The first 1,000 miles of my summer, cross-country road trip took me from Oregon down through California to visit friends. We got an early start from Oregon and the nine hour drive went smoothly, with a few breaks for our dog Howard to stretch his legs.

The first stop was in Berkley to see my lovely friend Claudia. It has only been a few weeks since we last saw each other, but there was plenty to still chat about. We spent the evening eating Chinese food and discussing the world outside grad school – something I am learning to talk about again. I am so out of touch with pop culture, movies, music, politics… It’s kind of embarrassing.

From what little I saw of Berkley, I like it. A lot. If I wasn’t so in love with Portland I could potentially be lured away. The neighborhood we were in was full of nice, older homes with great gardens. There seemed to be a lot of climate-appropriate plantings, using succulents and natives to the area. The house was walking distance to a great little cofffee shop, grocery and several restaurants. I look forward to visiting again next year.

Their back porch stepped down into a small yard that had some in-ground and container vegetables planted. I especially liked the raised beds they built into the edges of the steps on the porch. Very convenient when you are cooking up something in the kitchen to take a few steps onto the porch to harvest herbs and veggies.

We then headed further south in Los Angeles to stay with friends and visit some relatives. It was a nice evening of catching up, but way too short. It felt like we just blew through town, so hopefully we will have a bit more time there next time.

We hit the 1,000 mile mark as we climbed out of Los Angeles and headed east, for the first time on this trip. Oh, how many miles east lay ahead!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson