Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Road Trip: Santa Barbara

Hey, hey!

I'm finally in Santa Barbara, still wrapped up in a towel after a long shower. I'm trying to hide from the sun, or rather the heat of the sun. It's hot! Hot! HOT out here!

En route from SLO this morning, I got caught in godawful traffic. Not uncommon in my neck of the woods, but this was a different experience altogether.

I was a scant fourteen miles away from my destination, driving down 101 when everything and everyone came to a halting stop. I'm not talking about a few seconds, hell, even a few minutes. The whole scene took almost an hour. I was perhaps ten cars back from the accident. It wasn't good. It couldn't be good, I figured. Myself, and a long procession of hundreds of cars sat under the midday heat, cooking on the asphalt and in our cars that had become a proverbial oven. People were out of there cars, walking up and down the road, passing by my window, trying to catch a glimpse of the reason why not a single car was moving.

From what I could gather, a big rig had jack-knifed and scattered its parts all across the highway. And folks were having a hard time getting the truck off the narrow two lane road. And there was nothing we could do about it. I was nosy enough to get my camera, walk up as far as I dared to go and take photos of what I could. The rest of the time, I sat in my car, turning it on every once in a while, letting my face and neck cool under the fans of the AC when the heat became so unbearable it was hard to breathe. I cursed my toddler-sized bladder. I cursed the sun. I cursed my laziness for not having tinted my windows years ago. When I decided to let it all go, I started to think about things. Things I hadn't thought about in a long time.

I was in a pretty bad car accident several years ago. At this point, I can only remember snapshots, as if parts of the film reel are missing. I remember the impact, two to be exact. My airbag never deployed, and when the car finally stopped spinning, I was left facing the busy oncoming traffic of 880 in San Leandro. I remember people helping me out of the car. I remember murmuring, whimpering almost, because I was in such deep shock, my body couldn't operate in any sort of logical manner. I took a strangers hand, people were busy on their phones calling 911. An ambulance and a firetruck came. A fireman came to me, and I felt this surge of relief. Like everything was going to be all better. He saw the desperation in my eyes, the desire to be ensured that everything was okay. Even to this day, I remember his expression. A mixture of sympathy, compassion, and determination. I didn't want any medical support. He calmly had me sign a waiver, and as I stood there grasping the pen he'd given me, I suddenly noticed how badly my hand was shaking. Shaking so hard I couldn't even sign my name. I looked up at him. "I'm sorry," I whispered faintly. His lips pursed, and he gave me that look again. "You're going to be just fine," he said, and then he smiled. "Someone was looking out for you." He looked behind me where my car sat. It was totaled, and I'd walked out of it without a single scratch.

As I sat there in my car today, I hoped for the same for whoever it was that was up there. That they were walking around, just fine. That someone had been looking out for them too...

Here are a few pictures from last night and earlier today. I plan on heading down the bustling State Street, and taking photos of the setting Santa Barbara sun.

Drive safe out there. Miss you all...


Can't see much of what's happening, but this was just the start of a long hour.

More cars came...
So many cars behind me!

I crept up closer and closer, only able to catch glimpses...

This is what I manage to catch, as the wreckage was cleared from the road.
The Mission, Santa Barbara. The guy at the lobby recommended I check it out, if I like "old stuff." I laughed and said yes. He got a more serious look in his eyes. And I added just as soberly, "Not that much...". 

I love visiting Botanical Gardens. I've seen gardens all over the world, and I love them! The one here in Santa Barbara is probably my least favorite. But it was interesting to see.

Go figure I wanted to be in the Redwoods...shaded by the large trees, reminding me so much of home.

There was a live Tea session happening in the Japanese Garden.

Found this property...you know, I'm not sure I was supposed to be allowed up here...

Shade, shade, SHADE!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Road Trip: Pismo Beach

Hey guys!

I just wanted to start off by saying thank you for your support! Especially to those who are following the adventure on Facebook. :)

I'm on day two of this mini-road trip and to be honest, it feels a hell of a lot longer. Last night's hotel was great. Up until my neighbors checked-in. It's not their fault. Not really. I mean the walls were paper thin, and they were...excited to be in the romantic city of Monterey. Yay... 

Suffice it to say, it sucked that I had to lay there for a better part of the night thinking, "That must be nice...They sound like they're having fun." The walls shook a couple times, some interesting, eyebrow-raising moans and a climactic moment later, and it was over. Maybe a ten minute break, and they went at it again.

I started counting fingers on my hand for how many months it had been since the last time I had, had...you know...and I was well into the second hand. TMI? I won't apologize. My neighbors sure didn't apologize. *sniff* I felt a lot like Josh Hartnett in 40 Days & 40 Nights. 

I guess I could've gone for a walk, a cold shower, or sang out loud. But I was too exhausted, and I wanted nothing more than to rap my knuckles on the wall just as soon as they finished, so they would realize that they had an unwilling audience for their not-so-private sexy-time.

It wasn't even the worst part. I could've forgiven the near rabbit-like marathon they were having. The worst part was that after their fun-fest they fell straight to sleep. How do I know? Because the man snored like a bear. Painful. That's it. That's all I can say.


Onto some fun. I've been asked what's it like to travel alone. Well, it depends on the person. Me? I think I'm loads of fun. I laugh a lot. Sure, it's to myself...but I have whole conversations that go on up there that happen in the quiet of my mind, and other times, out loud. Funny things just flit through my head. Like for instance, I was standing at the pier when I thought, "I need to find a cafe and get some writing done; did I book that hotel? God I'm hungry. Again!" look down notice my legs and add, "Don't forget to shave."

I'm now in Pismo Beach, and after a quick nap, I decided to head down to the beach. Before I left, I had on my bathing suit, passed by the mirror, flinched, and then decided to do myself a favor and put on my gym clothes instead. I made a mental note of where the gym was at the hotel, and put an alarm on my phone labeled, "Someone switched your bathing suits..."

With that, I'll say goodnight! Here are a few of the things I saw along the way! 

Lover's Point, Monterey, CA

I was chasing the sunset, driving along the coast--Pacific Grove, Monterey, CA

Love the color of a setting sun obscured by the clouds where the blush of the fading light peeks out from the sky.

Had breakfast this morning at the famous Red House Cafe!
It was hard to decide on what to get. It was between the Nutella stuffed panini's or the above, Cinnamon Raisin Brioche w/ orange marmalade, strawberries, and marshmallow cream...

Julia Pfieffer's point, Big Sur, CA

Julia Pfieffer's point, Big Sur, CA

It took me twice as long to get to SLO because I kept stopping to take in the view. But that's what this trip was all about. Learning how to dawdle...

Finally! I made it to Pismo Beach
Bored? Me? Nope. I find ways to entertain myself...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Road Trip: Monterey, CA

Hello readers!

I'm embarking on another solo trip--a much needed writers retreat. This time I'm taking a road trip down to SoCal and taking the scenic drive down Highway 1.

First stop on this four day road trip is Monterey, CA.

My mom calls me on the drive. I have so much to tell her! But first, I let her talk for ten minutes with barely a pause for breath, because let's be honest, nine times out of ten when my mom calls it's not a therapy session...for me at least.

Finally, I interrupt with, "Hey mom, so...I'm going on a road trip!"
Mom: "Oh yeah? When? Where?"
Me: "Now...to Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and L.A. I'm going to meet up with Princess." (Princess is a childhood, family friend, not to be mistaken with the Disney Princesses. Cus' that would just make me sound crazy...)
Mom: "Oh that's good! When are you going?" she repeats, shouting over the noise of the car.

I'm on the windy roads of route 17 leading me to Santa Cruz which is making my heart dance like I'm running a marathon loaded up on sugar. With my mom shouting on the speakerphone, I'm more than a little tense.

So I shout back, "Now! I'm driving now. I'm going by myself. So anyway, if you don't hear from me, you can text me or call me. You know...make sure I'm still alive."
She laughs. "That's good, anak,"she says. (anak means "my child" in tagalog) "But you'll be just fine. You always are."

I smile at the last. My family and my friends are no longer surprised by my random, spontaneous solo trips. I'll never forget being twenty-three and announcing to everyone that I was going to Greece for two weeks...by myself. I know now, it's a little odd. I don't know many others who go on vacation by themselves. I guess I've never really seen it as going alone, because I was willing and happy to go with myself. :) I don't feel that it has anything to do with bravery. Honestly, I think it's pretty common for writers to be so comfortable in solitude, and to seek it out as often as possible. I've got too much of an adventurous spirit, not to be deterred exploring the world because I don't have a companion who can take the journey with me. 

So here I am, on my first stop of the trek. Sitting in a quaint cafe in Pacific Grove, called Crema. I love it for the fact that I have the option to drink. Liquor that is. You know...in case coffee isn't enough to lure my jerk-muse back.

Sunset is at 8:30pm and I plan on settling somewhere on the beach to catch a glimpse of it. 

My goal for this trip is to get the chance to recharge, hunt down my muse, and get his ass back to work. Here are some photos I've taken so far. (More to come!)

Today's Road Trip Tunes provided by:
~Imagine Dragons
~Matt Kearney
~Alex Clare
~Mumford & Sons

I was torn between spending time writing here at The Works, or at Crema. Decided on Crema because I figure I could use liquor to lure my muse back.

Quaint. That about defines this place.

Lighthouse Street is lined with beautiful old Victorians.

So festive.

So bummed that this store was closed! :(

Crema is a multi-story cafe and wine bar. I decided to sit right on the other side of this window.

Add caption

More seating at Crema

Wish me luck! I'll see you soon! :)