I must say that I have an amazing string of excellent Airbnb experiences running. While the vast majority of places I have stayed over the past four years have been fantastic, the past month or so has really been exceptional. And I use the term “experiences” as it is much more than just a place to stay. The people who host play a huge role in the success of a stay and their attitude and input (maybe better to say dialogue) really makes or breaks a stay.
I have made a few posts about specific venues but want to take a few moments to recap the past month in California. I hope you will indulge me.
Visalia – After my stays in Pahrump and Yucca Valley, the week I stayed with Chris and Nicole in Visalia was what really started to build the momentum of my wanting to make this post. This young couple, both teachers, really opened up their home to help me feel welcome, as their reviews indicated they have done with many guests before me. We had many interesting conversations during the week I was there. They are both very intelligent and articulate, and we covered many topics.
Sonora – My week with Barry and his wife Jeri really felt more like a week at a family reunion. This older couple has an absolutely gorgeous home which you can tell is an accumulation of family memories as well as reflecting their personal interests. Barry’s local knowledge and suggestions for things to see and do which weren’t on my radar was invaluable. The three of us also had many interesting conversations.
San Rafael – My week with Julia was terrific. She invited me to join her July 4th cookout in her spacious backyard:
Evenings the rest of the week I often spent sitting outside in the shade (where I took these photos) waiting for the large, green hummingbird to come feed on the purple flowers.
I didn’t realize it at the time but this is actually a different hummingbird.
And one day as I was carting stuff outside I noticed the orchids Julia was growing on her indoor porch. I have a particular interest in orchids after having read all the Nero Wolfe books written by Rex Stout. Wolfe is a fictional detective in 1940’s and 50’s Manhattan who had a personal orchid nurse on staff and had 10,000 orchids in the third floor greenhouse of his brownstone.
Ukiah – My three night stay in Orell’s home was great and felt like being at home in North Carolina. I didn’t get to interact with him very much during my stay but enjoyed visiting with some of the other Airbnb guests.
Arcata – I am wrapping up three nights here in Arcata and today will be moving on, inland to Redding on my way to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park for a few days. While I have been spending a lot of time at the coast the last week and a half the forecast for today and tomorrow in Redding are for temperatures of 106 and 109 respectively. Ouch. I have been spoiled by temps in the mountains generally in the 70’s and low 80’s (nice), and at the coast in the 60’s or 70’s (VERY nice). Well, Redding is in the valley (as Ukiah was) and temps there can get a little toasty. I was surprised when I saw this 3-D map of California when I visited the Bay Model in Sausalito:
I never realized that California basically has mountains all around it’s edges. Internally (from below the Napa Valley all the way up to where I am now in Northern California) temperatures are often much more intense than other parts of the state because it is a relatively flat valley at low elevation.
I may spend the majority of the day here in Arcata/Eureka before heading to Redding this evening (it is only 140 miles away). Then it will be back to shorts and t-shirts and will put the long pants and sweatshirts away until I get back out to the coast in Crescent City and head north to Oregon.