saw chains have the brand name Oregon …  as far as I heard vi are soon in Grants Pass, Oregon.    –quick stop, 2 minutes …. The time is 11 AM and we have arrived Eugene. Since Grants Pass the weather has changed, now there is fog and low clouds, light rain (the first I observed in USA). Landscape is hilly, the road curves along the hillsides,. – Drove past University of Oregon. Saw some big sawmills. Spruce and pine dominates, bur with big variations. Few farms – but I notice both sheeps and cows grassing in the pastures in the valley bottom.  Fog ant water on the buswindow prevents taking pictures. A lot of new travelers enter here. Nest stop will be Portland, the driver announces. - Portland: Bus for Seattle .55 PM arrival Seattle 5.20 PM, from Seattle to Billings, Montana 7.20 PM arrival  2.50 next day.

Saturday Oct 4 abt 1 PM:  arrived at the younger Fossens, travels further tomorrow. Have been to the library and checked e-mail. Tor Magne was home last weekend and helped his cousin to move from Vang to Eastern Slidre. At least I’m satisfied that somebody home knows where I am at the moment. Sent a message to my sister in law and to my neighbor in Åbjør. Milo had sent a mail asking: ”Ola, where in hell are you ?” and I answered ” I’m not in Hell, I’m much more close to Heaven”.  The plans for tonight are to visit a Greek festival down in the City. .. We managed both festival and a visit to ”Powells House of Books”.

Sunday October 5. .40PM. Greyhound bus station in Portland. Had a good and safe nights sleep at Vinh and Garth’s apartment up in Knob Hill. Went to the market in Chinatown. Bought a leather purse to hang around neck ($12) – dropped into a warehouse had coffee and Danish. Prices on bread was high, more than 1$ more than usual, but this was organic products. We took the trip to one of the bridges and took photos. Some of the skyline towards downtown, congress center ant a restored wheel boat used in the tourist season. I plan to start the eastbound leg this evening and be in Billings in the middle of day tomorrow.

In the Portland bus station they told me to change my ”A4” Norwegian travel agency paper into a ”Greyhound Pass”, I should do this in Seattle.  – We made a stop in Olympia. Here is the Capitol Hill of the state of Washington. Weather light clouded, spots of blue sky. Has traveled trough flat landscape, low hillsides far away, and a lot of spruce forest. Here and there advertising signs with Scandinavian names. A couple sitting behind me commented on the big bales we saw in a farm we passed. (the bales were wrapped in white plastic foil for fermenting/conservation like we do in Norway), the first of its kind I observed in this continent. Busdriver announces 1 hour 15 minutes before arrival downtown Seattle.

- Bus for Billings (in fact the bus travels to Chicago) left 10 minutes delayed. Relief.. I got a real Greyhound Pass. It was not easy, I went to the ticket counter and the lady in charge started calling here and there (maybe Canada?). She said they could not give me a Greyhound Pass since I already had traveled many days. She wrote a small novel in the bottom of my Norwegian paper, and I was satisfied. When checking in the suitcase I got a surprise, I got a real Greyhound Pass for 3 weeks dated oct 5., so I could probably have traveled across North America even after I returned to Norway.

I made a FOOL of myself by taking a photo from the bus without closing the automatic blitz. The moon threw those fine silver colors in the river beside us. I have to learn how to handle my Fuji in complete darkness.                                 We are now in Ellensburg, have climbed and desendend, probably we have not yet started the real climb up to the mountains to the east. Trip here have taken abt 2 hours.

- Spokane Bus station – Monday October 6. 1.40 AM. No we will soon enter Mountain Time. Will be in Coeur d’Alene in one hour. Bought French toast from an east Asian man who all the time said ”excuse me”.  – St Regis, Montana local time  abt 4 AM. I hope we will get rid of the **** ***** female bus driver soon – I sincerely pray for it… YES, now we’re in luck, new driver arrives !