Michele (from SFO airport): I've just finished a busy and fantastic 1.5 weeks in Portland and northern California. Great visits with friends and incredible discussions with colleagues made this trip well worth the very long travel. Portland is a fabulous city to visit and the Bay area charmed me once again.
After landing in SFO airport last Thursday I picked up my rental car and headed down highway 280 with a big grin on my face. Why the smile? Yes, I was looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues but also highway 280 travels right alongside the San Andreas fault. For a earthquake scientist, few sites are as inspirational than a fault valley. The other reason for my grin was the strong smell of Eucalyptus blowing through the open windows of my car.
After 8 years of living the SF Bay area I have strong association of the smell of Eucalyptus trees with bike rides and hikes in northern California. Ironic then that all these sweet smelly trees are actually from Australia where the rest of my family is right now. Because Eucalyptus trees are some of the largest and oldest trees in some communities of California, I had forgotten that these trees were brought to California by Australian miners during the gold rush. It is hard to imagine California without Eucalyptus trees. The Aussie trees like the Aussie people have made impacts all over the world.
In 14 hours I will be back in the homeland of Eucalytpus - I can't wait!