Hokay, I’m going to try to recap the entire experience. With pictures.
Get back to the campsite, and amidst Ben and Lucas’ ravings about the perfect beauty they will never see again, manage to communicate plans to go to the beach and find Helen, Shishi, and Kristen.
Ben Roth, our advance scout, discovers them on a sand dune several hundred feet from the beach because it was “too cold.”
The men go to the beach.
Eventually Helen and Kristen join us. Shishi sleeps.
Later, I don an apron and cook delicious bean and chili burritos.
- Buy delicious Subway sandwiches for lunch and dinner.
- Lucas, Ben, Ben, and I take bus to CalTrain station. Wait.
- Take train to Megabus stop. Wait.
- Take bus from San Jose to Los Angeles. This involves waiting on a bus.
- Take car from Los Angeles to Santa Clarita.
- Realize my brother has — ahem — invested in Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
- Collapse at 3 AM after enjoying the benefits of my brother’s prudent investment.
- Realize my brother is truly a financial genius. Enjoy investment again.
- Inventory tent trailer and prepare to leave.
- Introduced my roommates to my next door neighbor, and then ate delicious food.
- I mean really delicious food, courtesy of my mother.
- Helen, Shishi, and Kristen arrive. Hilarity ensues. Mostly when they make awkward advances on my brother.
- Befitting a night spent in Santa Clarita, we pile in Helen’s car and drive to a hill in Stevenson Ranch to show my Stanford posse the view. Then we go to the most incredible source of entertainment in the Santa Clarita Valley — SUPER WAL-MART!
- Buy some pepperoni.
- Helen fails at getting me to play duck-duck-goose in the camping supplies aisle.
- Wander around Wal-Mart until about 1 AM.
- Find a hill overlooking Canyon Country. Climb it. Enjoy view.
- Leave my house and caravan to McGrath State Beach (between Ventura and Oxnard) with a truck full of men, a car full of women, a trailer full of luggage, and a head full of dreams.
- As we set up camp, the girls decide to sunbathe on the beach (or so we thought).
- Go buy supplies — Vons/RiteAid run, followed by a trip to some surf shop so Ben could buy a skimboard.
- Ben Roth and I make the worst decision of our lives when we decide to wait with my truck as Ben and Lucas enter the surf shop.
- Ten minutes later, Ben and Lucas reemerge and regale us with stories of the now-fabled “Surf Shop Girl,” the helpful and friendly sales associate who is apparently the most perfect specimen of human facial structure on the planet.
- I become exceedingly depressed.
- I subsequently drive my car off the side of the road.
- Clarification: distracted by tales of the stunning surf shop saleswoman, I hit the curb of the road.
- And knocked off my right rear hubcap.
- Campfire is made. Marshmallows are roasted (on coat hangers, as they should be). Apples are also roasted (so we experimented a little).
- Midnight beach exploration! Dark and creepy. And really cool.
- Cram seven people into my trailer. We were cozy.
- Helen, Shishi, and Kristen leave, leaving us four alone to fend for ourselves.
- HAIRCUTS!!!! Much needed. I lose two and a half inches (or more) of hair.
- More beach chillaxing.
- We went to go see “10,000 B.C.” Which was pretty much exactly what we expected — crappy and incredibly epic. Mammoths? Sure. Vicious flightless birds? Why not. Egyptians? Of course! Gratuitous violence? DUH!
- Roasted weenies for dinner. Insert sausage-fest joke here.
- Oh, I don’t know. Hung out on the beach again. Flew a five-section kite shaped like a cow. We’re ballers.
- Emma and Margot arrive!
- Manage to grill hamburgers without giving us all food poisoning.
- Mel and his brother show up, instigate a good time.
- At about 11 PM, decide — (ahem) completely voluntarily — to go quickly to bed and leave the park quietly by 9 AM on Thursday.
- After leaving McGrath, we dropped the trailer/camping stuff at my house and drove into LA to go to the LACMA.
- LACMA is an incredible museum, and the modern art exhibits they had were fantastic. I recommend it to you. Also, try the cafe’s pastrami panini.
- Since the La Brea tar pits are next door, we checked those out to. They were filming something there, but all we saw was some old guy playing banjo with banks and banks of equipment trained on him.
- After the museum, we drove to San Diego to stay at Emma’s house.
- Ben realizes his sister is in southern California (this is important later).
- Emma’s house is incredible.
- Her backyard is a canyon.
- Anyway, we went to Filiberto’s, which was this amazing hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place. Delicious.
- Attempt to travel to La Jolla. However, Emma is the worst caravaner EVER and manages to get Margot’s car (complete with me and Ben inside) completely lost in the rural hills north of San Diego. The half-hour drive becomes more than an hour long as we try to communicate the directions that Emma doesn’t actually know (since her car has a GPS) through the phone. Example: the best direction we got was to “go around a turn and up a hill until the yellow line splits, then turn again.”
- Finally hung out in La Jolla, met a bum. Bum insists he can judge us with a “real magic” card trick. Ben Roth repeatedly refuses to be classified, insisting Seattle bums have more class than La Jolla vagabonds.
- Bum turns out to be ex-photographer/beatnik poet. Proceeds to rhyme “Emma” with “Gemeni” and “Margot” with “Fargo.” Insists his skill cannot be learned, but must flow from the soul. Or something.
- After about a half hour, said bum (named Forest) agrees to take our picture, the task he had offered to do in the first place. In return, we hold his painting of a bloody dollar sign that symbolizes his father’s death.
- Startled some locals when six people tumbled out of a Prius in front of them and ran across the street.
- Went to the Cross, which is — fittingly — a giant cross on top of a Vietnam memorial on top of an incredible hill that overlooks all of San Diego. Great view.
- Emma’s house also has the greatest shower in the history of showers.
- After we all showered profusely, we headed to La Jolla and to a great beach Margot showed us.
- At some point, Ben’s sister calls him and asks if we want to visit her and, by extension, her eighteen-year-old club volleyball team on Saturday.
- After a lengthy debate (a whole fraction of a second), we say “of course.”
- Margot then took us to Don Carlos, which is an even more hole-in-the-wall and thus even more delicious Mexican restaurant, and to the cove, an incredible lookout point.
- Dinner with Margot’s family. Margot’s mom makes great spanakopita, Margot’s brothers are smaller versions of her, and her parents are the coolest Canadian geophysicist PhDs I know.
- Hot tubbing at Emma’s house. Woo-hoo!
- Woke up ungodly early to make it to Newport Beach on time.
- Ended up being early and hanging out on some swings until Ben’s sister’s team arrives, then toured Balboa Island and the surrounding harbor with — and let me reemphasize this point — an eighteen-year-old club volleyball team.
- Drove home. Hit traffic.
- More delicious home-cooked food, and then Mike showed up. We climbed a hill. Again.
- Got back in time to meet Jeff and Jaimie at my house, then hung out with Kayte and Waseem and some people I had never met.
- Woke up even more ungodly early to make it to the bus in time.
- Rode a bus back to San Jose.
- Took a train back to Palo Alto.
- Took a smaller bus back to Stanford.
- Wrote blog entry over the next two days.