The Central Coast Beer Tour (Day Two)

The Three Day Central Coast Beer Tour

Day Two

So the cheap county campsite might have been a bad idea. The freight train rolled through at midnight about ten feet away from my tent. That thing literally shook the heck out of me like an earthquake. Plus the constant yelling coming from the liquor store/ apartments across the the street made me feel like I pitched a tent in an alley.

I woke up to find the bathrooms locked and that I had a flat tire on the truck.

Lady Luck had left the building.

I packed up and took off. I got the flat on the truck fixed for 10$. It donned on me that Pismo is actually a great place to have car trouble. With the Off-Road playground in Oceano, people are constantly messing their rigs up. Grant Ave is literally lined up with places to sell cars, fix cars, and rent ATV’s.

After checking the Monarch Grove for straggling butterflies, i went for a nice walk along Shell Beach. There I stubbed my foot into a rock and bled exorcist style all over my flip flop.

After I doctored myself up and switched to sneakers, I decided it was time to quit messing around and hit the beer trail.

Creek side Brewing Company, San Luis Obispo.
(Website)

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I didn’t stay to sample the beers, and they do not bottle so I couldn’t collect a sample. But I did notice the Belgian influence in their menu.

Tap It Brewery, San Luis Obispo (Website)

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A great place for Hop-Heads. They defiantly dominate the IPA, DIPA, and other hop scenes with their award winning brews. Here I collected a 22oz bottle for my collection.

Central Coast Brewing Company, San Luis Obispo (Website)

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This place is bike friendly, there is even an air pump in the front. There is a large deck space for drinking outside, but the inside only has seven seats due to all of the brewing equipment. A great place for brewery geeks to drink amongst towering vats of beer.

Their anniversary party is next weekend, on the 29th of march.

From here the beer trail splits to the north to continue on in Paso Robles or to the west to continue in Morro Bay. It was hot inland, I I chose west to cool off on the coast. Find Broad street and Follow the CAL POLY bumper stickers past the park where the renaissance people are sword fighting (on saturdays) and head out to Morro bay on the pacific coast highway.

The Libertine Pub, Morro Bay (Website)

This place is on the embarcadero. They are focused mostly on barrel ages beers with wild yeast. YUM! Saving this place to visit on my next trip.

Cambria Ale House, East Cambria (Website)

Not to be confused with the Cambria Brewery, this is a Beer Shop with a Tap Room. An excellent selection on tap and on the shelves. A retreat for someone who needs a break from shopping the Cambria boutiques.

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The Cambria Beer Company, West Cambria (Website)

This is the brewery in Cambria. I came up for the 2nd year anniversary and the beer was incredible. I sampled the Bourbon Vanilla Stout, which the owner modestly is just calling “a stout” but at 8.0%abv and a killer taste he can call it what ever he wants, just never stop pouring it for me. This was easily THE BEST BEER of the trail. No joke.

Here, the husband and wife brewery owners take a break from the packed party to pose next to the menu. Salud!

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I will be driving up here just for this beer until they start to sell bottles. I wish this brewery much success because I can taste the talent here. And it tastes like a malt well done.

Signing off from Day Two.

The Central Coast Beer Tour (Day One)

Well, my partner in crime is deployed with the navy. So to keep myself from being in the dumps I’ve hit the road.

Welcome to the California Central Coast 3-Day Beer Tour

This started as a simple trip which has spiraled out of control. But once you get into a serious beer collection, nothing can stop you from going all out.

What was supposed to happen was that I would get out of work and go to my evening class and then calmly drive up to Carpinteria to camp and drink beer at Island Brewing Company. Regular, ordinary trip. But i thought “What then?” and this fear and loathing came over me. I discovered I needed a purpose for the entire weekend so that I wouldn’t have time to even think about my missing slice of pie.

My truck was loaded to the gills with car camping equipment. So I expanded the google map to a larger picture and settled on visiting Cayucos, a little known beach town with a skateboarding half pipe and some tasty waves. Googling breweries around there led me to find the Cambria Brewing Company is throwing a party tomorrow. And they have Vanilla Bourbon Stout.

Queue the downward spiral.

I quickly drafted an itinerary of every possible brewing company between Port Hueneme and Cambria. Based on reviews I decided which to drink at and which to just grab a bottle and roll out from. The most interesting breweries in the central coast are in the northern region of my trip, so I needed some mileage fast.

I left work promptly at 3pm and grabbed my dog, who loves to camp, and cancelled the evening class. I burned up the coast at 75 MPH which is good considering Friday rush hour traffic and the poor state of my old truck.

Since online reservations for the state park system in California needs you to book at lease two weeks in advance, I decided i would have the best chances at Pismo beach state park campground. When I got here and found it was full, I was doomed to sleep in my truck on the side of the road. Until I saw the old guy cleaning the bathrooms. He told me about the nearby Oceano County Dune Campground and said there was lots of empty spaces for tents. To my surprise I showed up and have the entire west wing of the campground to myself, the place is dog friendly, and it is half the price of the state park. thank you cool old dude!!

From here I went to Manrock Brewery in Grover Beach.

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Friendly service @ Manrock brewery in Grover Beach!

The staff was very knowledgable about the brewing process and could answer all of my beer snob questions. They even gave me info to join their Bottle Share club. *Squeal!*

I sampled their Amber Ale, Rye Beer, and Double Chocolate Lavender Stout. For my hop-heads out there, I recommend you try the Oblivious IPA. True to the English style which is popular here on the central coast, it is malt-first and then accentuated with hops. A breath of fresh air from the dime a dozen hop-water IPAs found all over the west.

Now it is off to bed, more beer tomorrow. If you are wondering what I’m sipping beside the campfire, I found a Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vannilla Porter. A rare find out here. NUM!!

K, night and Tune in Tomorrow for Day Two of the central coast beer tour!

Keeping your sanity while working away from home

There are only two kinds of people who can work half drunk and half naked out of a hotel room: Hookers and Employees sent to work out of town.

In this instance, I speak for the latter group of poor souls. The novelty of being sent away for work can die quickly due to any of the possible circumstances:
– Cost Saving at your company has landed you in a less than favorable motel room with any number of malfunctions including: broken amenities, bad food, loud neighbors, stifling decorations, shitty cable, bad location.
– the town could be great, but then a storm blew in and you are trapped inside for a few days.
-It feels like your rental car was previously used to run over an entire shopping cart, it squeaks and the alignment is off.
– not only did you have to beg and plead your boss to send you on the business trip, but you picked up an additional weeks worth of work on top of your current load which will keep you as a slave to you laptop and cell phone.
– it could be jet lag or it could be the culture shock of being somewhere different, but you are utterly lost and can’t hold a candle to your failing sense of direction even with google maps.
– The trip will be paid for entirely…..but not until you get back and argue with the accountants for two weeks. This means you have to feed yourself and keep gas in your rental car somehow.

Don’t worry, many people have reached this point. I’m here to put the fun back into the out-of-office trip for you. Just follow my simple formula and remember, it’s all about “Routine.”

1) Your first night, you’re fucked. Just go to your hotel room and figure out the logistics for tomorrow. Do some monotonous task for yourself you’ve been putting off like cleaning out your personal email inbox or reordering stamps. If you are feeling ambitious, Pre-drive your route to work tomorrow and pick your parking spot so there are no surprises. Still have energy? Take to the area around your hotel on foot and scout places you’d like to eat or catch a drink. Chat up some locals.

2) Day One at the temporary location, so lets make an impression. Put your best foot forward and remember these people probably don’t know you. Keep that air of mystery as long as you can. After you get back to the hotel room hit the GYM and the POOL (in that order). None such luck, go for a run and then take a shower. Tonight eat out on the town. Spoil yourself.

3) Day two: Before you leave to work set your hotel room up like a crime scene or something to keep the housekeeping guessing, (but for godsake bring your valuables into your rental car with you to work). Work diligently and go to lunch with the coworkers. When you get off work take off the work clothes and rearrange your hotel room. Set up your workspace to kick ass, like a real command center. Print out some motivational posters and call the front desk, ask them to leave a whole roll of tape outside the door of your room. Get everything you need within reach, including beer, because tonight you are going to secretly finish all your work so you can enjoy the rest of the trip. But DON’T TELL ANYONE. Don’t even turn it in to your boss. Just know it’s done. Eat dinner in your room. Hang the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door.

4) The next day, Wikipedia your temporary town before work and make a bucket list of things to do/see before going home. Get crazy with your list, I mean, what does this town REALLY have to offer as far as entertainment goes? After work, hit the area of town with the largest concentration of sights. Fall in step with the tourists, but head back for a second lap as a local.
When you get back to your hotel, call the front desk and make a random demand which they will provide for free. Another towel? Another Ethernet cable? Then crank up the jams, tonight there is going to be a dance party in your room. You know there is always mirrors by the bed, practice those moves!

5) Your stay might be almost complete, leave a long note to house keeping describing some paranormal mystery you “witnessed” in the room. Try to make them scared to come in. Purposely leave the closet doors ajar, creepily. Catch up on the news from home, and do one more procrastinated task for yourself. One that will make it better for when you get back. Make sure you exchange contact info with anyone and everyone at the worksite, because you really never know what you will need from them or where they will end up (Hello, Future Boss!). Finish that bucket list, and then head to the most raunchy dive bar you’ve heard about this far.

6) Returning home: it’s a long haul but well worth it. Turn in all that work you completed before you leave, tell you boss how amazingly productive you’ve been while on the road and make your plug for the next big trip.

Monsters on the road to Budapest

I woke up to eye staring at me.

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I shook my head, it was just the light reflecting eerily off the life-size Elvis “The King” figurine which was haphazardly shoved in between the bunkbeds of our hostel. Dawn meant it was time to wake up and gather my things. I was backpacking through Europe, but to get to my next stop, Budapest, I had to cross Transylvania. Far off in the distance the Carpathian Mountains loomed menacingly like fenceposts, both forbidding you to cross yet taunting you to peek over to the other side. On the train I sat across from an old Romanian woman.

From my studies on the culture I knew the scarf was worn on her head to prevent ghosts from following her.

Although she didn’t understand any of my English, I spoke to her and she smiled politely. A Beggar came up beginning to cry in an attempt to sell me some small trinkets out of his dirty bag. The old lady shot him a glare and mumbled a single Romanian word harshly under her breath which caused the Beggar to literally backpedal and seek a different railcar. But the tough composure did not last long as we entered the mountains. The compartment dimmed as we entered a narrow pass of the sleek grey stone. Rough terrain made the railcar rock back-and-forth. The old lady looked down at her lap and quietly started to pray in her old-tounge. The train hit a large bump which caused several people to gasp or jump out of their chairs.

I didn’t know what had these people on edge until I saw the large crumbling graveyard.

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Even in daylight the place had long creeping shadows and ivy growing up the side of the main structure. Thinking this graveyard had to be from World War I or possibly the communist era, I looked closely for a date on one of the tombstones. Chipped into the side of one burial house was the date 1357. Maybe these graves were from the Crusades then, I thought, that would explain the large white crosses which stood on top of the cliffs which bordered each side of the graveyard. I couldn’t figure out if the crosses were positioned like that to keep evil away from the resting souls or to keep the resting souls locked in where they eternally slept.

I got off the train next to an old castle to take refuge for the night before continuing to Dracula’s castle in the morning.

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The ancient town of Sinaia was rumored to be a tourist friendly Ski Resort but was deserted this time of year due to lack of snow. A group of large stray dogs met me at the train station along with two old ladies who argued over which one was going to take me home for the night. I waved them both off and went around to the front of the train station to figure out where my hotel was. All I could see was a single stone stairway which led up the ivy-covered mountain. The old ladies followed still trying to sell me a room for the night in their houses. I turned to go back into the train station when I stubbed my whole foot right into the concrete doorway. I doubled over in pain as blood started dripping from my broken toenails. The two old ladies initially looked concerned but caught side of the blood and hurried away quickly. Fearing a Third World infection nightmare, I opted not to walk and caught a taxi instead to get to my hotel. I still wasn’t too sure of my bearings or where the town actually was but as the taxi driver droned on in thick Romanian accented English, his little yellow Soviet era car chugged up the steep switchback road which revealed the quaint old-fashioned town built directly into the side of the mountain.

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I stayed the night in the stables of the old castle which was now an INN.

It was here I learned about the wolffish man in the picture. Sitting out under the inky black Romanian sky while drinking hot spiced wine, looking at the stars, and warming my feet on the furry pelt of a stray dog who slept at my feet; the waitress told me the story of King Carl.

The king had been hand selected by German Royalty to come lead the new Romanian nation. It had been he and his wife which built the castle I stayed in. They weren’t German royalty themselves and no one really knew where they came from but they showed up speaking five different languages. The towns people loved the Queen, Mary, who was beautiful and charming and really got to know the towns people. She stayed with the towns people while her husband, King Carl, fought the fiercest battles to keep the Ottoman Empire at bay. Romania was the last frontier before the great Middle Eastern Ottoman Empire in modern day Turkey. The towns people have rumors that the queens maiden name, Silva, actually meant Forest and that she came from a family of witches who took Werewolves as consorts. Even though King Carl died long ago, the towns people say he watches over them through the eyes of the stray dogs.

That night in my room I awoke to the sound of barking dogs. Feeling a draft and remembering the bats flying about my head during dinner, I quickly got up and closed the window. I laid back down half asleep when I heard something rustling in the corner of the room. It was nothing I told myself and went back to sleep. Sometime later I woke again to a sharp pain on my ear. Fearing I’ve been bitten by a bat, I jumped up and went to the bathroom touching my ear and feeling something sticky. As I got to the bathroom and turned on the lights, I was shocked to find white spiderweb completely covering my ear. I started ripping the web off of my ear. I freaked out just imagining what kind of big spider I would find now living in my ear. But no matter how much I tried to clear the spiderweb away from my ear I just couldn’t get it off. That’s when I realized I was dreaming and that something was still rustling in my room. I fully awoke, turned on all the lights in the hotel room, and checked it for bats. There was none. I checked my ear for cobwebs in the bathroom. There was none. Feeling satisfied I went back to sleep.

The next day I continued on to Dracula’s Castle.

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The trip to Draculas castle was a “Must-See” tourist spot in Transylvania. But all of the tourist money over the years had paid for extensive remodeling on the castle which now looked more like a summer retreat than a fearsome rulers castle.

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I wanted to see how the real Dracula lived. Vlad the Impaler style.
It wasn’t until I got to Budapest that I found what I thought I was looking for. I walked through the palace in Hungary where young Vlad Dracula had spent his adolescence as a member of the royal court. That is where he caught the eye of his bride-to-be, Maria, who was cousin to the future king of Hungary. His name, Mathius Corvinus. Ring a bell? Corvinus is the famous clan from where both vampires and werewolves came from. Mathius and Dracula had a bitter disagreement which resulted in Dracula being imprisoned in the cave labyrinth beneath the palace, which I happened to be touring.

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While Dracula was imprisoned here by Mathius, his castle was besieged by the Ottoman Empire’s Army. His wife threw herself out of the tower to avoid be captured.

The only thing that eclipsed Dracula’s hate for Mathius, was his hate for the Ottoman Army. It is for this reason we know him as Vlad the Impaler. He chased the Ottoman Army back into Turkey and lined the roads with their corpses. Using a sharpened stake, he could pierce through a man’s whole body. As long as he didnt hit any vital organs the person would stay alive for up to 48 hours suspended in agony on a stake.

It is unclear how he settled his dispute with Mathius. Some say Dracula cursed his family to be like the dogs which ran the streets. Some say, they are still fighting their battle today.

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Graffiti in Budapest

Please note this blog does not endorse anyone’s graffiti nor are any of these pieces mine. This blog entry is merely a survey of styles and techniques found in Budapest. Thank you. Enjoy.

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Street Art

Budapest, Hungary is the real East-meets-West gateway. Situated on the fringes of Eastern Europe, this city plays host to travelers of multiple directions.

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Streetside Stencil

For this reason, the graffiti scene is a mixture of traveling international graffiti artists of varying abilities as well as the local Hungarian street artists who compete for space on the ancient city walls.

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Sticker piece, possibly influenced by “Banksy.”

During World War II, the Hungarian Nazi party isolated the Jewish community in a ghetto. This place was later renamed during communist occupation: Sector Seven. After the fall of communism in 1989, many of those dilapidated buildings were left abandoned. But now an amazing trend called “Ruin Bars” turns these tragic crumbling buildings into thumping night life centers which attract international PubCrawlers. It is no surprise this is where one can find a heavy concentration of graffiti here in inner city Budapest.

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Complex freehand spray piece, utilizing 3D two-toned letters

While scouting any city for graffiti, When in doubt, follow the tracks. Typically, The local graffiti artists can ride the perimeter of their territory on a route and see their work and monitor who else has also been getting up in their hood.

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“Scrawl” or writing without a particular style

Styles which are commonly found in America are also very widespread in Europe.

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The “Halo” or “Crown” above the name.

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Cubic Writing

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The “Upstroke”
Or upward flare

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The Drip

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Two-Toned Streaker

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Placement: Above street level.

Sometime grafiti ends up in places that should be protected and preserved for future generations.

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Ancient Ruins covered in scrawl

Sometimes the presence of irritating graffiti encourages a rise of local street art. Competition for space often gives way to respect for good art. Walls covered in well done paintings typically do not get covered in scrawl.

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Modern Impressionist piece

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Fantasy Art

Let me know what you think of my survey!

Santa Ynez Wine Country

A Vineyard is the perfect place to really squeeze out the last drops of Summer.

Santa Ynez Valley is a great Wine retreat in Santa Barbara County. The valley lies just behind the first ridge of coastal mountains. The peaks dot the sky like guardians of good weather and keep the costal fog from creeping into the valley. Ample space and sparse population means great Wine Estates with meandering vineyards. But if being out in the countryside among oak wine barrels, grapes, and sunshine isn’t your thing, then the towns of Solvang and Lompoc are dotted with many great Urban Tasting Rooms.

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Standing among the rows of grapes at Bridlewood Vineyard

The wine trail in Santa Ynez passes through Los Olivas, Solvang, and Lompoc. Ballard canyon, Foxen canyon are great outdoorsy wine trails which branch off from the main drag. While the northeast section of the trail near Los Olivas is a touch warmer and sunnier, the best grapes grown and vinted here are Chardonnay and Viognier. Further east some very warm and sunny hillsides can produce great Zinfandel. While lower and to the west, namely around Lompoc, the costal fog makes optimal conditions for Pinot Nior.

Let your senses be your guide by clicking HERE

There are quite a few different styles to “hit the trail.” Group tour buses are the easiest way to get shuttled about and then back to your hotel. If you are not a person who wants to be submitted to a strict schedule however, you can go it alone as long as you have a designated driver. Drive about and be more selective on which wineries you visit then return to your boutique Bed and Breakfast. Some very outgoing people can transverse the wine trail on touring bicycles and enjoy the night under a starlit sky at a campground.

Any way you can make your escape, do it! Come relinquish yourself into the mountains to ensure that while summer is ending, harvest is just beginning.

In Search of a California Ghost Town

Dora

The name whispered breathlessly through my head like a phantom breeze. The desire for Dora burned deep inside my curiosity.

Quietly, it had been there for years hidden in the back of my mind. It was just another odd sight on the road, one of many that whizzed past me as I sped away from Humboldt county. A few years ago I even scrawled a note to myself to go check it out.

“Note to self: your only a real traveler if u carry some sort of weird baggage. A few miles south of confusion hill, Dora Creek, bring snorkels/beer. Next time!!!!!!!”

It was three years before I followed up on that note. The image I recalled was just another swimming hole complete with people baking on a rock like lizards. I had finally come to Dora to swim. There was a dirt turn out on the side of the road, a grove of redwood giants, and a trail down to the swimming hole.

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I set up on the river bar and put on the snorkel, mask, and fins. From there I set out to find any tourist gold (watches or lost jewelry) which could be tucked in between rocks on the bottom of the river. I followed suit of the people there and jumped off the rock into the middle of the river. I poked around the deep section where nobody swam and couldn’t find the bottom.

Fearing discovery of an unending submerged cavern or an undiscovered water creature, I momentarily abandoned the quest to reach the bottom until I could come back with reinforcements.

Drying out on the river bar, I noticed something odd a bit of ways down the riverbed. There was clearly the ruins of a man made structure. I went over to investigate. In the picture below, you can see the tower-like structure above the jumping rock.

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I went over to investigate. It could have been a dam or hatchery equipment. I couldn’t tell. What ever it was, the material had been there a very long time, long enough to erode at the same rate of the natural rock around it. On the way back I found another man made artifact I couldn’t make sense of. Jumbled in with all of the rocks on the far side of the river was a concrete cube with a perfect horizontal slit through the face.

None of this made sense. I was clearly out in the middle of nowhere. What were these things?!?

A fisherman wandered down from the road and set up his pole on the side of the river close to where I was sitting. I struck up a conversation with him and he told me about the mystery of Dora Creek. Hobbyists have been looking for evidence of the town for years. The tower thing was part of a bridge. The bridge was destroyed in a great flood during the 1950’s. Way above his head, he gestured to the high water mark, permanently scratched into the cliff face above us. The square used to be a diving board used by a swim team.

How odd. I’d never heard of a river having a swim team or a diving board for that matter. This must have been an advanced civilization.

Since then I have spent some time researching the area. Following the clues from the fisherman, I used historical accounts to piece together what could have been the destruction of the town. I used topographic maps to look for areas which could potentially be a settlement site. I found old postcards of the area and checked out the different view from a different era.

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I drafted a map and returned to the site.

I brought a diver with me to scout the swimming hole. We were not able to reach the bottom of the deep part, the depth is still unconfirmed.

We explored some relevant areas, but did not quest for Dora specifically. She remains elusive.

Dora remains an undiscovered Californian ghost town.

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Interview with a Pipeline Surfer

“Easy Girl. Everywhere you want to go, you’re almost there.”

He said this as we passed a group of giggling local girls at the Waimea Falls park. I felt like I was on Mission Impossible: North Shore. It was my last night on the island and I had spent too much time at the office to leave much daylight for exploring the capstone of my trip, surfings greatest territory. I had come to North Shore badly prepared: No Surfboard, No Cellphone and it was getting late. I was wandering cluelessly around Hale’iva when I literally ran into him. “It’s my last night on the island, please tell me, what is this place? Are we there yet?” That is how our odd adventure started.

“They call this the seven mile miracle, it might be smaller though.”

It seemed like everything he said came from somewhere within that was thousands of miles away. It was the middle of summer and the water at North Shore was still and glassy. It didn’t give any hint of the terrifying mountains of water for which the area was famous for. Where ever those big waves were, I was sure the soul of my guide was with them and I was walking around with the temporary shell of a pipeline surfer. It was like a wave drought, and this man was dangerously thirsty. The pressure was apparent as he spoke of just getting out of jail. Something happens to surfers when there are no waves and for big wave surfers, it is way worse.

“They don’t think too hard about names here, everything just is what it is.”

He pointed at random parts of the beach rattling off names like “Right Overs”, “Left Overs”, “Chuns Reef”, “Waimea”, “Pinballs”, and “Pipeline.” All of surfing’s greatest territory just happened to be underwater neighbors. We covered the territory slowly as he recalled the great waves he had surfed at each beach. I stood there with my hands in my pocket watching him reenact the moments with arms outstretched and a smile on his face. “That’s how big the barrel was,” as he pointed to the other side of my tiny compact rental car.

“If you’re on North Shore, you have to do it.”

Like most of the glorious activities on North Shore, he was asking me to do something dangerous just inches from the beach. It blew my mind. How could I literally be steps off of the sand and the ocean water be deep enough to jump into it from this high? We were standing on top of Jump Rock, which was a big hunk of black lava used to jump into the oncoming waves. “Why do you make me do these things?” It was more of a question to myself than to my host. I timed the waves carefully and launched out into space where gravity carried me like a rag doll straight down into the crystal blue sea.

Sometimes you have to go right, to go left.

We were at Pipeline. He was talking about the differences in surfing California and surfing Pipeline. In California people charge the waves by paddling against the power of the waves, but here you are nothing. You have to use the currents to carry you to where you want to be and sometimes it took going the opposite direction to get precisely where you wanted to be.

Finally, in regards to surfing Pipe:

“It’s like everything else in life. You can just Enjoy it, or you mess up and Die.”

Aloha.

Carpinteria, Unplugged

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The mission was to establish a buffer zone between our party and the zooming pace of the work week. The retreat we found tucked away under Santa Barbara was the laid back beach enclave of Capinteria. Once here we easily fell into pace with the locals while pursuing the chic shops along Linden Ave, or beach combing the never ending coast.

Day trippers can easily use the Amtrak Station which is located within sight of the beach. Overnight adventurers can check into the Carpinteria State Beach Campground and sometimes get lucky enough to score a beach front campsite right on the sand. Although walk-ups are usually available during the off season, it is best to call two days in advance to reserve a beach front spot and up to a month in advance for peak summer months.

From here everything is easily accessible. Tide pooling at the beach revealed the Carpenteria tar bluffs, from where native Americans used to harvest the seeping black ooze. During low tide there are also tons of slightly submerged rocks covered in sea creatures. The sandy bottom beach usually has clear water and small waves which make it perfect for swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, skim boarding and boogie boarding.

Once the day has been played away on the shore, a well lit path runs from the campground to Linden Ave which is a romantic nighttime stroll for hungry souls looking to catch a bite in town. Linden Ave has over twenty restaurants to choose from. This one street can meet so many tastes whether your goal is to dine at an ethnic Thai place or sip a coconut mojito at a Mexican eatery. Daring adventurers can find a great sushi house and big happy families can hole up in the pizza joint.

The nightlife is also contained on this street, with a rollicking saloon which offers music during the weekends or the local craft microbrewery which has indoor seating or an outdoor dog-friendly patio.

Anyway you slice it, this beach town will enchant you with a forgotten life in the slow lane, without cellphones ringing or errands that need to be run. Just drop in and unplug to rediscover costal California.

May Oahu be with you forever

I had no idea if I would ever make it out here again, so I was determined to live and breathe Oahu like the local I should have been.

No, I am not Hawaiian. But I grew up with a Samoan Family who taught me the Polynesian culture through dance and Aloha. In my experience with Surfing and Hula I felt that maybe i should have been an islander. After all, Home is where the Heart is.

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There are a few staples of a Hawaiian vacation that everybody eventually adheres to:

1) Drive around da Island

Yeah, okay, maybe you do this because you want to go to the north shore anyways, and the island is like really small right? Not so much. It takes hours to drive around the island at good speed and if you try to fit it in at the wrong time there is a lot of traffic or it will just get dark on you and so you don’t actually see da island. Leave early, and not during peak tourist days.

2) Eat Hawaiian Food

You know Hawaiians are so happy because they eat good food all da time, so you want to get in on the goods while you are here. But then you walk down through Waikiki and all you see are restaurants you had at home. Ask a local. Not the guy at the front desk of your hotel, I’m talking da valet, da housekeeper, da guy you are next to in traffic with all of the tattoos on his face. Yes, they know where the good stuff is, and it is usually priced cheap. Not so sure what Hawaiian food is? Get a Poke Bowl, something with Poi, or anything with “plate” in the name.

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3)Get in da Ocean

Yeah, it is warm. Go, get in. If you are going to do it anywhere, do it here. Go Surf. Go Snorkel. Go swim. Go boogie board. Go body surf. Just go get in, at least up to your neck. Waikiki is famous for all levels of surfing. Board rentals are available on the beach beginning practically at dawn. So go get a board and practice before everyone wakes up so you’ll be out there looking good later. Hanauma Bay is famous for snorkeling. It is a volcanic crater that has been filled in with coral reef, lava rocks, turtles, and bright fish. You can rent gear there and they have lockers available until 530pm for your personal belongings. This place will enchant you.

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