Monday, March 16, 2009

The End

As you can probably tell, my adventure has ended. After arriving in LA, I helped the Stanford Band fill an empty trombone spot at the Women's Pac-10 Basketball Tournament. I then drove home to San Diego relatively quickly and uneventfully. The reason I was going to San Diego was to attend an anniversary memorial service for my Grandfather, so I ended up running into a deadline after all. I now believe that if you were truly adventuring and taking yourself out of the normal scheduling and time paradigms that govern our lives, there is no amount of time that you could set aside that would be too large. What if you never get bored? I would say 4 days was not enough time to fully experience California or get to stop everywhere I wanted to stop. It was enough time to have a hell of a lot of fun.

Do I have regrets? Oh yeah. I should have explored that museum on Treasure Island. I should have actually gone to Montana de Oro. I should have gotten artichoke bread in Pescadero. I should have gone surfing by the nuclear power plant in San Clemente. I should have taken the Pacific Coast Highway through southern California. The great thing is that there is nothing stopping me from doing any of these things later in life. I hope I will.

I arrived at my parents' house on Crisscross Lane around 10:30 pm on Friday, March 13th. I had driven 728 miles, gone through countless CDs and playlists, stopped to check out the view at no less than 15 viewpoints, filled up for gas maybe three times, and satiated my curiosity about 1/3 as many times as I got more curious about things I didn't check out. Right now, I'm cleaning a tent that was still very damp when I unpacked it on Friday and a surfboard that is still covered in sand from a secret beach. My car will probably still smell funny for a few weeks.

I took a lot of pictures that I never ended up posting. Hopefully I'm get around to sharing them at some point. Here are two:

I'm glad I did this. I had a great time. If you have time, I recommend you take a trip too. Go exploring, even if just for a few hours. If you don't have time, make some. I created memories this last week that will last forever (or at least until I die and Google's servers crash). One of the best parts about this trip was that I knew I wasn't the only one experiencing it. Thanks for sharing this adventure with me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sunset 3-12-09

Mile 600 Reflections / Los Angeles

About 50 miles ago I had to say farewell to Highway 1. I wanted to get
to Los Angeles to watch the sunset and around here, Highway 1 becomes
the Pacific Coast Highway, winding through Ventura and Malibu and not
fast enough to get me to where I wanted to go. The 101 (yes Marie,
that's what it's called here) filled up like a sponge with traffic,
leaving me feeling like I wasn't on an adventure at all. However, once
I got here, I shed the freeways quickly, fleeing into the Hollywood
hills to find this view. I plan to spend a leisurely time watching a
beautiful smoggy sunset. I had to do a bit of four-limbed climbing to
get here, but it's totally worth it. Isn't it always?

Rincon Island

What is on Rincon Island that is so cool they people are willing to
build a bridge to it and then protect the bridge with double barbed
wire fences? I'm not going to find out today... Double barbed wire
fences are not my forte.

Carpinteria, CA

This is where Lauren, one of my best friends, lives. I tried to get in
touch with her to hang out, but it didn't work. Strange how someone I
used to see and talk to everyday, now is almost a stranger whose phone
number I don't have.

Mile 500 Reflections

For anyone who plans on driving down Highway 1, don't just watch the
ocean on your right. The mountains on your left are pretty sweet too.

Keep Going

After the relative peacefulness of Solvang and my failed (or at least
incomplete) Montaña de Oro and Isla Vista detours, I was feeling a bit
low on energy. I stopped at a beach just south of UCSB with the
intention of napping on the sand. However, I ended up walking to the
end of a nearby pier. While staring out into the ocean, I caught a
glimpse of two Gray Whales surfacing for air. I looked around, but
none of the fishermen seemed to notice. The second time they surfaced,
I took this picture, but I don't think you can really see them, so I
put the camera away and just enjoyed.

Those majestic whales seem to dawdle on their journeys, but they keep
going. It's time for me to do the same.

Isla Vista 2

Isla Vista Surf Company is open despite the construction, but
unfortunately they stopped making the hat years ago. Poop.

Isla Vista

Just stopped in Isla Vista - the college town adjoining UCSB - to see
if I could pick up a new copy of my favorite hat.

Railroad Bridge

This railroad bridge runs by a viewpoint stop about 30 miles north of
Santa Barbara. There are lots of lizards here.


When the speed limit signs reduced from 55mph to 35mph for no apparent
reason, I got suspicious. Then, on the south side of the road, the
reason became clear: Ostriches! If you don't believe dinosaurs that
could kill a man still roam the earth, you've got another thing coming.

Solvang 2

I'm eating an Æbleskiver. I'm not sure what it is or how to say it,
but it's tasty!


Solvang is a little Danish town a few miles off Highway 101. What is
it doing in central California instead of Denmark with all the other
little Danish towns? I'm not sure.

Mile 400 Reflections

A great sunset, a great sunrise, a wet campsite and a steak dinner.
That about sums it up. I'm increasingly finding that I want to return
to a lot of these places with friends or family. If any of these
postings strike your fancy, let me know and we'll go for a weekend.

Pismo Beach

It's the Pismo Beach clam! For some reason I confused Pismo Beach with
Muscle Beach, so the lady at the tourist info building was very
confused when I asked her where the bodybuilding stuff was. Pismo
Beach is famous for clams, not muscles.

Montaña de Uranium

I guess my plans have been foiled. At the base of my proposed route,
Diablo Canyon Road, is a pretty intense checkpoint. A really friendly
guard told me that I couldn't get to Montaña de Oro this way because
there's a nuclear power plant and access is (obviously) restricted.
Back to Highway 1. Sorry Kat.

Montaña de Oro

I planned on making it to Solvang (more on that later) for lunch, but
my friend Kat had really encouraged me to go to Montaña de Oro.
Montaña de Oro State Park is just south of Morro Bay, so I passed it,
but I felt that it was early enough to make a detour, drive to the
coast and then enter the State Park from the back. I'm here at San
Luis harbor and as you can see from the picture, there is no coastal
route. However, I think I found a route through the mountains. Kat,
this detour is for you!

Camping SLO 2

My tent this morning. Lots and lots of condensation, and here and
there, a bit of ice. Every single blade of grass in this field has to
be carrying a cup of water. My car is icy too! Well, back on the road.

Sunrise 3-12-09

From my tent in San Luis Obispo.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Camping SLO

From the inside of my tent. I'm camping in San Louis Obispo. Good

Goodbye Madonna Inn

I walk out of the doors of luxury and into the night. I'm sleeping on
the ground tonight.

The Madonna Inn 4

So the Madonna Inn was the place where movie stars came to chill back
when Hollywood was still cool. The reason I always liked the place is
that the urinal flushes by a giant waterfall that cascades down the

The Madonna Inn 3

I got a ribeye steak. I'm not one to take pictures of my food, but
then again, I'm also not usually one to dine alone. This photo
courtesy of my waitress, Liz.

The Madonna Inn 2

I got a Paso Robles Reisling.

The Madonna Inn

My high school cross country team used to stay here for the Cal Poly
Invitational. Am I going to stay here? Haha, nope.

...but you can bet that I made an 8:00 dinner reservation at the
steakhouse here!

The Kennet II

Thank you to the owners of the Kennet II for letting me watch that
sweet sunset from your boat.

Sunset 3-11-09


Morro Bay

I've stopped to watch the sun set at the harbor of Morro Bay. That's
Morro Rock right there. I'll let you know how the sunset goes.

Mile 300 Reflections

That surfing detour was probably my favorite part of the trip so far.
This coastal stretch is just gorgeous. It's nice to know that there
are still a few places in California with no phone reception (the last
few messages have been sent after the fact). So far this has all been
everything that I've wanted it to be.

Waterfall 2

After hiking about a half mile in flip flops, I can say yes, that is a
waterfall off the side of the highway. This is about 50 miles north of
San Louis Obispo.

Waterfall 1

Is that a waterfall off the side of the highway?


A friendly squirrel at another vista point. I don't have zoom, he was
just very friendly.

Camera Karma

After taking a picture for a couple at a vista point, they offered to
take one for me. Note the background: this is how it looked for most
of the afternoon's drive.

Cliffs and Seals

Highway 1 on this stretch has steep cliffs that drop off immediately
to the right. This photo is supposed to show how steep and high it is,
but then I noticed seals at the bottom. I could hear them, "uuuurrf!

Big Sur

Yay! You're not on fire!

Surfing Expedition 9

Dear World,

This is MY beach. I claimed it. It is the best. Now for the long trek
back to the car...

Surfing Expedition 8

I just went surfing. It was so good. Caught a few waves (one REALLY
good one) and froze my feet off. That was totally cool.

Surfing Expedition 7

Aaaaahhh. Boots off, relax time.

Surfing Expedition 6

...and there's the beach. Nothing but me, sand, sea and cows for miles.

Surfing Expedition 5

Sand dunes!

Surfing Expedition 4

I walk across a huge field towards the ocean. There's a herd of cows
in the way so I take a circular detour around them. Cows are big.

Surfing Expedition 3

Plenty of cows stare at me as I walk down highway 1.

Surfing Expedition 2

Got all my stuff together for a nice long hike!

Surfing Expedition

I'm going surfing down there. I just decided.

Hills/Curves Next 63 Miles

This one's for you Joshy Josh.

Cows Grazing by the Sea

This stretch of highway 1 is pretty sweet.

Fire 4

A local guy who was catching birds with nets(?) told me that the fire
was probably coming from "Zach Taylor's property across the river."
Once I got across the river (I found a bridge on the gold course) I
saw that Carmel Resident Zach Taylor (any relation to US President
Zach Taylor?) was having trees on his property chopped down and
burned. Curiosity satiated.

Fire 3

The Carmel River also seems to be in between me and the fire. Hmmm,
don't think I'll cross here.