To Santa Cruz and Back

After a night morning of bowling in Seattle, Jason, Brock, and I started the long trip south. We made a stop in Portland and in Salem to pick up surfboards and supplies. We left Salem at about 5:30 PM and intended to drive through the night. At the time we didn’t know where we were going to go exactly. I was lobbying hard for Santa Cruz while Jason and Brock were stuck with the idea of going all the way to L.A. A fourth guy allied with me and my more sensible plan. We stopped at a Jack in the Box around 9 for dinner. Apparently we just missed their Christmas party. The cashier was creepily helpful and interested in us. He even gave us some cake they had left over from the party. He also invited us to join him on his smoke break. We declined.

On into the late hours of the night we debated what our destination should be. Jason and Brock were still adamant about getting to L.A., and I think this freaked out the fourth guy. So he asked to be dropped off at his brother’s in Vacaville. Vacaville was my home town, while my dad was stationed at Travis A.F.B. Interestingly, the fourth guy didn’t live too far from my old house, so we looked around for it. It was a dark and foggy night, so it was difficult to read signs. It didn’t help that Vacaville has completely changed since I was last there. Nearly all the landmarks I had remembered were gone, but after consulting a map in an AM/PM we found the old house. So, at 2:30 AM I was snapping photos of my old house, which had been re-painted with Sissy Yellow. We sped off before the neighbors thought we were casing the joint.

By this time my powers of persuasion and logic had convinced Jason and Brock to go to Santa Cruz. So we took I-80 to San Francisco, and then took 101 down to Santa Cruz. We rolled into town at about 6 AM. My old roomie was visiting his in-laws in Santa Cruz. He had invited us to stay with them, but we thought calling them at that awful hour would have been a little rude. So, we spent the next half hour looking for a suitable “camping” spot for the next few hours. We finally found one and slept for a few hours. It was nice to sleep under the stars on a dirt road.

After a few hours of rest we called Chris and got directions to the in-laws. They live in a nice house way up in the hills to the southeast of Santa Cruz. After some french toast for breakfast and a little bit of chatting, we went out to find some waves for Jason, Brock, and Chris to ride. We eventually found some, so while the other guys surfed I chatted with Anna and her sister. It was very relaxing. The surfing was pretty crowded, and it was tough for my friends to get to the good waves. Apparently the locals are pretty territorial about the prime surfing spots. After five hours or so, we finally went back to our host’s place and had dinner. Later that night we went out with some of Anna’s friends and had some beers. I spent some time looking for a functional, non-disgusting toilet. I wasn’t very successful. I slept 12 hours that night.

The next day I took a shower outside buck naked. All the animals in the forest were quite impressed. We packed up and started heading north again. On the way we stopped to look at the coast some. Eventually, we made it to San Francisco around 5 in the evening. Jason, Brock, and I have visited many cities: Cabo San Lucas, New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Camden. Usually when visiting cities we just park the car and start walking around, and this time was no different. Eventually we found a neat Irish restaurant/pub where I had Guinness and beef soup and cottage pie. Then we tried to find a cigar bar that the clerk at the cigar store told us about. We found it quickly, but it was packed out so we decided to try to find another. We located a map of the city on a pay-to-use bathroom. I thought the bathroom was pretty cool, so I dropped in a quarter to open it up and use it. I wish I got a gumball instead. Unfortunately, the next cigar bar was at the other end of the city, but since we had time to kill we just started walking. About an hour and a half later (and a lady telling us she liked foursomes), we got to the address, which was deep in the Castro District, but there was no cigar bar. So, we turned around and walked back to the first cigar bar. There I enjoyed a nice Davidoff 2000 and Oban 14 year. The bartender turned out to be the owner, so instead of kicking us out when it was closing time he chatted us up. We were lucky and the guy was a genius. He told Brock exactly what to do with his medical career (plastic surgery or stem cell research). He gave Jason some pointers on how to be successful in the hotel business (hotel consulting), even though Jason hates his job. He also had this weird facial tic that instead of saying “um” or “uh” he’d flash a quick, toothy grin. It was creepy. I don’t think he liked lawyers because he didn’t give me any advice on how to be successful. Around 1 AM I got us out of there because I was afraid he and Jason were about to start something.

So, we got back on the road around 1:30 and headed towards the cold, dark North. Somewhere outside of Vacaville we ran out of gas, so we had to wait at a gas station for a couple of hours until it opened. By 5 AM we were gassed up and on the road again. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful: just three guys taking turns sleeping and driving. By 6 PM we were in Seattle, having dinner at Wendy’s.

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