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I’m never going to forget my weeks at Exclusive Studios, as I file away another marketable skill set and another group of friends into the old Life Experience folder.
I have learned which of my friends I can rely on, and that I can always rely on family.
I’ve learned that part of “work hard and be nice to everybody” It’s not just being nice to everybody. If you want to be able to rely on others, you have to be reliable yourself. Give others your time. Keep in touch, and go out to lunch or drinks with them. Or invite them to hang out if you’re poor. Walks are free. And in a few years when you need a job or a place to crash, it’ll make it easier.
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Some days when you’re traveling, you marvel at the beauty of nature, see something you’ve never seen before, discover the fantastic history, foods, and individual quirks of every city. Like good old SLO.
Other days you just want a Starbuck’s for a dump and wi-fi.
The rocks and cliffs shooting out of the ocean start to look the same. The cities are just places with traffic and homeless people.
If you don’t plan right, things get very old very fast.
I do not remember the name of the town where I took this. I thought “Hey, they have an old wrecked boat on the end of their pier! How neat! I’m sure I’ll remember this moment!” but it just blended in with everything else.
It may have been a San-something. One of those. All of the San’s and Santa’s have historic mission districts. There are nine big ones. If I had planned better I could have taken pictures with all the ones from San Diego to San Rafael.
But it’s too late, and planning time is over. All I want is to get my girlfriend and go home to be with my family, because those things are way more important than anything in California right now.
- I lost the cord for my camera, so no pictures of Oakland and San Jose
- I need to stop lying to myself and admit I am allergic to cats. Every time I meet a cat and say “Oh, maybe this is the type of kitty that I’m not allergic to” I am wrong.
- I was going to go WWOOFing for the rest of the week on an organic herb farm, but now I am not, because…
- I am going back to LA for a few days and getting paid to do things, because…
- Elaine is coming back from China earlier than originally planned.
When Elaine comes to LA, that will begin Phase Four of the California Adventure.
In case you haven’t been keeping up - either because you live under a rock or because you are not my mother - Phase One: the drive out. Phase Two: Internship. Phase Three: Driving around the coast for a week. Phase Four: Drive home with Elaine.
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Yes. It’s kind of like this feeling, but with a town.
San Luis Obispo is roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and home to California Polytechnic State Univeristy. I stopped in for a bathroom, coffee, free wi-fi, and gas. In that order.
What met me was more than another quaint semi-rural coastal town that I have been passing through all day. It’s a small town. Smaller than Palatine, and Cal Poly is smaller than Grand Valley even when it’s not summer time. But SLO (as the locals abbrev it) on a Friday night has the energy of Burbank on a regular weeknight. It’s downtown has a mix of chains and local setups, centered around a two-story outdoor shopping center. Bicycles everywhere, free parking, college kids and middle-class families enjoying the evening summer breeze in harmony.
It may have also had something to do with the college girl folk music trio sending the buzz of fiddle and accordion down the stairs next to a coffee shop.
The sirens lured me in with Billy Joel, Dylan, and Amelie in three-part harmony. Before I knew it, night had fallen, and my plans to catch sunset over Big Sur ruined.
I now find myself at the ever-welcoming free internet of a 24-hour McDonalds a few miles north. I am still four hours away from The Fran (as I assume locals abbrev it), where I have lunch plans. It wouldn’t do much to continue up the PCH at night, so I will take the 101 at least to Salinas, and then finding a nice Wal-Mart to sleep at. Because a lit parking lot is less scary than being alone in a dark campsite, and cheaper than a motel.
Damn you, WalMart and McDonald’s. Stop making me hate you less with your low prices and convenience.
There. You can kind of make it out there. It’s the hills just beyond the other hills. country, really. San Diego itself is a wonderful city, with beaches, parks, museums, outdoor malls, bars, all in a nice little climate where it doesn’t get too hot in summer or cold in winter. My brother, Phil, is a very generous and helpful tour guide, supplying me with a couch, a full stomach, and beer. So cheers to family.
People say San Diego was built in paradise. And I’m leaving it. Maybe forever. It’d be nice to visit again, but we’ll see.
The next leg of my adventure is taking me up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco. That’s the more scenic route. “Scenic” means that there are more cliffs and mountains and curves than other routes. So I’ll try to avoid driving off of those.
On my way down the 5 I pulled off at a scenic outlook for a stretch and a dinner of canned fruit. I really don’t know what I was supposed to be looking at. There were some cliffs that were fenced off by the water, and a road that looked like someone had started paving it and given up. Maybe there was something far away I was missing.
Like many of my beach visits, there were rainless clouds plopped over the water and the town, like a cat who has found a nice place to sit. Clouds can’t climb mountains, and off in the distance I could still make out a little blue sky, almost a literal sliver of hope that the weather would be pretty.
Maybe It’s because I’ve lived my life near Lake Michigan, but I like overcast days. I like long sleeves, I don’t really care for hats. I like not having to worry about sunscreen or parking my car somewhere where the upholstery won’t steam up.
Tomorrow I’ll explore San DIego a bit. The only advertised fun I’ve seen here is SeaWorld. So that’s Option B. Option A is Not Spend Any Money At All.
Here’s the deal at Oakwood: They give residents a little parking tag you put on your car, and they give you a key card so you can get through the gates to the parking lot. Standard apartment complex deal. But when you check out, you only have to give back your key card.
This is important. You can leave without a key card, but you can’t get back in. What you can do is leave your car by a building so you can get your free internet, and take the bus everywhere.
There’s a convenience store on site, bathrooms next to the pool. I like to think I could make it being homeless in this town. Too bad I have so many awesome friends and family who let me crash on their couches.
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