Friday, September 05, 2008

Cambria, California conclusion

Cambria, California, Part 1
Cambria, California, Part 2

When Gisela's tour was over, after I'd spent several hours below Hearst Castle Sunday, we went back into Cambria and ate at the Main Street Grill again. Once again I ate french fries and garlic bread (which had no garlic).

When we went back to the ranch, we watched some TV with Lindy and Leisa in the main house for a couple hours. They all watched TV, anyway; I was paying more attention my computer. Jon was off doing other things.


Woke up.

Monday morning Jon seized another opportunity to cook for guests. This time he whipped up some french toast. Instead of the white bread he would normally use, he used a multi-grain bread for the french toast, I think because it was the only bread in the house. I definitely would like to have tried Jon's standard french toast because the guy knows what he's doing in the kitchen. I suspect Lindy knows her way around the kitchen, too, but I didn't have an opportunity to sample any of her work. By the way, they have an awesome kitchen. It's not awesome because it looks pretty, Mom; it's awesome because it's ridiculously functional, which makes it attractive.

After breakfast we all talked for a while. Jon and I began some college football talk. Jon is a USC Trojan fan, and as we all know, I'm a big Buckeye fan. But Jon is not just a fan; he is a knowledgeable fan, so it was a good talk.

Eventually Gisela decided it was time for us to head on down the road, so we did. We drove toward LA and stopped in Malibu, where Gisela got a very expensive spot in a campground. After setting up her tent, we drove down the PCH into Santa Monica, then took I-10 into LA. From downtown LA we went to Hollywood, where we took Hollywood Boulevard west into Laurel Canyon before taking Sunset back to the coast.

At 1:00 am, as we returned to Malibu, I still had nowhere to sleep, so I asked Gisela to pull over just before we reached her campground. Thinking I recognized the area from when I walked through last year, I suspected I might find a nice place to sleep. If so, that would make it easy for the two of us to meet up again in the morning. (Yes, we could have figured out a way for me to stay at the campground, but I think she was worried about being found out and consequently being charged extra, or something like that.)

After a minute of looking around, I found that the area beside (or below) the campground would make an excellent campsite for me. It was a parking lot near several trailheads into the mountains. So I got my stuff out of the car and set up for the night. Before she left, Gisela said she would stop by in the morning so we could go off and see LA together.

First thing Tuesday, we went to some outlet stores near Oxnard. Gisela wanted to get some Levis before heading back to Germany, where they cost $120 or $130. She also wanted to get some Chuck Taylors for her son, if she could find the kind he asked for. She found the Levis, but no Chuck Taylors. I spent a couple more hours sitting around while she shopped. Fortunately, I was able to spend some of that time working on a blog post.

From the outlet stores, we took the 101 toward Hollywood. She wanted to find a shady place for us to get out of the car and eat some of the food we'd bought the previous night, so I suggested Griffith Park (near the Hollywood sign).

As we exited the 101 on Hollywood Boulevard, I saw a donut shop and said something about it. Gisela had a kind of fascination with donuts because they don't really have many different kinds of donuts in Germany, I guess. She turned into the parking lot, excited because I'd been talking about how good the donuts are in Hollywood, but the donut shop was closed.

To continue to Griffith Park, we needed to make a pretty difficult left turn. Seeing that it might take a while, I told Gisela I knew of another donut shop the other way, near Hollywood and Highland. It wouldn't be too far out of the way, if she wanted to give it a try. That sounded good to her, so she made a right turn on Hollywood and we set off to another donut shop. At Highland we took a right, and after a block we were there.

We each had three donuts. She got a lemon-filled donut with chocolate icing, a maple bar, and a raspberry filled donut. I got a Boston Creme (custard w/chocolate icing), a glazed buttermilk bar, and some kind of bear claw with chocolate icing and chocolate chips. Gisela scarfed her donuts down faster than I could finish half of mine, then she went to the mall across the street to find a memory card thingy for her camera.

After our donut feast, we no longer needed to find a shady place to eat lunch, but we went on to Griffith Park anyway. In the observatory parking lot, I, the designated photographer, noticed Gisela's batteries were about to die. Long story short... I ended up sitting around in the observatory for about an hour or two while she plugged her AA battery charger into an electrical outlet.

From Hollywood we took Santa Monica Boulevard to Santa Monica. As we neared Santa Monica, I thought about Venice Beach and pointed Gisela in the right direction, hoping we could get there in daylight so she could see the wonder that is Venice Beach. I'd never been there at night, so I didn't know what to expect after the sun goes down. Well, by the time we got there, it was getting dark and nearly all of Venice Beach's characters were gone for the night. The stores and shops were nearly all closed or closing, too.

If only we hadn't sat around forever at Griffith Observatory, waiting for the batteries to charge.

So we walked a mile or two of Venice Beach, then we turned around and went back to the road that turns into a pier. When we got back to the road, Gisela asked me if I wanted to get a beer. I said sure. So we went to some upstairs bar that I've actually been to before, about ten years ago with my old Vegas buddy Kyle Johnson. I ordered a Bass and Gisela had a Stella Artois.

Shortly after our arrival, we began talking to our bar neighbor. It was a 26-year-old guy named Pete who is a boat captain. He works out of Marina Del Ray, I think, operating rich people's yachts because they don't know how to do it themselves. Anyway, handsome Pete seemed to be a pretty lonely guy who spends much of his time drowning his sorrows in adult beverages. Hopefully Gisela and I helped raise his spirits for a little while.

Finishing our beers, Gisela and I headed back to Malibu much earlier than we had the previous night, which was good for me because I was tired as hell. She dropped me off in the same spot as before and told me to be ready at 8:00 or 8:30.

The next morning (Wednesday), I rode with Gisela to the car rental place near LAX. After dropping off her Suzuki Forenza, as she waited for her airport shuttle, we hugged and said goodbye. Then she was gone.

Aimless Video Evidence

A Hennessy billboard showing a

A Hennessy billboard showing a white guy with a guitar! What's wrong with this ad? Answer below.