Sneeky Bastards, Bikes, Broken, Birthday’s, Berkeley, & Hillsburough

The drink was a bit bitter. My intentions were grand! Here they were:

Find a vehicle in Philly (<$1000) and start driving west. Head to Ohio, meet Dan, head to Kansas, then down to Oklahoma, meet Megan, jet west, through beautiful high desert of New Mexico and drop into Tucson. See friends, ride moto bike, ditch new car in Tucson, skidaddle out to CA for Pancho’s birthday party, then up to San Francisco for departure to Geneva where vacation begins a new chapter of indifference. Perfect! right? maybe. Step two always requires step one to work.

Step one: I combed the clasified adds for trucks, bikes, and cars which seemed good for another 4,000 miles, that’s all I need. I found several, one was a plough truck – that would have been novel eh? A pannel van. A ’93 Toyota. A ’82 GMC customized catering truck. I made my choice, I contaced the owner of the GMC. I set up an appointment. I got on transportation and 3 hours and a mile walk later I arrived at the truck. Old, fresh paint, rusted floor boards, good tires, walk in fridge, broken ignition, good engine. Perfect! $1300. – given issues $1000. I made arrangements with the owner, discussed registration procedures and possible problems, created contingencies, and agreed to meet the next day in order to hand him cash and get title.

The next day I call the owner in the afternoon and establish I’ll arrive within 3 hours and after 2 hour drive out of Philly I arrive at the truck cash in hand excitment in my shoes and call the owner. Sold!

… to someone else. – Anger. RED ANGER! — Oh.. if I had no scruples…. I look around, the lot is quiet, no one arround, the van has no locks, no keyed ignition…it’s vunerable, my spite grows. I’m mad. Breathe.. revenge is never as sweet as it tastes.

I’m talking to him on the phone.. I can’t believe what I hear. I’m trying not to be rude, but calmly tell him how rude he has been. It’s difficult. I can do nothing but communicate my incredible astonisment and dissapointment in his decision. My enormous frustration. I urge him to make better decisions in the future and hang up. What else can you do? I walk away, rage in my pocket. My joy and faith in people crushed by one silly man. (he was french.. does that match any sterotyping? I don’t know.. I don’t care.). I’m depressed and we begin to drive back to the city. We stop at an REI and after a bit of a conversation with a 20 employee I remember the good in people and compassion in life. Alas I buy a plane ticket to end my east coast adventure the following day and begin to forget about ‘perfect plans’ and look forward to supprising friends for a Michael Franti show in Tucson and a casual drive to California.

I arrive at the Phildelphia Airport at 4 AM in an attempt to change my tickets to an ealrier flight. I’m struck with typical airline resistance and attempts to charge and inhibit me. I remember to breathe, communicate, and perhaps the little bit of karma I wish I had two days before arrives and without issue or cost I’m in Tucson 11 hours earlier than anticipated.

My ukulele keeps me company all the way along. Perhaps it’s close to being my adult Teddy-Bear. It’s good.

Back in Tucson I get to slow down again, refresh my bags, and reset my mind a bit. I get to share stories with familiar faces and feel updated. I drink hard and sleep well. I change my moto-bike’s oil and ride about. I prepare to leave again.

Continuing on to California is a bit more laborious than I anticipate. Kira accompanies me and make two attempts west California. Attempt one left Kira and I without radio coverage as the presidential debate began followed by a flat tire, Taco Bell dinner, and a slow-drive back into Tucson. The next morning we made our second attempt and successfully and arrived in Laguna Beach in the early afternoon on Friday and thus vacation restarted. Saturday we put ourselves into the car and drove north to Edwards AFB for Pancho’s birthday party, the big tee-dubyah-oh.

A choo-choo cake and some choo-choo cake eating with a choo-choo later Pancho was triumphant, the neighborhood kids were fed and properly sugared, a giant dump truck was unwraped and everyone was sufficently sacked out. Well done. Kira departed and then Andrew left back to Berkeley. Mom went to work and I was back in Laguna stuck to online political news and O’Riley. I needed to surf.

Jeff and I get out to San O’s. Surf is decent. Sky is overcast. 10 or so dropin’s later, including one heavy onboard chest landing, our arms are tired and our grins gigantic. The rest of the week seems to slip away until a brief surf session with Sam and Monica where Monica takes one to go into the books, skagg to the eye.. bloody… it was a short day.

Two days later we depart northward. Up to Rosamond to check on the hangar site and play a bit with a tractor. I gots to gets me ones of theses. Boo-yeah!

After Rosamond, I begin driving north and vacation starts for everyone else. Mom has my blackberry and I’ve got … what? … what? … My vacation has been going for about two months now, as you may have read, but Mom is electric with relaxation and she napps and talks and it’s clear this truely is a much anticipated vacation. 7PM puts us in Stockton for dinner and muppet show with Tripp and Karen followed by a serious game of Risk (a draw due to time). Just like the sentences, the following day comes quickly and we’re in Berkeley. I don’t think I’ve laughed with family this much for a while. It’s grand!

… Mom, Andrew & Angela left a couple of hours ago and left me at Angela’s place for the night. I’m now sitting in a coffee shop, surf n’ sip, in Hillsburough, a nice community south of San Francisco, listening to podcasts waiting for my flight tomorrow morning. – what’s next? no se. But tomorrow I’m off to Switzerland and France. I’ll be sure to note when I decide not to return.

May 14, 2007 – Dan, Jon, John the SLO Journey

Jon and I said our good byes to the 5 and moved along the 405, picking up Dan from John Wayne and saying good bye to Mom. From the 405 we engaged the 101 and enjoyed the short jaunt into San Louis Obisbo. We arrived at Tyler’s ranch at about nine o’clock. The fire was going and the salsa was ready, we poured martinis and put the sausages on, next the tri-tip, then the beans, the garlic bread, and we opened a bottle of wine. One incredible dinner, a second bottle of wine, and two movies later I was crashing out and the clock read 3:40 AM. Morning arrived too quickly, we thanked Tyler and he went to work, we skated and played video games for about an hour and then rolled through Starbucks on our way back to the 101.

On to Berkeley – Four hours out, right?

Santa Barbara to Tucson and back to Tucson

Santa Barbara to Tucson

Arrived into Orange County about 3 hours after leaving the parties, the drinking, the ladies.. Tyler’s. In Orange County I stopped in and loaded my car with a crate of books, a pile of clothes and a number of small things I had left home, and then back to the 5 toward San Diego for the possibility of some sailing with Nathan and Primo. Brian Primo, Nathan’s old roommate had rented a house in Mission Beach with his brother and a couple of friends for the week. They had talked about wanting to sail, but none of them knew how, so I was suppose to come teach them. I got in at about 4 or 5 and they had been living on the beach for too long, they were lazy. Playing Monopoly when I arrived we sat about and watched some T.V. and then all decided to go to dinner, an all you can eat crab place about 45 min walk away.

I had a bowl of soup, glass of water, and a great view of the ocean, something I wasn’t going to have when I got back to Tucson. I tried my hardest to take it in and keep it there. I was eager to get on the road as I could feel myself wanting more and more to take a nap. After dinner, just as planned. I found myself on the road heading East. I arrived in Tucson at about 4:30 AM at the end of 12 hours of driving and covering close to 800 miles that day I was tired and happy to be home.

Home not for long though. I woke up late Tuesday and after doing a little cleaning and organization of things around the house jumped back into the car and drove to Phoenix for a 3 hours CPR re-certification course and then turned back home that evening for Tucson. This time I was home for good.. kind of. The next day I’d be home, so it was my chance to make it a palapa day.

Berkeley to Santa Barbara

Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Orange County, San Diego, Tucson, Phoenix, Tucson, Camping, Vegas ..
How’d all that happen?

My departure from Berkeley was precise, except for one load of laundry still in the drier, like a well oiled machine I picked up, hauled, and unloaded another load of wood for Andrew’s basement project, exchanged the Home Depot lights, cleaned up the kitchen, made the bed, packed the car, and went on my way south, through San Jose to the 101 to Santa Barbara where I anticipated a weekend full of hangovers. For the most part I was right.

After a lonely haul I arrived in Santa Barbara near dinner time. Tyler and I met up with Hoss and Belinda and had some outstanding cocktails and a wonderful dinner at a downtown steak restaurant. mmm good. Keeping with the SB style, after Hoss and Belinda returned to their hotel, Tyler and I went for some more drinks just down the street and then hitched a ride back to Isla Vista where we met up with a number of folks and … well, at this point the weekend has blended together sufficiently enough where I can’t remember details, needless to say waking up was hard to do.

Saturday was grad day and we, of course, went down to the ‘Hall’ for drinks before, during, and after graduation – this was some taxing work. The Hall was a small bar, it had a counter part in down town Santa Barbara but this was the Isla Vista version. It consisted of one bar along the side of a 15 foot room, cutting the room essentially in half, bar tenders on one side, bar flies on the other. At only 30 feet deep, the bar filled up quickly and it was easy to find your self out the door simply because you’ve moved to a breathable space. Because of the ubiquitous participation in the 50 club, it was a very friendly place to be, every one knew each other and the bar tenders knew everyone and thusly the drinks flowed almost uncontrollably. Pitchers were two to a person and shots, or ‘fruitys‘ a generic sweet and totally custom drink, were handed out regularly to fly and tender alike. The walls were sufficiently covered with eight televisions bilking multiple sports casts and the space behind them was covered with bar pictures and plaques. Tyler was quite proud of his name on a wall mounted plaque signifying his participation and acceptance into the “50 Club” at The Study Hall. Individuals who have a drink at The Hall at least 50 days in the spring quarter are boldly proclaimed here, the plaque had probably 350 names on it. The list was quite extensive. The Hall served as Tyler’s home base through the years and thusly the weekend was no different. Every chance we had.. rather he had, he hit the hall for a shot or a beer – the bar tenders and bouncers were soon just as familiar with my face as they were with Tyler’s.

Grad Night we met Tyler’s folks again and had another fabulous dinner with the parents and then more drinking. This time I explicitly remember playing a game of kitchen baseball with a squishy ball and a dish rag. It was … intense and we didn’t get to bed till 4 AM. Plus I tried beer and clamado juice, it was, how do you say, Horrible?! Sunday was equally full, including a short stay on a raft out at sea with champagne and a nap on the couch watching soccer. Most importantly was the Sunday Night conclusion to graduation with the open bar graduation party at O’Mally’s that Tyler hosted. Unfortunately the previous nights left me sore and sick in the morning and this night I had decided to limit my drinking to few. Gin and tonic and two glasses of 12 year scotch kept me happy. I took pictures for Tyler, had a conversation about the progress and direction of the US with a drunk song writer and met a good number of attractive ladies. In all, it was a bundle good times in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista… and Monday morning meant time to travel on.

Berkeley Chill

It’s cold. Too damn cold. I have to wear shoes, a sweater, a sweatshirt, a long sleve shirt, another long sleve shirt, an undershirt, a hat, pants, and if I had it, I’d put on more. It’s a bitter wind that hunts you down, finds your every weakness and pennetrates the strongest seal… it’s cold.

I put on my pants, sweater, and shoes… I walk down to campus to get some dinner. The sky is clear, the wind has died, I begin to sweat. … I’m sweating. I’m hot. The hike up the hill is taxing. Where is the Berkeley Chill – what is this trick.

…She’s Gone.

The temperature on Friday was 111 according to a bank thermometer when we left Tucson, we estimated it at 120 as we drove, it was hot. Asa and I were soaking wet after 10 min in the car. Our stop into IKEA was a delight. The air conditioned lunch break was soon over and it was 3 more hours until it cooled off near Flagstaff. We were only one hour out of the Grand Canyon and dinner seemed like a reasonable thing to stop for. We were back on the road at dark and ready to watch for animals crossing the road. To our delight only rabbits and birds found their way onto the unnatural asphalt pavement while large game stood road side eating and watching. It was quite the site to have a mature elk 2 meters off your bumper as your cruise by at 60 mph.

I took Asa to the rim of the canyon in the dark. We saw nothing. We found a camp site and tucked our selves in for the night in the back of the Volvo. The analogue clock ticked all night. I found out in the morning about Asa’s discomfort around ticking clocks. She was tired when we woke up.

The Grand Canyon proved spectacular, as usual. Our shoes and lack of water prevented a hike down, but we enjoyed the walk and the sights, taking in a couple of condors flying about the rim. After we were satisfied with the grandiose glory of the Grand Canyon we hopped back into the car and got on our way to California. We drove down out of the high plains and hills and back into the heat, across the Colorado River and into the Mohave. We pulled up and were greeted by Andrew and Grant working on his lawn mower at 4 PM (ten till) as prescribed. I am so smart!

Spending less than 24 hours at Edwards Air Base we soon saw the crisp blue beautiful Pacific Ocean.. oh glorious water. This meant surf lessons were less than 24 hours away, we spent the following hours in Laguna, relaxed.

The morning came at about 11 AM. Not quite dawn patrol, but close enough. We loaded up the car and headed on down. I was ready, she was ready, the beach was ready… there isn’t a whole lot to describe the feeling of getting into the water after spending time in the Tucson heat, or even time away from the ocean, dreaming about surf. It was lovely. Asa did exceptionally well and smiled the entire time. The sky was clouded over but the water was about 69 F. After a session, split by one break in the middle we ate some burritos from Pedro’s and soon found ourselves back in Laguna. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. We did this for three days. One day finding a rip current to get caught in. The third day Asa was doing very well, was balanced on the board, could identify waves to catch, had no trouble handling herself, kept on smiling, and was standing up and rode down the line a couple of times. It was a success. It was sad to see her go on Thursday morning. I was going to miss my closest companion and friend, the pleasant smile, and humoring laugh from the last two weeks of my life. She’d be in Michigan and then back to Sweden. It was odd to think I’d just spend two weeks straight with this person, enjoyed her company, and then she’d be gone. Gone to never return. I don’t think I’d ever been in a situation like that, it was odd to think about. Perhaps one day I’ll arrive in Sweden and the game will be reversed. She was happy to be going home. I missed her.

Asa was gone, J.J. and I saw a movie together and then I went right back to Laguna and promptly fell asleep from exhaustion – for regardless of how enjoyable the last two weeks were, there was a lot and I was tired. I woke up the next morning. Asa had arrived in Michigan safely, I had caught up on my sleep, and I had spent the last four days at the ocean. I left for San Francisco that night. After all, World Cup started in the morning and I had to catch the first game at 6 AM.

A Return to US Surf

Keeping in Theme – My Exploration goes on.

I have no obligations these days and Memorial Day weekend meant vacation times for friends. Will and Jon were free and we were all surf sick, in need of some time in the ocean. For Jon and I this would be our first time back in U.S. water since our trip to Ecuador and the 80 degree surf, beautiful. With perfect plans for the weekend, we strapped the boards to Will’s Volvo and went. Miles out of Phoenix Jon and I both received a number of phone calls from friends and it hit us that we left so quickly that we had forgot to tell anyone of our adventure, oops. We arrived at Will’s girlfriend’s parent’s house, crashed and woke up extra early the next morning for a dawn patrol at County Line in Los Angles. Beautiful. Longsuited and with my board, the swell had enough size to make for great drop ins, water down the throat, but no painful smashes. I caught waves and missed waves, met folks in the water, and enjoyed some halfway decent Southern California surf. I traded boards with Jon at one point and successfully operated a 7’10’’ Becker with just as much surf joy. Surfing wrapped up by 9 and the rest of the day was spent touring LA. The next day too was filled with surfing, this time Bay Street, a beach break just up the road from Venice. The surf was sloppy and blown out, we caught some waves, but quickly decided to time would be better spent elsewhere. The following day we drove up to Santa Barbara to meet up with Tyler. Rolling in we met Tyler at a down town park, played some scrabble, and the over to meet the crew at Tyler’s, checked out the water, and grabbed some dinner.

It seems that Jon became distracted at one stop along the way home, a bar we had stopped at for less than 10 seconds, and thusly never caught up with us until the following morning, spending the remainder of his evening with a new found lady friend. We proceeded to make drinks, take shots, and get a ride down town where the drinks flowed like water – oh my head. On our way home I could focus on nothing but restraining my vomit reflex and once we stopped I opened my door only to find my balance directing me hard left. Across the street at full sideways speed ended me head first into tyler’s wooden fence and then onto the ground. My good friend Tyler picked me up and dragged me inside where he put me to sleep on the couch – thanks bro. According to Will I played peek-a-boo with him for about 10 min before I fell asleep. Needless to say, I drank too much.

Morning came along with my wicked headache and sore back, which I am still struggling with. We woke up and got our things together to surf, found Jon, and got into the water for a quick session. Poor Surf provided an empty line up and good times which energized us just enough to help forget about hangovers. With the need to be back to Tucson Monday afternoon, we had to get back to LA later that Sunday. Thanking Tyler the drive to LA was a perfect way to catch up on sleep. We followed the drive with a dip in the Spa in LA and then woke up at 6:30 AM to drive 7 hours to Tucson where I was dropped off at home and jumped into the car to pick up Asa just in time.

It was great to be back in the water and even more enjoyable to do so being able to relax the whole weekend with friends and explore some new surf breaks in CA.

Where would you sleep for surf?

Whoooa, labor day weekend surf was out of control. Not so much the surf, in fact we were down at Scripps and the surf was quite mediocre, however the adventure was outrageous.

Into or beds by 3 AM the day we arrived we were up again by 6. Needless to say once we arrived at the beach in San Diego it was time for our mid morning nap. After a good deal of surfing and Frisbee Pazookies were in order for dinner and adventure ensued. Splitting into two teams we raced to BJ’s where the loosing team would be obligated to buy the winning team their round of Pazookies. Unfortunately, by not having a remarkably simple yet winning team name, my team lost and team Awesome won. Preceding the pazookies was a ride back to the beach via truck bed. Now, I’m aware of truck bed laws in CA, but my company was not familiar with them. But being in the minority and willing to take the risk that we wouldn’t run into a police officer during our 1.5 mile drive we all jumped into the bed and were on our way home. Not even a block later we found ourselves stopped on the side of the road with a genuine San Diego Police Officer, who so very graciously allowed us to exit the bed with a warning and some time to think of an alternate means to get home. Shuttling the rest of the group back to the other car via truck we soon had another ride home. Alas, leave it to genius to not have enough room for all of us in the second ride as well. So, in light of the recent law breakage I took refuge in the trunk as the rest of the crew cinched up in the back seat. Safe and sound we got back to the beach, packed up our things, loaded the car, and moved out to our next destination, the camp site (via one stop for liquor). In all it’s glory, our site was marked as “Property of The Regents of California” “No Fires, No Picnicking, etc. etc. “ though it never said anything about sleeping or camping. We decided to mix our selves some drinks (most of them quite bad curtsey of me) and then took a nice tour of the UCSD campus at 11:00 PM. We stopped to notice some of the local insects, including one scorpion half the size of my pinky fingernail, as well as climb about in some trees and atop buildings – all in good fun. We quickly came to find that some of the restrooms on campus were open, which allowed us to get some hot water on our faces which was a nice touch to the evening. Immediately following our sink showers we came to notices that other doors to this building were also open. Finding a latter leading to a hatch we were above the La Jolla playhouse in the catwalk – remarkable! Exploring further each door seemed to be open and as it turns out the entire playhouse was open for our entertainment! Upon being spooked by a noise we cut our exploration short and moved on, exploring a small hippy garden, some construction sites, and lastly the medical center where we found three rolley chairs and a whole course of ramps awaiting our races. Spending a good hour rolling the course, we were finally stopped by the loss of every single wheel on all the chairs, making them unrollable. Devastated we meandered back across campus to our grove of eucalypts trees, rolled out our bags and hit the sack. In the morning we were abruptly awoken by a dog about a foot away from our faces and a man saying, “you can’t be here, this is public property!” Though we knew what he meant, his words really made him look quite silly. We then jumped back into the car and cruised down to Scripps for another great day of beach, surf, sleep, and the like. The evening brought us again to BJ’s for some pazookie and some nice conversation with the waitress, who was actually from Tucson, where upon we revealed to her that we had slept in the trees the night before. My goal was for her to say “well, why don’t you come crash at my place with my 16 hot roommates.” But really all she said was “Why don’t you get a hotel room!?!” much to my dismay. Though, as it turned out we didn’t do either. After dinner we cruised back onto campus only to find the playhouse still open and ready for business. Exploring much deeper this time, it was clear that someone had goofed and not locked it up after the last show and no one was coming back till the work day, Tuesday. So we ran around the place, played with the piano, found their audio equipment closet – open and ready for business, turned lights on and off and finally found their green room with a fridge full of orange juice and beer and two couches. As sleepiness dawned on us, it was clear where we were sleeping; in the warm cozy security of the theater. We worked out plans to escape if surprised and then crashed till the morning when we casually woke up, used the dressing room bathrooms to clean up (they even had showers, though we didn’t use them) and then we were off north for some surfing at San Onofre. Upon arrival at San Onofre we found a group of surf goers and breakfast makers and managed to score a couple pancakes and eggs and even some passion fruit once we told them that we were essentially bums, sleeping in trees and trespassing. Charged up and ready to go we got one last surf session in for the day, returned the boards back home, had lunch with Mom, stopped by Becker and the Rainbow Factory and high tailed it back to Tucson.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend, full of good stories and confidence in our ability to really hobo it.

Journey to California

Last week I got to go out to California with a couple friends and teach folks how to surf and sail and enjoy beautiful California weather and beaches, including a short visit to Popa Bob’s (regardless of a wicked red tide). The first day included driving about collecting all our goods, surfboards, wetsuits, lunch and then settling our camp down at San Onofre’s Trail 4. The next day we woke up, drove over to Old Man’s and surfed till noon, then we drove up to New Port and sailed away on the 35 foot “Tara.”

T’was a nice boat. We stopped and anchored in front of Fisherman’s Cove and had Dan swim in to test the waters frigidity, he later recounted. “I hate you guys.” We then picked up anchor. Then we pulled the boat back into it’s slip and drove down to Laguna where we had a wonderful stew dinner. The third day we woke up and went down Trail 4 for some different surf. The swell was very clean, unfortunately, the water was a blood red and riddled with jelly fish, it made me think twice about doing back flips off my board, but I did catch 4 feet of air off the back of a wave, so that was fun. Day four we packed things up and drove back to Tucson. I like to think that everyone enjoyed the stay. We took a couple of pictures of Dan doing work and cursing under his breath and some of the different surf skills learned, including ‘toes on the nose,’ though my pupil is a little shaky up there, I think we can work on it.

Hangin’ Ten

Dan holding the anchor – I was talking to Andrew on the phone.

Dan still holding the anchor – I was enjoying the weather. J