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Goin' Back To Hampi

2002-08-27 - 3:24 p.m.

8/22/02

6:31 p.m. – Arriving in San Diego. I love it so far. San Diego is beautiful. Surf town if there ever was one. Tim and I just got in a little tiff over the music. Somehow it all started from Tim’s questions about the Audi in front of us (“Is Diesel the name of the car or does that mean the type of gas it takes?”) and then I started attacking the CD that was in (“Wow – this isn’t too boring, dull, and slow . . .”) and then I got grounded by Tim (“No Talking Heads or David Byrne whatsoever for the REST OF THE TRIP!”) Argh. Me hate world now. They can both go suck an egg. Tim can suck two. Mmmmm . . . now I want scrambled eggs.

6:56 p.m. – We’re at Mandy’s now. Tim used to work with Mandy before she moved to San Diego. She lives in what looks like a tropical hacienda. It looks like where Jack, Janet, and Chrissy lived. Where did they live in CA? I don’t remember. I do remember the butterfly portrait that said “life” – I loved that.

8/23/02

11:40 p.m. – I’m writing this from the abso-fucking-lutely beautiful sleepy little ocean town of Morro Bay. It’s a few miles up the coast from San Luis Obispo. Oh, Obispo. And we had to go through Pismo Beach to get here!

We had fun in San Diego last night. Mandy was really cool. She is of the rare breed of females that not only has a good sense of humor, but can give it to me just as well as I give it out. (ps – if any of my female friends takes umbrage with the preceding statement . . .than count yourself among the rare breed. There – that better?) We (Ben, Tim, Mandy, and I) went out to a place called Bub’s. It was this small bar on the ocean. It was really cool. You couldn’t find a place like this in New England, that’s for sure. They served shelled peanuts while you wait and while you drink. When you’re done cracking the shell you are encouraged to just wipe all the excess shell and shit you don’t eat on to the floor. Big ol’ mess. They don’t care. One thing that’s NOT too different from New England is the cheesy promos they do at these bars. We were there on Mike’s Hard Lemonade Night. And the cheesy hos that were in charge of it suckered me into buying one AND made me wear a stupid Mike’s Necklace for my humiliation. But other than that, some of Mandy’s friends met us there (with an unhealthy UNH presence building). We drank “tall drinks” (double the size glass) all night and I cried inside when I had to watch the X-Men 2 preview on the bar TV with no sound. Unjust. Let me tell you - I’m no mathamagician, so I didn’t realize that after 3 beers, it was really like I had 6 beers!

San Diego is super laid back and very different than any other town I’ve been to. Tim says it’s a lot like Australia in its attitude. Bikes and skateboards and surfboards are the norm here, not cars. And they have all the plantains you could possibly need. After getting our first quick glimpse of the Pacific, (at night, while driving by, and being told “look quick, that’s the Pacific!” It wasn’t the grand welcome, Balboa style, that I expected) we slept at Mandy’s lofty hacienda and her damn blowfish kept me up all night with his splishing and his splashing. Yes. Blowfish. Yes. Splishing. Splashing. So it hurt even more when . . .

. . .7:30 came around. We got up, took showers (the shower had a window looking out towards the ocean! Well, you couldn’t actually see the ocean though, a building was in the way). We packed up in a daze, resigned ourselves back to Altima purgatory, and were on our way.

*I’m going to bed. I’m sitting here, in my bed at Morro Bay with my cracked, gross heels and ankle bruises covered in lotion. Ben forced me to put it on before I went to bed. The spirit of Andrea must be working through him. Tim’s asleep on the cot. We played 99, rummy, and the cheatingest (by Ben & Tim of course) game of Golf ever. All drinking of course. Ok, ok. Going to bed. Will type in the morning. . .

8/24/02

9:00 a.m. - *Ok, so here I am, back in the car, and we’re on a race to make it Hearst Castle by our reservation time. As a huge Citizen Kane fan (as are Ben and Tim) this is a little bit of a dream come true to visit it. San Simeon is so secluded; there are no other towns near it for miles and miles. Ok, back to the journey transcribing . . .

I must say, my absolute, hands down, fantastically favorite part of the ride from San Diego to L.A. was this bit of graffiti we came upon right after leaving San Diego. On the side of an 8-foot highway partition, in 6 foot high block yellow letters, in a length of about 90 feet, read “DONKEY PUNCH CREW”. Now friends, San Diego clearly takes their gangs seriously. Banana Nut Bread Gang indeed. (Why do I get the feeling Brett and Monique are going to be looking into some real estate in San Diego soon?)

Everything out here is in Spanish and I have trouble pronouncing it. So many San’s (not Rogers), so many Cyn’s, so many Rancho’s. Although, people from the west coast must be tongue-tied over all the freaky Native American names on the East Coast, especially in New England.

We passed through Anaheim around lunch time and it was nice, but not that nice. We passed the stadium where the Angels play (whose official name escapes me) and we passed lots of signs for DisneyLand but I didn’t actually see it. We also go to see a sign for Legoland, which was quite the cruel tease as, even as a young boy, I always thought going to Legoland would be the shit.

Once in La Mirada we finally stopped at one of the wild gooses we’ve been chasing this whole trip. In-N-Out Burger. Let me tell you – if you ever get a chance to go to one of these joints, DO IT. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Huge burgers, MADE SO SO SO SO FRESH. Crispy lettuce, juicy tomatoes (and I’m not even that huge a fan of tomatoes), strong onions (um, actually, I don’t really like them THAT strong), and the bread is so new and fluffy and fresh, and the French fries are made to order! And there’s only, like 6 different things on the menu, so ordering is very easy and very fast. I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the In-N-Out Burger.

Then on to L.A. L.A. was . . .odd. We didn’t really get to see much of it. It was sort of the “Chicago” tour. It was nice looking, if smoggy. There was a “gentleman’s club” called The Spearmint Rhino and that – that just gave me joy. (NOT SEVEN). And there’s Shell’s and 76’s EVERYWHERE. Nary a Mobil or Irving in sight. Lot’s of Chevron’s and K’s too. Yes, K. Imaginative name, I know. We were going to go into Hollywood, but a variety of factors (time, heat, the chance of running into Maura Tierney and then dying of loveshock and not getting to see Hearst Castle . . .hmmm, that may have been worth it) kept us from doing so. But, we did get to see the Hollywood sign, and damn me if I didn’t think of myself as a down-on-his-luck muppet who finally hit the big time by making it to Ho-LY-Wood. (You’re supposed to go up on the “LY” like Dom DeLuise does when he’s in the rowboat in the swamp at the beginning of The Muppet Movie) Anyway, L.A. and Hollywood were cool for what we saw of them . . . which was very little.

I cannot express how much traffic there was in L.A. though. It took us FOREVER plus several hours to get to Santa Barbara. And according to the map, L.A. to Santa Barbara is no further than Boston to Hartford. Well, it was more like North Conway to Providence. Also, since I seem to be on a geographical comparison kick, San Diego to San Francisco, while as noted is like Boston to Norfolk, is ALSO like going from Nashua to Dixville Notch – over three times. Ugh. Anyway. . .

Santa Barbara was, of course, beautiful, and gave us our first, real, official view of the Pacific. This was definitely the Balboa special. Tim was annoyed by the oil tankers that dot the ocean horizon out here, but I didn’t mind it too much. It was all so different that I loved it all.

Around 3:30 after traversing Thai Town and Ojai, we found ourselves in Lompoc. Lompoc was ok, with the exception that it seemed like they had an inordinate amount of Carl Jr’s and Green Burrito’s. “Mom, can I eat at Green Burrito’s?” I talked to Brad around this time and he informed me all about the TV I was missing. I hate him. Gloating about RR and Psychlohoma!

Dealing with both this and Tim’s insistence to sing every Jim Croce song off key and off temp made for a strangulating journey through Nipomo, Oso Flaco Lake, and Oceano. But then, after Pismo Beach and Los Osos (they like their “O’s” out here) we got to Morro Bay! A new paradise on Earth!

*Just arrived at Hearst Castle, more later. . .

1:30 p.m. – Back from the Castle. Well, this entry is shaping up to be a two-parter, like “Mormania”. Gamblor Strikes Again will be the first entry; still working on the title for what will be this, the second installment. I got a very special e-mail from a reader named Frederick Robspierre, in Somerville, MA. I’d give a shout out to his posse but I don’t know the name of the new ponderosa he works at. Though I imagine it can’t have “crap” worked into its title as easily as Variacrapics did. I will just assume it is the Quantum Leap Project that he and Mike and Joleen are working at. Anyway . . .

So last night, we got into Morro Bay (no relation to Little Moreau, South Dakota or Jimbo Moreau of New Hampshire). It was the most idyllic little surf town I’ve ever been too. And I say that with the knowledge of never having been to one other for more than 40 seconds. Sure, Oceano looked cool when we drove through it, and San Luis Obispo had its charms, and hell, Pismo Beach – it’s named PISMO, but, when all the chips are down it’s Morro Bay that will still let you in at 4 in the morning when you pass out at its front doors reeking of gin and desperately needing a shave. That, and its got a volcano. I like volcanoes. Morro Bay is packed full of wildlife that I don’t usually get to see doing things that make me laugh. Perhaps West Coastians get off when they see squirrels, granite, and lilac’s doing trick when they be in New Hampshire, but man do I squeal like a school girl when I see Pelicans dive bombing for fish and seal barking and flouncing about the water.

Our newest derogatory comment to each other (and God knows we’ve gone through almost every one known to man, going as far to make new ones [i.e. – “Monolith”, “Dirigible”, & “Peepers”]) is “Jimbo!” For example, at the dinner table after someone swears –loudly- and in front of children: “Nice one, Jimbo.” Or when we’re in a church full of nuns and someone swears –loudly- and behind one of the nuns: “Nice one, Jimbo.” Or when we’re at a Dairy Queen (which might I add, there are TONS of out here) and someone sees some lesbians and yells out –loudly- “Yikes Dykes!” so that the lesbian’s respective mothers hear them: “Nice one, Jimbo.”

We ate at the Flying Dutchman down on the ocean in Morro Bay. I should just say that I don’t really need to type “down on the ocean” since that’s how EVERYTHING is in Morro Bay. Our waitress was as dumb as bricks but our food was very good. Ben and I even got Clam Chowder breadbowls. Mmmmmm. Only we would leave New England for Cali for Clam Chowder. Tim, as usual, was in charge of the wine selection. He is SuperKnowingThingsAboutWineMan. Well, I assume he is at least. He could be making it all up and I wouldn’t know. But I don’t think he is.

We bought a bunch of things in the little gift shops, playing our parts of rube tourists to the hilt. Ben bought the most (a sculptured mask and other bric-a-brac), Tim bought clothes, and I bought stuff for my Mam. We got some really good pictures of the sun setting behind the volcano, as well as the seals playing. Although, we just found out while at the Castle that this last roll of film of Ben’s never advanced so we may not have gotten quite as many pictures as we thought we did. And that brings us to last night when we were playing cards.

2:07 p.m. - We’re on Coastal Route 1 as I write this. Windy motherfucker. This is that stretch (and by stretch I mean 50 miles) where it’s just cliff, one lane going North, one South, and over 200 feet straight down to the Pacific. Yee-ouch. I’m car sick from it and have to keep stopping after typing a few lines. The things I do for my readers. Like almost incurring a $140.00 charge at the hotel in long distance phone calls. It was a mistake, as they thought the computer being online was a long distance charge, which it wasn’t. And even worse, after all was said and done, I never even got to post my entry/entries last night. Just an aborted attempt to upload it as well as an unsuccessful attempt to locate McLaughlin.

I feel really bad about this McLaughlin thing. We never got to see him, and it doesn’t look like we will now, as we head to San Francisco, with the smoggy skies of L.A. to our backs. We were originally supposed to hang with him the Thursday night we were in San Diego. Didn’t work, he wasn’t in town. So we decided to meet in the Santa Barbara, or just “somewhere north of L.A.” area last night. No dice. Ben and I lost reception around dinner and Tim’s cell was almost dead, and on Roam. But we did call him to let him know that while we were slightly more North than we had planned that we still wanted to do something. But as of right now, almost 2:30 on Saturday, we still have no word from The Artist Formally Known As Spleen.

2:32 p.m. – So Hearst Castle and San Simeon itself was incredible. Especially for Citizen Kane and general American History geeks like Tim and me. We took tons of pictures and if there was one place (other than the paradisitic Morro Bay) that I need to make a return trip to it’s the Hearst Castle. I think my Dad would really love it too. I’ll say this much about the castle, and the staff. They no like Citizen Kane. And I guess that’s understandable (to a degree). But these people STILL resent what Orson Welles did.in making the greatest film of all time. I actually asked if they had ever shown the film in the Hearst Castle private theater. That made me lose any points I had gained from answering the Popeye trivia question they asked. I’m not going to try to describe the Castle in words and instead will just end up posting some photos we took when they’re developed. Every single inch of the estate is breathtaking.

2:37 p.m. – We’re in Big Sur now, and if we don’t stop soon I’m gonna vomit all over my shoes. We have been taking hard turns for over an hour now and my stomach feels like it is in my head. Of course, typing isn’t making it better. I gonna stop for a bit.

3:05 p.m. – Bixby Bridge. Hot dog is this place cool. That’s right – HOT DOG. Tim insists it was named after the Hulk. I tend to disagree. We’ve gotta be 500 feet up from the Ocean and the cliffs and the water look so amazing. And the bridge is quite an engineering feat that Ben is snappin many photos of as I type this. Hear’s the rough spot: My feet. The castle tour seems to have reopened my Achilles tendon wounds from Vegas. Serious pain here. Like, I need painkillers kind of pain. I am sloshing in blood. Ok, maybe not sloshing, but the blood is back in town. It hurts to even LIFT my feet. Tim says the plane ride will “cure that up”, referring to the bloody stumpaculars that are my feet. Somewhere, Fred is laughing. . .and crying. And because my feet hurt so bad, I couldn’t travel far enough off the Bixby Path to pee (like Ben, with his charcoal feet could do). And God do I have to pee. As beautiful as Rt. 1 is, I am getting tired of it. I actually would welcome some civilization. I can feel the blood on my foot. I don’t want to work on Monday. Work is smelly, fat, and gross.

3:20 p.m. – A girl never would have been able to make this trip with us. There’d be tampon wrappers everywhere. I just read that last part out loud and Ben and Tim said unless I wanted to lose some friends then I better delete it. Please Clyde, and let Kate and Brooke down? They EXPECT me to act like a 7th Grader, and by God, I’m gonna deliver!

3:30 p.m. – So car sick. So bloody. Still hating Cedar City. Man, I can’t believe the trip is over tomorrow. Tim’s “Check Engine” light has lit up and we are slightly worried. Well, Tim is more than SLIGHTLY worried about it. I mean, we ARE being powered by a baboon heart. And with a little over 100 miles to San Francisco, I guess there is reason to be worried. Monterey is coming up next, and then Santa Cruz a while after that. I need to rest. I feel sick.

3:40 p.m. – Something needs to be said about the stereo. I think I’ve done a REMARKABLE job about not being snitty, snobby, bitchy, and an overall cock ass about the CD’s that go in and who picks what. We all have pretty similar tastes, with individual offshoots in taste. BUT, on this whole fucking trip I honestly have picked about FIVE CD’s out of 60. Do I like most of the stuff that Ben and Tim pick? Yes. BUT, when there’s a CD in that wasn’t picked by, let’s call him Kim, he has no problem just skipping over songs he doesn’t likes, and when he plays the CD’s he picks, he will sometimes let them run all the way through. Twice. Ugh. I mean, it’s not like I’m having to deal with hardcore rap or country here, so it’s not that bad – wait, here, I’m gonna get the exact figure on the CD tally. Zach: 9, Ben: 27, Tim: 34 (not counting when a CD gets played twice in a row). I’m really not that annoyed by it, but when you sit in the back of the car for so long while Tim and Ben play the Who Can Tan Their ‘Window Arm’ Faster Game, and your only companion is the hated Mauston, you tend to live and die by the music. And yes, while I am sure that if it were MY car (ha, ha peanut gallery) I would lean on my music a lot, I think I still would’ve made it more democratic. Hell, I made three mixes specifically for the trip and the first one went over so poorly I never even brought out the others. Oh - cry for me. I think I’m just tired. And my knees hurt. Have I mentioned my knees hurt? Whatever. Just ignore this whole paragraph. I am just being bitchy and cranky. My two specialties. So put that in your corn cob pipe and smee-oke it.

3:45 p.m. – Well fuck me up the goat ass. We just pulled up to the Jamba Juice in Monterey.

4:00 p.m. – On to Santa Cruz. I must give Jamba Juice high marks. Very high marks. I got the Penya Koalada. I couldn't even taste the Koala! Mmmm. . . Koala.

*And then when happened?

Well, we got to San Francisco. Finally. All though we didn’t technically GET to San Francisco as much as meander around it until we had a small idea where the hell we were. We went to the Cliff House, which as an afficianado of all the old school (and I’m talking OLD OLD school) video games/parlor games from the Weirs, I really dug this place. It was mostly filled with old wooden games and manual newsreels from the early 1900’s. Very impressive. Ben and I were quite happy that Tim had the foresight to bring us here. Especially since it will be closed in September.

We tried desperately to take in the Golden Gate Bridge, but due to the foggiest day since that day we went crazy with the Fog Machine during Wizard of Oz, we couldn’t really even make out the water let alone a bridge. We did see some panther size raccoons. We also did all of this while I hobbled around like a drunken sea hag due to my feet turning in on themselves like the toxic black holes that they are.

We spent our last night in Oakland, at Tim’s friend Eric’s house. It was . . . interesting. Before I even got inside Eric’s place I answerd my ringing cell phone. Lo and behold it was McLaughlin! I apologized profusely to him aboiut what happened, but that sure didn’t stop his firey Brazilian girlfriend from giving me the business! We dined at the Crepevine (I couldn’t make that name up if I tried) and it was diVINE. I even had the El Paso! With red peppers! Me! El Paso! Red Peppers! My haven’t I grown during this trip! (ha, ha peanut gallery) I found myself having to bite my tongue more times than humanly healthy in Oakland, but in an attempt to not already further rock the boat more than I apparently had, the tongue stayed bitten. I think we were all exhausted and punchier than usual and when we put in Wet Hot American Summer even I succumbed to sleep. I was in and out.

There was packing in the morning, missing cameras, not-so-missing cameras, Ben and I getting selected to be searched in the airport, crazy men with flutes, etc. But none of it was really funny enough to write about. We got to watch Spider-Man on the way to Chicago. That made me happy. Chicago Midway was a longer delay that we had planned but we eventually got to Logan by a little after 12. Liz picked us up, after Kelly refused to (I. Couldn’t. Be. More. Kidding.) and we got the car in Brighton, and eventually got home to Dover right before 3. With a sleeping Jimbo on our couch to greet us. How sweet.

Now it’s the day before my birthday. I’m still a little tired. The swelling in my knees has gone down and my ankles are starting to scab over. (yum - scabs) I had an absolutely amazing fucking time on the trip. My only regret would be wearing dress shoes in Vegas. Well, and getting stuck in Cedar City, but that’s OBVIOUS. I hope my entries show how insane the trip was at times as well as how fun. I was writing about most of these things AS THEY HAPPENED, which was new for me, so there's definitey some bugs to work out. Hell, I haven't even had a chance to really edit/proofread any of them. I just sort of vomitted everything on to the keyboard. That's gross. Let me rephrase that. I just sort of puked everything on to the keyboard. I couldn’t have done it with anyone else other than Tim and Ben. We may have been at the end of our collective rope by San Fran, but Brooke and I would have killed each other by South Dakota, Fred and I wouldn’t have lasted when confronted by the poisonous snakes in Sioux Falls, Monique wouldn’t have made it out of the Dairylands of Wisconsin under her own power, Jimbo would have gone the “secret” way through Texas and we’d still be on the road today, and Peter? Well, Peter would’ve simply flew there. I am glad I went and I’d do it again in a second. Tim and Ben were excellent Road Trippers and I can only hope they enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed theirs.

[God, am I fuckin’ done now? It’s like writing a fucking eulogy, not to mention what a sapfest that started to turn into and . . .what? It is? I am? Oh crap.]

Tomorrow: SOMEONE’S BIRTHDAY!!!!

(Someone = Me)

It’s been real,

Pee Pee Toilette

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