Unbeknownst to me (until recently), the Universe lets me go somewhere for a week or so before I start a new job. In 2012, right before I started with Dealer.com, my first job out of college, I toured Washington, D.C. with my friends for 5 days before sliding into home base on Monday morning. Between Dealer.com and my last job, I booked travel for 10 days to see my grandparents in Madeira Beach, FL. For the whole 12 days I was in California, I had no idea what to expect when I got home, but when I arrived back on a red-eye and had a job interview the same day, I knew it was fate.
Let’s see where I went!
My first stop on my first-ever trip to our grand west coast; I met my long-time, high-school best friend Jeanna there, and we stayed a night in La Jolla Beach, and two nights in San Diego. We explored the Gaslamp Quarter, talked to the seals, ate good mexican food, visited Coronado Island, and got tipsy in the middle of the afternoon from too many, too good margaritas.
Jeanna is the one of the oldest and closest friends to me, for a lot of reasons, but one of those is, like me, she could have fun anywhere, and is always up for an adventure. This is why, when wandering around the Gaslamp Quarter and stumbling upon a dark, sort of dingy bar called The Bootlegger, with a giant cowboy boot for a sign, it couldn’t help but be the perfect end to an even better day.
From San Diego, I took the train (12 hours, and a lot of 22 oz. IPAs) up the coast to San Francisco, where I spent a few days with my friends Eli and Pat. I ran the Golden Gate Bridge, from Fisherman’s Wharf, through Chrissy Field, and back, getting stuck in a rain storm along the way. I visited Buena Vista Cafe, the place that brought Irish Coffee to the U.S., went on a hike in North Bay, saw where Jerry Garcia lived, explored Haight & Ashbury (possibly one of my favorite neighborhoods, ever), and ate enormous amounts of Indian dosas. We also visited the Cinch, a popular gay bar on Polk street, in the middle of the played some pool, surrounded by the pictures of the penises which decorated the walls.
I absolutely loved San Francisco; my first day out I snuck into an Asian tour group and rode the bus with them all around the city, ending only when they realized I wasn’t originally in their tour group, as we got off a cable car. Still, amazing situation to be in, your first day in a strange city.
From San Fran, I went to SLO, or San Luis Obispo for a night, which is a gorgeous town situated half-way between L.A. and San Francisco. I explored their epic craft beer scene, indulging in the gorgeous Maple Vanilla Bourbon Stout Barrel House Brewing Co.had on tap while I was there. Oh, and they also have a barber shop upstairs.
I’ll be back, SLO!
My last four nights in California were spent with another best friend ( I am a lucky girl, I know) and former college roommate, and current PA on movie sets in L.A. She and I could have a great time in a paper bag, but we fortunately did not have to resort to our normal means of entertainment as surprisingly, Los Angeles has a lot to off the average tourist gal.
We ate a lot, drank a lot, went to a restaurant where you had to walk through a fast food grilled cheese restaurant and walk through their kitchen to enter ( BTW, I went back and ate the grilled cheese cubano two days later, and it was bomb), hosted an amazingly bubbly Easter Brunch, hiked the Hollywood sign, explored Venice beach, got the munchies and ate more tacos, laughed, and loved, a lot.
Most importantly, we discovered the dirtiest, diviest bar in the city (possibly in America), so, obviously, we went there 3/4 nights of our stay, including on Easter Sunday, and sang karaoke ’til the cows came home.
Could I have had a better California experience? Well, it’s the people that make the place, and I know I have the best gosh-darn friends life could hand a person, so nope, I’m so glad things worked out the way they did.
Still dreaming about that grilled cheese…