The Final Chapter

My final day of vacation started with me eating a “breakfast” of croissants and donuts because that’s what the hotel provided. I left the hotel and headed east towards the Fisherman’s Wharf. I took Lombard Street, also known as the “Crookedest Street in the World”.

Not a great picture, but toward the middle top you can see the windy turns of Lombard Street

At the Fisherman’s Wharf I went to Pier 39 where I got ice cream, looked around, got a few pressed pennies and watched the end of this guy’s show. The amount of coordination and balance he has is very impressive.

Carousel at Pier 39
Woo!

From Pier 39 I went to the Ghirardelli Square, bought some chocolate, ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant, walked around and then just laid in the grass for a bit. Vacation was wrapping up, but I was ready for it to. Two weeks was long and I was just worn out at that point.

Beach view of Bay Bridge
Mmmm… Chocolate…

After the square I went to hotly anticipated Cable Car Museum. This place was actually really cool and interesting to learn about the cable cars that travel around the city.

Cable car replica

Lastly, I went to Twin Peaks to get an overview of the city. It was pretty cool, but I was there only a short time because I was ready to go home. After that I drove to the airport.

That city view

Overall, JetBlue was a really good experience. Their WiFi was okay and they had movies/tv/music on both planes I was on. I made it home safe and sound with my dad and his girlfriend there to pick me up.

Going home

Things I learned:

Don’t waste a day going to Milwaukee, it wasn’t worth it

Buses and trains really aren’t that bad, the people on buses are more shady for sure. Just keep to yourself, but don’t isolate yourself, that’s when people will try to hit you up for money.

When people do ask for money, tell them “I’m broke”. I guess this can’t apply to everyone, but it can for me because I look like a teenager. Apparently this phrase is more likely to get people to leave you alone than telling them “no”, because that could imply you still have money to take.

It’s fun not to have everything planned out, but rather just ideas of things you may want to do. It was nice being on my own schedule and not booking a lot of things besides travel in advance.

Don’t wait too long to look for hotels though, or else you will get stuck in a very sketchy, gross hotel that may possibly get rented out by the hour…. Yikes.

Pack light, you can always buy things later if needed.

Stay away from renting huge trucks to drive in the mountains.

Have offline entertainment ready for if in case it doesn’t work on bus/train.

Advertisements

San Fran and the Big Bridges

I drove to San Francisco, saw some tall grass and windmills on the way. I passed through Oakland on the highway and crossed the Bay Bridge. I had to pay a $6 toll, which I thought was really expensive, but apparently that was the charge for peak hours.

Approaching the Bay Bridge
Driving the Bay Bridge

I rolled into city, found some overpriced street parking and grabbed a bite to eat. From there I struggled as to what I wanted to do. I decided on the cable car museum, figuring that would be interesting and it was close by. Only problem was that it closed in an hour.

I got back to my car and started my way there. It was only a 15 minute drive with traffic. My first mistake: parked in a parking garage a little bit away and started walking just to realize it is a ridiculous uphill slope to the museum. Second mistake: went to back to car and tried to find closer parking. This resulted in failure and me deciding to give up on the museum because it was now closed. 

After feeling frustrated by the driving situstion, I saw I was close enough to Full House house. I loved the show as a kid and I enjoy the Netflix spinoff, so this was a key stop I needed to make.

🎵 “everywhere you look” 🎵

From there, I decided to hit the beach. When I got to the beach my expectations were shattered. It was cold! Did not expect that at all. It was maybe mid-60s, but then throw in the wind and it was just not what I expected at all. I stayed for only a while and booked a ticket to see the Secret Improv Society later that night.

Ocean Beach

I had a few hours to burn before the show so I went to the Golden Gate Bridge. It worked out great because the sun was setting at that time. 

Sunset near Golden Gate Bridge
Im surprised I didn’t get more dirty looks in this hoodie
Golden Gate Bridge

The show was okay. For those who really know me I tend to laugh at almost anything. These guys were just not that funny. They had their moments, but not too many.

I went to bed after the show knowing vacation was coming to a close.

Yosemite and the Never-Ending Winding Road

My adventures continued as I got off my connection bus in Oakhurst, CA. I stopped at…you know where… Denny’s of course. After I ate I had Enterprise pick me up.

Last bus ride! Woohoo!
Oakhurst, CA

When I got to Yosemite I was greeted with this view. It was incredible! I took a few pictures and continued to make my way to Yosemite Village. After 45 minutes of fighting through traffic, construction, frustration, and wrong turns I finally found an illegal parking spot.

This’ll wake you up

I started walking around, trying to figure out exactly where I was and how to get anywhere. I asked several workers for directions and finally decided to work my way to Yosemite Falls. 

On the way to Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls – I don’t know who that is.

After Yosemite Falls I caught a shuttle bus that was going to the other side of the Village to Vernal Falls, a few miles away. We made it about a mile before we got stuck in traffic. At that point we we were almost at a standstill so got out and walked. The path to get to bridge trailhead was about .8 miles, but it was almost all uphill. I don’t know if I feel it was worth it, it might have been more worth it if I went to the top of the falls. However, I didn’t go because by that point I was tired and knew I would probably have to walk all the way back to the village, which I did. In fact, traffic was so bad I passed the cars trying to get out while walking.

Bottom of Vernal Falls – too lazy to go to the top
So casaul
More views
Yosemite Falls from distance
Trees!

By the time I got to my car it was already almost 6:00, but I wanted to see Glacier Point. I looked it up on my phone and it was an hour drive… Once I got away from the traffic I speed up there not knowing when the road to get up there closed. It was very winding and almost all uphill.

Through the woods we go

I reached the top with relief, not looking forward to the drive down. The view was spectacular, indescribable. I stayed for a while to watch the sunset, but I left around 8:30 for fear of being tired, which I was.

From Glacier Point
Sunsetting
My hair looks gross
More sunset

I popped a caffeine pill knowing it was going to be a long way down. Little did I know…

It took forever! The road was so windy, and there seemed to be no end in sight. God sustained me though and I never felt tired. It was a good thing because my resting choices were limited. 

I drove for roughly two and half hours. It was the most adventurous drive of my life as I made my west towards San Francisco. Two-lane, curvy, windy road, pitch black in the woods, with possibility of a bear popping out at any time (numerous signs warning me). The one area was downhill and so curvy the speed limit was 20mph. It was cool to see the elevation markers every once in a while. I started at over 6100 ft and slowly made my way down over the trek to where the last marker I saw was at 2000 ft.

On the way down

I stopped at Denny’s. Called a few nearby hotels and crashed at a Best Western Plus. Woke up, ate breakfast, drove a little further and saw Spiderman (how could I not?). It was great! And it was cheaper in California than if I were to have seen it at home (go figure). Now I sit in the movie theater parking lot finishing this post. Next stop is somewhere in San Francisco. Still gotta figure that out.

Beach Day!

*This post was written on Thursday, but because I had no WiFi so I posted it early Friday morning.

I returned the bike rental and jumped on a bus to take me to Santa Monica Beach. It took a while because traffic is bad in Los Angeles, but after almost an hour we made it. 

The beach was great. I walked on the pier real quick, saw some groovy musicians like this one below (I would not be surprised if he pulls in $100K+ a year the way people constantly flocked to him).

I walked the beach, found a spot in the sand, and plopped myself down. I laid around for around three and a half hours. I put some sunscreen on, but I still got burnt in places I failed to cover.

I headed south towards Venice Beach. When I got to the boardwalk I regretted not going there earlier and spending more time there. There was a ton of activity. Skaters in the skate park, volleyball on the beach, merchants everywhere selling art, shirts and whatever else. My favorite was the street performers below. They put on a good show, but then they also spent a lot of time asking for money. 

I thought it was so cool that I was on Ocean Avenue from the song.

After the show I was in a rush because I had purchased tickets to the Comedy Store again and the show was at 8:30. I took a quick on the beach and got an Uber which took some time.

The comedy show was funny. About the same as the show I saw the night prior. What caused me to go back was that David Spade and Joe Rogan were in this show. Joe Rogan was pretty good, but I expected David Spade to be funnier than he was.

As the show was wrapping up I got really tired again so I headed out to a nearby IHOP. I hadn’t eaten since 10a that morning so I was hungry. I checked my Greyhound app to learn that my 12:35a bus was an hour late. Blah.

I took another Uber to the Greyhound station and got lectured on proper Uber etiquette and how not to get robbed. When I walked into the Greyhound station I was shocked at how normal the people were. I was kind of expecting it to be the worse yet, but there were very few sketchy-looking people.

The bus ride to Fresno was fine. The problem is I missed my connection to head towards Yosemite so I had to pick up another bus that was later. 

The Truth About Hollywood

Once arrived at the train station I took the Metro bus to West Hollywood where my hotel was. As I looked out the bus window I couldn’t believe how rundown and ugly the city looked. Not that there were boarded up buildings or anything, but it just wasn’t the glamorous city I was used to seeing on TV. One of my Uber drivers said that that wasn’t the first time he had heard one of his customers say that. 

There is however a lot of homeless people. They camp out everywhere. Again, something I wasn’t expecting.

I got off the bus and walked to my hotel. On my way I passed Canter’s and I stopped in for a sandwich. It was nothing special and actually kind of dry.

Once I got to my hotel I sat pool side and tanned because my room was not ready. The room itself was really nice and clean looking.

After I got settled I figured it would be easier and more cost effective to get around using a bike. So I walked to a nearby rental shop near my hotel and rented a bike for a mere $35 for 24 hours. 

I decided to go to the observatory because I knew there was a good view of the Hollywood sign from there. However, I believe that I was over ambitious and I definitely underestimated the elevation that I was dealing with. 

The observatory was a nightmare to get to. By the time I did get there I was a gross sweaty, sunburned mess. The place was also packed so that didn’t help anything. However, I did get my picture and I looked around just a bit. I was surprised to see the fog/smog that covered the city.

On my way back, I briefly stopped at a relative of friends (stranger to me). She was very hospitable and once she saw how sunburned I was she even gave me sunscreen.

Wrong direction dufus

I took the scenic route and rode down Hollywood Blvd. I didn’t see many names I knew, but I did get my picture with Mark Wahlberg’s star on the Walk of Fame. I also rode down Sunset Blvd. And maybe I just was not in the right place on the street, but it looked like crap as well.

Marky Mark

I went swimming for a bit after getting back to my hotel and I also booked a ticket to the Comedy Store. They had this show called the Original Room where they advertise 16 headliners in one night (went from 9p-2a). I personally did not recognize any of the names, but it seemed like a good time.

The show was really funny and while it was dirty, they mostly stayed away from pervertedness and humor I don’t care for, which I much appreciated. I stayed until 12:30a and I was at a point where I could barely keep my eyes open. I Ubered back and hit the hay quickly. 
Today I woke up later than I wanted, so I rushed down the street to get to the nearby laundromat (the only thing I didn’t like about this hotel was no laundry). While doing my laundry, I grabbed breakfast at the diner next to my hotel which was really good.

Now all I have to go do is return the bike and take the bus down to the beach. 

Grand Canyon-sized Adventures

Once we finally made the two-hours trek up to Williams they dropped me off at the Grand Canyon Railway entrance. I had a few minutes to grab my ticket, get another pressed penny or two, and see the part of the little Wild West skit that they put on.

The Wild West show

The train ride was neat and much more of the scenic route. It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes when it’s only an hour drive over the same distance. Nonetheless it was more entertaining with our car guide Nick and the musician who stopped in to play us some tunes.

View from my seat
This was Nick
He sang some tunes

When we got to the Canyon I just glanced at it in a rush to find somewhere to eat. My plan was to hope to eat and then rent a bike and ride around for a few hours.

Well I did eat at the Blue Angel Lodge and I was pretty proud of myself for no reason of my own. There was a wait for larger groups, but being that I was eating by myself they seated me right away.

After eating I stopped in the one visitor center (because the Grand Canyon has two visitor centers and a park headquarters) to charge my phone and get more information on where exactly the bike rentals were. 

I started to walk around the South Rim, hoping to find the main visitor center. I ended up taking too long and by the time I finally made it to the visitor center I had to start making my way back in order to catch my shuttle to the Amtrak station.

My favorite part of the Grand Canyon was how symmetrical it was. I loved how the layers of rock were so uniform throughout the entire structure.

Love this picture. The symmetry

When I got to the Amtrak station what was supposed to be a 45-minute layover turned in into a near 4-hour layover. During that time I read and got a pizza from across the street to satisfy my hunger. I even made a friend!

The train trip has been long and we are in the final hour. Next stop: LA!

Sunrise on the train

Lazy Arizona

I didn’t post yesterday because there really wasn’t much to blog home about. Saturday and Sunday both were fairly lazy days where I slept and bummed around my friends’ house. 
On the way home from dinner Saturday we saw some burrows and a coyote. Later that night we went to Blue Chip Saloon and listened to music for a few hours which was fun. When we got home I fell asleep instantly. 

The next morning we went out on the Arctic Cat side by side that my friends have and explored the desert a bit. It was a lot of fun and I was surprised by how fast the thing went. Unfortunately halfway through we got a flat tire and therefore had to turn back home.

After getting cleaned up we got breakfast and headed towards Sedona, AZ. We first stopped at Montezuma’s Castle to check that out. 

To think that this was living richly

At Sedona we saw the red rocks; they were absolutely huge! I have a lot more picture on my camera which I will upload later, but here are just a few.

Snoopy rock – can you see it?

We went walking around the little shops in Sedona for a while and then went back home. I was out sleeping after watching a movie. I don’t know if the heat if getting to me or if I’m just catching up on sleep from the lack of it I’ve gotten over the last week.

This morning we are driving to Williams, AZ. From there I catch a train to Grand Canyon, spend the afternoon there and then I will be travelling to Los Angeles, CA.

Me and Ollie just chilling on the way to Williams