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Wednesday 14th June 2006

The Journey East

Since my last update we’ve driven over 14,000kms (8000 miles) down the West coast and across to the East coast of the USA.

After living it up in Davis, California with Ian we spent a few days exploring San Francisco. Checked out all the usual sights, went to a Baseball game and cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge which was definitely a highlight!

The next few days were spent driving south down the Californian coast towards LA. To quote the Lonely Planet … it was a “symphony of nature” (love it  ..… tossers!). Windy, narrow roads set on spectacular cliffs with panoramic views of the ocean made the trip well worth while. We had overnight stops in Santa Cruz and near Santa Barbara which was fun. Unfortunately the temperature was still a bit cold so we didn’t experience it at its best.

The next few nights were spent camping in Joshua Tree National Park which is just near Palm Springs. We fluked being there at the same time as a massive music festival called Coachella. We managed to scalp some tickets and saw some huge acts including: Tool, Madonna, Paul Oakenfold, Mylo, James Blunt. Great day! Oakenfold (Oaks for short) sure did out-do himself by coming out on stage pushing play on his CD player and pumping his fist in the air a few times … gold! Hence the expression “Doing an Oaks” means looking good while having done nothing.

Joshua Tree National Park was a symphony of ridiculously hot temperatures, red sand and desert. We did a day hike to a desert oasis but the temperature was one million degrees that day and we almost died of heat exhaustion, boredom and sun stroke. We saw a humming bird back at the campsite which was very cool indeed.

Our next stop was Vegas …. baby, where we met up with my Canadian mate (Jigga) who had flown in from Kelowna. Vegas was a total blast. We had such a good time. The highlight was a night out (dressed in my retro suit) at Studio 54, which is by far the best nightclub I have ever been to. Two nights (with very little sleep) was definitely enough so we continued on to the Grand Canyon via the Hoover Dam.

After spending some time taking in the shear size and spectacular views of the Grand Canyon, the 3 of us headed South West to San Diego. We stayed in a fantastic, friendly hostel right on Pacific Beach which made San Diego a huge highlight of the trip. Nice beaches, beautiful sunsets, friendly locals and pumping nightlife makes San Diego a “must see”!

We were in San Diego for a Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) – a massive Mexican celebration and it sure didn’t disappoint. Desmond came out to party and stole the hearts, smiles, beers and wallets of the people staying at the hostel.

Mexico was only a stones throw away so we checked out Tijuana and spent a night in Rosoritto. It was dodgy as hell but great fun. The border crossing into Mexico is basically a turn-style with absolutely no security or passport control, hilarious! They have no idea who is entering their country. We met some American birds while trying to find the hostel and they kindly offered us some accommodation in an apartment that they had rented but was not being used. So Luke, Jiggs and I had a beachside apartment all to ourselves … gold. We went to an enormous night club called Pappas and Beer, which was totally out of control! There were no rules! $1 beers and tacos went down very well!

There was some frantic confusion at the USA border crossing when Desmond the Kangaroo was mistaken for a fugitive Mexican Donkey and was threatened with deportation to Guantanamo Bay. He pretended he was Skippy the Talking Kangaroo and after hours of interrogation was finally given the all clear by immigration.

LA was next on our itinery and proved to be epic times! We met up with two Aussie mates: Dan Roth and Doddsy. 4 Aussies, a Canadian and an inflatable kangaroo sure guaranteed some crazy shenanigans! We checked out UCLA, Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. We may have not been totally honest with the motel owner when we repeatedly told him that there were only 3 people staying in the room … oops. As a result we were forced to leave and stay at a hostel in Santa Monica. On one of the nights out, Luke, Dodds and I ended up at a house party in South Central LA, it was dodgy as!

After 3 nights in LA it was time for the 5 of us to head our separate ways! Luke and I headed East towards Washington DC. Along the way we had stopped in Albuquerque -New Mexico, Tulso – Oklahoma, stayed with some Aussie friends in St Louis – Missouri, had a fun night out in Columbus – Ohio and caught up with Kate in Harrisburg – Pennsylvania. There may have been an incident in Columbus where we met a Stiffler like character and ended up with a sorority house flag but that can’t be confirmed at this stage …

So after 5 days of straight driving we finally arrived exhausted in the Nation’s Capital. I stayed with some friends while Luke attended a 3 day Muslim Pakistani wedding. It was great to chill out and catch up on some much needed sleep!

We spent a few nights on the New Jersey coast including Atlantic City which is like a run-down version of Vegas. Whilst in New Jersey Desmond got on the wrong side of the mafia, so we were forced to flee to New York city.

New York was amazing! I loved it. We stayed with one of Luke’s mates who lived very centrally indeed. Did all the touristy stuff including: Statue of Liberty, Empire State, Times Square, Ground Zero etc. We also went to a New York Yankees baseball game and saw a show on Broadway. The show we saw was called Avenue Q and was a spoof of Sesame Street, very funny indeed and yes the Bert like character ended up coming out of the closet … gold!

The short drive to Philadelphia signaled the end of Luke and I’s roadtrip! It was a great finale though as we went to a Ween concert in downtown Philly!

I’m currently chilling with a friend (Kate) just near Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. I’ve been taking it really easy, riding my bike, watching a heap of soccer and attempting to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with my life. All I know is that it has to involve work very soon as my bank balance and I are not on good terms at the moment. I’ll be driving back to Canada to sell my car at some stage in the near future.

I was hoping to be able to fly over to Germany for the World Cup but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen now. Keep your eye out for Desmond the Kangaroo in the crowd though as he decided to do a solo mission to support the Socceroos!

Anyway that is my news. I’ve just uploaded some photos so if you are interested you can check them out at:
http://www.danscapers.com/gallery/RoadtripUSA

Go the Aussies!!

Take it easy

--Dan




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Dan brand Orange Juice in Slovenia ... what a country!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
--Mark Twain


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