Terra Nomad

Every day is like survival. You're my lover, not my rival.

Friday, June 23, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 9

This was my last day in LA, so I spent it driving around. My niece has a thing for Elijah Wood and she once read that he frequents Lulu's Cafe. Since I was in town, I agreed to track down the place and get her a picture. After that, I headed northwest to Topanga Canyon for some views and then south to Santa Monica. I parked at the Pier and walked out to the end. I saw some fisherman catch a small ray and release it. During lunch at Mariasol, I watched some of the World Cup between France and Togo. I walked up to the Third Street Promenade and hit another toy store. I bought some pixel blocks there and then had a cool drink while browsing through Borders. The drive back to my hotel took almost two hours, but it was scenic enough that it didn't bother me. After another nap, I went back to Hollywood & Highland and spent two hours there. The next day was basically jusy waking up, filling the rental car with $3.30 gas and flying home.

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 22, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 8

It's my 29th birthday today, and I have a tour booked with Starline.We go inside the Hollywood Bowl, they point out Merv Griffin's house, and take us shopping in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive. I pass lots of expensive stores and end up making my only purchase at a toy store, the card game Set. We hit the Farmer's Market where I buy a Tetsubin, and then the Chinese Theater before hitting Hollywood & Highland where I found Beard Papa's, a cream puff stand I'd read about but forgotten. I treat myself to two puffs, one for now and one for later.We go to the La Brea tarpits, head through Downtown and stop at Olvera Street before heading back to Hollywood & Vine.

After the tour, I see The Lake House at the Arclight and then take the subway back to my hotel. While waiting for the train, I meet a guy from New Zealand who is traveling around America. He doesn't have strict plans, so I tell him that I am from Minnesota and suggest he visit the Midwest, particularly Chicago. He was planning on riding without a ticket, but another guy and I convince him it's not worth the risk, so we watch his stuff while he runs upstairs and buys one.

Day 9

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 7

I head south and east to Valencia so I can go to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Valencia is in the middle of nowhere, and it seems that the only traffic is going to Six Flags. Traffic is an understatement, it's a logjam. It costs $15 per car to park. Suddenly I understand the people who take buses up from LA.
While there, I ride the new coaster Tatsu as well as Viper, Deja Vu, Riddler, Superman, Batman, Colossus and Goliath. I am completely exhausted as I drive to my hotel in Hollywood. The traffic is just like Manhattan, heavy but not nearly as bad I expected.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 6

Today I went to the Santa Barbara Zoo. It seemed to be full of mothers and children. There is one of those vending machines where you can get goat feed for a quarter and one of the little kids says to another, "You have to pay to feed them. Do you have that kind of money?" I take a nap in my hotel room and then do laundry. On the way back from laundry, I take an aimless drive up a big hill and then up along the coast. One of the nice things about being by the ocean is that it makes it almost impossible to get lost. I have a late dinner at Taco Bell and pack up before sleeping.

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 19, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 5

In the morning I checked out of my hotel and hit traffic on the way to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. Inside I went through lots of exhibits, but my favorite part was the boardwalk/patio part where you can go out and watch the ocean. After the museum, I took Highway 1 south toward Big Sur. This is quite the drive: tons of turnoffs, hills you won't believe, beautiful vistas and plunging cliffs. The road gets very crazy at the San Luis Obispo city line.

One of my goals in California was to have a unique wildlife sighting. As I am driving past what looks like a regular turnoff with parking lot, I decide to stop. To my surprise, this is an observation area for elephant seals. There is a beach with 50-70 seals that are sunning themselves and grunting occasionally to the delight of all the watching tourists! There are also lots of crows and squirrels who find the place very inviting, so inviting that one squirrel actually approaches me looking for food. I didn't have anything to give him, but I held out my camera to take a close up. He actually reached out and his little paw on my camera! So, I felt as if I had reached that particular goal.

I stopped for more groceries in Arroyo and then got to my hotel in Santa Barbara very late.

Day 6

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 18, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 4

A and G are flying back home today, but I am staying in Cali and driving down the coast. I rent the car and go pick them up at their hotel. We went out to spend our last minutes in San Francisco at the grounds around the Palace of the Legion of Honor. The Palace itself is an art museum, with a cast of Rodin's The Thinker outside. I went there in 1998 the first time I visited California and saw my first Picasso and Rembrandt. We did not go inside since our time was limited, but we saw the sculptures they have on the grounds and enjoyed more Pacific views.

I dropped them both off at SFO and drove south towards Monterrey. After climbing a steep incline for what seemed like an hour, the trees fell away and I got a breathtaking view of a marina. I reached my hotel in Seaside and watched Batman Begins on cable. Then I went to Kroger for some groceries and had a picnic on the beach.

Day 5

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 17, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 3

A is always the early riser when we are on vacation, while G tends to sleep in and I am somewhere in the middle. He was up and eating breakfast at Perry's before I left my hotel, but we did meet up there. We went over to Fisherman's Wharf again to see the sea lions that sun themselves at Pier 39. They are actually visible on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

After that we waited far too long for a bus to take us up to Coit Tower. Before we went inside, we called G and found she was in Little Italy, about to head up to the tower. After meeting up with her, we rode to the top and got the breathtaking views and took all the nice pictures. We took a break in the shade and then headed over to descend the Filbert Steps. A is a big fan of the Tales of the City books (I loved the first 3 as well, just haven't read the next 3), so he insisted on seeing them. It's a very long walk, but well worth it even if you don't get to see any of the wild parrots, which we didn't.

We walked through Levi's Plaza and then took the BART over to the Mission District. We ate at Taqueria Pancho Villa and then walked over to Mission Delores. I was tired so I decided to rest on the steps outside while A and G went in and took a tour. We then took a bus up to the Castro and hung out for a bit, just shopping, people-watching and eating gelato. We continued the eating theme in North Beach at Trattoria Pinnochio and then went for more cannoli.

Day 4

Labels: ,

Friday, June 16, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 2

We had breakfast at Lori's, a 50's themed diner and then went to Macy's to find G some shoes and a hat for A. We then took the #30 out to the Palace of Fine Arts and wandered around taking pictures. We then took a #28 over to some bunkers on some coastal cliffs that overlook the Golden Gate Bridge. You could see a nude beach from up there! We bussed over to Haight-Ashbury and ate at Cha Cha Cha's. I had sangria and cajun fish. As we were wandering away from the restaurant, we passed a tattoo parlor and went inside. G and I spent some time trying to convince A that we should all get tattoos as a way to remember the trip. We almost had him convinced until we found out that it would take the rest the day to get us all done. A headed over to Alamo Square while G and I went to the San Francisco Mall. We didn't do much shopping, but I did get some cannoli at Segafredo's. Then we all took the cable car up to the bay and hung out on the beach.

Day 3

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 15, 2006

California Road Trip - Day 1

I met up with G at the SFO BART station and we rode the train to Powell station together where we met up with A and then headed to our hotels. They were both staying in a hotel a block south of Market St while mine was two blocks north of Market. We checked in and met back up at the cable car and took it down to Fisherman's Wharf. After hanging out on the wharf and eating at In N Out burger, we took a very crowded F train back to our hotels to change for dinner. We had reservations at the Cliff house, where I had some saki and a curry seafood dish. There are such nice views from both inside and outside the restaurant, and the sun was setting as we ate, so we got tons of great pictures. A and I went to a bar in the Castro and drank a bit before eating some turkey burgers and crawling into bed at 3 am.

Day 2

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 09, 2004

Trips of 2000

2000 - Orlando - In February, I was sent to Orlando for two weeks for
my job. It's not as nice as it sounds, since in the 16 days we were
there, we only got 3 days off. The rest of the time was spent working
11 or 12 hour days. But, we stayed in the brand new Crowne Plaza hotel
in one-bedroom apartment sized suites. I never had a desire to visit
Florida, but now that I've been there, I will go back. I spent all
three of my days off at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I
bought a two day pass that was valid in both parks and spent the whole
first day in Islands of Adventure. That's an awesome park. The Jurassic
Park water ride and the Dueling Dragons coaster were the best rides
there. The next day I started in Universal Studios. I liked the Twister
ride the King Kong one. For some stupid reason, I went on the Jaws
ride. I have an extreme fear of sharks, but I figured it's a fake one
so it won't be a big deal. I sat next to a father and son who probably
think I am crazy. The shark comes at you three times and I had to cover
my eyes and ears each time. During one part, you are in a boat house
and the water is green. Suddenly, the shark starts hitting the building
and it sounds like it's going to collapse. That was one of the most
scary experiences of my life. Sad, huh? I spent the rest of the second
day in Islands again. I rode the Jurassic Park and Dragon rides for a
second time and went through the Dr Suess part, which was cool. The
third day we had off, one of my coworkers and I went to Citywalk, which
is a mall they put between the two parks. We shopped a bit and then
went in to Margaritaville. We drank and ate and drank some more. That
night the whole crowd went to a lobster buffet. I don't eat lobster or
prime rib, but I tried clam strips and decided I liked them. I need to
go back to Islands of Adventure and I would like to visit the Space
Coast and Busch Gardens, and maybe a Miami/Keys/Everglades trip, too.

- My spring trip in 2000 was to Ohio. I got a lot of strange looks, but
I wanted to see Columbus and Cincinnati. My mom came with me this time,
although we booked our flights seperately, but we met up in Columbus.
We went to the Zoo and to a good restaurant called Spagio's. We drove
down to Cincinnati and hit the Zoo there and also the Newport Aquarium
across the river in Kentucky. I had to run through the tube at the end
where you walk under the sharks! In both Zoos, we saw manatees, which
are so funny looking. I wondered how they can stay so fat while only
eating lettuce and plants! The Cincinnatti Museum Center is like three
museums and an omnitheater put together. I saw a movie about the Amazon
here. They had a big exhibit in the local section on World War II. Not
about the overseas stuff, but how things were here while it was going

Yosemite - Labor Day weekend I went to visit my friend Mike
who moved out to Berkeley. We went into San Fran one of the days and
ate at the Stinking Rose, a garlic restaurant. We drove over the GG
bridge and through the beautiful hills on the other side. Then over the
weekend, we drove out to Yosemite Valley in the Natl Park. On our way
there, we repelled down into a cave. That was so much fun! I want do it
down the side of a mountain. We saw El Capitan, Half Dome and Glacier
Point (speaking of repelling!). The scenery was breathtaking. Mirror
Lake was too shallow and cloudy to reflect anything, but Lower Yosemite
Falls was quite the sight. While entering the village, we saw a family
of deer on the side of the road. We stopped to take a picture and
anther one came bounding from behind us. We turned to see a coyote
chasing it, but when he saw us, he stopped and ran away. On the last
day, he had to work, so I went to the UC Berkeley campus in the morning
and hung out and had lunch before taking the BART back to the airport.

Labels: , , ,

Trips of the Late Nineties

1998 - San Francisco - It had been 3 and a half years since I had been
on a trip and I had vacation to burn. I decided to visit San Francisco,
all by my lonesome. I stayed in a cheap hotel right on Market street. I
didn't rent a car and spent the entire week in the city. I planned on
going to Berkley or Oakland, but I was busy enough with the things I
found on the peninsula. My mom said she half expected me to call home
to say I wasn't coming back. I rode a trolley to Fishermans Wharf and
went to the Embarcadero, The Palace of the Legion of Honor, The Palace
of Fine Arts, The California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park,
the beach near Seal Rock (my first ocean sighting), The Golden Gate
Bridge, Twin Peaks, Haight-Ashbury, Union Square, Lombard Street, the
Zoo and Yerba Buena Gardens. Like most large cities I have visited, I
so wanted to move there.

- Boston - For my next trip, I decided to visit the other coast and
headed for Boston. I went far too early in the year, as a storm hit on
my way from the airport to my hotel. I was taking the subway, since I
wasn't going to rent a car until the middle of the week. I think this
was the first year I got pneumonia, which is not fun to have when you're
travelling. I went to the Boston Tea Party Ship, Harvard, the Isabella
Stewart Gardner museum and the Museum of Science. I shopped at Quincy
Market and went to the New England Aquarium. I rented a car and drove
down to Plymouth to see Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower and a cranberry
bog on the way. I had planned to drive out on Cape Cod, but time was
short and I had to get to my hotel in Providence. That's a nice city
and I took some pictures before heading out in the morning. I couldn't
be that close to Connecticut and not visit, so I hopped across the
border and ate at a Wendy's. Than I headed back towards Boston via
Worchester, where I stopped at an outlet mall. I would like to visit
again, but this time in the summer!

Labels: , , , ,