Travelogue Pt. 16

The Travelogue series recounts a seventeen-day-long cross-country road trip I took at age 21 with two college friends. We started in Charlotte, NC, and ended up two weeks and 8,000 miles later in Los Angeles, CA. The following is taken verbatim from a handwritten journal I laboriously kept on the trip. Names have been changed, but the rest is absolute, 100%, unedited truth.


June 17

Woke up this morning around 7:30 in Mountain Valley. Brianna was in the living room trying to get us to play with her. Kevin was leaving for work, but we had breakfast with Melissa. Cinnamon bread, eggs, bananas. We wanted to run laundry so we hung around for a while.

Drove into the city on the 280 to avoid traffic. Minor incident where I had to pee really, really, really bad so made them pull off on the next exit which of course was a fairly bad residential area. So we tried a market, nothing. A cafe, nothing, and all the big scary guys at the counter turned and stared at me. Were going to try a church but it didn’t look promising. At this point I was almost crying. Right before we reentered the interstate, saw a much bigger restaurant and figured it HAD to have something. Pulled in and there was actually an outdoor restroom. Perfect.

Went into the city. Drove through Chinatown and parked off Broadway. Walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf. So touristy and expensive but being right on the water like that is hard to beat. Saw the sea lions. Saw Alcatraz from a distance. Jess kept saying it’s much smaller than she thought, but for me it was much closer than I had imagined.

[Later edit: Kevin had recommended we try to find a sketchy parking situation for cheaper, which we did. Gave a rando parking 3 deep $15 and our keys for all day. Worked out well!]

Went down to a pier Kevin had told us about. Had to pass a public beach which was surprisingly clean and uncrowded. It was supposed to have a good view of the bridge but the fog was almost completely covering it. Got some good pics of the skyline from out on the water though.

Went to Ghirardelli Square, aka the Ghirardelli store and cafe. Got to watch the chocolate getting made.

Went to Tuk Tuk Thai for lunch. Little hole in the wall near Chinatown. So good. Had a 30-year-old waitress (androgynous) who came over from Thailand 3 years ago. Very nice and wished us well on our trip. Got red chicken curry. Very good.

[Later edit: Hung out on a small green area and rested in the sun for a while.]

Walked through Chinatown. Fairly sketchy. So many vendors. Not as cheap as I had expected. Jessica wanted a Chinese shirt so we were looking all over for those. Found a reasonably priced place and she literally got naked trying on shirts in a random shop in San Fran Chinatown. She found one she liked and got it.

Walked and found the car safe and sound. Drove to the Golden Gate Park. It was huge and fairly nice. Drove around the whole park, which took a while. Backs up to the water so there was a cool beach.

The whole city is so cool. It’s just tall apartment buildings on top of each other and each has it’s own little flair and these crazy steep streets and beautiful trees.

[Later edit: Forgot. We went to de Young museum in park to go up the tower there. Gorgeous views but foggy. Could see the whole city spread.]

Drove towards the Golden Gate Bridge through a military base which was beautiful. Were hitting traffic so pulled off at an overlook. Managed to get some really great pictures even though it was pretty foggy.

Fell asleep on the drive back. Woke up to a missed call and voicemail from Dad. Pretty tender. Trigger tears. Were about to pull up to the house though so couldn’t call back. Kevin had made chili so we all ate that. Melissa’s an interesting mother. Low patience.

Hung out with them after.


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