So-Cal: Old friends and good times

Next on the list for my trip was Southern California.  I had some extra time before I met up with a friend to head to Southern Utah, and I was fortunate to meet up with several old friends whom had settle in various regions of So-Cal.  

On my south I was able to meet up with a friend from high school in San Cruz for lunch.  Lindsay had just returned from an extended stay in South America with her husband and son (whom is a deadly Uno Player!).  We met up at a great little place called the Crow's Nest (amazing bloody marys!) which was right on the water.  We exchanged travel stories and talked at length about places we’ve been, it was fantastic.  It was great ot see Lindsay again, and meet her wonderful family.  I left having had gained a lot more ideas of places I want to go and see.

Travis, Kevin & I

Travis, Kevin & I

After Santa Cruz I headed out into the desert to meet an old fellow bartender from Rochester who had settled just south of Fresno with his wife.  These people must live to host.  I arrived to cold beer, good wine (old vine Zin = my fav), a full bedroom and bath to myself, a huge spread of appetizers, and one of the biggest Ahi tuna steaks I've ever seen.  The hospitality was amazing.  The next day a mutual friend of ours, Travis, took the train out from LA and surprised Kevin with a visit.  The evening was rounded out with good pizza, beers, and far too much Jameson.  Damn good times.

The next day Travis and I headed back to LA for a little Tomfoolery.  LA is not somewhere I think I could live however; I always have a lot of fun when I visit, and this time was no different.  We hit up several places that evening including EMC Seafood & Raw Bar which had some of the best seafood, oysters, and cocktails I’ve had in a while.  The next day we had planned on going to Six Flags however due to the 100+ degree heat and our epic hangovers we decided against it. Standing in lines in sauna-like heat while fighting off the urge to effuse the prior evening’s excess (vomit) did not sound like a great idea, in fact it seemed like a fucking horrible idea.  Thankfully we opted to check out some museums and sights of LA LA land.

Bust of MR. Dean at the Griffith Observatory

Bust of MR. Dean at the Griffith Observatory

We started at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) which was currently running the Steve McQueen exhibition.  Being a big fan of Bullitt, I was actually looking forward to it.  Holy shit was I disappointed.  The exhibit was two rooms.  The first room had about a dozen pictures of shitty rolled up rugs in the streets of Paris.  The second room contained a large projection screen showing a video that was literally spinning in circles, it made me want to wretch even more than I already did.  Seriously, how is the hell is this considered ‘art’?  Good thing it was free or I might have gone off on the curator.  After MOCA we drove up to check out the Griffith Observatory.  Now when I say ‘drive’ I mean that in LA terms, which essentially means either you have the gas all the way to the floor or the brake all the way to the floor.  Who needs a fucking roller coaster when you can haul ass through LA at break neck speeds?  I pretty much stared out the window and hoped I didn’t die.  Griffith Observatory was really cool, lots of information, tons to see, and a spectacular view of the LA metro, definitely worth the roller coaster drive.  We spent the rest of the evening eating, drinking, and laughing all over the city.  If I could remember where we went, I would definitely tell you, but I can’t, so I won’t! 

Joshua Trees just after sunset in Mojave

Joshua Trees just after sunset in Mojave

I awoke the next day feeling like 3 week old garbage, but as I was due to pick up a friend at the airport in Vegas the following day I had to get moving.  I was able to dodge the LA traffic and get out of town in fairly decent time.  I needed a place to stay on my way to Vegas and Mojave National Preserve was right on the way.  I made camp in the 105 degree heat and enjoyed the sun setting over the largest concentration of Joshua trees in the world.  It was actually quite nice, despite pouring sweat all damn night, gross.