Hiking and Partying Around San Diego

After spending some time with my brother in Oceanside, I was off to San Diego to meet up with Molly and company. My brother dropped me off early that morning in Ocean Beach on his way to Coronado where he'd be working for the week.

I got some writing done at the coffee shop, then sat by the beach enjoying leftover pasta from the night before, then back to the coffee shop. I got word from Molly that they'd all be going to some hot springs and then staying in Ramona, so wouldn't be making it to San Diego this day. I sat by the beach for a while and managed to find a place to stay via couchsurfing.org, then my mission became finding a place to watch the Lakers game and get a cheap beer.

I wandered by some places, but then started walking towards downtown. My brother picked me up halfway, he got off work so I went to grab dinner with him and a friend at the Yardhouse, which is a place with a pretty good beer selection where I watched the end of the game, the Lakers won.

My brother took off afterwards and I got to wandering around downtown, I had some time before meeting up with my couchsurfing host. I sat on a bench a while and listened to a guy play the saxophone, then wandered some more, I eventually got a call from the guy and met up with him close by, we headed back to his house.

It was a nice pad they had - a foosball table, drum kit set up and the makings of an indoor half pipe. I talked and played foosball with him, one of his roommates and a friend they had in town before finally falling out on their couch.

I woke in the morning and talked with Sara for a while, she was visiting these guys from Syracuse, only in town another night. I asked her about Docs Little Gem Diner, a place my friend Heather and I had stumbled upon while hitchhiking through there. She not only had heard about it, but informed me they had just closed their doors forever, lack of business she guessed.

We had some breakfast and smoked a bunch, she'd gotten a lot of pot and needed to use it up before her flight. Afterwards we motivated ourselves out the door to head out and go on a hike. We grabbed some snacks at the store and headed down the long hilly road towards the entrance of the park and trail, turns out we headed to a different spot than intended, but it worked all the same.

The actual trail headed to a dam and some water, we had some good conversations along the way. On the way back we hopped off the trail to a little cave for a smoke, then took the big hike back up the hill and to the guys' apartment.

We took advantage of the pool and hot tub in the apartment complex, then took some showers. At this point I was ready to head up to Ramona and see some of my McCormick family - Molly, Keith, Kirby and rumored new members they'd recruited at Joshua Tree. The McCormick legend had been growing steadily since it's inception in Vegas.

I made a Ramona sign and parted ways with Sara and the couchsurfing guys, then started walking down the road towards freeway. Ramona was less than an hour drive away, but I was in suburbia with a long walk just to get to the freeway heading up there. I didn't have to walk much of the way though, I lucked out when a couple girls picked me up.

I was actively thumbing cars, but I had my sign in my hand as I walked. Apparently, one of the girls was looking up in the sky at one of those planes flying a banner and asked her friend, "what do you think that sign says?", her friend mistakenly thought she was looking at me and my sign, saw "Ramona", and decided to pull over and pick me up.

They were enthusiastic and funny, blasting Ben Harper and singing his praises. They went a pinch out of their way to get me up the freeway a bit to an intersection that led directly to Ramona. "How long have you been on the road?", they asked me as they dropped me off. I told them it was almost three years, they almost couldn't believe it, they'd expected me to say a week or so.

From where they left me I got a ride right away from a mechanic heading up to Ramona, she dropped me off at a big grocery store. Molly, Kirby and Keith came and picked me up, we headed to where they were staying, which was with a couple they'd met at the Joshua Tree music festival. Some more people came over and a huge meal was cooked. We feasted, then ended the night sitting around the fire pit with some beers and laughs at we caught up and shared stories.

I spent the night in the camper van in the driveway, it was a good nights sleep. Sam and Roxy were the couple who owned the place, a big property with gardens and surrounding neighbors with plenty of horses. Someone told me Ramona had the most horses per capita, quite the distinction.

Keith and I were the first to wake up that morning, we heated up some food, then he strummed the guitar and I blew the harmonica for a while out on the patio. Kirby got up and had to go to work, he dropped the other three of us at a trail head down the way. We hiked up and down the desert like hills and into the more lush valley, crossing some streams and eventually arriving and a waterfall.

After some relaxing in this area we hiked on out and back, the heat was beating down on us pretty good on the steep climb out. Once off the trail we walked along the road heading towards a bar where one of Kirby's friends worked. We tried to stop by a pool in a park along the way, but some lady asked us for a pass of some kind, denying us entry.

We never went into the bar once we got there, instead meeting up with another one of Kirby's friends, grabbing some beer at the store and heading back to Sam and Roxy's place. Once Kirby got back form work we headed towards San Diego, specifically to Ocean Beach.

There was a street fair going on, I loaded up on free food samples as we walked to a bar where we watched the Lakers game. Afterwards we headed to a girl's house Molly had met at Coachella and promised to visit, she was having a party there this night, we got there to find pretty girls and liquor about.

It became a good night of drinking and some beer pong. A guy at the party insisted that Interstate 70 ran through Arizona, I told him it didn't, so he insisted on betting me $50 it did. We pulled up a map and proved him wrong, he didn't have any money to pay. I laughed it off, Keith gave him a hard time for welching on the bet as I headed out the door, I had a beer run to make. Some twenty year old dude at the party gave me a pile of money and drove me to the gas station to pick some up.

The house was right on the beach, close enough where I got myself stripping down and running into the ocean for a swim in the later drunker hours. I was the only one, I'm sure it was probably cold. People trickled out, Molly had already passed out on a couch hours ago, soon I was about the only one awake. I scavenged for food, microwaving one thing or another, then crashing on the one remaining empty couch.

I woke up in the morning, Keith was on the other couch and Molly was gone. We started gathering our things, I peeked out the window at the ocean and saw a passed out Molly in the sand down the beach. We headed out there and woke her up, she'd gotten up early for a walk, then passed out.

We snagged some beers from the place then headed out, strolling down the boardwalk with no particular mission. Soon we decided the Coranado was our destination, to Keith's family's place. We grabbed a sandwich and started walking, it was a good ten miles or more, ten miles we didn't fully complete on foot. We took several breaks, at last at a salvation army walking around for a long time and eventually getting picked up by his family.

Kirby later joined us too, it was a night of smoking, drinking, bbq and games of beer pong. Kirby and Molly took off at one point to pick some things up, not returning until much later. In the meantime, some folks there, Keith and I smoked this hash they had that looked like ear wax and got silly high, laughing endlessly at nothing as if this was our first time smoking. A dead end game of Apples to Apples got played, a sort of card game, none of could concentrate, eventually people started going to sleep.

I watched the clock strike midnight, flipping the calendar to May 21 and marking my 25th birthday. I'd soon go to sleep, the coming day would bring a trip towards Las Vegas and a celebration. After having just reached new heights in Vegas with the last hypnotizing saxophone trip, I was about to be surprised once again with the endless levels of madness that city has to offer.