Past trips: California – attempting to finish up the notes on the California trip (distant memories and scratchy mobile phone typing skills)

LA – Burbank – memory bit 1

It’s getting to a while ago now, that trip to California though I never did get round to ending that bit of brain dumping before the space was entirely formatted to make room for nothing that I can inmedidley identify.

Long Island ice tea or some sort of variant upon it, that much I do remember having along with my dinner. The plastic friendliness of the waiter was slightly less and the food though I have no recollection of what it was, was decent.

The Long Island ice tea relative was pretty good and after a couple there was bit of a base layer. We’d attempted a look at what looked like a prospective place of life and populous on our pre-dinner rounds, doing a recon mission just behind it boarders. Whatever it was was up some stairs and that’s about where I had gotten to, enough to hear the unwelcoming hollow echo of a none frequented upstairs. With such unsuccessful memories of our first circuit of the town centre in mind Mitch took up his third or forth favourite thing and began to enquire about local places with the nearest service sector person he could find.

For it is well understood and known in the small circle of familiars that it is the serving up of food or the standing behind of bars than can most entice Mitch, though being by most standards relatively withdrawn and passive in such matters a brief bought of conversation is about the level to which this will generally evidence itself to the world.

This was a male service sector person, who I believe had been doing something on the military previously – so his interest was simply in some generally unnecessary verbal exchanges that resulted in Us getting to know some barest minimum things about a chap we shall almost certainly never come upon again and which can’t be transferred as learnings to any boarder world experiences… These then are the types of things you get to know and clog up limited memory space with, when one of your number feels the need to share and insight back a form of polite acknowledgment response sharing.

He did mention some bars one of which seemed like we probably had missed it on our earlier circuit, somewhere additional to see if it contained the trace elements of life. With that information successfully gleaned and tucked under our arms it was time to head on out, to see what we might see in the night hours in Burbank.

LA – Burbank – memory bit 2

It was not immediately findable this other bar, the others all congregated around two central squares, this as yet undiscovered one had snuck of and located itself on the corner one further horizontal or vertical (depending on ones perspective) street down, not part of the generally accepted huddle.

The karaoke here, for while it was well populated, it was a theme bar from that seemingly much mourned 50s / 60s time of happy days and today it was having its karaoke time, was not up to San Francisco next top pop star standards, remained superior to what is customarily inflicted back home.

If memory serves this place had pints and with all the general to-ing and fro-ing time passed well enough. Groups were clearly in mini competitions with their friends as one got up after another and again sole seemed to put the performance first steering clear of the the types of beverages that would be the very rational for most Brits to be frequenting such a place. Soft drinks are after all for the designated deliver and there should be at least 4 or 5 others for each of these.

The evening had passed into night some time ago, it was enjoyable enough, relaxing, in a diverting but basically uneventful sort of way, until eventually it seemed to make more sense to begin the stretched out largely straight meander back to the safari inn .. Or whatever it was called – shall surely be reminded when it comes time to rifle about in the accompanying photos.

Bar Burbank SportsSafari Inn Burbank

LA – memory bit 3

This was our one full remaining day in the USA and the question, which at some no longer recalled point was answered, what to do with it?

We had our car but hearing bad things about central LA or for whatever other reason, perhaps simply wishing to try for ourselves the U.S. Interpretation of a public service, we opted to head for the train station instead. For that was the day’s intent, to pay a visit to Central LA.

It was quite hot out and although we arrived rushing at the station with only moments to go until the departure time, the train did not.
We could have dumped our tickets and headed back to the car but it was a 15 min walk and the talk was of a 30 min delay. Talk was wrong, the more local people who shared the platform were scarce and though few trains came or went in either direction it became clear from the utterances being expressed that this challenge of operating a functional train service was not an uncommon one in these parts. Disgruntled persons melijgered and we waited it out, regretting not have more swiftly returned for our car because clearly that what people around here are meant to do – take to the overly congested road system and soak it up.
You could argue that the train did eventually come or you could suggest that intact it never arrived and that what we all eventually got onto was in fact the next scheduled service, that had been due to run anyway that considerable time later.

Burbank Train Staion

It was so so very hot, the train had been a pleasant temperature controlled escape but now it really was quite something. My brain could barely cope with or without none to fashion statement hat shade, I could feel the heat melting things upon which I felt myself generally reliant. Water, shade

At a cross roads we stood opposite a palatial great monument of a building in opulent splendor that transpires to be the police hq, not quite the prefabricated relic of glorified shed more customarily seen scaring towns throughout the UK with its 50/60s blight. To our right a road ran alongside, shopping trot after shopping trolley some forming an upright support to s modest test of unpleasant looking materials, a vast unedifying row of destitution and homelessness, a mini shanty town before the glass towers that were soon to commence before us.

LA Homeless Homelss Street Trollys LA LA Police HQ

You could hope that with a fresh start and so much knowledge of our mistakes, that the new world would have been somehow more than what it left behind. Instead the extent to which its stuck in a modern incarnation our past, a dismally disappointing retrograde step, rendering it at best perhaps as a glaring warning to us all, of what can be allowed to happen if you learn only how to do wrong from the wrongs that are done to you. It is not the sight of such warped priorities that is the warning, those can be seen in part wherever you go, it’s not even the unabashed extremes in which it displays itself, it’s the apparent devotion to it all, a blight of the mind with no sign of fading into time. It’s kind of a tragedy for all of us, though less selfishly it’s a more present and less abstract one for the people whose trollies lined that street.

Meanwhile my head was embarking upon an attempted tail spin, lightly steamed and loosing traction with itself and things in general. Never have been wholly stunned to the hotter climate leaving my brain captain looking and trying to wrestl back control from assorted members of his crew who overcome had either downed tools and started running around in circles or were at there post cackling manically to themselves.

We found an underpass, it was shady, cool and had a shop which had among its available produce assorted options of bottled water, most gratefully purchased.

Still we were exploring the city on foot, conducting the now quite familiar exploratory circuit but on the full glare of the midday sun, it went somewhat easier with those bottles, melting was a more gradual process but it was a process beneath the high glassy buildings of the somewhat sterile streets.

LA City Center LA Square Building LA Street Towers LA Sky Scrapper LA City Center Sky Scrapper 10653389_10154619728030010_2880133449361569545_n LA Train Station

After training it back I rather imagine I took once more to the pool, what with the temperatures and all.

As evening fell we headed of to the much recommended universal studios walk way – neither of us could muster the beginnings of an understanding for why anyone would ever recommend a person to venture to these parts. A cheap sort of open air shopping center consisting only of those stores that you would never normally or now venture toward.

There was the large universal globe spinning, we took photos of that because we were here and left.
This is going to sound terribly grouchy but we then headed for Hollywood boulevard, because we were here and it seemed like a logical thing to see while we were here. Finding a space was challenge and by then it was dark, the area was properly grim, unclean and aside from some stars embedded in the paving with which to play spot the name of someone famous, there was truly little to see. We took a picture of one those more famous stars that we happened upon, never saw the Harrison ford one and returned to our car.

Universal Studios LA Unvivesal Studios Globe LA Hollywood Audey Hepburn Star

Getting out of there proved tricky and the return to Burbank, defeated in our aim to find an alternative place of interest to eat and take in the evening, took some time. Late for dinner we dumped the car in a side road close to Burbank center, saving some precious walking time and went to seek out something that met our standards, something that was still serving.

We ended up at a Chinese, I like Thai, I like Japanese, Korean, i like many of these countries foods very much indeed. This was a Chinese restaurant, carefully chosen through the merit of being all but next door to our initial choice who had welcomed us in but then confessed to having supply issues with any number of the theoretically available dishes on their menu.

Still we’d gotten about and seen the sorts of things that ought to be worth taking in, the fact that they weren’t was almost secondary.

What to do after dinner was a problem, the options there were, had been fairly much explored yesterday and now we could repeat or not, if not then what?

We dillied and dalied about the place, one foot in one foot out and turn it all about, eventually returning to the place we’d turned out back on the day before, the place with the echoing upstairs, today the only place with a semblance of life about it.

Upstairs a tribute band that had barley escaped the 80s, but suffering overly from Stockholm syndrome had opted to take a great deal of it with them, they were offering up some of their once favourites now one might suspect painfully familiars. For all that they weren’t bad. Getting served at the bar that was the primary issue.

It was uneventful or if there was an event then it was the sort that has subsequently faded.

LA – last day memory bit

On the last day the flight was not until the early evening so there remained much of a day at our disposal.
We took to the car and drove off, first toward the Hollywood sign, the roads were not really overly sign posted and grew into quite narrow mountain side tracks.
Unclear on how close the road got to the thing we would drive along and see where it took us, stopping of once briefly before deciding that if we followed it further we could surely get closer.

So it was, though movies where people loiter or sit upon the signs, this was not, up up there upon a hill there were letters – that is all.
We passed a bunch of congregating people and headed on, perhaps there was a better view of a footpath that bent up to get a person closer.

As we stood taking the look we are here photos two others materialised and wondered up to us, they were young and with an accent that I couldn’t immediately be place. I think they wanted us to take their photos before the famous sign.
It transpired they were German as we transpired to not be American either, one was here to do an internship with a politician somewhere up the coast -around where we’d been earlier in the week and would be out here for a while yet. There is something pleasantly direct often about the Germans a thug about their apparent cultural norm that makes a lot of sense to me.
To my mind the priority was seeing about potential path ways up, as pleasant as these two were the sense that there must be some sort of route up the hillside occupied thoughts, there was not, least not one that was located, merely some signs warning people that patrols were armed in these parts or something to that effect. And why not.

Hollywood Sign LA Hollywood Sign No Access Hollywood SignArmed Guard Sign LA

We now took a diverted route back to the coast, via Beverly Hills. It didn’t need a sign, suddenly and out of nothing the roads were pleasant, they had grass verges, the properties set back and looked like they had been build with more than the next 20 years in mind. The thing snot the place were the vivid lines of division and brazen stark contrasts, there was not doubt though, this was aesthetically at least a very nice place to be living. We weren’t stopping and drove on though, onward toward the coast.

This is where LA seemed at its best, mile upon mile of golden sand beeches accompanied by attractive little town/villages. If you wanted a beech holiday and didn’t mind a bit of flying then this was certainly a fine place to come.
Most of the time was spent in leisurely coastal driving though we did stop off briefly on a couple of occasions.

The destination end point at which we were to turn around was to be where we’d started, that first evening with ‘uv gawht it’ waiter and his not so substantially supported general utterances. When we got there or there about and wondered the pier, the realisation that this wasn’t half as nice as some the areas we’d passed through on route was not a hard one to stumble upon.
We took to the speeder highways and headed back toward the airport but first toward one of those pleasant little beech side areas that lay close o it. We would have out last hour or so and out pre flights meal intake there instead.

Long Beach Pier LAOne rather large burger later time was more than up, the car needed unfortunately (for I’d grown all together to attached to the oversized road blimp) to be returned, fuel filled and the game of guess the top amount played, then bus it back to the terminal and prepare for the Ryan air reject flight that would be the first leg of our return journey – this time via New York.

LA Beach Front Beach Front LA Large Burger LA


Arriving into New York we made our way as promptly as possible to our connecting gate…Mitch having studied the time and mentioned it was a close run thing … It was closed, no sign of anyone, we’d missed it.

So of to the United desk with us and a query of what next … Now this was both good news and somewhat oh I c news at the same time – our flight had not gone, it would not be going anywhere for some time, Mitch was very much on California time and had therefore come to a flawed conclusion on the nature of our situation.
There was time for sitting, time for breakfast (it was not the finest, scrambled eggs and bacon-esk offering in a transparent plastic receptacle contact- visually more appealing than digestivley) and pointless drifting wondering about circuits.

NY Airport Food

Then it was time to head home.


Past trips: California – Follow the straight and dry road – the savage world and its Taco Bells that loiter not in the shadows

Our experience of San Francisco was over, we left as early as access to breakfast at the hotel would allow, so as to hopefully avoid any business rush hour traffic. The Jeep was parked up in the block next door, within one of the many multistorys with the erroneous priced advertisements but within very handy short distance.
We loaded up and headed off, once more at the mercy of the Sat-Nav and its occasionally unusual take upon the concept of point to point navigation.

Leaving San Fransisco never easy – it seemed – having past some familiar sights from the night before some time ago, things kept on going rather from there. Suburbs it seemed or something akin to Suburbs, either way about an hour past, largely unimpeded by any vast traffic build up and we didn’t seem to have left the place, most expansive.

Brown Ground California

Tree Landscape Brown Dry SpaceSan Francisco to LA The Dry and The Lake


The route we were taking back was quite different to the trip up, a direct and straight line through inland California, no stops were planned just to get ourselves back down to LA in as shorter order as we could, today was dedicated simply to that purpose.

The memorable bit of this journey centered around the main trench of straight upon which we found ourselves. About us there was mostly nothing, though surprisingly in certain patches things that looked like farms appeared, the landscape looked like it was verging on dessert and not particularly well disposed to offering lush vegetation and nutritional bounty, appearance must be deceptive as clearly something was growing among the dust.

The air con was on, windows being open was doing little other than letting the suns rays in unintentionally and a whole load of warm air with them, the air con was not exactly victorious either. It was warm out.
We stopped sometime after midday at the site of some sort of road side stop off place, it wasn’t a town, it didn’t appear to be near very much at all, so I think it was just that, a place for petrol and pause among the hot and the nothing.

Route 5 California Cars

Lorry By Route Five California Green Shouts Of Plant In the Dry California California Route Five Farming in the dry Route 5 CA Radio Temperature Shot Jeep Route Five CA Break Spot Route Five CA Break Spot 2

There were burritos on offer at the first place we wondered too, it was made up to look like an old western town a bit like you might see in such movies. Mitch in what clearly transpired to be something quite apart from infinite wisdom wanted to go an inspect the Taco Bell. No one should ever go and inspect a Taco Bell or least if they do they should go with one clear though in mind, do not eat the merchandise, never consume the merchandise. We did, that was a fine lesson harshly learnt – those were not beans, they didn’t taste like beans and the brown molten mess did not put me in mind of any sort of bean, at best a superheated bean by-product. I feel though this must be a thing known to all domestic dwellers of taco bell infested lands and is probably something that none domestics should be better apprised off upon arrival.

With my digestive systems and many of my senses stunned it was time to head on, the second part of the day, my turn to drive. It ought to be simple driving in straight line, its not and technically it is but it wasn’t, between the heat and the apparently unending hypnotic straightness of things the concentration has its wobbles. By now the cruise control was familiar and the idea of accelerating and slowing by pushing steering wheel adjacent buttons was a familiar, yet in equal measure, a still intriguing and peculiar approach and one I tended toward abandoning whenever other vehicles were in any kind of proximity. The gears though, they went quite untouched, that lesson it seemed had been learnt along with the Taco Bell, admittedly the second one, never tested but I feel fairly confident that something was learnt this day.

I cant say that I believe there was so very much else to recant about the days travels other they past in reasonably swift order and we arrived at our next stop, a hotel in Burbank LA, at the earliest juncture that we could have expected, late afternoon.
It wasn’t so much a hotel, again more a motel, a collection of rooms no more than two storeys high but it had a pool and it was nowhere near so late as to warrant not using it. Mitch went for a run in the not quite but still altogether very present, midday sun, I being somewhat and ever more all to about the limited excursions, went for a wallow.
We were not in central Burbank, as evening arrived and it became to venture out once more in pursuit of dinner it seemed we were about 20minutes or so away from central Burbank, though it was a simple straight one road walk to get back there. We did a customary lap and settled on a bar/restaurant that lay around the end of that lap. The center was quite small and closely wrapped, laid out like a digital figure eight..

Meanwhile in Zurich I’m attempting to watch some house series 7 – it seems like quite a weak series so far – watching in on the balcony while Grandfathers sleep, to a background of rain and the occasional departing and arriving flight, during such moments its best to pause the DVD, for the aging Fujitsu laptop it compete most poorly with such things and such things they come at relatively regular intervals, during which time I get to look out at the green, the grey and the wet, its still there.

Past trips: California, San Francisco and The Golden Gate Bridge

We’d wondered around the ocean front and as with many things on US maps, with their scales, it was further than immediate perceptions of the doodle had suggested. The further distance created by taking some faulty turns on the way toward the water had also had an effect.
We were about half way around, perhaps a little more, when the cartel pricing of the various cycle rental places was clear. By now we could have been cycling for some time having encountered the first ocean from hire place quite early on.

Having been no immediately drawn toward the premium tourist fund relinquishing bike hire schemes, with those earlier options, the later options now fell under that recently established common law not quite judgement but reticent pondering.   So we remained meandering along, options were running out, heading toward the end of the commercial town center part of the promenade.

Small ships were docked with members of their crews loudly and repeatedly alerting those who passed by as to their departure times. One was heading off, quite soon, on a trip out and past the bridge, Mitch seemed inclined we could after all get quite a good view from that sort of vantage point and with the price of the two cartel backed bikes, why not.

Occasionally I may be guilty of some degree of mental inflexibility and having had bikes in mind was open if not wholly persuaded by this boat idea, so without a vigorous sponsor to lead the case for the boats we mooched on, it was not late, we could always come back after all.

The assorted fish market stands & boat trip touting boats behind us we drifted up against the end of the commercial stretch.
The bike rentals weren’t done yet mind, perhaps we weren’t the first visitors to these shores to hatch such a plan.

There were not so many bikes left as a small bike place attendant popped up. They had all been most friendly, all the way along, I guess you’d have to be all those dithering tourists humming their uncertain holiday brain tunes about them all day. We didn’t know anything about all that.
This one though seemed less sales friendly somehow, more I like bikes and outdoor things so I’m doing this, it’s alright relaxed sort of friendly.
The price was also a bit better at this one, though it then transpired once inside, they didn’t actually have two of the cheaper bikes available anymore. It could have been a most cunning manoeuvre only it probably wasn’t, either way after unleashing the great countermeasure, befuddlement empowered procrastination, into proceedings it was settled.  We had one higher grade bike instead for the same price.

Somehow we also seemed to end up on some pay as you go style deal, which worked out fine, shed told us roughly how long the roundtrip tends to take, with the proviso that not all cycle speeds are equal and there were different places we could cycle to. If memory serves we’d pay for the hours we used up to the maximum of the 1/2 day and whatever that might be it would be less than the rather familiar standardised charges offered by all the others.
Cycle hire leaflet
The bikes came with little storage bags which was handy for things like cameras, the multitudes and their shares habits – while the more general clobber was left behind at the bike shop for retrieval at that unspecified juncture of our return.

Heading off, it was a broad well maintained path that bowed over hillocks and arout grasy parkland bits.San francisco dock housesIt was all going pretty well until really quite suddenly it wasn’t. It was warm out, there was a moderate incline and yes I was out of practice but this seemed unfounded, my stomach contracted and convulsed making every sign that it had intention to relinquish that which lay within.
After a brief period of chewing and further faltering effort I pulled up and went to crouch by a bush.. There was reaching but unproductive, this was odd and not really acceptable, there was no call for that sort of reaction.

I gave up on that idea and with the benefit of the break continued on to the top of the hill with one thing in mind, the nuclear strike remedy that was coke and its stomach nuking powers.

There was a tourist shop and refreshment store up there, near enough to where the bridge began, neither sold coke they had silver canned cola, full of organic wholesome things… Normally fair enough right now I doubted it’s capacity for destruction was up to the only artificial ingredients and sugar destroyer we all know so well, all trusty, red and corrosive.

Still it was chilled, sugary, water based and there. This the angelic white cola really did help, though there was no more hill to contend with and I did wonder if I had maybe sunk that low a little bit.
Golden Gate Bridge full viewGolden Gate Bridge head on viewSan Francisco golden gate bridge Tourist deeds must be done.
San Francisco bayPrison Alcatraz IslandSan Francisco BayGolden Gate Brige Rusty Coloured Tower

San Francisco Boats and Ocean ViewPacific Ocean San Francisco

San Francisco Distant View

Bay Area Golden Gate BridgeSea Lions Lime Point San Francisco Horse Shoe Bay Sea Lions

On the other side of the bridge and despite the great good done by the silver cola thought of coke remained very much at the forefront of hopes, aspirations and general thoughts for what might be.

Google Map Image Alexander Ave Sausalito Sausalito Alexander Ave Ocean View

Photos don’t seem to do gradient, a lesson from skiing holidays pasts and clearly just as applicable without the presence of snow, something about dimensions and its good to know that even the google has not mustered dominion over this particular law.


Defintion of word evil by googleThough to be fair to them, not the most narrow of restraints, “profoundly immoral and wicked”, profoundly .. it does leave a fair bit of scope for well quite the array.  On the other hand maybe they were going for the noun …. “when regarded as a supernatural force”  … ,great spell checker, much better than word with its mangled phonetics decoder – no clue how it recognises some of those offers, very impressive.    We were on bikes heading down the hill to Sausalito, it was not the most arduous of efforts, gravity was much in our favour, which was nice as we could spend quite a bit of time just skooshing along taking in the scenery.

As we came into town another shop appeared, a more traditional general sort of store, swinging around we came to a halt and took it in turns to venture in.  The need was not longer so great but i headed of to hunt down a drink, before eventually settling back on that familiar red label, a big old bottle it was too, i made off with it.

By the time Mitch had returned from his explorations within, much of the cola had been take care off, a uprising amount given the issue of absorbing such a frothy fizzing sweetness has somewhere found itself a home.

Past Trips – California & The Troublesome Breakfast [19]

We were aiming for bikes, a means to reach the Golden Gate Bridge and to fill up a reasonable chunk of a day.  First breakfast and we’d opted to go out, the hotel charged for its offering so why not see what else was about, the reception chap pointed us in the direction of some cafe diner places.

After wondering some way to the recommended cafe we found a very small and unfriendly waiter waiting for us.  Listening to this greeting the people on the table behind shared with us there view that they would not stay if spoken to that way… i was just rather hoping for breakfast to make its way in my direction at some point not too much more distant.  The menu was unusual, not that appealing and though running on morning speed a certain amount of thought had turned to exactly what that was all about and whether being spoken to quite like that was really ok – settling albeit belatedly on the conclusion it was not. This was a bit of a pain, breakfast being so tantalisingly possible, so minded toward being appreciated and the meander to get here so notably unshort.

The waitress who’d come along after and from whom, during that mental pause, we’d ordered drinks had been more then pleasant.  So with that in mind, i’d wondered in to cancel our order, it seemed better than just leaving.  I have no recollection of what this place was called, i think it had an odd modern sort of a name.. like not Lou’s or Chip’s Cafe more like Zero’s or Zinc … probably nether of these but orange.

The little waiter man appeared traveling at some speed, zipping in from around the corner, he almost collided with me, i scowled down past my shoulder at him a bit, well he had that air about him, either having a very bad start to the day or particularly ill suited to the service sector.  More accustomed to fopping and bumbling about in a Curtis caricature fashion, here i sought instead to channel my inner Guy Richie creation, i cant imagine it was overly successful, he was a very small chap mind and everything is perhaps, hopefully, relative.

Having approached the waitress i requested to cancel our drinks order and left.  We headed on, though by now Mitch needed a coffee so we didn’t get very far before stopping off, i had some sort of fresh iced tea, drinks were going round, it wasn’t cold out, so why not..

We ended up quite close to our hotel for the eventual diner of choice or rather convenience, it looked a little less modern and pretentious than the last one and while touristy in nature appeared similar to those we’d encountered years before in New York.

Lori's American Diner Sutter St

It was quite greasy but lacking in quality and flavour.. really not like the New York ones, the sausage was superior to the one on the United Flight, the percentage of play-dough that had gone into its creation was much reduced, fat, saw dust and salt had been brought in and the benefits were there in the eating.

Lori's American Diner San Francisco

Past Trips – California, A walk in San Francisco [17]

Before leaving Id herd more than once about how great San Francisco was and myself I had any seen that as the main visit of the trip, originally having it down as a three night stay, the longest of the trip.
Already I was feeling happy for the decision not to do that, Mitch already did not much care for San Francisco and while I was trying to keep an open mind, basically I felt the same way.

We’d driven through, parked, visited our hotel and walked up from the center to the golden gate park by this point and topography aside only one bit of road had seemed remotely pleasant or interesting with a Camden alternative vibe about it.

The park which had been very sympathetically covered in the guide books was most underwhelming. Yes it was probably an bit nicer than your average park but only a bit, the lake was more an over sized pond, shallow and green in appearance now a whole lot more than the murky goose turd offering in St Albans.
It was no Regent’s Park that was for sure and modestly concerning that it could earn such substantive billing in the guide books.

Mitch was up here for his daily running about, as he jogged off I sat myself down by the lake to deal with maps, bag and possibly food.
As I sat and rummaged a chap came flustering up to me, asking about whether Id seen a bag. He was a tourist, him and his fellow tourists had parked up only to return to find a back window smashed and a bag withdrawn, the bag he was now looking for. I believe he was hoping that were it’s not so valuable contents discovered then it might be discarded.
I had nor seen any dis guarded bags and apologised that Id been unable to help, offering some most un-useful sympathy for his circumstance.

More generally I was trying to work out what I might fit into the time between now and the approximate meeting time we’d agreed to meet back up, back at the hotel.
Back in New York walking the place made a big difference. After arriving in the dark, rain falling around the taxi to some not entirely flattering first impressions, it had been the walk down through the city to the financial district and back that had started to turn that around in what went on to be one of my favourite trips.

What a holiday spirit deflating experience that must have been, smashed window stolen bag – I headed off on my still largely to be defined walk. All I’d managed to decide is Id head across (North in actuality) from here so as not to repeat the route taken on the outbound leg.

There was the customary grid system in effect, least there was back here in the less Central more residential bit of the city. I fear I can’t claim to know exactly which I traveled down so in going to go with 18th & will check a map later to see if indeed the roads go by a numeric naming system and if so where abouts the 18th one can be found.

I left the park crossed the road and wondered the residential corridor known here as 18th.

Golden Gate Park Map

2 days later, attemp to continue them trip notes … 18th .. Revisiting the map .. actually in this area, go the probably still not entirety accurate memory

San Francisco residential road

Big old residential sprawl back here and a lot more pleasant, it reminded me of Mrs doubtfire scenes, not that that adds a lot to the experience but it was painting a more movie suitable scene.

Old bmw parked San francisco

White Fire hydrant

San Francisco town house

By the not so very long time later, when I reached the end of that particular vertical stretch, there seemed some fair time left and then there was the golden gste bridge. It was up this way somewhere, on the other side of a different park or hill or something, either way it wasn’t here. I wasn’t expecting it to be – I had the map / city plan – the question I had was do I see about trying to find it abit or apply good reason and head to something more like the center.

Thing was heading back presented little of interest and would leave me vacant time, while looking for the bridge seemed like an optimistic shot at fitting comfortably in between now and the meeting up time…. Pragmatism lost out as in retrospect it was always likely to, would have been disappointed with myself if I’d just seeped back without making an effort.
San Francisco trail map

There were park trails over this way with maps and occasional signs.  First there was another hill and a path into a golf course before dropping back down on the far side within a stretch of woodland.

There were a number of routes crossing and heading off in slightly different directions, I still had no particular plan but my reason for heading over had yet to be achieved, roads and trees all that had come into view.
Woodland golden gate trails

There was quite a big old road a little further down, concrete struts holding it aloft, not particularly attractive visual addition to the woodland foreground. In the background, the backish background in a not immedialty close way, objective sort of achieved, depending on how you define thingd… I could see it, or least s top sticking out bit of it.. Golden Gate Bridge through trees

Golden gate bridge distant view
Cameras and their zoom feature

Back here in the wonder pathways where people could wounded, cycle and jog near very streight and uneven residential streets my impression of the place had indeed improved, the residential appeal was understandable, it was quirky, the dirtyness had subsided & the properties were a fair old size, though how many occupancies wasn’t of course certain, whole franciscite families may occupy a sine room, sleeping in jenga inspiring piles, though they didn’t look like they were those kind of areas.

Golden Gate Bridge San francisco fullSan Francisco warehouse building

The route Id been on dissolved, a wrong turn perhaps or just a sudden sign gap into which there were choices, junctions, options or more simply different ways to go. I never reconnected with my original route, though having passed relatively high along the coastal ridge, on a road side, I also got a distant view of Alcatraz Island, visually it was reasonably clear though in an undetailed way, the camera really had to strain at its zoom to bring it in.Alcatraz Islandbiggish building near woods with flag - maybe a hotel

After the photographic bought I picked up the pace but struggled for a time to refind any trail, having resorted to wondering through an odd sort of estate with large colonial style buildings following roads not trails i was unable to find route Id previously been following.  Eventually i did stumble upon a new trail though the exact nature of its direction was not exactly how it might be, a noticeable slice of time had now elapsed and so  getting back over to the hotel had become very much the fixed target i had in mind, what energy remained was applied to retaining as much pace in the wondering as possible.  It was a most straight and gradient wise, generally upward heading trail.

Emerging back into residential San Francisco my sense of heading was compromised by not being where i had initially intended to emerge and equally being uncertain where exactly it was that i had emerged.

What i presume was a local, most tall chap, approached me as i gazed at my map, pointing out where i was and on explaining to where i was headed, providing a handy correction to the direction i was likely to have wondered off in.   He also explained that it was quite far and that buses could be found in the proximity to help with getting back, though a change or two would be needed.  With a mind to time and the news of distance i thought upon the buses as i thanked him and headed off with my course correction to help me.

I seemed to be reasonably high upon the crest of one of the cities larger rolling hills, stood upon the north-western side.  The view took in much of the city scape from up here, and there was mini-parklet which provided the requisite space to appreciate this view and despite the intentions to head back, to pause, take it in and capture some small snapshots within the camera.
Hilly Road San Francisco
Skyline San Francisco
Panorama View San Francisco
San Francisco City View

The route was a diagonal one from here, the city planners they didnt hold much with notions of matter none perpendicular, though they had chucked in a couple of cheeky exceptions to this rule, just to through a person of the scent of things. It was a step like journey of zigging and zagging, with half an eye on California Street.. for their according to the map where the cable cars, the ones from the films, as yet unseen but with the opportunity to encounter them on route …
San Francisco Cable CarCable Car On A Hill San Francisco

I was not on time, hadn’t been for some time, my face was almost certainly a little pink with the lack of natural of fitness currently allowed to shroud all efforts and the lack of close proximity that the hotel had opted for. Progress was alright though, it wasn’t that far, not bus requiring far, giving up and getting a lift sort of distance. Eventually a more familiar feel to the surrounds emerged about me, the streets lined with that bit more grimmyness and that unbridled poverty that was the detritus in this forest of high rises.

Past Trips – California San Francisco Golden Gate Park [16]

hotel bijou Mason St CA

san francisco Hotel Bijou

Drug Dealing Corner San Francisco

Street Life People San Francisco

San Francisco Crew Hangout
Like a room with an aquarium only less gills and a bit less diverting
Room With A Sort Of Familiar Scent .. Smells A Bit Like My Scottish Grans  Used To .. Not Sure What It is But Memory Smell Link Right There
Room With A Sort Of Familiar Scent .. Smells A Bit Like My Scottish Grans Used To .. Not Sure What It is But Memory Smell Link Right There
San Francisco Dome Building
Heading Out

San Francisco tram

San Francisco Bus Cables

Trolley Bus San Francisco

Pub Irish US San Francisco

San Francisco Town Houses

Gradient San Francisco Houses

Route Map San Francisco
Excursion Wonder

San Francisco Road

Golden Gate Park View

Golden Gate Park Entrame
Golden Gate Park Map

Golden Gate Park Ariel View
Pilfered – Didn’t Quite Achieve This Perspective

Golden Gate Park CA San Francisco
Playing Field Golden Gate Park

Homeless Sleeping Golden Gate Park

Roots Golden Gate Park Tree San Francisco

Past Trips – California San Francisco Via Santa Cruz [15]

Either the Jeep was proving a lot more fuel efficient than expected or it had one big big old fuel tank. There was still plenty of fuel but it had now depleted to the point that it seemed to worth topping up.

There was a challenge thrown in our way, one we’d noticed days before and though we’d tried to, proven to be unable to get an answer. What was that fuel it was wanting, the sticker on the fuel cap requesting a very particular sort of food.. At home its all remarkably clear… Diesel, Unleaded, Electric… Black, Green, Not a liquid … This was a very specific number that had been strapped to the jeep and that number had at precisely none of the petrol stations on the route so far.

Cant remember who it was, in this mini-play/barley a scene, plot free moment, there was the friendly Californian lady who was filling up next to us and the less probable bemused faces of the petrol stations shop attendants. These were the other people who i wound up speaking to here at one point or another and from those discussions emanated the view that this was a Texan fuel, not available in California but all together quite similar to others which were… so we should just top up with that.

As for payment, well that was bizarre, you pay before you fuel up and there’s no pay at pump what so ever… so you have to guess at what amount of fuel you might need… only … and this seems to not be a purely UK thing, but the price of fuel kind of fluctuates so how, even if you know your vehicle in a way that we didn’t, how do you work out what amount of fuel you need? … we were perplexed time and time again by again when it came to fueling time, over and over again the same vastly impractical practice was the norm.
We took a punt on the amount of money that represented the now missing fuel in our tank and headed back in to pay this. Never answered was the rational for this, no time saving, no advantage seemed evident other than perhaps preventing people from fueling up and driving off without paying but how often does that really happen – a most unnecessarily unhelpful practice it is.

Petrol Station Doughnut Advert Seven ElevenSanta Cruz Coast Side

Santa Cruz Arcade Amusement Park
Not exactly Disney Land .. not been there but if this were the size of it then you’d have to really take your hat off to their marketing department .. that or the people in their fine well padded cartoon character inspired summer suits, being burnt from the inside by the embers of their once aspiring actorial ambitions and their floats were quite the game changer that they in no way appear to be.

It had a shut sort of look about it, the coastal amusement arcade and theme park, their was a roller coaster among other rides but they were very dormant. Once, not so very long ago something had been going on here, there was a concert stage out on the beach which appeared to be in the process of being disassembled.

Santa Cruz Beach Santa Cruz Concert Stage Santa Cruz Beach Concert Stage
Santa Cruz Pier

We headed down the beach to seek out something that was open and came complete with beverages and toilet facilities.
Up toward the pier, having stopped off we turned back. Up here there was a collection of locals who seemed to either homeless or otherwise economically significantly disadvantaged, they decided to pose for photos.

Santa Cruz Beach People

Beach Volley Ball Santa Cruz

We headed back to the car via the amusement arcade to move on, it wasn’t the longest stint ahead of us but we’d exhausted the opportunities to pass the time here.

San Francisco Monterey Route Map

Santa Cruz Pier

Santa Cruz Light House

Pacific Coast Cliff And WavesSand Beaches California Route One

California Route One Beach

Surfer Surfing California

Flock of Birds

Coastal View Pacific Route One

Light House

Route One California Light HousePacific Coast Beach

White Sandy Beach

Jeep Cherokee On Route One

Between the relatively short driving day that today looked like being and Mitch’s disinclination for big city driving, as established with London, (i have no idea which of these it was) the driving was swapped over much to my satisfaction… it makes little sense, the scenery is amazing and you can appreciate far more readily as the passenger, yet i enjoyed the experience all the more when driving.

San Francisco Double Decker Fly Over
Arriving in San Francisco

San Francisco Driving

Past Trips – California – Monterey Bay [14]

By the time of leaving the hotel it was darkish out, we’d not arrived so early and since then it had gotten later.  It seems to be the way of things.

We did however witness a bus, at the crossroads down the road it was spotted, it wasn’t headed our way, it was only crossing this road but it answered one question these bus stops did come with buses and at least some of those buses were on the move on Sunday’s.

We headed off, I don’t like to wait and see and so we headed off.  Not long after we came across a bus station, not a bus stop, a multi-stop big old junction spot.  A person was sat on one of the benches, she gave us her bus time table we stood unfamiliar and gawping about.  This lady seemed to be a person who’s had very little, hopefully not too at home on the bench but seemed rather comfortably present there.  There was to be a bus into Monterey.

Monterey At night

What we found in Monterey was a few things – it was dark – there were people touting  clam chowder down at the pier (where we wound up), I’d heard of clam chouder, I didn’t know what clam chowder was exactly, my desire to find out was not sufficient, existent, to see today becoming the day when such discoveries would be made.

There were noises along the pier, rumbles from beyond the tourist enticing lights of restaurants.  Sea lions it transpired slept here, we found them by following the noises, there in the lower tiers of the wooden pier where the smells dwelt, I lent over to see what I could see & photo it, the odor rose up to greet me..

Sea lions pier

Pier Monterey sealion
Minty fresh

Pier at night Monterey

We headed back into the town center for dinner locating.
Monterey Bay town at night

The thick and fish byproduct rich airs the wafted up had little on what was to come. I ought to have known better – There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again. Vegan food had lulled me with talk chickpeas and curry, two fine things which was no reason to believe that two great could combine to such unpleasant effect. So on that occasion it fooled me into ordering quite the most unpleasant thing, now it was about to successfully pull it of for a second time.
I had my doubts, I had my memory but id said yes to the idea before the word vegan had come up – cheese cake dessert after dinner, only made with cashew nuts.. Too late the words no cheese vegan came up too late, nkw there was only hope… Hope for no repeats.

It was not to be, it was like a bit of damp chalk, doused in fruits of the forest tea, offering the promise of a scent anything but met in the taste. It was not really edible, least not as a dessert a part of the meal designed not to fill but as a tasty treat – not so much.Cheese cake vegan

I struggle to believe it’s impossible to make a palatable dish due it’s being virtuously bereft of any animal sourced produce. So it can only be that either; these were two bouts of misfortune or that vegan types hate food and are busy weening themselves off it through aversion therapy.. The second of these for sure.

 Monterey Bar / Pub
Quiet village sports bar/pub for local people … maybe not

There were places to go, they were just not very good, or perhaps it was Monday and Monday wasn’t a night to be out and about in Monterey in places that at any other time would be improbably kicking and interesting. With little in the way of places that were interesting to go, there was one high volume metal loudness bar, perhaps interesting but not sufficiently enticing. We headed back to locate the heading back bus stop and find out about its heading back times.
With Monterey having been pleasant enough but fairly swiftly exhausted in the dark, the day been truly well spent heading gradually up the coast.

 Monterey Bay

On the buses California
Some Rather Fine Trousers Arrive

Ramada Marina Hotel Monterey

Past Trips – California – Route one to Monterey Bay [13]

Route one Pacific Coast view Pacific Ocean blue Coast route one California big sur Pacific coastBig sur California bridge Route one bridge California big surSomething in the water maybe On the map this was probably a shorter stretch but somewhere between all the corners, stopping off, looking around and even more moderated speeds it had a way of lasting. When the brown cliffs no longer ran along the passengers side and more normal road style service resumed it was somewhat of a disappointment. We were not yet at Monterey and wouldn’t be for some time. We’d learnt something more about the jeep by this time, it’s sat nav was more obstinate than it was solid in its judgement, with a propensity for some unusual route selection. The main road, the one we were on seemed to run very close to our destination hotel and still all of a sudden we were being instructed to leave this free flowing bit of highway to take an alternative course. Obeying we were soon back on a curly narrow, hill climbing road / track, it was a road just not a very big one. I had little to no objection to this, it looked more interesting, but Mitch was not a believer. We pulled over and zoomed the map out, who knows what it was up too, a big gnarly loop over the top of some hills that would drop us back down where that larger straighter road, the one we’d recently exited, was soon to be getting too. U-turn. The sat nav did not take disobedience in its stride and continued to demand adherence to its hill plan to appoint beyond the reach of reason and even when it did get over that it was enticed by every exit regardless of its proximity to our destination. We were staying at a Ramada hotel not in central, down town, Monterey.  Eventually pulling in there as evening set about falling, either that or it had gotten more overcast again, either way by recollection it was neither so bright or warm out and came at the end of a reasonably long, if paced out, driving day. Ramada Marina Monterey – with Lillywood’s co-artist on the reception as we arrived, got a key and headed up to the room.

A lack of ingredients around the coffee / warm beverage making equipment saw Mitch head back down for a further encounter.

I prefer to avoid dealing with such things while away most disruptive to the calm & having been made a little bit of a shield or guard lama by my bosses over the years I prefer to steer away from such things on holiday, who wouldn’t.  That doesn’t always work out for me, this was such a time as Mitch returned flush with no creamer and an air that suggested he’d now had enough of dealing with the reception chap.

My turn, mostly it’s become easy now not an admirable trait but as I headed down on the lift the mindset fell over me, the doors opened and my eyes fixed on the unnamed reception desk.  Eventually after some ringing for service he re-materialised.  With politeness veneered over the prepared mindset beneath I set to requesting those items which were not in room based abundance / absent.  So odd, now most helpfully and with reasonable good cheer he walked me into the breakfast hall and proceeded to produce handfuls of stuff … Relief, demilitarise the mental mode, thanked him happily and got to take my holiday brain back upstairs along with valuable hot beverage powders.

Like a pet I’ve had one of my deepest character traits contorted to serve a purpose.  As a child I got into fights, quite a bit, a young child pre-teens, mostly not for me, usually if someone was picking on a friend or being racially untoward – like some zealous sheep dog warding of planes that fly overhead.. Well you never quite know with planes.  
According to Harry in an overly sweeping and improbable comment some years ago, which was not targeted at myself, we are forever who we were in the playground. I don’t really believe it, though for much of it, i cant deny it rings a fair amount of true. Today, work has taken that trait and given it another forum for it to contort into, in younger days it was a trait that on balance i looked on with reasonable regard for those days. Yet now and specifically here, with its revised form, Id really rather not.
This was a most welcome outcome.

hotel ramada marina Monterey
Do you have a flag?

Past Trips – California – Big Sur [12]

The latter part of the day, route one and route one was back right by the coasts side, it was that part of the day, i was driving and though i wont do it justice here it was amazing.
The car radio blurted out various chipper pop songs, some familiar, some not and a bunch of other stuff that filled the background, while the road had narrowed up and pealed around cliff tops and coast lines. Everything to our left was blue, blue skies, blue water in great expanse.

If work is a bit shit or other things of minor inconvenience absorb you back home then in such places at such times they cant stretch out to these places. I’d been looking forward to this part of the day, been selfishly hoping to be driving this part and imagining what it might be like, dodgy ground for often inflated expectation have no place to go but to find reality unable to exceed to such demands. Not today.

Route 1 Road Pacific Side

Road and Cliff Top View Pacific Ocean

Cliff Top Route One California

Route 1 California Sea SideCalifornia Route 1

Jeep Route One

California Flying Bird

Flying Bird California

Pacific Ocean California

Pacific Ocean Route One

We stopped off more frequently along this stretch. A wooded bit allowed us to leave the car with the shade, others had parked up, dumping their vehicles along the the side of the road, which also flagged up the notion that this might be a place to be stopping off.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Sign
Cove And Ocean

Big Sur Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean Cove Big Sur

There wasn’t a great variety of things to see here but what there was looked like it came straight out of some sort of pirate movie.

Along the road Mitch in his role as the person with little to do / radio operator, noticed people were not only stopped but that they were peering intently out to sea. We stopped swiftly our interest peaked.

There was something out there, the intent filled eyes of the onlookers, the occasional puffs of water vapor, we were convinced but unsighted and moved on, even me with my one driving eye had the other trained out to sea, which probably had Mitch a tad unnerved as the mighty Jeep ploughes around rather tightly woven cliff edge corners….any on comers, hello …. We stopped, we stopped some more

Whate and Vapoir Plume Big Sur

Big Sur Whale Big Sur

Big Sur Pacific Ocean Whales
Pacific Big Sur Whale

Close To Shore Whale
Not A Rock – Emerging From The Water

Whale Big Sur

Whale California

I know nothing about whales, so i have no clue what was popping up from the deep, but it wasn’t a fish, they don’t pop up, they have no toast like instincts. So they were mammal types and being found all to close to shore to be of the largest, yet they weren’t small, not if they could initially be mis-perceived as rocky peaks protruding from the depth. In Iceland that spring i’d been on a boat in apparently whale rich waters with the distinct purpose of seeing something big and whale like for the first time, nothing, a whole lot of deep dark sea and some moments of porpoise emergence apparently.. these went quite unseen as well.. something once showed us its back in the waves, but it submerged quite swiftly.

We kept stopping, that wondering ocean inspecting eye continuing its efforts to spot something out there. That though was the closest encounter and though largely through a zoomed lens, it was quite the thing.