Cali just had a 6.5 earthquake. The largest I've been in was a 6.8 (the Nisqually Earthquake) and I was very, very close to the epicentre (at Wa He Lut just south of the delta on the west bank of the Nisqually River). The ground rolled and there was a sound like a train for a fair amount of time - I don't know, forty seconds or so. It feels like a long time when the ground becomes plastic.
I think the first town I saw with a lot of earthquake damage was Santa Cruz, shaken AND stirred by the Loma Prieta quake a few years before, which was a different kind of quake to the (later) Nisqually earthquake. The first earthquake I remember was a small one in Pennsylvania - just big enough to feel.
I was in Kauai during a time it was trying to recover from a hurricane a year or two before - nice for the casual visitor as hotels were closed and the island was more real. Tropical Storm Agnes was memorable to me, too. Nature is powerful.
posted by - 6:30 PM