This past week turned out to be pretty lazy ...

Trip Start Jun 29, 1999
Trip End Dec 04, 1999

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, October 14, 1999

This past week turned out to be pretty lazy. It's really nice to be able to do nothing but lie on a California beach on a weekday in October. This rules.

Friday, October 8th
This was the 6th time I've seen Pavement live. It was the best I've ever seen them play. It's great to be able to see a band in what is, essentially, their hometown. The sound was fantastic and they had a couple of great jams going and when they finished the show with "Two States" the place just went mad. The crowd was into the show from start to finish. Until that night I had never seen people actually dance to their music before. It was very interesting.

Saturday, October 9th
Bev left for L.A. on Friday night but left me keys to her apartment for the weekend. Thank you very much Bev! Not only for your place but now I can finance the rest of your trip by auctioning off all your underwear. Guys, start your bidding! Saturday morning I drove out to the Pacific side of SF, up The Great Highway, to Land's End. This park is right at the opening of the SF Bay into the Pacific. On this morning the US Navy's Pacific fleet was coming into the bay. I didn't see the whole procession but I did catch the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln. What a huge boat! The fog kind of ruined any chance I had for a good picture though. I then headed up to the top of Twin Peaks. The view of the city here is quite amazing. It's probably better at night though. In the afternoon I headed downtown to catch a showing of "American Beauty." I doubt I will see a better movie this year. Never have I laughed so much during a "serious" film. Kevin Spacey is great as usual. In the evening I decided I had better check out the famous Castro area of town which was only a short but very steep walk from Bev's place. It's a fairly small section of town but what a difference. When the names of stores are called "What Your Daddy Don't Know" or "Hot 'n' Hunky" you know this isn't a place for the typial smalltown American. I went into Marcello's for a fabulous slice of pizza before heading over to the Castro theatre for the premiere of the new Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Cartoon Festival. It was a blast because the crowd here really gets into it. There were 6 brand new "No Neck Joe" cartoonss but the highlight was "Billy's Balloon" which goes from funny to disturbing to hilarious. It was actually entered into the Cannes Film Festival this past year.

Sunday, October 10th
I decided I had better see the rest of California before I have to rush over to Las Vegas so I headed out of town southward on Hwy #1 to Santa Cruz. The downtown area of Santa Cruz is very nice but I spent most of my day wandering around the "Boardwalk" (it's cement). The Boardwalk is a beach in midway area that will kind of remind most of you of a permanent CNE. I had to take a ride on The Giant Dipper which is worth the money at only $3. This is the 75th Anniversary of this venerable roller coaster which is now a US Historical Landmark. It's a great ride and will surprise you! It's rare that a roller coaster doesn't crank its way up the big hill first thing. I wanted to check out the Surfer's Museum but it closed at 5pm. I camped at a State Park on the beach just south of Santa Cruz and enjoyed a great sunset.

Monday, October 11th
I ventured inland a bit to Salinas and the John Steinbeck Centre. This museum was only completed in 1998 and was very well done. The curator was wise enough to use Steinbeck's own words to describe his life and works. It was perfect as I has just started reading "the Grapes of Wrath." Salinas is in "America's Salad Bowl" but the town smells a little over-ripe with all the manure covered fields surrounding it. I then got back onto to Hwy #1 and cruised into Monterrey to visit Cannery Row which is now an upscale tourist attraction that I'm sure has Steinbeck spinning in his grave. I also made sure to drop in to Subway for a Thanksgiving meal of a turkey sub, Fritos, and a Mr.Pibb drink. I then walked around Pacific Grove and then I drove over to Pebble Beach to enjoy the "17 Mile Drive." Visitors must pay $7.50 to use this scenic road which winds around a number of golf courses including Pebble Beach, Spyglass, and Cypress Point. It's a great drive and for those of you who can't appreciate the beaches, surf, and eerie Cypress trees you can always gawk at the huge mansions. I then headed back into Monterrey to camp. I wasn't totally satisfied with my Thanksgiving meal however so I headed over to Carmel By The Sea (where Clint Eastwood was once mayor) to a tavern called Jack London's. They didn't have any turkey on the menu so I had their RCMP Burger - 1/2 pound burger with back bacon and cheddat cheese. It was a great meal and I spent the time chatting with some tourists from Norway and the friendly barkeep who's name was also Brad (how could he not be a great guy?).

Tuesday, October 12th
What a great day to do absolutely nothing. I headed southward into the Big Sur area and made myself some lunch at Pfieffer Big Sur State park. I then took a short hike (it was supposed to take 2 hours, I did it in 45 minutes) to the top of Buzzard's Roost. With a day this nice it would be a waste not to go to the beach. I headed down a narrow one lane road to a little known beach called Pfieffer Beach where for 5 bucks for parking I spent the rest of the day. This beach was incredible - beautiful white sand, crashing surf, little sea caves and giant wave breaking rocks. I just sat down there with my camera and the Grape of Wrath and enjoyed life. The best part of Big Sur is that it's perfectly free and legal to sleep in your car by the side of the road. I picked out a nice clifftop view so when I awoke the next morning I'd be immediately impressed.

Wednesday, October 13th
The sleep wasn't the greatest but you get what you pay for. I drove a little further down the coast. Big Sur is spectacular! Alas, it is also expensive. I paid $2.60 per gallon of gas and a muffin cost me 2 bucks. I found another secluded beach and this one was free and lazed away the day again. I spent 8 hours on this beach and I didn't see another soul all day. In the evening I found another cliffside turnout to park and sleep in.

Thursday, October 14th
The first thing I did this morning was finish off "The Grapes of Wrath." I wanted to get that done before I saw how the richer folk lived during the same era. I drove down to San Simeon to tour the Hearst Castle. You can take 4 different tours of this palace and each costs $14. I took the beginner's tour. I must say it was impressive and William Randolph Hearst sure knew how to spend his money. Since this castle houses museum quality artifacts including Egyptian statues from 3500 BC, an authentic Roman fresco, and many works of art from the Renaissance the guides stay very close and don't let you alone to linger. I wanted to hork a big loogie into the pool in the name of Tom Joad but I couldn't do it without being caught. The place is very impressive and I definitely would recommend visiting it. Now I'm in San Luis Obispo. It's a nice little place that I haven't really looked over yet but I did find Bubble Gum Alley where slightly used gum covers 12 foot walls. It's kinda fun.

I guess the really big news is that I've secured a Jeopardy! audition for Thursday, October 28th in LA. This means a little backtracking during my trip but I think it'll be worth it. My next planned stops are Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley before heading over to Las Vegas.
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