Days 52-55: Long Beach, California

Monday (2016-10-17):

I wake up in the night to the soft, steady sounds outside. I momentarily worry someone or something is messing with my things, as this is the instinctual reaction on the road. Instead I realize the sound is the soft things of raindrops falling on the patio. It’s raining in LA! This is the first real rain since somewhere along the northern Oregon coast and the first precipitation LA has seen in 5 months. I bring the rain! 🙂 I veg-out for most of the day until Scott returns from work and we visit the climbing gym together. Talk about a full-body workout. My puny cyclist arms protest. We finish the night with my classic sweet potato dinner and board games with a bunch of Scott’s friends. Man, I miss hanging out and playing games so much!

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Tuesday (2016-10-18):

I decide to be more productive this morning and plan the next 1-2 weeks of riding to Flagstaff. Yes, I decided to stick to the original plan. The weather should be okay, just a bit cold at night. And Mexico is not going anywhere. After a solo trip to the climbing gym and a nap to make up for poor sleep last night I go out to eat dinner with Scott and his friend Crystal at Seoulmate, a Korean restaurant serving traditional entrees alongside Korean Burritos. It’s a lot like Seattle’s Marination, one of my favorite places to eat. So good! Scott and I continue on to The Blind Donkey in downtown Long Beach where we finish a respectable 8th in Geeks Who Drink trivia and I win a free beer. Success.

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It’s hard to see, but the picture on the right appears to be Donald Trump, holding a cross, burning in flames. The caption reads “This is what happens to unwanted pussy-grabbers.” Ah yes, the Donald is everywhere. Such an embarrassment.

 

Wednesday (2016-10-19):
This morning I continue the productivity trend, sort of, by making a nice breakfast and getting laundry started early. A little Smash Bro’s Melee practice (so I do not completely suck the next time we play) rounds out the morning before I leave for a long day of errands and exploration. First I stop at Goodwill to donate a couple of small items and pick up some groceries at Food 4 Less. There are many discount food stores around here but the sprawl still makes it a trek to get groceries. I try to find a cheap used DSLR camera to up my h\photography game but Long Beach Goodwill’s have nothing on Seattle and the pawn shop wanted $200 for a decade old model. Sorry, way out of my price range.

I hop on the metro Blue Line (train) to Downtown LA and visit a couple of bike shops to purchase parts for my bike and explore the city a little bit. Downtown is fine, far better in terms of bike infrastructure than the surrounding cities, but still not good. I ride through USC main campus and continue on through Culver City to the edge of Santa Monica where I spend the evening at Bikerwave. A bike co-op, Bikerwave is a volunteer-run bike shop with a good following where you can work on your bike using their parts. Rather than stream the Dodgers’ playoff game we follow along to Hillary and Trump’s ridiculous banter. This I appreciate.

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Bikerwave in Santa Monica. The staff was very friendly and helpful. I continue to find bike co-ops some of the best attractions in new cities.

I leave with brand new tires, chain, and cassette. Plus a freshly cleaned bike and sanded, smooth brakes. It rides like a whole new bike as I head to the nearest train station to begin the 2 hour trek back to Scott’s house in Long Beach. Everything is so far!  Oh yeah, and I crack my phone’s screen on the way home. Shit. Seems to be purely cosmetic (fingers crossed).

Thursday (2016-10-20):

One more day of productive mornings. I finally invest the funds I deposited into my IRA when I did my taxes this spring. It’s never too early to start saving for the future! Always pay yourself first. Of course, only so much productivity fits into one morning and as soon as I finished my responsible adult tasks I ht the couch with Scott & Kevin for a few rounds of Smash Bro’s. I still suck, but not nearly as much as before! I make my first black bean burger in months – my go to quick meal at home – and realize how much I miss the simple frozen patties. I join Scott at the climbing gym. I am a bit sore, but we belay for a while then hit the bouldering wall. By the time I leave my hands are raw and my shoulders and back sore. Yes for full-body workouts!

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After cleaning up I hop back on a train to Culver City where I meet my friend Carly from college. We enjoy a burger and a couple of beers at Father’s Office, a pretty hip bar/restaurant near the metro station in Culver City, while we catch up and reminisce. She just started a P.h.D program in Biomedical Sciences… just the tought of a P.h.D freightens me right now and “Biomedical Sciences” makes my chest pound uncomfortably. She’s always been on top of everything though, so I know she will rock it. We find surprisingly tasty ice cream at a trendy ice cream shop named Coolhaus a few blocks away and laugh at how many people look to be on dates – we go back and forth until deciding we look like we are on the second date. Not too awkward, but body language clearly creating boundaries.

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Carly chose the classic vanilla bean ice cream on chocolate chocolate chip cookies while I was lured in by the themed Trick r Treat on pumkin whoopie cookies. Both were excellent. The guy at the counter was awesome too!

It was really great oto see another friendly face and I enjoyed reminiscing for a short while. I cannot wait to meet more friends as I continue east!

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