Everyday musings that may provide some explanation to AnotherWhen.com, a playground for personal ideas.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Road to Las Vegas

Leaving Mammoth we began heading toward Death Valley. Again the difference between one side of the mountain chain and the other. Green everywhere as you cross from California then nothing but rocks, dirt, and tumbleweeds. I felt like I was in a western. Seriously some of the towns we past was close to what I picture Deadwood or the OK Corral looking like. Also those horror movies where someone traveling on a empty stretch of road has to stay at some scary ass motel because the roads are closed are true. Sorry if you live there and take offense but DAMN. We drove for close to 45 minutes to an hour (gas tanking getting lower and lower) before seeing signs of closed roads. The whole concept of a survival kit in your car is no joke.
The drive was uneventful (except for the detour). I am really glad I got to do it, especially with her. My girlfriend had already made a ride from Vegas to San Fran before so it was just more of the same to her. I did not tell her but, for me, I have always wanted to make a trip cross country with my girlfriend. I guess this will be as close as I come because she does not strike me as the type to "journey". Not a bad thing but...you know...when you have a vision in your head and it does not turn out like you pictured. Maybe one day we will. See more of the country. I used to imagine driving to the other coast and then hop on a boat and continue on. I am getting to old for that though. Maybe one day. For now this trip will have to do.
Death Valley was not exactly something I would call a "scenic vacation spot". Hell the name says it all. I could imagine settlers looking out over the landscape and thinking "I should have stayed in Ohio". The only thing that would have made the trip complete is a skull on the side of the road. The good thing was that it was no where near as hot as I imagined it would be. Then again it was February.
After driving awhile and seeing a rest stop and tourists taking pictures on the side of the road I realized that unless your walking this place the whole concept is lost. Anyway the ride was uneventful after that. I saw a Supermax prison though. Complete with a sign on the side of the highway that says "Do not pick up hitchhikers". Oh yeah and I saw the region of Area 51. Oppps, I mean Testing Area (that is what it says on the map). My girlfriend just rolls her eyes when I begin talking about this type of crap. Imagine being in a car with me while I look over the sky's for the new stealth bomber (Its supposed to be stealth, and I try to look). Well those are the highlights. After a few hours in the car I cannot wait for Vegas. Every time I have visited I have won money. I had a vision of me pulling up to the hotel and seeing that one slot machine that was just waiting to payoff. Viva Las Frickin' Vegas.....To be continued.





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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mammoth Lakes


As we left Lake Tahoe the weatherf was getting bad. They shut down the mountain until the weather let up. Thank God we got there a day earlier.
Mammoth Lakes is just a few hours drive away from Lake Tahoe. The difference with Tahoe and Mammoth is that there were other things to do besides skiing at Tahoe.

Mammoth had a laundry mat, Thai food, and Quiznos. Sure we stayed at a Motel 6. Needless to say No Fridge, No WiFi. But that is besides the point. We were there to ski and board. The first night we did laundry and met up with some friends to dinner. Thai at "Thai'd up" was actually not bad. I think the name is just cute.

The next day snow was falling and the mountain was calling. Snow was falling hard. Too Hard! For the same amount of snow fall in NYC the plows would have been out with salt and closed schools. In Mammoth it was just another day. Seriously I did not see a plow for hours. By that time snow was up to my knees.

However, the mountain was SWEET. I couldn't see it, the mountain, but the powder was fresh. I paid and got the "winter advisory" warning. What are the odds that they would have to shut it down right?


As we get off the lift the powder felt like....I don't even know how to describe it. First of all I don't even think I have ever been on real fresh powder before. It was like floating on air. Almost like surfing. Hard to control because I couldn't feel it firmly. It was shifting under my weight. But it was light as air. The major problem was I was in the middle of a snow storm. Wind gusts made it snow blind at times. The trail in front of me was no where to be found. Just then I heard a scream from behind me and turned just in time to see my girlfriend take a mean tumble. Not like a little fall either. A little fall would make me laugh. This fall made me worry. She had cracked her goggles and twisted her ankle. It took us a long time to get down and if she were anyone else I probably would have thought about leaving but it never entered my mind. It took us up to 1/2 an hour. I would have stayed as long as it took.

We came down on the wrong side of the mountain though. I went back up the mountain and it still was beautiful. By the time I got back to the car to move it closer to her it was partially snowed/plowed in. Time to go.

Have you ever heard of snow chains? I have heard the news reports say that the plows were getting them ready but I have never heard of any on cars. That is until I tried getting off of a mountain covered in snow. I must have driven 10 mph going down the mountain but 1) I could not see and 2) I did not know where the road was when I could see.

Word of advice...If you are going to ski or board during a snow storm make sure your room is on the mountain or a shuttle can take you there. You never want to drive in that crap. We spent the rest of the night inside eating crappy Subway sandwiches. Remember when in Mammoth "Thai'd up" and 4wd good and "Subway" and no shovel or ice scrapper is bad...To be continued.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Harvey's at Lake Tahoe

What a world? Where else can you gamble and snowboard in the same day? Lake Tahoe was cool. We stayed at Heavenly Mountain at a place called Harvey’s. It was bigger than the Orchard Garden but did not have a refrigerator or free wi-fi. We lost money there but I know once we got to Vegas we would win it back. Both she and I love to eat, or so we thought. We ate at the local bar for lunch. I guess it was supposed to be Tahoe’s version of Coyote Ugly but more corporate (at least until I got to Vegas). Thank god we only went during the slow time at lunch. For some reason we went to a steak dinner still. I honestly thought I was going to throw up.

The next day we hit the slopes. I have heard of riding Gondolas to the slopes and always thought they took you to the very top. Nah, no such luck. They only take you to the mountain so you can then get to the slopes. But that was not such a bad thing. I am glad she forces me to do things I would not normally do. We went immediately to the top.

The views are tremendous. I could see the lush green valleys of California and the parched desert of Nevada. Had I not been so impatient to ride (or so cold) I would have taken picture after picture.

The powder was better than average. (I say that now only cause of what I experienced at Mammoth Lakes.) My board handled well. Compared to Jersey and New York it was preferable. Possibly even superior. A few more trips and the board will be paid for.








By the way I still need to exercise….To be continued.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

On the way to Lake Tahoe

After a short detour, to find a way to listen to our Ipods while in the car, we were on our way. I think the very idea of traveling for an extended period of time with just us and unfamiliar airwaves filled both she and I with dread. (The Ipod may very well be a epitome of consumerism but if you want something to fill up time it is very handy.) For example, have you ever heard of the term "Ghost Riding"? I didn't until I heard the San Franciscan airwaves. My friend out there explained it to me. Apparently, you let the car creep forward while you and your other passengers jump out of the STILL MOVING car and run around it. Then hop back in and drive on your merry way. The very concept makes me shudder at the very recollection of what my friends and I used to do to keep us entertained when we were young.
Anyway we are leaving San Francisco with our brand new FM transmitter and Ipod playing laughing at our trip so far. It was beautiful and kind of disturbing at the same time. While in San Fran proper my girlfriend and I worried that we would not see a Best Buy, Circuit City or the like. The suburban landscape was littered with them along with McDonald's and most of the familiar chain stores. It is amazing how you can go from one coast to another and feel as if you are still in the same spot.


Passing suburbia and approaching the Sierras. A sight to behold. Snow capped cover mountains, plant life changing as the temperature gets colder. As we drove further and further into the mountains I began to worry at the lack of snow. I thought to myself here we are thousands of miles away from home and still we can't use our skis and snowboard. I am glad I was wrong. Driving over and through the mountains was moving but seeing the lake at Lake Tahoe was inspiring. Crisp blue water surrounded by snow capped mountains....To be continued.



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Sunday, March 04, 2007

San Francisco

So I was away for vacation for 10 days. Like I said previously, vacation is the best thing in the world. I highly recommend everyone taking one. After planning and planning where to go, my girlfriend and I chose (Ok mostly my girlfriend but I had input too) to fly out west and then drive from location to location. We figure start in San Fran then drive to Lake Tahoe, then to Mammouth, then to Las Vegas for her birthday and I could gamble and make back most of the money I spent on the trip (rrriiiiggghhhtttt). Besides short road trip together how sweet right? (Hey on a map they look close to each other.) After all was said and done it was a great trip. I got some flicks, exercise, ideas for art and good food.
I have only been to California once before as a kid. Even then I was with my parents so how much fun could it have been. (A lot, now that I look back on it.)
I have never been to San Francisco and the only thing I know about the city is 1906 was a really bad year. After being there (for a short time mind you) I think the city is great. It was one of my reasons to say that "free wifi" is the way to go. But for some reason I thought that San Fran did not have that many hills. Everything looked flat from the air. (If you don't know you should visit some time. With me walking I got lapped by a 250, maybe 300 lb guy on a ten speed.)


We had a great time. Walking the hills, taking in the sites, and it didn't hurt that we were there during the weekend. EVERYONE is off during the weekend and so it looks better. What struck me was how the city (and this is just my impression) was geared toward recycling, biking, and a slower pace. But then again the day we arrived I felt like changing into shorts. It was a beautiful day.
We stayed at Orchard Garden Hotel. It’s a "green" hotel. SMALL rooms but we didn’t stay in often. (Hopefully that helped to offset some of the carbon emissions for the trip but I doubt it.) Positioned close to
Union Square, and right next to China Town, and so it was close to the sights and transportation. By foot and Cable Car I got to see Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Union Square, China Town, Fisherman’s, and Alcatraz. She wanted to go to China Town and see the sights, buy a few things for her family, and get some food (something about a Chinese person liking authentic Chinese food. I like General Tso's but she just yells at me). After we just kept walking through the area. It was a great day just shopping and wandering together. I do not do enough of it at home.
Some friends of mine moved out there last year and I have not had a chance to speak with them in awhile and so seeing them was great. Hopefully, it also gave them something to do while they are out there. Being brand new to that coast they brought my girlfriend and I to see the sights we could not see by foot. We traveled to the other side of the Golden Gate and had some wine in Saulsolito, tapas in the Mission District, and food and beer in Haight-Asbury. Beautiful views, and good food.
Yum.
We only spent a couple days there before we drove out but I am happy I got to have my chowder from Fisherman’s Wharf, my burger from In and Out (did you know they have a “hidden” menu? I didn’t until I got to Vegas) and a grilled fish taco (I am not going back to ground beef ever). All this "fast food" and still I walked more than I ever would have back home. Having my girlfriend with me probably got me doing more things than I ever would have done by myself. Looking back spending three days there instead on two would have been nice but it probably would have ruined the rest of the trip........to be continued.



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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Back from a much needed vacation

i am tired now (jet lag or something) but I will make this a quickie....
1) Definitive Jux has a free "album" on Adultswim.com. Okay it is not an album per se but it is new music so check it. Also if you haven't already you can download other free music or play games there as well.


2) Vacation is one of the greatest things ever invented. I recommend everyone try it sometime.

3) Free WiFi is the shiznit. It is the next best thing to vacation, and free music. www.freewifihotspot.com.
4) 300 comes out this weekend. (3/6/2007: I was wrong this comes out next weekend)

5) If you are in NYC this weekend:
Engineers Without Borders, New York Chapter presents
Concert for Cambodia

Saturday, March 10 at Fontana's, 105 Eldridge St,
on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Doors open at 8PM; minimum donation at the door is $10.

PERFORMING ARTISTS
Zigmat - http://www.myspace.com/zigmat Pop/electro/funk

Inflowential - http://www.myspace.com/inflowential North Cackalacka Hip Hop
Meta and the Cornerstones - http://www.myspacecom/metaandthecornerstones Reggae

DJ Lechuga - http://www.nyremezcla.com
Latino Lettuce
Proceeds will help EWB-NY complete the Balang Dam project.