California

Going deeper in the beaver

Just realized I need to catch up on Kimmy Schmidt among all my other shows, traveling almost makes me forget how much of a no shame having-snack eating-brain cell depleting reality tv-couch potato I truly am, almost. Heading out of SF I had almost forgotten that I’d be going over the Golden Gate Bridge on my way out of the city! It was really cool you guys, cool enough to risk my life by taking a video , yolo amirite? I went to Muir Woods National Monument which is only 12 miles north of SF, I was surprised how close it was. I watched this documentary last year called “Mile…..Mile and a Half” about this group of ppl doing the John Muir trail and ever since I’ve been curious about him, I love his nature quotes so much that I even have some of them hanging up in my room.

 

After the nature binge I headed to Napa which was only an hour away. The ride there was beautiful, I’m not a wine drinker but I really find the process of wine making interesting. There are rolling hills full of vineyards, I didn’t take any pictures there surprisingly though, instead I binge watched Martin at my hotel and uploaded pictures. I definitely feel like I need to return to Napa in 15 ish years with my friends sponsored by one of their ex husbands who they a got a lot of money from in the divorce because Napa is expensive as hell! I did purchase a bottle of Rosè for my friend Lauren who’s meeting me in Portland.  I had no real place of interest after Napa so I literally just looked at the map and chose this town named Chico because it sounds cute. When I got there I realized it’s a college town so it was kind of lively. I ate like a cave woman at this BBQ place and saw a movie at this tiny independent movie theater where the front row was old couches, loved it! Outside of the theater I met this nice older hippy man who told me I should go to Ashland, OR so that’s what I did the next day. The drive to Ashland felt like forever, I know 3.5 hrs is nothing to most ppl but my home state is the size of a paperclip, 3.5 hrs to a Delawarean is like a trip to Nepune….and back! The place I stayed was fucking beautiful! I thought I just booked a regular room but they gave me a suite. Huge comfy bed, 2 nice flat screens for me to watch ‘My 600 lb. Life’ back to back and a little patio for me to shut the blinds and ignore the ppl outside, luxurious. I saw a Charles Dickens play that I didn’t love, I should’ve known but I was aching to see a show and although I didn’t totally love the show the theater was beautiful and I’m always happy to support anything creative. I bought a lot of cd’s for this trip from thrift stores and today I listened to this Chris Rock comedy album, so fucking funny you guys!!! I’ve never listened to a comedy album before, it’s from like 1999 and there’s all these OJ jokes and that song ‘Champagne’ is on it which I loved back then!! Made it to Eugene! I can’t say that without thinking of the T-Birds in Grease saying “Hey Euuuugene!!”. Ahem so yeah, the Simpsons are from Springfield, OR.

There’s a college in Eugene so it’s a little bit bigger than Springfield but they’re both small towns. I lost count over how many Final Destination situations I was in on my way here with huge trucks full of tree logs ready to smash into my front window. Everyone in the state of Oregon drives the speed limit too which is shocking and it’s only 65mph on I-5 which is a major highway, in some spots it was only 50, definitely not in TX anymore where it’s 80. Also in the Beaver State they pump your gas for you just like in NJ. I found this divey gay bar that I’m going to watch the Drag Race finale tonight, smooches! PDX tomorrow!

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SF Buttquake

A customer at work 2 weeks ago randomly gave me a gift card to Starbucks, I never go there but I knew I’d come across a few thousand of them on my trip so I gladly accepted. Of course this morning when I went to use it it wasn’t there, how convenient. Also the guy who took my order thought I wanted iced tea instead of hot, at 9 am.  A nice customer found my gc on the ground and gave it to me, also the barista did end up making  me a hot tea………that burnt my tongue for 2 days.

I decided to stop in Santa Cruz for a little bit before going to SF. It’s a decent sized beach with corny boardwalk rides and games that I love. It reminded me of the beaches I grew up going to like Wildwood, NJ and Ocean City, MD. I also found a goldmine, my favorite brand of postcards, Lantern Press! I get too excited about paper. Even though SF was only an hour away it took awhile to get there because there was so much traffic. I’ve never driven on a highway with so many lanes and we barely moved for a long time. Once I did the unimaginable which was getting into the city and out of the car it wasn’t bad. I had the pleasure of staying with a former coworker and the sweetest dog ever.

I haven’t been here in almost 4 years and I stayed in a neighborhood further away but this location was perfect. It had everything I needed, a coffee shop next door, Trader Joe’s a few blocks away, tons of street art, and trans prostitutes working the corner nightly. I was happy to give Hilary (the car) a break for a few days. I didn’t even have to take the Bart, I walked everywhere. All of the touristy stuff people are too cool to do I love, I couldn’t wait to see the bridge or have a savage seagull swoop down and take a chunk of my lackluster crab cake, that actually happened. The first time I came to SF I only walked near the bridge but this time I wanted to walk on it, it was a lot further than it seemed because it’s so big but it’s worth the journey because it’s so iconic.

 

The graffiti gods are always looking out for me, I just always find the best street art everywhere I go. I’m used to it now. The Mission neighborhood is saturated, it reminded me of Toronto with alleyways behind houses full of murals, it’s like a free museum.

 

I was huffing and puffing up the steepest hill on earth when someone told me I was ‘hella cute’, just like a Cali person would say! How sweet and also accurate. I went to the Castro to get my life from the colorful crosswalks and and to see a man wearing only a gold metallic cloth over his penis. I read about him on Trip Advisor moments before. My main struggles while I was here was finding places to pee and charge my phone, also I couldn’t stop spending money on my friends kids but I got my credit card sent to my friends apt here so I’m good! I also was afraid that I was allergic to his dog but turns out my eyes are just bloodshot at all times.

Sigh, SF Heartbreak, you are so pretty and shiny and expensive, a little dirtier than I remembered but you know I like that. One of my favorite major cities in the US, you are amazing but the show must go on! I appreciate the real breakfast I ate, the countless amounts of human shit on the sidewalks, Octavia St (my gmoms name!), and those mesmerizing  clouds sprawled out across the sky, almost hanging low enough to touch.

up the edge

After getting to Santa Barbara late, well 9:33, ahem, I was so tired but Mrs. Doubtfire was on and the room at the Agave Inn was so cute and comfortable. The next morning I ate a very skimpy continental breakfast and went to do laundry. Santa Barbara is beautiful but I just thought it was okay until I went to Shoreline Park, it’s right along the coast and it’s breathtaking.

This was the most driving I’ve done in one day so far, I knew it would be a long one so I was really antsy to leave. I booked a room in Carmel, which is right off the coast, I didn’t know much about it besides that but it didn’t matter because all I’ve been thinking about is Big Sur. Surprisingly there weren’t that many cars on the road and the ones that were there weren’t riding my ass, definitely not in Texas anymore. I have been researching all of these little things I wanted to see along the way like Moonstone Beach. These are almost the same rocks I spend my hard earned money on at the Herb Bar and Natures Treasures in Austin, but here they are just washed up on the beach!

There was also this beach completely full of elephant seals, like hundreds of them laying there making human like groan noises and breathing heavily. Living the life!

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The ride going south is better because you get a full on view facing the coast instead of having to risk your young precious life turning your head a little, totally worth it though. The Pacific Coast is beyond breathtaking, just like I knew it would be. I felt like I totally left the earth. I got out probably 5 times to take some pictures and just be in awe.

My hotel in Carmel was right on Rt.1 and was like a cute log cabin and Grease was on! The guy working at the desk was one of the biggest talkers I’ve ever met. All I wanted to do was lay the down, I thought I was about to faint I was so delirious while he went on and on about Clint Eastwood and Pirates of the Caribbean but he did inform me of some worthy information about a state park 5 mins away called Point Lobos. I went there the next day and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This fucking park you guys….. beyond everything in life. I was convinced that I was in another world.

I can’t even believe that I saw that, like I actually took those pictures, too much.

Here’s a title for ya

It’s after 12 and I’m still awake, does anybody know the number to Guiness World Records?? I think I’ve finally adjusted to PST. I was up early this morning, of course because I went to bed at 9:30, checked out of my motel and went to a little place called Crossroads. I met these 2 nice gentleman named Don and John who are in a band named The Village Idiots and they perform random festivals around Joshua Tree. John, the one doing most of the talking was really nice and funny, he was a total hippy artist dad type who looked homeless and loathes gentrification. After our lovely morning breakfast counter convo I was antsy to get to Cabazon, CA to see the dinosaurs from Pee Wees Big Adventure! Major bucket list material. I think I have a crush on Pee Wee honestly, he’s kind of cute sometimes and his independence and persistence gives me the vapors. I live for these nonsense road side attractions.

 

After I got my fill of classic Americana at it’s finest I headed to LA. It was only 2 hours away but felt like a journey because it started raining to the point where you contemplate pulling over and I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights in this nice car. All this bluetooth and high tech shit but where are the damn lights?? After pulling over and wanting to rip the manual to hell I was on the road again….with huge trucks surrounding me. “There ain’t nothing in my way except the traffic of LA” that’s a line from a Hilary Duff song, her Pandora station is so good! Oh and I named the car Hilary. After missing a few exits and left turns I made it to my airbnb in Venice Beach. I’ve only used airbnb a handful of times but this is the best one ever, the hosts were constantly in contact with me, their neighborhood and house is luxurious with so many amenities for guests and its right by the beach. I was starving so I walked to this cute little place called Lemonade, if I was like most people these days I would freak out over the name but I’m not so yeah, it was like a fancy little cafeteria where they charge you by the portion. I got brussel sprouts (my favorite vegetable), jerk chicken, broccoli, and some salmon avocado thing-it was great, I’m sure I looked like a cavewoman eating because I was starving and ate all my food in less than 10 minutes, I’m a growing girl okay. Beach cruisin’ time! I rode an actual beach cruiser to the beach. Of course I got lost and felt like Snooki in 2009, where’s the beach?? Oh just to my left, I knew that. I wholeheartedly love Venice Beach, one of my most favoriteist places I’ve ever been. I love the graffiti, the shady characters, the skatboarders, it’s just so fucking awesome to me. I went to Santa Monica and got a pedicure and a manicure, in true Natasha fashion I clumsily scraped the paint on both big toes but it’s okay, I’m not a fancy girl. I couldn’t stop buying things after that, 2 new pairs of vans, mugs for me and my room mate, cute things for my friends kids, froýo, etc. And here I am in one of my favorite places, I’ve been daydreaming about this for so long that I feel like I’m looking at a picture everywhere I look but this life is happening!  Good times.

I didn’t forget a title

This morning I got up very early again, around 6:30. I felt kind of bad for my hostel mates because I was up getting my stuff together so early but she’s gotta go! They made waffles in the kitchen which weren’t cooked all the way through but my long awaited cup of tea made up for it. I got some cash, ice, a case of water and one of those styrofoam coolers and went on my way to Joshua Tree. I used my friend Claudia’s gps to navigate me there, it was a bit stressful at first because even though it was almost 3 hours away I kept thinking I was going the wrong way. I only saw one freaking sign for it the whole way there, its a National Park for all the gods sakes! I personally need road signs made just for me though that say things like “Thumbs up Natasha, you are going the right way” or “Turn around idiot, stop pretending you’re in a music video and pay attention!”. So yeah, the gps guided me perfectly! Joshua Tree was amazing and awesome, not too big and intimidating but still very grand. I’d never seen anything like that particular landscape and I’ve always had an affinity for the desert, maybe because it’s nothing like where I’m from. Scraped my elbow almost down to the meat climbing down in between 2 rocks 127 hrs style so I’ll be nursing that for a few days, the universes way of telling me to go sit down somewhere. The weather was perfect and I even got someone to take a picture f me which is always a treat when you’re traveling alone, one of the only downsides. I’m at the High Desert Motel now, just watched Drag Race. I thought I’d be really excited about watching actual cable but it wasn’t as climatic as I thought, words spoken far too often. Its 8:45 and I’m spent.