12.29.2005

TOTALS= $157 gas, $75 lodging, 1432 miles, $38 nosh, up $40 misc= $320 trip… not bad

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Overall, I think the trip was okay. B-, perhaps. I didn’t achieve my photo essay goal. The photos I made were not fabulous in any sense. I am not proud of them. The one thing I learned from the trip is next time I want to do a photo essay road (or other) trip, I have to go alone. (Going with a non-photog makes me worry about time (I can’t explore as much or stay as long as I need to); going with a photog makes me self-conscious (I am a little territorial). And just dealing with one person for such a long period of time, and 24/7 (or maybe just my sister?) makes me go insane (although I remember it was not this bad with Tofy). I was silent, depressed, and not myself for much of the trip. The photos reflect it. They are thoughtless, voiceless, ill composed, and make me sad. But I learned a lot about the coast, and California. More likely: learned how little I know about it. How little I know about the world. Met a lot of awesome, interesting people. They inspire me. New goals/desires: go hitchhiking, river rafting, and skydiving. Visit another country. Go hostelling around Europe. Do everything while I can, while I’m young, fit, job-less (pity I’m moneyless, too), child, and hubby-free : )

DAY 10- (12.28.05, Wed) Santa Barbara, Los Angeles (320 miles, $55 gas, $4 nosh)

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He nestled amongst the trees on the side of the road, waiting for a stupid driver to speed into his net. I unwitting came zooming around the curve at a humble 80 mph in the 65 zone. He busted me with a __?___ priced (expensive, I’m sure) ticket and doomful feeling of boohoo unhappiness.

Today was insane driving, and I ate a lot of bread.

Stopped at our final beach for the trip in Santa Barbara

We visited what looked like Little Germany, with busloads of Asian tourists gaggling, gabbling, and snapping photos. While there, visited Mission Saint Inez (boring and a tad ugly) and An Ostrich/Emu farm (oh yes so yummy)

yay birdies:
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Funny incident at Mission’s chapel: my phone went off inside. The inside stunk of smoke, candles, and closed-door stench (of no free air and too many humans). For anyone who has heard my wailing recording for my cell phone ring tone… yeah : ) that was great
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Santa Barbara was lovely. Beautiful. Rich. We visited Mikey, Mace’s piano-playing brother-toting friend.

Went to co-op to grab and deposit stuff. Hi Fishy and Tofy! Mace ranting…

Got home around 1:30 AM
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DAY 9- (12.27.05, Tues) Cannery Row, Monterey, Big Sur (62 miles, $misc)

David, Toby, Jack

Not much driving or hiking; a lot of window-shopping and gallery-hopping

And really nice people

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We strolled about Cannery Row during the morning. There were many cool shops: candle shops, chocolate stores, way too many souvenir shops, and the only place where we purchased anything: a bead store. We didn’t hit up any restaurants; most of them were seafood restaurants, as we were right next to the ocean.

Monterey houses a thriving art scene. We went up to the 2nd floor of 700 Cannery Row, which was filled with artists’ studio and gallery spaces. The only guy working at the time was David, a drawer in the style of Sandor (guy at co-op) who works part-time as a personal trainer, a single dad of two daughters, and more. Amazing man, fazzy art!

We took the “17-mile drive” around Ocean Avenue. The waves and rocks were huge! We clambered to the end of a long strip of rocks, collecting a fat bag of colorful shells.
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I didn’t shoot that well today. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s my glasses (they’re stupid and change color in the sunlight). Or maybe I just can’t blame anyone but myself because I don’t feel motivated any more, and I don’t know why (and yet today was so inspiring. The San Fran MOMA totally depressed me in terms of its art and how I feel art is progressing, but today totally upped me again; I feel like I want to be a fine artist again (but no, photojournalism is the way to go, yes. Decision made. Yay!) Today was just really inspiring though… whenever I see really great art, I get uber inspired, stoked, and happy. It makes me want to get back to work.

I like how David was really connected to all of his art buddies. He referred us to several galleries further down the coast, including the Hawthorne gallery, which we later found, on accident. What an amazing place. Easily the bombliest art gallery I’ve ever visited: right off the 1 Hwy in the Big Sur area, overlooking the Big Sur coastline. The collector, Toby, was a hopppy ecstatic man from Wales extremely passionate about art, a wonderful conversationalist, and just worldly and awesome. The art itself: amazing, beautiful, modern, everything. (We even visited Thomas Kincaid’s gallery while at Cannery Row. What gorgeous trash. (but I would have liked it before UCLA!) What a massive contrast from the artwork I now admire). Glass works hung from the ceilings as jellyfish and sat on the tables as bowls, swords, abstract art objects. Payley’s functional art was displayed throughout the gallery, with my sister gawking at, stroking, and screaming, “I LOVE his work!”: tables, chairs, candleholders, and more. I could rant on and on… basically, the Hawthorne Gallery was amazing, I am inspired, and I wish I could talk like Toby. (hehe)
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Before ogling the Hawthorne Gallery, we did something I’ve never done before: pick up a hitchhiker. A solitary man was walking along the road with his thumb sticking out. “Let’s pick him up!” I shouted, “’Wanna?” “No, no, no, no!” Mace protested loudly. I ignored her and pulled to the side of the road.

Jack brought with him a gigantic bag and the stench of alcohol. He didn’t talk much, but was rather interesting: graduated 2 years ago from UC Berkeley in Chemical Biology, was scheduled to create biological weapons for Lawrence Livermore, but rejected that and instead WALKED around (and around and around) California and Mexico, hitch-hiking most of the way. (When we picked him up, he had walked from San Fran and was trying to reach Morro Bay, walking, sleeping along the highway, and hitchhiking his way down. Once again, more inspiration. I now want to walk/hitch-hike across California, visit Mexico.

(we were mean though, and quickly dropped Jack off, after about 10 miles or so, because I spotted the Hawthorne gallery and wanted to stop. Having a stranger on the car was a bit of a pain in the butt: I couldn’t cuss at slow-moving vehicles ahead of me, stop whenever I wanted to make photos, and more. Worst of all, he smelled. So, byebye Jack (who looked very sour as he exited our car. We saw him again later on, sticking his thumb out at the road. I guiltily sped up as we drove by, hoping he wouldn’t remember the silver car and notice our passing…

We’re sleeping at some tiny town called “Gorda” (it means “fat” in Spanish) off the PCH, with a “sandwich and beverages” station in front of us, a gas station to the side of us, more cars on the other side, the PCH directly in back, and then the crashing waves off the Big Sur coast behind that.

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DAY 8- (12.26.05, Mon) JamJam/JonJon, Santa Cruz, Monterey (100 miles, $43 hostelling)

Romped about until around 2 PM with Jams and Jon around the park near his house, chomping breakfast and lunch with them, then drove down to Santa Cruz, checked out a pretty beach with a stranded boat, then drove down (the bloody sun sets at 4:45 PM! Argh!) to end the day (quick day) at a hostel in Monterey Bay, so beautiful. Smells fishy. It’s close to Salinas, where famous American writer John Steinback (“Grapes of Wrath”) lived. We visited Cannery Row tonight, but most shops were closed… we’re returning to that tomorrow.

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12.26.2005

DAY 7- (12.25.05, Sun) to the end of PCH, and back down to Fremont (350 miles, $35 gas)

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We drove through all of today’s blustering winds, buckets of rain, and winding roads, me grouchy the whole way (from too much driving, lack of good nosh, and bitterness at a failed photo essay), and listening to repetitive music: my CDs and the radio, brokenly playing depressing Christmas song after Christmas song.

We achieved our goal: hit the top of the PCH, then turned around and headed back towards Southern California, pursued all the way by inclement weather. No casualties, speeding through the rain on slippery curves going 80 mph, screaming. I saw many mouths opened wide in empty “O”s on the other side of the driving boundary as I whooshed past.

The Shoreline Highway. Then the Redwood Highway, coming back down (the 101).

I haven’t had phone reception for the past few days, because these coastal towns are all too small and remote (yet utterly beautiful). As we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, catching our first glimpse of San Francisco, my heart stopped, and memories of all the cities I’ve seen pushed into my head. After so many days of nothing but gorgeous greenery, the tossing ocean, and tiny villages on the edge of pulsating California, San Francisco stunned me in its massiveness. So many lights and building, each housing so many humans. What a fat city. What a fat world. I feel so small and insignificant. I am just one of the masses.

Ever get that feeling? Just a little bit depressing. And I want to be a photographer, make a difference like that.

Hmm

We spent the next 1.5 hours getting lost in that fat city, me getting more angry, frustrated, and lemon-mouthed with each mistaken turn on the slippery congested roads, getting more and more disgusted by the constant happy music blasting over the radio… finally reaching our destination (without getting pulled over by the cops! In a bread-tussle, Mace almost got me into an accident. And I screamed! It was good)

Spent the night with gracious hosts JamJam, JonJon, MomMom, and DadDad in their lovely Fremont home

(Forgot to add: in the morning, I had a wow-conversation with an old codger (I can’t believe I forgot his name!) along the pier where my sister and I slept last night… he’s a contractor, but goes around doing adventure water-related sports up and down the coast. I wish I got his contact info, because he did exactly what I wanted to do (and did not succeed with) on this trip. He is totally familiar with the coast, originating from Northern Oregon. “Isn’t today’s weather dreadful?” I asked. “Baby,” he answered, “You ‘gotta be tough if you ‘wanna play with me,‘cuz I play hard. This weather? It’s nothing. It’s fun to kayak in this weather.” What an amazing individual. He jabbered on forever. I wish I could of done some great reporting right there; he was the story! He knew all about what I am trying to cover! But… I have impatient annoying tagalong sister on my behind, “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go” so, no

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DAY 6- (12/24/05, Sat) various beaches up the PCH (100 miles, $32 nosh)

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Hostel: rather pretty area. I wake up around 7 am each morning, out of habit, while Mace sleeps til later (out of her own habits). So, I took a lovely morning walk, got back and did 15-minute chores (as part of the hostelling experience). Last night, we were accosted by someone I lovingly refer to as “Bigmouth,” who Mace calls, “that nice guy.” I think his real name was Bill? But yeah, he was nice and shared some of his dinner with us (we ended up eating mostly mac’n’cheese (eew) for night-nosh. (He talked too much though!)

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Drove for the rest of the day with no point in mind, finishing goal of 100 miles driving (since we haven’t driven much the past few days). Stopped at a lot at random places, such as these huge rock formations on the side of the road.

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I saw an army of cairns along the road… turns out they are all by an artist, Al, who has lived there for his whole life, and sells his cairn creations (held up purely by balance) all over the world. (they remind me so much of the work of Andy Goldsworthy, who he’s also familiar with. Andy, my sculptor hero!)

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The PCH is gorgeous! However, the road is extremely windy. Mace took over the wheel for a few minutes (she wrested the keys from me because I was stopping too much to make photos. So she said. I disagree)… anyways, I totally freaked out over Mace’s eeee driving… she went off the road twice. Once because she was ogling the scenery, another time because… I guess she was ogling me (hehe).

I almost crashed the car while we were driving at night, because I had my bright-lights on, saw another car, then tried to turn them off again while making a turn… making the turn too sharp, smashing the brakes, and skidding to a stop alongside the other car and the stop sign.

Maniacal laughter ensues

We’re spending the night parked in front of the ocean at Point Arena, some tiny town of 440 humans. We searched unsuccessfully for a bathroom, and random grandparents let us into their home to use their restroom. I’m a little bitter because Mace didn’t give me my toothbrush so I am going yellowmouth for the night…

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Another highlight of the day was seeing a lot of cows and sheep along the road. We actually walked into a cow-farm-thingy in Point Reyes Station, close to Marin… YUCK. I am now trying to be vegan again… it was that horrible. I walked close to the cows, close enough to hear a soft plopping sound. I thought that was the sound of them walking around… upon closer inspection, it was the music of shit emerging from bovine ass. The stench was incredible.

And yet cheese tastes so good. Chocolate, too. I wonder how long my new vegan diet shall last…

Speaking of animals, “Omigod! It’s Bambi!” as I screech to a halt, a deer leaping to the other side of the road. “Where? Where?” clamors peanut gallery, then “GAH!!!” in unison, a second Bambi strutting across the road.

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