Print Story Weekend in Review
By aphrael (Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 03:05:10 PM EST) (all tags)
Miles driven: approximately 120
Minutes spent in an incredible, I-can't-believe-this-is-happening-we've-taken-an-hour-to-go-five-miles traffic jam: 70
Movies watched: 1
Beers drunk: 8
Mojitos drunk: 1
200 ml flasks of rum drunk: 1
Books purchased: 4
Favorite restaurants not visited in ages visited: 3
Miles walked between 7pm Friday and 7pm Saturday: 32.3
Miles walked, total: 35.3
New blisters: 2
Pounds lost: 0
Pounds gained: 0
State parks visited: 4
City parks visited: 1
Beautiful sunsets seen: 1

Jared was out of town this weekend, visiting his best man (who has recently moved from Texas to Los Angeles). Our new home isn't quite home yet, so the idea of spending the weekend home alone did not appeal to me; and, besides, there are things I like doing that Jared doesn't, and so a weekend when he is gone is a perfect time to do them. Plus, there's something appealing about spending a weekend alone ... seeing no friends nor coworkers nor family, and not participating in your normal life.

I wanted to go camping; I wanted to hike; I wanted to drink. I originally planned on doing this at Point Reyes, which I've only ever been to once. But the logistics of going there after work on Friday, and getting back on Sunday in time to pick Jared up at the airport, were daunting. Worse yet, the only camping is backcountry, which wouldn't work for Friday night --- and while there's a hostel, that would rule out drinking.

So I punted to a second plan: spend the weekend camping in Santa Cruz, my ex-home-town, hiking around, drinking at night, generally having a blast. In the process I learned definitively that Santa Cruz is no longer home; while it is comfortable, and pleasant, and I feel safe and cozy and warm there, it ceased being home some time ago, and i've only just now learned it.

I drove down Friday night after work. There isn't any officially sanctioned camping in Santa Cruz itself (and, while i'm not above just slinging my hammock in the trees somewhere, it's harder to camp illegally when you have a car which will get noticed), so I went camping at New Brighton State Beach, in Aptos. Which meant that, even though I left work an hour early, I got caught in the mother of all traffic jams: the nightmare that is highway 1 at rush hour, where from the time I entered the HWY1/17 intersection (known to locals as "the fishook") to the time I got off the freeway in Aptos --- a distance which I have walked in 90 minutes or so --- took 70 minutes.

It almost would have been faster to walk. But then where would I have left the car?

I checked in to the campground. Hammocks-in-trees not allowed, alas; there's a rule prohibiting slinging anything in the trees, and the guard at the kiosk wasn't helpful in explaining the background. I was disappointed; this is only the second place i've camped since being converted to hammock-sleeping which hasn't allowed it --- and the other place was the mass tent city next to the Coachella music festival, where there simply were not any trees to be had. Still, the campsites were forested, on a bluff above the water, with the sound of the waves crashing against the beach lending the sound of serenity.

I walked into town: a seven mile walk along beachfront roads (plus a mile of walking around inside the campsite --- back and forth between my site and the kiosk, taking care of administrative business). It was a good walk, and I walked at unusually high speed, as I was hungry; i'd skipped lunch. But the wind off the water bouyed my mood, and the music from my ipod kept it bouyant. When I arrived in town I made a beeline for Mobo Sushi, one of my favorite sushi places, and ate a dinner consisting primarily of such strange things as the "Guido", a roll with cream cheese, garlic, basil, and macadamia nuts.

Then I went to see a movie. "Babel", because it looked interesting and starred one of my favorite cute twentysomething actors; it was alternately brilliant and boring. Afterwards, I went to grab some beer --- not possible in downtown Santa Cruz after midnight, unless you're at a bar --- and walked back to the campground, drinking as I went. As I passed Schwan Lake, already quite drunk, I intersected with a bunch of drunk high school skaters who were on their way to play in the waves; we chatted a bit, then I was on my way. :)

The detour added a mile or more to the distance for the trip, so I closed out Friday night at sixteen miles walked.

Saturday, I woke up around 10 --- it's nice to be somewhere quiet where you can sleep late, something I can't do at home. I stretched a bit, then set off for Capitola Village, where I had the worst latte i've ever had (and learned that I no longer like eggnog!). I perambulated towards the bus stop at the Capitola mall (2 miles, plus one in the campground, for a total of 19), then took the bus into Santa Cruz. On the way I passed a pizza place, and pizza smelled unusually good, so I got two slices of pizza at Pizza My Heart before starting the main event for the day.

I walked.

I walked from downtown Santa Cruz up to UCSC, then through the upper part of campus to where the fire road intersects with Empire Grade. (Five miles or so, for a total of 23). It's been so long since UCSC was home that I no longer feel any disappointment or shock at the realization; I crossed that threshold eight or nine years ago ... but it was slightly strange walking through the upper campus as a foreigner, instead of a native. I hadn't been up there in, oh, ten years or so --- and while the place hadn't changed at all, my relation to it had.

Then I crossed over Empire Grade into Gray Whale Ranch. Back when I was regularly walking through upper campus, this wasn't possible; Gray Whale Ranch was privately owned and there were no trails. But now there are trails which connect through to the beach, as Gray Whale Ranch is part of Wilder Ranch State Park; and I followed one. It descended down to an open meadow with a georgeous view of the westernmost parts of Monterey, and the bay, and the open land north of the bay. It's not like the view from the "Great Meadow", which looks out over the city and its suburbs; this was a view almost entirely of wilderness, undeveloped and natural. Breathtaking.

The path descended back into trees, and the late afternoon light filtered through them; it was a perfect day for this walk. But I was growing tired, as I made my way down; while I do walk between an hour and two almost every day, it's always on flat land, and I was unaccustomed to the elevation gain and loss. Still, I pressed on, and I was rewarded; I emerged from the forest into another meadow at just the right time to see the brilliant orange sky over the dark blue bay before me, and the shining magenta of the most beautiful sunset i've ever seen over the meadow to the west.

Ahead of me, a biker had stopped to watch; as I passed him, he turned to me and, speaking of the sky, said only one word: "wow".

It was dark by the time I crossed highway 1; i'd gone 9.3 miles up from downtown and then back down again, for a total of 12.3 for the day and 28.3 since arriving in Santa Cruz. I followed a bike path along the south side of highway 1 until I arrived in town, then walked down towards natural bridges state beach. I followed the trail along west cliff, then, to the lighthouse, for another four miles (13.3 continuous / 16.3 day / 32.3 weekend). I was happy as a clam; the evening air was cold and crisp, the sky was clear, and I had a nice buzz from five hours of walking.

I stopped to call Jared, sitting on the grass in front of the lighthouse, and we talked for twenty minutes or so; and then i gathered myself to walk into downtown for dinner.

The next two miles took approximately an hour to walk: my legs were having none of it. Stopping for twenty minutes may have been a mistake; it gave my muscles time enough to decide that they were done.

I went to El Palomar, my favorite Mexican restaurant, which makes fantastic tortilla chips, for dinner. I had planned, afterwards, to go see another movie and then walk back to the campground; but this was clearly out of the question. So I sat at the bus stop for forty-five minutes, reading, waiting for the bus which would get me closest; and then I shambled back to the campsite, trying to walk as gingerly as possible.

My legs were happy again this morning; the complaint was a passing one. Still, I have not pushed today; I dismantled the campground and drove into town, and hung out downtown for a bit, enjoying the ambience. But I will save further walking for tomorrow.

< I suppose it's too late.. | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Weekend in Review | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
beach camping? by R343L (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 05:17:42 PM EST
Does that beach by any chance allow dogs? That would be quite fun with the puppy-boy. But I think the next camping trip will be in snow (or near it anyway).


"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

You had a good weekend, then? by debacle (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 06:26:58 PM EST
Just a third party observation.


cute twenty something actor? by 256 (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 04:10:56 AM EST
i agree that brad pitt may be the most appealing person to ever achieve celebrity, but i'm pretty sure he long ago pushed forty aside.

for my part, i went out to the country and spent the weekend with my family. took my sister's honda civic out to some unmaintained roads and spun up a lot of dirt, drank a bunch of bols blue, and lay on a trampoline under stars the city has forgotten.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

incidentally.... by 256 (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 04:13:03 AM EST
since you are embracing the whole wedding tradition thing despite the poor fit, i'm curious:

are you having two best men?

the only gay wedding i've been to thus far was a lesbian affair and one of the women had a best man and the other bridesmaids.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
wedding tradition by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 06:40:55 AM EST
we embraced it in july.

i didn't write a diary about it because two days before the wedding my best man had a heart attack, and i could't write about the wedding without writing about that, and i've never been quite emotionally ready to do so.

he was 32 at the time.

it was fucking scary.

anyhow, to answer your question: it was our intent to have two best men. but mine was unable to attend, as he was in the hospital at the time.

(he's fine now, or as close to fine as you ever get once you've had a heart attack).

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
hmm.... by 256 (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 11:15:38 AM EST
now that i think about it, maybe i knew all this.

anyway, congratulations, if i didn't say it before.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
thank you! :) by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 11:26:00 AM EST
gael garcia bernal. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Nov 20, 2006 at 06:38:59 AM EST
Weekend in Review | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)