Onto Big Sur and LA

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North America » United States » California » Big Sur
December 7th 2015
Published: June 24th 2016
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I was back on the road, everything was simple again. Cycle to the next sleeping spot, set up camp, eat. This was what I was doing this trip for, the challenge and the opportunity that the unknown can give.

My Garmin GPS those first few days came in very handy indeed. Making my way over to Santa Cruz was ridiculously complicated, I must have had to make 20 turns in 15km that would have required constant stops had I just been relying on my phone. Still, after making it the 60 miles or so to the campsite just past town and starting again the next day the ride became simple as it hugged the coast. I'd been wondering about the Pacific Coast trail, made famous by the movie with Reese Witherspoon called 'Wild'. In the movie it's depicted as being for the most part well away from civilization, from what I'd seen of it so far there is very long sections where somebody determined enough to do the PCT as it's referred to may become disenchanted with the idea. It is not a consistent trail but rather a broken up stretch of path combined into one idea, hike the entire west coast of the states. It's a commendable achievement but not one that in any way appeals to me, if I was to do such a thing it would be for the sake of completing a sojourn. A spiritual journey of self discovery made through experiencing yourself in the natural world free of restraint from societies opinions or the current trends of whatever time you happen to be living in, a pursuit of truth. I probably take life too seriously, I don't know.

In Monterey, the next stop down I stayed at a couchsurfing hosts place, after he responded to a post I made announcing my arrival in the town. His name was Thomas and he was in the national guard. He had served his time in the Army and was now doing a course in learning Korean, hoping to get a post there in the future. His place was situated right at the top of the town which was no joke, there was no cycling up the hills that were probably at about a 40% elevation. We hung out in his home for a while and got used to each others presence, two total strangers just chilling in his place and he totally got it. He had traveled himself and was he said repaying a karmic debt. His son and wife were away for a few days somewhere so I got set up in his kids bedroom then we walked to the supermarket to buy dinner, which consisted of chicken and salad and a beer each. Thomas was a cool guy but I had to step carefully as these days I sit somewhere on the left with my views of the world so I didn't want to start discussing his work for the American government or what he felt being a part of America's empire. He was looking out for his son and wife and I respected that. He had to go out to one of his Korean classes despite being exhausted and so he left me in his place for a few hours to watch some Netflix. I watched a documentary he recommended on a bunch of cyclists attempting to complete one of the most challenging trails in the States known as the Great Divide. It runs over the Rocky mountains starting in Canada all the way to Mexico at nearly 3000 total
miles. By the end only a few of the 15 cyclists who started the trip end up even making it, I watched it thinking "I would never do that". I wondered if many people would think the same thing at what I was doing, I took some pleasure in the thought.

Thomas got back, we chatted a little more and he gave me a solar USB charger that he said he didn't need, I was truly appreciative as I had considered buying one before my trip but hadn't due to them being too damn expensive. He was anticipating doing a long road trip with his family in the future and was trying to unburden himself with having too much stuff. I woke up early to meet his schedule and got cycling early after doing a little food shopping, the road onwards kept going up hill despite the previous days adventure for a while and I had to cycle on an extremely dangerous highway at one point to get back to the coast where one car came right onto the shoulder and nearly collided with me. I cycled into an upscale neighborhood called Carmel by the Sea that
had many types of specialty shops and classic architecture attracting tourists into the narrow streets. I started cycling slowly on the walkway and was scolded by an older lady who I then got into a conversation with about bicycle touring. She had toured all over England at one point, though it was a paid group tour organized with hotels and meals provided. She encouraged me to abandon my style of travel and do what she had done as it was a much better way to go. No doubt. Camping kind of sucked, not as much as an empty bank account though.

I didn't see much value in hanging around so I decided to keep going, not knowing that my Mother's friend, a pen pal who'd she'd been in contact with for years was living there somewhere. She didn't tell me about this until two days later when I was nearly 100 miles away, too far in bicycle miles to backtrack and do a meet up.

I was entering into Big Sur, a section of road I had heard mentioned more times than I could count and I was hoping for a clear run with no rain. I had almost not been without bad weather my entire trip up to that point, even in California where they are having a serious drought I was always under threat of getting dumped on with looming clouds, or actually just getting soaked. The forecast however looked Nasty for the next 3 days all the way down to L.A even. I made it after a couple more days ride to the first state park in Big Sur that also had a souvenir shop. The hike and bike section only had one other cyclist, a man in his late 30's with an old bike and huge, steel framed bob trailer on the back that just looked so, so heavy. His name was Darren and I should have gotten a photo with him, we had this huge campsite to ourselves and we really got to know each other pretty well after chatting for a few hours. He was getting picked up the next day by his family to go and live with them in San Luis Obispo not too far of a car ride south. His ideas on life were not to get too caught up in the traps of society
and he had lived most of his recent months and years getting around the way I saw him traveling at that moment, letting his huge beard grow as testament to this. His whole life's necessities on his bike, including a very cute ginger cat that had a sheltered spot on the back of his trailer and slept most of the time while he labored the roads of the United States pushing what must have been 100kg total by pedal power. I bought him and myself a beer from the souvenir shop where the storekeeper gave us a huge laugh. This man behind the counter had hosted a popular radio broadcast in California for years playing classic tunes and he didn't mind showing off his silky smooth voice for us that was perfect for radio. I asked him about the reliability of one of the stickers they were selling that I wanted to fix onto my bike and joked that if I rang the shop upset that it had fallen off his voice would immediately calm me down. We went back to camp and got started on the beers, I didn't mind shouting him as he was flat broke, not even
able to pay the $5 camping fee. For the most part we agreed with many things about the value of simplicity in life, though the thought of having no money filled me with fear. He told me about a place in Oregon that I can't remember the name of that he had lived for many months, it was his idea of paradise. He had been popular in what was basically a hippy camp, full of weed planters, trimmers, smokers and growers because he could cook up some mean pancakes and had a few dollars to throw around. This place almost sounded like an unofficial orphanage that would take on anyone, from teens kicked out of home to people disenchanted by whatever town they had grown up. From what he told me there was a real heart to this place for a while, no stealing or negative behavior. Eventually the old people left and new people came who started doing harder drugs and the fragile order of the place disintegrated. He had dreams of going back there to buy a property one day as it was supposedly cheap. He didn't even have food on him to eat so I grabbed the ingredients I had stocked to make us both soup, he insisted on using his multi fuel stove for the job despite it taking about 10x longer. After dinner we had both gotten sick of the drizzle falling on us and went into our tents. I felt a little depressed by the end of the conversation, I couldn't help but view Darren as a tragic soul, a victim of life. Someone condemned to a life of poverty and little reward. I was more depressed by my judgement of him though, through all the things I had seen in life I still hadn't been able to let go of judging anothers value. I knew that he sensed my judgement of him and even the beer I had bought him seemed a little tainted now.

The next morning I offered him some oatmeal and he refused saying that his family would be there to pick him up and he normally only had an energy drink for breakfast anyway. I made extra and gave him some anyway which he was grateful for. I wished him well on his journeys and continued cycling up what he had described as a monstrous hill
that starts as soon as you exit the camp. He wasn't kidding, it didn't stop climbing for a few hours of pretty consistent pedaling. After making to the top I began to hit the coast, and the views were simply breathtaking. This was the second most satisfying part of my trip to cycle through simply for how vast and open the views were of the narrow road that hugged the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, a car beeped behind me frantically and Darren hung out of a car and gave me a passionate thumbs up as he sped off into the distance. The sky even began clearing up a little and each section was just a pleasure to ride. My body was loving the trip seemingly as well, I had no fatigue, shortness of breathe or muscle pain as I took on some of the hills that only a few weeks earlier would have been daunting. I reached my next camp site by 1pm, plenty of time to relax. I stretched out my tent to dry in the sun in what was a large partially forested area sloped upwards from the entrance that allowed campers to get a great view of
the sunset. I saw a huge yellow possibly ten person tent set up with an old bicycle and small trailer with a few assorted things in there, but no occupant. I got some food together and after a while an older man emerged from what I thought was the empty tent and he began slowly talking to me. He had a medium sized dog with him, a medium size one that didn't show any interest in me not even for food. He would say one thing, walk away, say something else and walk off and after some time we began to converse. He revealed his story to me in a way I was certain he had done many times before to others, but it will be one I never forget. This man named Bob in his 60's from Alabama had cycled across the entire US, an estimated 100,000 miles by his account. His three kids had all died in the last few years, two of his sons were enlisted soldiers and had not come back from America's wars in the middle east. The third, his daughter had shot herself the year before only for Bob to discover her body. He told me it had broken him and he had virtually nothing left in the world. I wondered how the government couldn't offer this man something, a pension at least to keep on living. Bob however had been living off of the donations people made when they took a photo with him and his dog, or just the generosity of strangers. I paid the $5 for his camp that night as he couldn't cover it and a little while later someone delivered him some soup. He told me another friend was going to bring him some whiskey soon and I should join him at his friends camp and drink some with him. It grew late and the whiskey didn't come, I went into my nearly dry tent and slept. He told me the next morning the whiskey had eventually came and it was a great night. He told me to look him up on the internet, hillybilly bob and his dog were known he said. A google search brings up a few entries of this man, but doesn't do him justice. If his story is completely true he has to be one of the bravest people I have ever met.

The next day was probably one of the best of my trip, Big Sur is just one long stretch of road built as close as it can safely be to the cliffs edge overlooking the Pacific. For the most part despite the huge amount of hills it stays at a pretty high elevation. That day I had so much energy that the hills were joyful for me to cycle up, I didn't stop the bike for about 4 hours, the sun was never in my eyes and whenever it came time to fly back down the opposite side of a hill I'd just climbed there were never any cars for me to contend with and I had the whole road to myself. I wasn't in a position to buy into any of the tourist traps along Big Sur, from the art galleries to restaurants but the one thing that fascinated me was a place called Hearst Castle, a huge estate now owned by the California state originally built in the 20's by William Randolph Hearst, a media giant who became one of the most influential men in America during his hey day. Inheriting a large newspaper from his father William expanded his empire to eventually buy up and control 30 major newspapers in the country. The place was super touristy and tickets were $50 just to see the mansion which I wasn't expecting much from. After locking my bike outside the dedicated police office on the grounds I hopped onto a bus filled with Chinese tourists and we slowly started winding our way to the top of the hill where the estate resides. There were groups of Zebras on the way up, descendants from some of the original ones that had been taken there to live. Originally there was groups of all sorts of animals, some kept in zoo like enclosures but 100's allowed to simply roam the vast fields surrounding the roads, from elephants to horses, deer and other exotic species imported from Africa. The main thing that surprised me was how long that ride took, despite the bus doing a reasonable speed. We eventually saw the property come into view and it took another 20 minutes of driving to get all the way to the top. Along the way we got an education into the history of this place and for someone like myself who's never seen old money and what it can do, it was an eye opener. Hearst was so wealthy that he'd decided to build in this spot simply because his father had taken him camping there as a child. It was probably an absolute nightmare for the laborers. Not only was it so far even now from anywhere, but back when construction began there was no real easy way to actually get there, the closest city would have been Las Angeles a few hundred miles away. I'd never seen opulence like this in all my life. The man had 1000 year old statues imported from Egypt, whole 16th century painted ceilings of rooms like his dining hall imported from Italy, paintings from England, France, plus an assortment of the best quality wood and materials money can buy. Each room of each building that I got to see had millions of dollars of imported goods many of the works depicting Christian stories and deities of that nature. People like Walt Disney, Edwin Hubble and Charlie Chaplain were always passing through when word got around and the construction was nearly completed, a constant array of parties, celebrities and good times were had in there.
He had a cinema room built where they used to watch the latest Disney films and I guessed probably get high, despite Marijuana being very illegal back then I could only imagine the debauchery that would have happened in that place. There were beautiful women constantly passing through and this place was an Oasis, a complete escape from reality. There was never a shortage of anything there. There were about 30 people employed full time just to maintain the huge gardens.

I'd never seen what true wealth can buy and I wondered about the vast gap of inequality that exists in the world now and the mansions that would have been built by those at the top of the spectrum, places that most people would never even know exist. This guy was at the very top and the craziest thing was that he considered this place to be just a nice getaway when he wasn't in one of his other ten even larger ranches or properties dotted all over the world.

Once I left I started getting closer to sea level and coming across all these Elephant seals, huge groups of them just lazing in the sun, except for a few that were wrestling in the water making all these ridiculous sounds like large dogs. The biggest ones can apparently get up to 4 tons which would make them one of the hugest animals on the planet, there they were right next to the road for me to look at, dozens of them. By the time the AM started closing my Big Sur experience was coming to an end, I'd made it about 40 miles from the campsite and it was starting to rain. The highway slowly veered off and the ocean was now out of sight. It began actually bucketing down, in California, the place with the crazy drought. They probably hadn't had rain like this in fucking years and here I was cycling my bike in a place that rain had never even been a consideration for in all the imagining and planning I'd done. I contacted someone on warmshowers who told me he couldn't host but his friend probably could, I got a text message from Jason which followed up with a phone call and a destination. He lived in a vineyard area not too far from where I was and
was happy to host me. I had to make it through some crazy back roads with no shoulder at all where a speeding driver became upset honking his horn after he nearly ended my trip. He was driving too fast over a blind hill past a corner where he had to swerve into the other lane to avoid me, if there had been a car in the opposite lane....The last 5 miles was slow, that day I had noticed my the front left side of my left knee beginning to hurt a little bit, now it was worryingly painful and each rotation of the pedals was a mental game of me not wanting to think about the further damage I was probably doing by now.

I rode up this long stone driveway to the home and had to first walk in this huge garage that gave access to the home, after knocking a few times I met Jason and his ten year old daughter Sasha who lived in the house by themselves. It took me a minute to get comfortable with the two of them as Jason was kind of aloof, I really wasn't able to tell what kind of person he was really. His daughter was a chatterbox which for me made it a little more comfortable, she showed me around the property and the orange orchard that they looked after themselves. The whole area as I was riding up was full of big properties, some 3 level ones with huge stretches of land for growing grapes. I must admit that my gratitude was somewhat shaded by not being able to stay at one of these places and get a ton of free wine. Jason was in his late 50's and had never done a cycling tour, but had done some lengthy day rides. The place was built on foundations above the garage and was very cozy for just the two of them. I didn't ask where her mother was or too many personal questions about his life but we started getting on pretty well talking about the environment and the importance of clean energy, I had already noticed his electric car. He made a dinner of mashed potato, broccoli, mushrooms and beef for us. He had the plans drawn up to built an elevated room across from the house where Sasha would be living once completed. He told me that he knew a company that hired only Mexican employees who he had seen in action and said that they were nothing like American laborers, genuinely hard workers that didn't stop to take breaks or ever complain. I wondered how many true hard days of work I'd done in my life, where I'd been exhausted by the end. Probably not as many as I would like to think, though I have certainly done my fair share of unpleasant work that either takes a toll on you physically or mentally or both. Still I began to realise the huge difference and sense of entitlement that probably everyone in the west carries around at least a bit of, I have no idea what it's like to slog for a barely livable wage. Once he dropped his barriers I could see that he was a very nice guy but I constantly had to put in energy to keep the conversation from dying which was at times difficult. Sasha showed me a local newspaper article about a lady doing a bicycle trip from San Francisco to Portland on a bike almost completely made from recycled plastic. She was blonde and good looking so her cause was getting some positive attention, I've been following her on Instagram since. Once I'd eaten they showed me the caravan out the back where I'd be sleeping and I went in there and just chilled out and did some reading before falling asleep pretty early.

I got up at 7 to meet their schedule and we ate some oatmeal together with some pretty damn good coffee that took Jason a solid fifteen minutes to get ready it seemed. I got my stuff together, thanked them both for their hospitality and was told that I could come back if my knee was still bad and spend another night. I hoped that I could keep riding for the day and the first ten miles were somewhat ok, but my fear of it becoming worse came into reality. I started wondering if this would end up stopping my trip permanently, thousands of cycle rotations every day constantly putting more pressure on an injury...I made it 40 miles or so after some pretty extensive stops and after going through a bunch of little towns and the roads being flat I was doing ok just taking it easy.

Looking back I don't remember what happened that day, why I had left so early but arrived at my campsite so late. It was a great ride there though despite it being well past sundown for the last hour, the highway had a ton of shoulder space and there was a huge open field leading out to the ocean on my right, my left side started to show mountains and I could see the silhouette of the landscape from the moons light. It was a peaceful ride and one of those times where I was exactly where I wanted to be, I had no pressure to be doing anything else at all. I arrived at the campsite after going up a small hill and it was kind of trashy compared to the previous ones, the ranger had said that the hiker biker section was a bit rundown and that I could grab a regular site if one was free. I went through the usual unpleasantness of setting up my camp and eating in the dark.

The next morning I contacted a couch surfer named Kassandra who lived only a short distance from where I was, my knee was getting really bad and I decided I'd need to take a few days off. She got back to me and said it was cool to come and hang stay for two days, I got to her place in Pismo beach right on the coast in the afternoon that was located in a gated community all filled with small almost trailer sized homes like hers. I came into the house and we started chatting and got pretty well, she was in her late 20's and was as far as I could tell a very hard worker, currently doing two jobs that I now can't remember. We got on so well that I ended up on her bed instead of her couch which seemed like fair payment for my two nights there. The next day she went to work and said I could eat whatever was in her cupboard, there was a ton of health food in there that I didn't mind raiding a little bit and I went for a bike ride that day ten miles up the coast to what in the summer is a popular nude beach. It was a pleasant return trip and
when she got back we hung out with her neighbors and got drunk. They were a cool young couple both working full time and we had some good laughs. By the time we got back I was so drunk that the thought of a repeat run in Kassandra's bed didn't appeal to me at all, I think she was pretty disappointed. I got up when she did and said a goodbye and thanks for letting me stay. I went to a close by monarch butterfly enclosure, with 100's of thousands of them all living in a small forested area. The place was free of charge and had a bunch of telescopes to look through, one hanging branch could hold what looked like 10,000 of them it was quite incredible as they all fly from Canada and back every year.

I decided after feeling out my knee and the map that I should train it to my next main stop, Santa Barbara which would otherwise be another 3 days of riding. The ride took only a few hours and I got off at the west end of town close to a $20 a night hostel where
I decided I would rest and check out the city for a few days. It was a small hostel with bad noise control, but a free pancake breakfast. I didn't meet any notable people there but the city itself was very cool, it was the first of the Spanish missions that were built in the 1600's that I'd yet seen. These churches were created to be not more than a horse days ride in between and start from San Francisco and go I believe all the way down to the bottom of the Baja in Mexico. The city itself was cool I guess, not suitable necessarily for someone like myself on a tight budget. One guy came out of a random bar just so he could fist bump me. The beach was cool and I guess I could see the appeal of the city, it was kind of shitty for me really because I was going through another place with so many layers that I would never uncover. Travel is not a matter of just skimming over places, especially beautiful cities like this one. By the time I left my knee was feeling pretty good, I'd adjusted the seat a little higher as I'd learned that the way I'd had it set for over two months could have been too low the whole time. I followed the coast, made it to my next campsite which was just ok and set up my trusty tent. Once I got comfortable I decided to start reading a book on my Ipad that a touring cyclist I'd met in Alaska 6 months previous had recommended. This man provided a spark of inspiration in me at the moment I met him, I've wondered since then if he was the reason the idea formed for me to do my trip. I was traveling up the Dalton highway with two Spanish guys in a campervan when we encountered this man making camp, preparing food, in the freezing cold arctic circle area of that road. We were headed north to the top of Alaska, Prudhoe bay. This Italian man had started cycling from there a few days previous I guess and had survived a bear encounter that morning with the aid of a passing truck that scared the grizzly away after honking his horn. He had just tried to use bear mace on it but had become blinded after the wind blew it back onto him. He had told us that he was too scared now to cook food and was eating everything cold out of fear of attracting another one. My first instinct was to ask him if he was reading a book, he told me about Man's search for meaning by Viktor Frankl, a WW2 Jewish holocaust survivor. I got a few pages into the book and was surprised by it's short length, I stopped after 10 pages as I didn't just want to breeze through it.

The next day I began riding up through Malibu with thousands oaks as my destination for that day and LA as my target for the following. I'd asked a warmshowers host in Thousand oaks if they could host me and they said it was OK. Cycling up the gigantic hill through Malibu was no joke, I didn't realize how much elevation I had to cover before I could get there, one guy driving the opposite way pulled over at one point and started talking to me about my trip. He tried to convince me not to go into Mexico and gave me his number in case I got into trouble and about $20 in energy boosting packs. His name was Andy and he was a super nice guy I guess but I was kind of off put by him after just a few minutes, he kept suggesting I should get a lift with him to the top of the hill which I replied each time that I was tackling as that was the point of doing a cycling tour, to challenge oneself. His fear mongering about how violent Mexico is lingered in my mind for a while after that to and probably added to the anxiety I felt before I crossed the border. The homes in Malibu were incredible, many built into impossible slopes on mountains and ridges that were slowly crumbling away. There were piles of built up stone lining the sides of the roads that was from this weathering process and I wondered how much people there have to pay for insurance, it seemed like just a matter of time before many of the homes would succumb to a landslide in a bad storm. The views began becoming pretty nice after a few more hours and I eventually started riding down a hill that
dropped just kept going for about 5km, I couldn't believe how long I was speeding downhill for. I was worried about having to make it up but I started riding into thousand oaks and I found the house which was in a very upper middle class area. I knocked on the door and a short man who introduced himself as Hal answered, he was immediately very friendly and tried to make me as comfortable as possible in the house, showing me to my room and offering the Wi-Fi password. We started chatting and he told me about an Italian cyclist whom had stayed just a few weeks earlier, his name Davide. I started asking more questions curious as to whether it was the man I'd seen in Alaska 6 months earlier and he finally after some tracking down used an email to link to a photo of the man, it was definitely him, I couldn't believe it. Just the day before I'd begun reading the book he'd recommended to me and now here he was with a name and Instagram profile to boot. The book about a Jewish man's survival in WW2 was difficult for me to bring up as Hal had just mentioned that Nicole and he were busy with her daughters Bat Mitzvah or coming of age celebration, so I knew they were actually Jewish. We were both surprised at the coincidence of the story however. When Nicole got home she was drunk and I heard her say to Hal, "The warmshowers guy isn't weird or anything is he" and she began rambling on about a bunch of different things. I felt pretty out of place in their home but I started talking with Nicole and she was ok, just a bit crazy. She told me to eat as much leftover lasagne as I could manage and they headed out of the place and left me there for a few hours. Having to throw yourself into so many random situations is a fine balance of fitting in and also creating definition, something that I have not mastered or even close to yet. These people were so far removed from any type of social circle I have ever been a part of that it was tough to fit in. I ate a ton of the lasagne, as requested, read some more of that book and just chilled out. They got back late and she demanded that I not stay in my room and come and socialize despite me feeling uncomfortable, Hal eventually shuffled her off to bed.

When I woke in the morning Nicole was much less edgy and crazy but in a good way. She gave me some good advice for Mexico with regard to staying safe and I chatted to them while they were both still in bed. Nicole got up and tried to show me a device that gives off a high frequency noise that is designed to scare off dogs, fortunately for the two that were in her room the battery was flat, it would have been pretty fucking cruel and I wouldn't have said anything despite my objection being the nice guy I am and in a strangers house. They both wished me luck, Hal was an exceptionally nice man who encouraged me to stay fit all the way into his age, he was still cycling long distances all the time and he was in his mid 50's.

I planned out my route to the hostel I'd be staying at in LA, close to Hollywood and was again glad of having my GPS. That ride was a descent into utter madness and it stands out as the most dangerous day of cycling I'd yet done. Some of the roads I had to go through just to access the city were dauntingly scary, absolutely not designed for cyclists and I had to navigate through very heavy traffic at large intersections into areas where what little room I had suddenly thinned out and I found myself cycling on 60mph roads with cars screaming past many of them not willing to alter their course virtually at all. Very aggressive drivers it seemed were everywhere, what an introduction to such a notorious city. I was desperate to find a bike path to get off the road and as I was figuring out a route a man named Jack came up to me and asked about my trip. He told me that he had lived in Australia for 1 year and found Aussies to be very hospitable, he offered his place up for a few days, even to spend Christmas there with his son but he was too far out of town for me. He was the first person I spoke to in LA and I had his number in case I needed anything, this felt pretty lucky. I ended up spending hours trying to access downtown and finally I cycled up the 3rd last road before the hostel and I began walking my bike over the Hollywood walk of fame. There was all these desperate looking tourists taking photos crowding the place out with people dressed up as famous characters like Spider man and Marilyn Monroe that kind of looked like run down drug addicts. I took a photo of the Kermit the Frog Star plate that I stumbled across for Nicole whom I'd met at San Fran who loved the Sesame Street movie and I got out of there, quickly.

The hostel was cool that night, they had some stand up comedy that was actually quite funny as one guy had a great impression of Al Pacino trying to sing that he himself couldn't stop himself from laughing at half way through. I started this travel blog in that hostel the next morning and then took off on my bike down to Venice beach, with my limited time I decided I would be having in LA I'd decided that seeing that, the Museum of art and the Hollywood sign should be enough. I'd had thoughts of cycling through Compton but getting there would have been a nightmare, would have been cool to see Eazy E's family house though. The roads leading to the beach had all these arches for boats passing through the waterways underneath and I saw that all the houses in the area backed onto one of these canals that people used to boat around on. Venice beach itself was huge, I could imagine in Summer the place being able to fit close to 1 million people. It was long and very, very wide. I was there in the winter so it was nice and quiet, I just slowly rode my bike through the bicycle banned pedestrian pathway for 5 km or so then made my way to Hollywood where I took a wrong turn and ended up seeing the style of houses that Hollywood has. It seems to be a mass of steep hills all scattered with uniquely designed multi level home of all shapes and sizes. I could see that it would be an incredible place to live, just the way the neighborhood was shaped was so different to what I'd ever seen before. I eventually bought my lost self all the way up to the Griffith Observatory which was supposed to have the best view of the Hollywood sign. I managed to beat a lot of the cars up there as the queue to get up was crazy, there was no parking anywhere. I took my photos, chatted to some random people and cycled back down all the way to LA Museum of Art which had a half hour line up. This place was worth visiting LA for, I've never been one to rush to museums or art galleries when I come to a new city but this place had artworks from all over the world some well over 1000 years old. Fuck museums for the most part, they are so incredibly boring nearly every time. This was what people were thinking in ages past. There was an area dedicated to China, one for Latin America, one for the United States, one from Japan and areas with an assortment of paintings, statues, carvings from all over. I had 3 hours which I thought would be plenty of time but it turns out that there were huge areas I didn't get time to see. From all the impressions I had gotten from LA, it's huge overpopulated expanse really only visible from places like Griffith Observatory, homeless people in droves, crazy traffic, mean vibe, I could see that it was a first class city in it's own right.

I decided that for the sake of my own safety there was no way in hell I was going to cycle out of LA to the next descent campsite much further down the coast, I went to the main train platform and booked a ticket about 60 miles out which only required 10 miles of cycling to reach camp. LA was cool, I regretted not having more available time to see it properly and I was at times cursing the limitations of being on a bicycle, for all it's charm it requires serious dedication if you want to go anywhere, the destination really has to be worth the spiritual amount of work required to get there.


Tot: 3.089s; Tpl: 0.151s; cc: 11; qc: 46; dbt: 0.0862s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.5mb