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.

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.

From Ecuador

2 Days until we depart Ecuador.

It seems not that long ago I was sitting on the beach in Baja California, Mexico with the Surf Club and I know it wasn´t that long ago that we were trying to convince Continental Airlines to let us on a flight out of Chicago. With our adventure almost over, it seems there isn´t as much to write about except lunches and taxi rides to find a bowling alley. I think I´m ready to be home and to not worry about how to say ¨Do you carry the Rambo Machete?¨ Alas, I will miss it a little, especially these keyboards with the super functionality, upsidedown question marks and such ¿?¿?¿ ñ ó .. .. I´ll add one last time to the travel blog before sealing it off until the next time I visit Ecuaodr when I arrive back in Tucson and with it perhaps a new collection of pictures from Jon´s camera.

A über long 5 page entry was added regarding our Sunday fun – and thus I didn´t send it out. I attempted to use MS Word to summarize, but Latin American Word just doesn´t assign the same importance to phrases. Thus I´ll attempt to summarise here – ¨We Went Hiking.¨
You´re welcome to read, as always.

Our Arrival Plan:
Jon and I will be arriving (according to plan) on an American Airlines Flight at approximatly 9:30 PM. We have a ride from the airport to Tucson from Lony, Jon´s pal, though we had a very gracious offer from Megan. If you´re wondering what I´m going to do when I get home.. I´ll tell you. I will take a shower. Hopefully there is hot water and shampoo.

Thanks for reading – see yáll soon.
Cheers!

John

http://bananas-to-ecuador.blogspot.com/

Phosphorescence and Weird Dreams

After dinner we enjoyed some beach time in the spirit of REM. I hadn´t been night swimming for quite some time and forgot how difficult it is to see the swell until you have a mouth full of water and you´re upside down. The killer part of it all was the presence of happy little bugs, or angry – I couldn´t tell. On my way out to the water I found a cool little glowing bug. I put it on my finger and watched it crawl all around all the while blinking away. Then once we got into the water it was like we were robots. In fact, I may still be of the belief that I´m a robot while under water. The little phosphorescence attached and glowed on your skin as you moved, it was quite the site. It´s amazing what characteristics animals develop, or are given to them by the almighty creator.. which ever way you think it should be.In earlier news I woke up after having some pretty odd and vivid dreams, quite unpleasant. I think it might be the drugs. I don´t know for sure, so I´m going to give them another week or until I wake up sweating. After I woke up this morning, we went to go take care of business with the balsa board and alas were hit with yet another road block on the journey to getting a board. I should let Jon tell the story from here.

Jon:

Hi kids. So I was all set to buy this board. 9´2¨, tri-fin (fcs and a 10-inch box), and balsa. BALSA! BALSA!!! I spent like three hours trying to hammer out the deal (en español mind you), and we had it all worked out.

But first let me tell you about this one time I went to Las Vegas right before I flew to Ecuador, and when I was in Vegas I spent $800, but didn´t realize it because the casinos got me so drunk that I start telling proverbs.

So today I went to the ATM to get the money so that I could pay this man and he could start shaping up my awesome balsa surfboard. But the silly ATM was holding out on me. ¨Your transaction has been declined. Please contact your financial institution for more information.¨ At least I think that´s what it said. Silly Spanish.

So I had my new friend The ATM print me up an account statement because in my previous job as a detective I learned to never leave a stone unturned. Sure enough, I found the problem. Zero dollars. Crazy huh? I thought so too. So that´s when I went to the internet cafe, logged onto my bank, and found the next piece of evidence: a string of ATM withdrawals and one debit purchase of [DOLLAR AMOUNT UNDISCLOSED] at [NAME OF STRIP JOINT UNDISCLOSED].

So, long story long, I don´t have a balsa board after all. :(

Anyway, so we spent the remainder of the day thinking about what was to be done about the balsa boards and our stay here in Montañita, thus far it´s been quite inconclusive.. but maybe we´ll go to Guayaquil tomorrow.. maybe.

After our deliberation for the day we got into the water, did some body surfing and then ventured over to where our Californian friends were staying and as it happened there was a soccer game going on just out side so I decided to strengthen foreign relations and sub myself in. It was a simple game, 3 one 3 however once I was in it quickly dissolved into 5 on 1. I held my own. I didn´t necessarly win, but I was definatly a winner and respected myself after a game full of maraculous saves, shots, jukes, and it´s very own share of injuries including but not limited to a skinned knee and rocks in the foot. After the game Jon took a photo of the team all together, including me, and it wasn´t until they hailed to me ¨Hasta Mañana!¨ and I commented to Jon what a tough bunch of folks they were that he informed me that they were all 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds. I still think I´m cool.

Well, after soccer we ate with the ladies, and after we ate we drew pictures, and after we drew pictures we went down to the beach and that brings me to the top of the screen. Thus ends the day.