It's hard to believe that we have been gone nearly a week now, sometimes because it feels like its been many weeks, and sometimes because it feels like we just got here. Another surprise for me, was how approachable the city really has proven to be for us. The people are incredibly friendly and down to earth, and for the most part, the neighborhoods don't seem to be reflective of a culture fed entirely upon consumerism. Despite much of the presumptions we had upon entering, most of the neighborhoods feel blue collar and middle class- even if they might not actually be. An amazing difference that really contributes to this atmosphere, is that all the stores and establishments outside of the major metropolis/downtown area, are Ma and Pa run stores, deli's, grocers, cafe's- there is really almost NO corporate presence surrounding the plethora of tightly knit neighborhoods in San Francisco. The different atmospheres of all the neighborhoods are another really amazing thing that works to ensure that there's really something for everyone here. They say San Francisco is the most European influenced city in the United States, and I can really vouch for that (although I have never been to europe, so I'm not really a qualified person to ask).
So what about us, your all saying by now I'm sure, right? Well, Myself, Chassy, B.O., and Ben Meyers, have been staying in the lovely Haight Ashbury neighborhood. A famous hippie haven in the 60's that hasn't really lost touch with it's roots. For my Wisconsin readers, I can say that in all honesty, it's not all that different from State St. in Madison, so yes, allot of "hippie hype," which seems irrelevant in a place where marijuana is basically legal. The neighborhoods are beautiful though, and if you stay off the main drag, the residential areas are filled with stereotypically quaint SF houses which are pretty cool. We are living out of the Buick Le Sabre, and after a few nights of sleeping 4 in that thing, we are all pretty sore and cranky in the morning. As wonderful as it has been to have our short traveling guest, Ben Meyers here with us- it will be nice to have the extra space in the car to try and organize all our crap, and to arrange a more comfortable sleeping situation. We have been staying about a block away from the famed, "2400 Fulton St," a staple album of Jefferson Airplane (if you kids never checked 'em out, I highly recommend that album!). On the far side of our car, is a residential street, and the closest side, is the enormous AND beautiful "Golden Gate Park." This makes it possible for us to duck into the woods to pee, wash our hair, or just hang out in the park. Another main advantage to our little urban camp, is that we only have one side of houses/people watching us (otherwise it would be pretty noticeable that we are inhabiting our vehicle).
We will definitely be switching up our position soon, but it has been difficult since it is just so damn convenient! We have learned how to get around the city using their WONDERFUL public transportation option, the MUNI, which is a speedy electric bus with 2 dollar tickets, 4 hour transfers, and bus drivers that usually let you go the whole day on ONE single bus ticket! They also have trolley's here, and an underground train called the BART. We will surely take the BART before we leave, as I think public transportation is an important thing for us to have under our thumb, AND it seems to be a very fast affordable option in getting very far distances- like when we want to go explore the Berkely area, or Oakland.
So far, we have made it across the Golden Gate bridge, and over to historic "Sausilito," a gorgeous little area, we put aside our american inhibitions and had an AMAZING meal in Chinatown after walking up the RIDICULOUSLY steep hills from downtown market St, Me and Chassy practiced the art of homeless bathing in order to hit up a trendy little film screening in the NOMA neighborhood, We made it down to walk all the piers near the Cannery, North Point Beach, and the fisherman's wharf (Ben and B.O. tore up the skate spots, and B.O. managed to get ahold of a lovely local ladie's phone number along the way!), Ben and B.O. went to the first annual "Medical Marijuana Cup," held here in SF- details of the event will be provided by our correspondent, B.O., spent some quality time in Dalores Park in the Mission District, and of course Golden Gate Park, in Haight Ashbury neighborhood (our current home).
We have been tearing through the city, and getting a taste of all the flavors a penniless traveler could possibly have access to- it has been a dense blast of culture, fun, and exploration.
We have been conquering the city, and as far as on-the-fly urban pioneering goes, me and Chass need to hit up the SFMOMA (modern art museum), and we need to check out the BART, and possibly take it to OAKLAND and BERKELY area, just across the Bay Bridge. I would also like to see to it that I get to visit "CITY LIGHTS" publishing/book store in SF. After that's in check, it will be time to start looking at opportunities to keep on keepin' on. This might entail checking out the RIDESHARE section, and seeing if we might have some ride-sharers to help us get to Portland cheap, or it might be something entirely different (friends in Big Bend, Denver, Austin, etc).
Although the extra space in the car will be needed when Ben leaves tonight, we are all really looking forward to set a tent up in the country, and spend a few night's sleeping with our legs stretched out for a change. I put a post up on COUCHSURFING.ORG, to see if there might be any people willing to host us for a night, and let us hit up their shower- otherwise the next destination will be based on access to a shower facility, and affordability!
Much more to come Y'all! There are tons of stories that are being left out here, but with how crammed our experiences have been thus forth, an outline of it all is most appropriate for the time being- I will have some time to do more narrative forms of writing when we have a more solid place to rest our heads...
*THIS POST'S APOLOGY NOTE* (I might make this a regular attachment to my updates, it seems necessary)
SORRY MY WONDERFUL READERS, for how F'ing campy and "tourist-y" allot of the photos are, by no means is this our general style, but I just can't not include some of the landmark/landscape/blah blah blah type photo's as they have been a unique part of our experience thus forth. Even if these exact photo's probably exist in your "great aunt something or another's" slide show from the 70's, it's still relevant materials. PLUS, your aunt didn't add a 40 of highlife to half of her photos, now did she?
Until we meet again...
Joseph R. Reeves
After one hot minute on GOOGLE, Brian and Ben have found a "frolf" course that happens to be located only 15 minutes from our lovely little urban campsite (and thats walking distance too). They pack up a "day bag" with their frolfing (frisbee golfing) material, as Chassy seems to question the durability of that skateboard there...
B.O. gets all decked out for the first ever "Medical Cannabis Cup," that is held in the United States. He is going as a journalist correspondent reporting on behalf of "THE LAST GREAT american NEWSPAPER." "Of COURSE" he has already taken his Gallon Shower, which is why he obviously looks so astute. Way to go B.O.!
The Great B.O. takes advantage of California's policies, and gets properly medicated before he goes to the MCC lecture's.
Since me and Chassy have been living on the same funds, we agreed that a fair compromise in dealing with the cost of smoking, would be to smoke rolled cigarettes instead. After a tough two weeks of torpedo shaped mishap cigarettes, she rolls like a real cowgirl now. Maybe I don't encourage her habit, but I'm not one to judge, and it goes to show you how far effort goes!
Heres our new MACBOOK PRO, an external hard drive, and a phone charger ALL running wonderfully off of our car-lighter conversion adaptor, and 3 way extension- dare I say, our office is getting downright savvy?! Maybe that shot of B.O. on the laptop isn't quite complimentary, but you can't win 'em all right?
NOTE TO READERS: A George Foreman grill is about 5 times too powerful for a cars cigarette lighter to handle without frying the fuses. I learned the hard way, by not having any car power until B.O. got back that day, and came to the rescue by swapping out new fuses for it. (sigh...) There goes all of our dreams of burgers, corn dogs, pancakes, and even bagels being consumed as we fly down highway 80 at full speed while still eating hot, tasty, meals from our invincible do-anything Forman Grill!
Habitation in Vehicles prohibited 10 pm to 6 am? So that means that technically, we're only breaking the law for 8 hours a day- thats not too bad right? It's only 1/3rd of the whole day...
Here's a nice little shot of the golden gate bridge, just like your great aunt Susan would have taken!
... And here's our family at the golden gate parking lot, Chassy was refusing to smile because Brian ate her chips during the car ride there- oh, those two were at each others throats the whole ride home to Maybury! Why couldn't they just behave like Ben, our golden child?
And here I am, standing next to the handsome statue of the "lone sailor." There was a whole little plaque there about the significance of him, it was really neat-o!
As we are all fanatical "Big Labowski" fans, we simply HAD to go to the "In-and-Out Burger." It was pretty damn good all and all, but they really aren't kidding with the title "In-and-Out," and unfortunately for me, one of the most difficult things to do in any popular area of San Francisco, is find a restroom that they will actually let you use.
The Great B.O. prompts all these tourist type folks, to put out there hands for a high five, and in one swoop of the skateboard, he rolls past giving rounds of high fives, and warning them to stay away from drugs. What a guy, eh?
Believe it or not, I was originally just taking pictures of B.O. putting sun-screen on since he feels self-concious about applying lotions to his face in public- how it turned into all this, I'm not sure...
Pictures like this, remind me that sleeping in the car, is really nothing to complain about. The homeless population in San Francisco is enormous, and any one of those guys would give a limb to have a place like the Le Sabre to sleep.
In California, even the dollar store is more expensive. The DOLLAR TWENTY-FIVE STORE!! California also presents such wonderful delights as the DOLLAR SIXTY FIVE menus at McDonalds, or most any other fast food restaurant! Yay!
Sitting on the back of the "MUNI," enjoying a Miller High Life. Don't look at me that way, we're young, we get to be irresponsible and foolish- it's budgeted into our time AND schedule. Your just mad cause you have to go to work tomorrow, or even worse, your at work right now... Yep, I called you out on it- now get back to work!
Brian insisted that I take a picture of this bashful women, who was shyly painting by the pier. He still says he's going to marry her, and strangely, I half believe him. That is a damn cute smile, wouldn't you say?
Huge freight is moved in and out of all these piers at fisherman's wharf, and people fish for sardines, and net for crabs- its quite a sight to see!
Chassy catches me balancing on a concrete strip along the pier- the beautiful San Francisco skyline in the background, is on the house, so don't tell me I never did nothin' for ya...
The champagne of beers should probably be opened with a little more gusto, wouldn't you say? Every time we crack a new one, the celebration commences, so needless to say, we've been a marry band of travelers since we arrived. We are genuine examples of living the "High Life!"
Ben and The Great B.O. tore up just about every damn skate spot we came across in our journey across North Point Beach
Wow, its been far too long since I've gotten going on a skateboard... Bryan flings a shoe at me, so to indicate that my marine boots aren't appropriate skate gear- he could have just told me, but I'll let it slide.
Heres a nice shot of ALCATRAZ, which is apparently no longer in operation. Check out that coast guard boat rolling past with the enormous gun turret on the front!
Some of the street artists in San Fran, are freakin' ridiculous! This guy has a spray booth set up, and he makes these awesome aerosol landscapes of the city- they are amazingly articulate, and because he has it down to a formula now, he is able to draw QUITE the crowd, and make his visual artwork, a performance! Bravo my friend.
Some street performers have absolutely NO talent, which is why you might see me and B.O. in the street free-styling, or playing the trumpet, or whatever we decide to do that particular day...
We all cashed a single in and spent a few quarters on this AMAZING vintage arcade on the pier-they had soooo many cool games from wayyy back when. Apparently "slob your knob," was a game they played back then- I can't think of anything else he would be doing... O.K., actually, he is playing his unenthusiastic girlfriend in Ms. PacMan
Here's a weird ass looking mannequin- put a quarter in, and watch his limbs barely creak. I was personally just impressed it still moved at all...
They had those "Peep Show" boxes you look into after paying a quarter- the ones from like the 50's! Basically, this was pornography to them- how fun!!
They all had painted signs above them that said things like, "Come See What This Naughty Belly Dancer Does On Her Day Off!" I managed to wedge my camera over the viewing lenses, and was able to capture these super risky photos for you all to enjoy. Undoubtably, the best 25 cents I've ever spent!
This sonofabitch cheater of a game, was invented to make you look like an idiot in front of your girlfriend! I tried so hard, and lost on both heavy-weight, and welter-weight. I figured if I won on light weight, I wouldn't really be winning anyhow. No matter how you look at it, I lost...
After being beaten by a robotic arm-wrestling machine from the 50's, I didn't have the heart to get behind this sign. My pride will forever be harmed. Chassy looks pretty tough though- I hope she doesn't decide to beat me up...
Even street sculptures need to take a break and have a smoke once and a while. I believe it's outlined as mandatory in their union contracts actually...
Chassy's always picking someone's nose- usually mine though. This guy would have some enormous boogers I bet...
B.O. fearlessly leaps this enormous gap, but unfortunately, his board is nowhere near him. A for effort though B.O., J.U.I.C.E. is all about determination, results are secondary.
Some more sweet air, compliments of The Great B.O... if you think these ups are sweet, you should have seen the wipeout that took place afterwords!
Ben was determined to land his nose manual- the spirit of J.U.I.C.E. lies deep within you Ben- take it back with you to Milwaukee, and show 'em who's boss!