1 (one) all the way up

Trip Start Aug 21, 2004
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6
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Trip End Mar 03, 2005


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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I've revised this entry now that I'm back in Detroit.I'm at some outpost library in San Francisco, and the timer is counting down rapidly. I've got $7 left and 48hrs of driving, so I can only afford to use free computers. I'll upload pictures for this entry and some extras for the others on Friday when I'm back in Detroit. Here's the last four days in a nutshell:

Joshua Tree

Spent a day wandering around the desert and playing on abrasive granite boulders. (For my climbing buddies, think boat rock + cheese grater - sharp crystals and you'll have a good idea) It's limiting to climb without a pad though. At night, the moon was almost full and we wandered around; it was very surreal, like some alien moonscape. Did you know that spider's eyes shine blue in the light of an LED? We were also blessed with cooler than normal weather (ie. 90 not 110) Earlier in the day, while Michal was reading a book, I heard her shriek and jump on top of the picnic table. She started yelling about a wolf...I came out of my tent and caught a glimpse of a coyote, about the size of a lab, but he was very shy and scampered off. They're very afraid of humans and are omnivores. The brochure said that they are fond of tennis shoes. I'm glad I was wearing sandals!

L.A. area

The next day, we drove into L.A. (sat. afternoon) We spent about 2 hours driving to different state parks; everything was full. We even tried some R.V. park in Malibu that would have cost us $28! (Thankfully they were full too) I had lost the contact info of some old friends in the area, so our options were to keep looking or sleep in the car. (Michal wanted to sleep on the beach, but we convinced her that it wasn't the best idea.) In the end, we found a hike in site in Topanga Canyon. Topanga Canyon was one of the first Alternative Communities in California. (Back in the 50's before the hippie scene) I don't really know what that means, but it had a few quirky shops and women with long gray hair. The next day we hit Hollywood. It was early (like 8:30am) and we parked near the walk of fame. To my surprise we walked into the Hollywood farmer's market. It had a very pleasant vibe and made me feel very comfy. Something about it all felt very familiar...Next we drove to Beverly Hills, and we took a quick walk down rodeo drive. Nothing worth mentioning. We drove back through the city and hit the town of Santa Monica. We strolled along the pier and through this tourist filled promenade, and soaked in the sites (and sun.) I swam in the ocean (got beat up by the waves) and we walked down the beach towards Venice. Around 4pm we returned to the truck and headed north. Overall impression of LA? Besides the pollution (which didn't seem that bad?) and the traffic (which wasn't any worse than Atlanta's, except it was Sunday) I really liked LA. I don't really know where I could see myself there but there is definitely some potential. There's something very familiar about California in general. Maybe I lived there in a past life?

Santa Barbara

Very neat little town, laid back atmosphere, good burritos.

San Luis Obispo

Didn't really go into the city but camped nearby. Some rednecks (they do exist in Cali) woke me up at 10:30pm with their shouting, farting, burping coughing and cussin'.

Big Sur, Carmel & Monterey

The drive along this section of the coast is gorgeous. The fog obscured some of the views, but the clouds seemed to part, and we were blessed with blue skies while we took a short hike through a redwood grove near big sur. The air was exceptionally cool and clean, and I was flooded with memories from a past visit to the same area (15 years ago). We hit Monterey, and I looked for Internet but couldn't find any. Michal and Chris had lunch, and since I was close to broke, I just walked around and shot pictures.

Santa Cruz

If anyone has anything good to say about it, please let me know. Personally, if an earthquake swallowed this town, the world would probably be a better place. We were walking through downtown and trying to cross the road when some bum asked for money and then decided to inform me that "If you were in Mexico City some kid would've pushed me into the street and SMAACK!" I turned to him and said I'm glad we're not in Mexico City. He got mad and said This ALL was Mexico He had that twisted, prone to violence look in his eyes, so I decided to drop it and cross the street. Other Highlights included: several girls running a Laundromat/espresso/internet cafe with more armpit hair then me; your typical dumb, blonde, cali "surfer" types (like in the movies); some dread-head hippy girl with a mouthful of sores; panhandlers outnumbering the tourists 2:1. Need any more reasons to visit this dump?

San Francisco

We drove past the city and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge just after sunset. We drove for a while trying to find a campground in Marin County, and eventually came to a state park. The campsite was nestled in a Redwood forest (which I didn't know till morning) and I slept like a baby. The last day of the trip we were up and on the road by 8:30am and drove into San Fran. We the internet at the library about 10am. Next came a brief stroll through Golden Gate Park. We drove north till we couldn't, and then found a trail to Stinson? Beach. We strolled for 30 minutes, took the scenic pics of GG Bridge and I also had another wildlife sighting. At first I thought it was someone's dog, but then I realized that dogs can't hold their breaths that long. It was a cute little seal! I managed to take 1 pic of him before he swam away. Next we hit the Haight district that was the birth of the hippy scene. It was a collection of shops not unlike Little 5 Points (ATL) Royal Oak (MI) or other similar places. We then drove down the "crookedest street" in the world Lombard Street. What were they smoking when they built this one? We continued our drive east and aimlessly looked for parking near Chinatown. Eventually we parked elsewhere and took the trolley. Supposedly S.F. Chinatown is the biggest outside of China, but Boston's, New York's and Toronto's seemed "bigger" to me. We had pretty good Chinese food for lunch. The good places are the ones without any white people. The meal reinforced my belief that Chinese food doesn't hold a candle to Thai, Vietnamese or Korean. It's definitely on the bottom of the Asian-totem-food-pole next to Malaysian food. After our lunch, we walked back to the truck and began our journey home.

-Ari-
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