Sunday, January 31, 2010

I love LA, but the

I love LA, but the Sunset Strip on a Saturday night is quite possibly--nay, most certainly--the fakest, lamest place I've ever been. Except...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'll give you $100 if...

Today I walked by an Italian restaurant/pizzeria on Riverside Dr. (or Alameda?) in Toluca Lake (Burbank) that was once featured on an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. I think it's called Poblano's now, though it had a different name when the show aired. (The name change surely came with the new ownership, probably because the previous place had a bad reputation). I suspect Poblano's is struggling nearly as much as the previous place, partly because people who buy worthless restaurants usually don't know what they're getting into. Anyway, supposing it is struggling, I want to turn the place around because I'm THE person who can do it. But before I can do it, I need your help. I will send $100 to the first person who can convince the owner to call me, based on my guarantee that I can help them turn the place into a very profitable business, so long as I am given the freedom to change some
things in order to offer the best pizza and service available ANYWHERE. Call me if you're interested.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Return to Cambria

Lots to say, but not really any time to say it right now. I stayed a few days with my aunt and uncle in Sacramento. Aunt Carolyn put me on a train to San Francisco, where I hung out for a couple days. In San Francisco I was finally able to meet Glenn Shope of Net Acceleration, who has set me up with web hosting for the last three and a half years. Very cool guy, as are the rest of the people in his office.

At a coffee house in SF, some guy told me about George Throop, who is walking from Washington to LA to Florida to DC. After seeing George's web site for a minute, I sent George a short e-mail from my phone, saying I'd like to try to meet up with him sometime, since the two of us are in the same vicinity.

The weather has been miserable for most of the last ten days all over California, but it was especially crappy in SF, so I didn't stick around. Instead, I took a train to Gilroy, where I lost my phone one night but got it back the next day. After getting a ride to Paso Robles, I walked to Cambria and then another five or six miles beyond Cambria to the San Simeon Creek Ranch, better known to me as Jon ("Yon") and Lindy's place (see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, & pic from September 2008).

(Dangit, I lost some stuff I'd already written. That ticks me off.)

This ranch is a really special place to me, as you may have figured out if you've read the previous posts from 2008. First of all, Jon and Lindy are amazing people. Also, there is just something really beautiful and peaceful about this place. Unfortunately, Jon's mother died last night, which makes this sort of an awkward time to be around. She was 93.

Lindy is going to take me to San Luis Obispo tomorrow, where I will probably take a train back to LA. It looks like an incredible train ride along the coast.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Through Sacramento

After leaving the Gregory headquarters last Thursday, I walked a few miles to an REI store just outside downtown Sacramento. Sleeping near the store that night, I went back the next day to look around and to talk to Christa, an REI employee I'd met the previous night.

While looking around inside the store, I turned my head and noticed a familiar face. My first thought was that I recognized the face as someone who had been working at REI the previous night, but I quickly realized it was someone from Gregory. A moment later, a whole flock of Gregory's design team stood within a few feet of me. At this moment, I happened to be holding an Osprey backpack, checking it out to learn more about the differences between the various backpack brands.

What perfect timing. I felt like such a dick at that moment, after all they had done for me the previous day. It's not as if I was looking to buy the Osprey, though, and I think they knew that. But I still felt like a dick. It was definitely a Three's Company type of moment.

Shortly after that awkward moment, Wayne Gregory came over and introduced himself to me. To my surprise, he knew quite a bit about me and Aimless. He subsequently told me a story about a guy he met a few years ago. Driving around San Diego, Wayne spotted a guy with a backpack walking down the street. Noticing the backpack was an early Gregory model, which Wayne himself had made by hand, he stopped to talk to the guy.

The guy with the backpack, Art Brown, told Wayne he was about to walk from San Diego to Washington, DC. Wayne seemed pretty intrigued by Art and his lifestyle, and he quickly gave me Art's phone number. I guess he kind of saw Art and I as unique but similar kinds of people. It was a very cool story, and now I need to google "Art Brown" because I'm pretty sure there is stuff to find about him, like a blog.

That night (Friday) at about 9:00, as I walked the American River Parkway (a bike path), about ten miles up the road, I needed to get something to eat. So I left the trail at a rare exit point by a park near Cordova High School. Soon I encountered a young guy shooting a basketball alone. As I passed by the basketball court, he initiated a conversation with me and I asked him if he knew where I could find some fast food joints.

As the young dude began walking with me toward his home, I quickly figured out he was about 16. He seemed very interested in finding out a little bit about my story, and he also enjoyed talking about NBA basketball. Detecting a barely noticeable hint of a foreign accent, I asked him where he was from. He said he was born in Ukraine and moved here when he was about 4.

A very friendly, smart, and nice-looking young man, I had to wonder why he was all alone on a Friday night, but I never asked. After walking for 10 or 15 minutes, we reached a KFC, where I ended up having dinner. Before I entered the KFC, I thanked him for helping me find my way there. As I walked inside, he turned and continued toward home.

There was something about this kid that has me feeling weird. I just kind of feel like he looked up to me as a role model, even though he knew almost nothing about me. I feel like maybe I should have told him about this web site or given him my phone number in case he ever needed someone to talk to. I feel like I had a chance to make a positive impact on someone who may have needed a big brother figure in his life, but I failed. It's really bugging me--I mean it's REALLY bugging me--and I sure hope that kid is doing all right.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gregory Mountain Products

I hate posing for pictures. I always end up looking like a total dillhole. (The flab will be gone soon, but I should probably make an effort to start doing push-ups on a regular basis.) On the left is John Sears, Director of R&D for Gregory Mountain Products. On the right is Nick Kelso, Sample Maker, who performed some very important repairs on my pack today at Gregory's headquarters in Sacramento. The people at Gregory are awesome. I was there for five hours, talking pretty extensively to almost everyone in the building. Nick nearly re-engineered my pack, replacing several key parts that were worn out, broken, or dirty. They also fed me, an act that always wins major points with me. But mostly it was just cool meeting them and seeing a little bit of their operation. It's clear that they spend a lot of time working to make their products the best they can be, largely by listening to
feedback from people like me. Most American companies could learn something from the folks at Gregory.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If anyone knows where to

If anyone knows where to find the channel 6 web page with my recent interview, please copy and paste the full URL in a comment to this post. Thx.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jim and DUH

OK, here's Jim at Carl's Jr. So much to say about my adventures with Jim, but no time to say it. --> I read in the LA Times this morning that it's now pretty clear that NBC fucked up big-time when they axed Leno from the Tonight Show and rearranged the late night lineup. Duh! Who couldn't have seen that coming? It kinda makes ya wonder what kind of idiots are running the show over there, doesn't it? Yeah, well I guess it also helps explain why I haven't heard from NBC, months after they contacted me, having seen at least one of my videos on YouTube. And I'll tell you what: The videos and stories I've been able to share with you are a mere fraction of the great stories I've lived and the compelling characters I've met. This stuff needs to be seen by the American people. My Aimless adventure needs to be a TV show. It's the best show there's ever been, but you're all missing it. So I'm
asking you to write to the networks and even MTV. Tell them why they should get behind Aimless...

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

This is Kurt and some girl whose name I don't think I ever knew. I watched most of the Rose Bowl with them beside an RV outside the stadium. Good game. The RV belonged to a guy named Chris, who played center for Oregon in the mid 80s. I also met some local people earlier in the day who were cool as hell. They go to the Rose Bowl every year. From what I've heard, my interview on channel 6 was really cool. Hope you saw it. --> I stuck around Pasadena for the championship game. By game day I'd been hanging for several days with another tramp (from Cleveland) named Jim. Very cool guy. Almost all the people who talked to us, as we wandered the stadium parking lots, were USC fans (not Texas or Bama fans). --> The other day, as I watched Jim fly a sign ("Tough Times") at an off-ramp, an old man driving on the opposite side of the ramp honked a few times to get Jim's attention. When Jim turned
to look, the old man flipped him the bird. It was so funny. I'll put a pic of Jim in the next post.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Clay Hall left me a

Clay Hall left me a message today, saying channel 6 will air my interview sometime tonight. If you're in Columbus, keep an eye out for it.

Friday, January 01, 2010