Day 14: Anaheim to San Diego

Touchdown

After a breakfast of burritos and spicy tuna rolls at an extra random breakfast spot called Crazy Grill, we completed the final leg of our journey to San Diego.  Touchdown.

  • Total miles: 5,877
  • Total mental breakdowns: 5
  • Hours of house music: 63
  • Minutes of intellectual conversation: 2
  • Number of burgers: Not enough

After nearly 6,000 miles with no car issues, its safe to say the way of the samurai is strong in the Hyundai.  It smells terrible inside but with 32+ MPG, who cares.  Some final highlights since we’ve arrived to stay with Dan and Kim (THANK YOU!):

We’ve encountered no less than 3 hipsters carting animals about.  First one was a guy walking with a ferret on his shoulder.  That was actually San Fran but close enough.  Next was a leather jacketed skateboarder with a cat on his shoulder.  Tyler said “Neato cat”, he replied “I’m awesome”.  Third was a bicyclist with what we think was a dog in a small pouch affixed to his jacket.  Could’ve been an Ewok but we’ll go with dog.

We went to a beach concert in Mission Beach that we planned to enjoy via song and dance.  What we didn’t know was that the entire population of weirdoes, whackos and generally crazy people had been invited.  We just laid on a blanket and people watched for a solid 2 hours.  I thought Seaside Heights, NJ took the award for best people watching, pointing and laughing.  This event was far and away the victor.

On Sunday I got to meet the local lunatic at Swami’s, the break down from the street from Dan and Kim.  As I was walking down the beach, a dude came running out of the bushes – wild eyes, no shirt, pants undone.  Needless to say, I felt no reason to introduce myself.  But given that he stopped and started leering at me, I greeted him with a “Good morning kind sir!”  This was met with a surly “What? I don’t know you!  Why are you talking to me?!”  At this point, I felt a surf session would be better than getting attacked with a stick by the local crackhead, and headed for the water.  Tyler, behind me, then watched the good man practice his karate chops and round house ninja kicks while casting spells on me.

That’s all she wrote.  Thank you very little, I hope you enjoyed our little adventure!

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Special Feature: State Signs

Our plan was to get a picture with every “Welcome To” sign we saw.  But some states didn’t seem to have them and others were in tough locations. Like “Welcome to Wisconsin” engraved on a bridge in the middle of a 6 lane highway. So here’s what we do have.

Lincoln also liked top hats

Lincoln also enjoyed top hats

I love horses!

I love horses!

I smell like a banana sandwich!

I smell like a banana sandwich!

The gym is THAT way

The gym is THAT way

Candy bar!

Candy bar!

I am from Finland, ya?

I am from Finland, ya?

I'm a camel!

I’m a camel!

We have arrived

We have arrived

Day 13: San Francisco to Anaheim

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

We had our first real California Mexican meal this morning.  Though the Mexican food is surely better closer to San Diego, it was nice to see it offered.  We then made way for Mavericks in Half Moon Bay.  Though the water was flat, we met a local wingnut named Lou that was busy taking pictures with the largest of 3 huge cameras around his neck.  Though crazy, he was nice, pointing out where the wave breaks and explaining the memorial to Mark Foo.  I’m sure Tyler will be back on a big day to see the madness in action.

Next step was Monterey to catch up with Tyler’s friend Lucas, his wife Jackie and their 8 day old son Hudson. We would have stayed longer but as we’d been doing from the get go, the actual distance we planned to travel was MUCH more than expected.

  • Tyler:  “We’re headed for Anaheim, 4 hours or so, right?”
  • Lucas: “Try 6 hours”

It was time to go and though the Hearst Castle was on the list, our need to get out of the car prevailed and we went for I-5 south instead. The highlight of this drive was In ‘N Out.  Some say there are better burger joints in CA.  I’m sure that’s possible but it doesn’t negate the fact that In ‘N Out ROCKS.

Though we got to Anaheim later than hoped, the upside was bypassing the LA traffic everyone had warned us about.  And we still got to hang out with Katie Z which was EXCELLENT.  She was super nice to let us crash in her suite for the night.  But she took the pull out couch and gave us the king bed which was really great.  Before bed, we had some hilarious conversation with Katie and her co-workers over a few beers.  My favorite new word was coined  – Douche Kebob.  All in all, a good time and a really good nights sleep.

Day 12: Crater Lake to San Francisco

Green screens are amazing

Hey big fella, you workout?

Awesome

Awesome

I had a strawberry Pop Tart on the road this morning.  Sugar robed in cake, smeared with sugar then sprinkled with sugar.  People eat these for breakfast and we have an obesity epidemic?  Weird.  Good sugar high and crash though.

So it turns out Richard’s stories of the mystical Crater Lake were 100% accurate.  This place is outrageous.  Though the roads were clear, there was at least 10 feet of plowed snow in the parking lot and the view over the lake was mind boggling.  With no wind, the water was ultra glassy showing off perfect reflections of Wizard Island. It’s out of the way but a must see for anyone in the vicinity.

Hyundai - Way of the Samurai!

Hyundai – Way of the Samurai!

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Along with the view and snow we got to meet a fellow road tripper.  His name was likely Gomer.  He looked as though he’d been driving and/or awake for 4 days straight.  He mumbled something about going to Minnesota, Washington D.C. and now Crater Lake.  Sounded weird but not as weird as his slack jaw, doe eye stare.  Lock the doors, roll up the windows and RUN.

Tyler's Street Fighter II meme

Tyler’s Street Fighter II meme

Audi Awesomness

Audi Awesomness

As a sidebar – Sarah would be proud of me.  After visiting the restroom upon arrival, I managed to browse the gift store, walk around the park and talk to strangers with my fly open the whole time.  I’ll blame my complete lack of awareness on 5000 miles in the car with that tattooed bear who is Tyler.  When I brought his attention to my faux pas, he just smirked and shook his head.

Which way's up?

Which way’s up?

Since this part of the drive took much longer than expected we headed straight for San Francisco, during which we made an important discovery.  We’d left the land of carnivorous meth addicts and entered the domain of gnomes, hobbits and in the parlance of Tyler “Narnia or some shit”.   We also had a great automotive experience.  Cruising along at 70, Tyler ID’d an Audi RS4 rocketing up the road on the right.  The driver got bottled up and we got a peek at the occupants.  A woman in her mid 70’s driving with a similarly aged male passenger.  In the back window was a Ferrari sticker.  She then carved up the bottleneck and stood on the gas.  EXCELLENT.

We made it San Fran around 9 after a white knuckle drive across the Bay Bridge through Treasure Island.  It was seriously windy, the bridges were LONG and packed with squirrelly local drivers.  We picked up pizza and beer to meet at Tyler’s friend, Micah’s, place. He was nice enough to sacrifice his bedroom for our smelly selves and we were out shortly after arriving.

Day 11: Seattle to Crater Lake

Starbucks #1

Starbucks #1

I am happy!

I am happy!

Let’s see, today we had breakfast courtesy of Jim and Megan (thank you!) before leaving Samammish and heading for downtown Seattle.  They directed us towards Pike Place market which was SICK.  Amongst other things, we saw the original Starbucks location.  There were all kinds of fresh fish shacks and more importantly, delicious breakfast spots.  We chose Le Panier for it’s window of buttery treats.  Tyler took the chocolate croissant and I went for the chocolate almond ball of goodness.   Along with a soup bowl of coffee, we were bouncing off the walls and ready to go.

Secret space ship on a stick

Space ship on a stick

Next stop was the space needle from the World’s Fair back in 1957 (?).  This took us on a walking tour of the city and left us wanting to come back.  Seattle is like a large Ann Arbor or Portsmouth.  Lots of cool stores, super diverse eateries and an overall laid back feel.  Highly recommended.

Hard to do during food meltdown

Hard to do during food meltdown

From here, we hit the road for Crater Lake.  The father unit, Fred/Richie/Poop, etc., traveled here 100 years ago with John and Tony Edwards for what sounded like an epic tour of the country.  Though we didn’t have a bungee corded lawn chair in the car as they did, we were determined to check out this holy land that is Crater Lake.

Turned out to be a bit further than expected so we spent the night in Eugene.  I’ve worked with the Planned Parenthood located there so we stopped by to put a face to the name, show off my farmer’s tan and very professional flip flop + shorts get up.  Jane, the VP there, is super cool and showed

You are mine, you belong to me!

You are mine, you belong to me!

us their brand new eco-fabulous building.  She then recommended a place with great milk shakes an hour and a half south, towards Crater Lake.  But I was already in food melt down so we made the snap decision to stop by a place called Giant Burger we’d found on TV Food Maps and only a couple miles away.

As we approached the fine restaurant, we couldn’t help but notice the abundance of strip clubs, pawn shops and check cashing spots.  Then we saw the establishment and almost thought twice.  But the monster in my belly opened the car door before Tyler stopped and forced us though the front door.

Eat meeee, eat meeeee!

Eat meeee, eat meeeee!

Once we saw the menu, all doubt was cast aside. 100% grass fed local beef, handmade milk shakes with local ice cream and insane combinations of fries and sides.

  • We started with their loaded fries – Old Bay, garlic, bleu cheese and bacon.  Terrible.
  • Tyler ordered the Cowboy Bob with bacon, cheddar, BBQ and an onion ring plus a peanut butter cup shake.  Gross.
  • I received, with gratitude, the Baja Bliss with avocado, bacon, green chiles, pepper jack, grilled onions and CREAM CHEESE with a strawberry cheesecake shake.  Horrendous.
Creeper

Creeper

Then we finished our all time blowout with Iron Man 3 and bed.  Giant Burger should be visited by all burger lovers on the West Coast.  Totally out of control.

Day 10: Salt Lake City to Seattle

Faster is better

Faster is better

This day promised to be a marathon but with nothing in between we were itching to see, it had to be done.  One thing we noticed was the difference between littering mentality.  In South Dakota, we scoffed at the threat of $100 fine for littering.  But passing through Oregon, we soiled ourselves at the potential $6,250 fine.  Roll up the windows and stuff all your garbage under the seat!

Overall, it was a long but yet another outrageous drive.  The thermometer hit 91 in Oregon while we went up and down more long, swoopy mountain roads. In the Denver area, we got our asses kicked in the passing/being passed game.  Our favorite phrase for hard acceleration is “UNADULTERATED POWER!”.  Of course, in a Viper, this would be appropriate.  The Hyundai’s 4 banger, though fuel efficient, does not possess jaw dropping acceleration.  And in the thin air of the Rockies, she was gasping which resulted in plenty of “being passed”.  But here in Oregon, we were back in the black, whizzing past everyone in sight.  Yeah, we’re really proud of ourselves.  Since I’ve now channeled Ferrari and Bugatti, this road will require something more obscene – Pagani Huayra perhaps?

Twin Falls twin mermaids

Twin Falls twin mermaids

We did stop in Twin Falls, ID on the way which turned out to pretty excellent.  We got off on the first of 2 exits and recognized the cannibalistic meth head look so correctly identified in South Dakota.  But after crossing a massive gorge, we ended up in civilization.  The coolest part was that at the bottom of the gorge was this wild looking village and golf course.  Was it Shangri-La?  Or the secret mountain village of Atlas Shrugged?  I don’t have that answer but the spinach/red pepper/egg sandwich at IHOP was DEFINITELY the secret to prevent me from becoming the Hunger Monster.

As we got closer to Seattle, we made a stop at a random Subway staffed by a truly unpleasant toad.  Tyler ordered a toasted banana sandwich from the first lady at the counter.  He was then passed off to the Toad. When he asked to have his banana toasted, she snapped “I heard you before”.  Whoa, take it easy on the testosterone pills.

Turned out to be a good thing we stopped since they shut down the interstate about an hour from Seattle for “rock blasting”.  They did have the flashing traffic advisory sign but just as in NJ, the AM channel was virtually unintelligible though we did catch “single lane road closures”.  Which is a BIT different than closing the entire highway.  But let’s not split hairs.  Besides, when we were going to get another chance to lay down on a 75 mph interstate?

Zombie apocalypse

Zombie apocalypse is fun!

The entire affair was 2 ½ hours but it was super nice out and the other drivers were quite friendly.  Stepping out of the car to pee on the shoulder, I furrowed my brow trying to place the strong scent of pine.  Did someone smash a bottle of cleaning fluid on the road?  Did Tyler smear air freshener all over my face while I slumbered?  Nope, that would be the intensely fresh smell of the huge pine tress all around us. INCREDIBLE.  By the time they let us through, stars were out and the line up of parked cars resembled a zombie apocalypse movie.  Time to lock the doors and step on it for fear of being eaten by said zombies or the man eating wolves that surely stalked us from the nearby forest.

A valid question

A valid question

We finally arrived in Sammamish, just outside Seattle to spend the night with Megan and Jim, friends of Sarah from college.  They live in a really nice area that is incredibly quiet at night.  We hung out for a few minutes but all parties were very ready for bed.  We both slept like rocks and could not be more appreciative for the hospitality – thanks Megan, thanks Jim!

Day 9: Denver to Salt Lake City

Looking good Billy Ray!  Feeling good Louis.

Looking good Billy Ray! Feeling good Louis.

Ahh, waking up this morning was glorious.  5 hours of sleep with a stomach full of who knows what and a slumbering bear named Tyler on the couch making all sorts of strange noises.  The picture of perfection.

Though my head was heavy and my stomach growling with hunger, Uncle Tyler took the hangover cake.  Since we had left the car keys at Emma’s but slept and Meg and Ethan’s, Tyler woke up blind (having taken his contacts out) and looking rather unsavory.   The first order of the day was moving a dresser from the garage to a bedroom.

Once the red bearded beast that is Tyler had gotten some Advil and Vita Coco, he agreed to help me move said dresser but not without warning – “If I move this dresser, I will vomit”.  Clearly his skills at channeling what is going to happen have improved because the universe delivered on this promise.  Like his Mt Rushmore bathroom adventure, there was no pointing, no laughing.  Truly this was a testament to how much fun we had the night before.  Thank you Emma, Meg and Ethan – excellent times.

After a meal of delicious homemade chicken fingers, we were headed for Utah.  Ethan was kind enough to share that he would be watching Iron Man 3 and then spending the day accomplishing nothing, possibly watching D’Jango (the D is silent) from his couch.  And that we should join him.  It was a great mental picture before 10 hours of hungover road tripping.  Thanks Ethan, you should become a motivational speaker.

I got the first shift through the Rockies and Vail.  The Badlands were cool but this road was epic.  Super long sweeping curves overlooking the Colorado River with massive mountain faces as the backdrop.  Lots of tunnels and 100 foot runaway truck ramps.  Fortunately we have the surfboards strapped to the roof or I would have SURELY  gotten a speeding ticket. I’ll bring the Ferrari to Badlands but 70 West out of Denver gets the Bugatti. But I’ll be sporting 14 radar detectors unlike the brand new 911 Turbo that got pulled over right after passing us.  Certainly that cop did not enjoy it one bit.

Tyler finished our eye bleeding drive into the town of Ogden, just north of Salt Lake City.  At this point, I was practically crawling out of my skin with a headache, stomach ache and general need for bed.  Apparently my sleep talking self made an appearance at midnight.  I “woke up”, asked Tyler how long he’d been there in the bed beside me, was told to shut up and go to sleep, and did just that.

P.S. Anthony Ferrante is the man and his ludicrous voicemails are keeping us going #SenorTony #Haha #Funny #UnecessarilyHashtaggingEverything