USA Edition: San Francisco To LA
Packing up my suitcase in my hotel room in San Francisco was a little bit of a sad affair. Mostly because it meant that the end of the best four weeks of my life was getting closer. What a week it had been in Frisco, eating at what had been voted as the best barbeque place in California to heading out to Golden Gate Park for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, it was a lifetime of memories and not the last time that I would be visiting. After picking up my new guitar from the Guitar Center around the corner (a story that is probably a Night Vibe column in itself) I loaded my gear into the van with a smile on my face and excitement for the week that was coming.
Our destination was the big smoke, the concrete jungle that was paved for dreams to be made, yet we had a few days before we rolled into LA. First up, Yosemite. One of the most exciting things about heading into the hills was that there was considerable talk that we would see Yogi Bear, however, don’t be fooled Forte readers, Yogi Bear lives in Yellowstone National Park at the other side of the country.
With eight people for the last week in the van, it was a little bit like that classic scene from Almost Famous where they all start to sing ‘Tiny Dancer’, however the lack of Elton John on everybody’s iPod made it a bit hard. None the less, I still brought new music discoveries to the table allowing everybody to get into the sultry and slick grooves of Chet Faker and Built On Glass. Without a doubt one of my favourite albums of 2014.
The beauty that is Yosemite National Park, is pretty much indescribable. It’s about an hours trek off the main road, but the natural beauty of the mountain ranges is quite majestic. You could try and emulate being there by Googling it, but it’s not as good as the real thing.
The next part of the journey was heading down the Big Sur towards Santa Barbara. The Big Sur is most commonly described as California’s answer to the Great Ocean Road, however I don’t think we have anything on the Big Sur. The beauty of the sweeping coastline and cliffs is amazing. Standing at one of the lookouts, it’s nearly like Jack and Rose in Titanic at the front of the ship. You truly feel like you are on top of the world.
One of the coolest parts about the last week was the opportunity to visit Monterey, one of the small coastal towns on the way down to LA. It’s a little bit like Torquay or one of the bustling city centres down the Surfcoast. Heading along to the aquarium to see a sea otter, was yet another surreal experience. This trip had been full of them and there was plenty of them in the last week.
From Monterey, we headed down to the Joshua Tree National Park for a brush with Gram Parsons and a quiet night in the desert. Stopping in at Palm Springs for lunch, it was easy to see how the elderly retire to such a majestic place. The Joshua Tree is home to where Gram Parsons spent his last night alive. It’s also the name of place for the U2 record, who stayed at the same inn that we were at that night. Burning a sacrifice in the fire was apparently a necessity, according to one of the groups, which led to quite some fun and laughter in the choice of the lamb.
Finally after four weeks, we hit LA and what a town it is. Staying one block away from Hollywood Boulevard was probably a little bit close to the action and, although it was cool to walk down the walk of fame, my favourite bit about LA was Santa Monica. Although the pier is a massive tourist attraction, catching up with an old friend for my birthday was the best part of LA. The beach line is amazing and quite possibly, a future new home.
This was not the last time that I would visit the US. An amazing four weeks, filled with laughter, music and good vibes. Thank you MezRay tours for the best month!
By Tex Miller thenightvibe.com.au