Back to San Francisco

The plans are beginning to take shape along with reservations that have already been made.  The flight itinerary is paid for and is fast approaching.  Not fast enough but I must accept the passage of time as it constant save for perception.

4 weeks from tomorrow and I will once again embrace the west coast, though a good deal further north.  San Francisco calls me back for more than a cursory glance.  4 days are better than the one I had the first time.

Excitement is building along with anticipation.  Life is out there, and I’m going to go and find it again.

A permanent reminder of Mexico.

Yesterday I headed to my tattoo artist (if I could be so bold as to title him in such a way…) and got Mexico crossed off the list of flags I adorn.  It occurs to me that this particular place is one I will need to visit again.  I had no plans when visiting aside from setting foot and seeing what it really looked like on the other side of the “wall” which was just a crazy sturdy fence where I was.

Obviously where I arrived was not a true picture of the country or the people, it was a sample that was clearly geared for selling stuff.  (We are just as guilty of it here, though.)  I strolled a few blocks, taking in the scenery, then made my way back to the border.  I made the mistake of trying to just walk through the vehicle entry and two armed border patrol guys approached me to stop me and let me know to hit the pedestrian entrance instead.  They were on edge but I get it.  I still think it’s hilarious that the control has to be such that a citizen can’t walk in however he pleases with the proper documentation.  They didn’t even care to look at it, but again, just two guys doing their job and wondering what the hell this random dude was trying to pull.

So I made my way down to the pedestrian crossing line and it was the better part of a mile.  I saw signs all over for Sentri pass entry, a thing I possess, but literally no indication which line it was or how to circumvent.  Once I was about 300 feet from the gate, I saw a border agent and was like “Is that a Sentri lane?” to which he said yes and asked if I had Sentri.  I showed him and he said “Yeah you didn’t have to wait in any of these lines.  You can go up there now if you want.”  Lesson learned, I suppose, for this one border crossing… Just act like you own the place, got it.

In all honesty, though, I’m glad I spent the time in the line.  I was able to see families and individuals, young and old, who wanted nothing more at that moment in time than to come see the United States.  Presumably they had friends and family on our side but it lifts the spirits to know I live in a place that is still a place sought out by others for whatever reason.  The media makes it difficult to see this fact by painting with a broad set of brushes but I for one welcome people to see what it’s all about.  We get painted with the same set of brushes on this side of the fence so do your best to not assume, as some of us do.

Thank you for the glimpse, Mexico, I shall return with more plans in mind next time.

Grounded too long.

I’ve been home for almost 72 hours now and this time it has already been too long.  The calling is too strong to ignore…

The next trip is to the west coast, this time for a long weekend, and slightly further north.  This is one more little step but not the long-shot trips I plan for later in the year.  More flags, little time.

Soon enough, on the road.

Near the edge of the Western World.

Today I found myself without a schedule or a care in the world, much like the theme of this week.

I decided it would not be a trip to the left coast without walking on the beach so I chose the Mission variety.  I made my way south toward Mission Point and decided that it was challenge accepted.  As I was standing there surveying my path, I reached to place my phone in my pocket.  Naturally it tumbled between some rocks that were far too narrow for my wide ass to get to.  Luckily a young gentleman risked scuffing up a nice track suit to recover it for me.  I do not know your name, lad, but you saved my day from absolute shit.

After this I placed all of my pocketed belongings into a pocket that has a zipper.  If they were destroyed now it was because I fell off the rocks and am probably severely injured and I won’t give a shit about any of that stuff.

I began my journey out on the stone “walkway” and tested my skills of balance all the while.  The end result would be worth the effort.  And I was not disappointed.

I found myself on a rocky point with only the ocean in sight to my front, surfers behind me waiting for good curls, and pier-dwellers to my left, across a bay.  It was silent, save for the sea’s incessant crashing on the rocks.  It was astonishingly beautiful.  The air was light with sea breeze, the sounds were intoxicating, and peace was everywhere.

I am a lucky man, and I am not unaware of this fact.

Calexico, Anza, and The Salton Sea

Day 2 of 2018 was spent mostly on the road in the mountainous regions of San Diego county.  It was a real treat to be on a low level flight all up and down the 8.  The top was down, the music was loud, and my cares were non-existent.  I was completely lost and thrilled to be.

First step of the loose agenda was to cross foot into Mexico at the Calexico border.  Getting across into Mexico was a joke, with literally no one saying a word at all to me.  I meandered around Mexical for about a half hour and then made my way to the pedestrian crossing line (After being flatly informed by the vehicle crossing guards that I had to go stand in that line, to get to my birth country… I see why the world hates us.  I don’t blame the dude for doing his job, though.)

The lines were staggering and I ended up waiting an hour that I didn’t need to, but there was no real instruction how to utilize my Sentri access so I didn’t find out until about 50 feet from the border that I could have skipped the entire line.  In any matter it was a great way to see the people from “the other side” of the border and know first hand what I had suspected all along:  They are all just regular people who want to come over for family or work.  I certainly didn’t see any “bad hombre” uniformed hooligans.

More desert driving at a high speed and an hour and a half later I found myself at the trailhead of Anza Borrego state park.  With no real plans I drove through Borrego Springs and saw a sign for the Salton Sea so I headed toward it on a lark as the sun set behind me.  I passed several stop offs where one could view the park from a decent height and took note of one in particular as one to stop at on the way back.  The Salton Sea has all the features of a standard lake town I believe, save for the salinity of the body itself.  Industrial equipment seemed to maintain as strong a foothold as any residential structures, though.  It made for a dazzling display of shimmering lights from the distance.  After a little lap around the south side I headed back into Anza to find the spot I had scouted earlier in the evening.  As I arrived the sun had completely disappeared and San Diego served as the lone, faint glow to the south and west.  The stars rolled out with such numbers that it was all I could do to keep my mouth closed, holding my hands to it in a perpetual gasp of astonishment.  My smile became semi-permanent when the first 100% full moon of 2018 rolled over the northern ridge, casting a blue pallor over my desert dream-scape.  It was at this point that the smile gave way to a few tears of exquisite joy.  I was witnessing one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my thus short years on the blue ball.

I reveled in how perfect this time was.  I wrote by the moonlight.  I left a note in hopes that someone would find it and have their spirits lifted.  I stacked stones and found peace in the effort.  It was a perfect moment, encapsulating everything that one could find right in the world.

As if the still, quiet tranquility weren’t enough, an owl was singing to me from a distant perch in clockwork fashion.  You couldn’t make this kind of thing up.

Once I had drank of all this natural splendor I decide to head back to San Diego and just find my way.  I knew the two highways that would get me there and I just drove.  Little did I know that I would be driving on about 40 miles of the most switch-backed steep grade changing highway in the entire country.  Don’t get me wrong, this might have been a real treat during the wide awake hours of the day but it was a borderline harrowing time when it was fully dark.  I found myself exclaiming “DUDE!” on a number of times to zero audience aside from myself.  It was tough to get going more than 20mph before another hairpin was on top of you.  It was pretty thrilling albeit terrifying.

This was simply one of the best days I have ever had in my entire life.  That is my takeaway from this experience.  The bar for experience was set dangerously high, but I have seen so little world that I know it is still well below possibility.

I’ve collected another flag and only have 180+ to go.  Just little goals…  And I move forward.

Day One 2018

I find myself in southern California and basking in the sunshine and warmth to start out 2018.  New Years Day was something much more special than that, though…

After shaking the dust off from New Years Eve, my gracious California host and I made our way to Millie’s for some breakfast.  The crowd was large but the service was excellent, and we were sitting on the sidewalk outside in the California sun with people walking dogs by almost the entire time.  What isn’t to love?

What better way to burn off a 12,000 calorie breakfast than walking what seemed like 20 miles to the top of Griffith Observatory?  (Note to self, maybe resolutions aren’t bullshit… Alright they are.)  The views from the balconies at the observatory are completely stunning, and it was nice to see the Hollywood sign with as much clarity as a smog-filled LA sky can provide.

Without a moment of hesitation, though, the highlight was definitely the second leg of our trip.  We found our way south to visit and pay tribute to a writer and fellow lost soul, Mr. Charles Bukowski.  It was an honor just to be there, to know that little about him and to still feel absolutely humbled in the presence of his memory.

“Don’t try.”

With my legs filled with as much lactic acid as they could possibly handle, the message of my fitness level was received, but naturally I ignored it and in the evening I found myself grabbing some In-N-Out for the first time.  I will say that the legend is true… The fries were ludicrous, the Animal Style Double Double was juicy and all the other adjectives for a tasty burger.  I’d say my day had something close to 20,000 calories, so I feel like I got the top score.

It’s been a great trip thus far and will wrap up on Friday.  I have been in pleasant human company and have found pleasant company with the surroundings as well.  The beauty of San Diego simply can not be overstated!