Revisiting Northern California

We have been so comfortable with our simpler country life that we have forgotten what it is like to live in Northern California east of San Francisco Bay.

Our first two days in Northern California gave us a chance to re-experience urban life again. It still has its attractions, but I am very happy that we don’t have to live in this environment. It is an endless sprawl of neighborhoods, shopping centers and restaurants.

When you live in Floyd country you get used to a certain level of background noise and you have a feeling for how long it will take for you to drive 30 miles.

Traveling to a more developed area like Contra Costa County in Northern California is a major shift in reality. Traffic noise is so pervasive that it fades from your notice, except at night when trying to sleep. Then it sounds like jet noise.

Traffic density is so great that trips of less than two miles become major expeditions. Not quite bumper to bumper traffic, more like trying to drive two miles on shopping center parking lots. It can be done, but it takes great care and patience.

This is a result of the extreme density of shopping destinations. We are staying in Pleasant Hills, in Contra Costa County, and we can find almost every store we can think of in just a few mile radius. Getting to the store and back takes almost as long as a 10 mile trip into Floyd, VA.

The scenery here is tastefully arranged, but it is mostly man-made. Outside of the irrigated areas, the landscape is tawny brown with a few touches of dusty green.

The saving grace is that the natives are friendly and superb restaurants are near at hand.  We have done our best to sample everything that is recommended to us.

I will try to post some images later today which may capture the spirit of our trip.

Thanks for dropping by.

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0 Responses to Revisiting Northern California

  1. Myke says:

    Same as Atlanta. Too much man-made stuff.

  2. Mike Duffy says:

    An unfair comparison, David – you’re in an urban setting in Pleasant Hills. For a more balanced comparison, sample life in Sebastopol, CA (population 7,000), also in “Northern California” (which is bigger than most Eastern states) – it’s much more like Floyd, although to be fair, the price of land and housing is (substantially) higher.

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