Posts Tagged ‘camping’

Time to pack up! Whenever going on an extended trip, the fridge has to be emptied of perishables.
2019-03-29 Fridge Cleanout

This trip is happening in the middle of Tax filing time so the days leading up to departure were filled with office tasks and last minute paper work.

I was able to get everything packed in time to play a few hours of poker on my way out.

Leaving the wildflower bloom of Texas and heading to the Southwestern desert super bloom!

 

March 30, Saturday

I was traveling with Vanessa on this trip so we had a few extra fun stops planned. The Cubs were in town playing the Rangers but we were heading out late and didn’t have time to stop for some batting practice.

We wanted to reach Tucumcari, NM by 9pm Mountain time to check in to our cute little artsy hotel on route 66.

 

March 30, Sunday

 

Sunday morning we walked the art covered route 66 over to a nice cafe for breakfast.

Diner

It was then time to research Montezuma Castle National Monument, Havasupai waterfalls and other cavern crevasses for the days exploration on the way to Mesa/Phoenix for the evening.

Havasupai was too far out of the way but we headed for some other great areas. We went through Tonto Forest over to Roosevelt Lake and the Tonto Monument for some preserved cave dwellings.

We drove through a nice brief snow on the high bluffs and then entered the lovely areas where flowers were blooming.

 

 

Tonto

It was getting dark as we entered a mountain pass that followed the Salt River into the city. It was about 20 miles to the other side but as we moved forward the pavement stopped and the road got narrow as the guard rails vanished high above the river cliff so we had to turn around. Better to be safe when there is an easier known path. It would require us to back track 40 miles but at least we would be traveling 70 mph instead of 20. Either way, we were going to arrive at our hosts place around 830pm.

Phoenix pool

April 1, Monday

Time to head for the ocean!

Patton MuseumDesert

cute mnt home

mountains

April 2, Tuesday

Started the first half the day recovering from the road trip with an extra long yoga session and workout. Did some beach prep and then worked on the blog, trip planning and taxes.

day3

The weather was too cool for the beach so I just walked around the neighborhood.

day 3 neighbor

day 3 suculants1

April 3, Wednesday

Too cool and cloudy again so I just spent the day looking for poker and darts information and studied the transit options. Got my day planned out for Thursday. I went out in the evening to check out the general neighborhood. I passed a girl in her 20’s crying and asked if I could help her. Meculah explained that her friend couldn’t make it to pick her up and she was stranded 40 miles from her house. Meculah’s phone battery was dead and she didn’t have a backup battery or power cord so she was having a panic attack. She couldn’t look up travel options and didn’t know what to do. She walked back with me to get my power cord and we talked and did some meditation exercises to calm her down while her phone charged. I refilled her water bottle while she decided to pay for a taxi home. I gave Meculah some pointers on taking the transit options and then continued on my walk as her ride drove off.

When Vanessa got home I drove us around Mulholland Drive for a mini sunset adventure. We found a trail head but it would take me about 15 minutes on a scooter to get up the canyon so I’m not sure if I will go do it or not.

 

 

April 4, Thursday

Did a quick workout and then wrote down my transit details for the day. I decided to go explore UCLA and then hang out in Santa Monica and hopefully find a poker game. The weather was crappy so I didn’t get to work on my tan but I did get on a bicycle and got a good workout in. I biked all the way down to Marina DelRay while getting reacquainted  with the Venice life.

 

As I strolled Venice I was sad to see the House of Weird never recovered. It was a great attraction that has been featured on many films. Some of the people (attractions) have found new shelter and remain in the area panhandling on the streets.

 

One of my favorite things to do when I am in Venice is to work out. There is Gold’s Gym (Muscle Beach) and the Cirque Du Soleil training area with some great options to workout.

day 5 acro

 

April 5, Friday

I did my taxes most of the day and then went exploring on the bus to the Japanese garden and the Sepulveda water basin. I jogged around that area and then got on a bus north to the dart tournament at a Lounge called Tender Glow. The Basin park is a massive area where tons of people have parties. They bring bouncy houses and setup all kinds of cool decorations! It is such a large area that there are a lot of transients camping in the woods and even the parking lots are full of RV’s. Law enforcement just asks them to move their vehicles around each day. The views are amazing.

 

It was about 3 miles north and 3 miles east of home base so not too far. It still took 1.5 hours on two buses to get there though. I passed this really nice rock garden along the way.

day 6 rock garden

At the tournament I shot great but the competition was difficult. My partner was not as accurate as my opponents so I had to make sure I hit the winning shots on my first try. Eventually I missed a couple and was eliminated in 5th place.

April 6, Saturday

We went to Topanga Canyon for breakfast. The health food options are amazing and there are so many cool little cafes. I love relaxing in the canyons.

 

I got to visit one of my favorite areas. In the past I had been active on the Topanga Chamber and Earth Day Committee which led to me spending a lot of time there with my buddy Will Pallagi. We didn’t find the road to the party ranch we used to spend the night at but we did find the park where I was in charge of the recycling for the Earth Day festival in 2010.

 

We also stopped at few market shops and took some fun pictures.

 

 

From Topanga we went back to the Sepulveda Lake park to get some spiritual celebration time. There was a Hare Krishna color festival waiting for us. It is a time to dance, chant and sing while rubbing ceremonial paint colors on those around you as a blessing. It is messy but really exciting.

 

We closed the day out by going to the Pet Cemetery Movie. It was very scary and I had a hard time watching it. I had some ear pressure that was also causing me eye pain so I had to wear sun glasses and shut the bad eye quite often but I made it through it. The film had a new ending from the previous movie and it caught everyone of guard. Let me know what you thought of it?!  🙂

Sunday, April 7

Started the day by taking the colored clothes to the laundry mat while Vanessa made us breakfast. We then headed out to her favorite Studio City farmers market. The market is always an enjoyable way to spend the morning.

day 8 farmers

From there we went downtown to the Renegade Craft fair.

day 8 market all

 

The location of the Renegade Craft Fair is in a park on the edge of China Town. It was a nice return to my past. This same park is where I enjoyed one of the funnest festivals ever. This is the site of where the Post-Burning Man L.A. decompression event is. You can read about that in my previous blog https://wordpress.com/post/freehelpinghands.wordpress.com/1227

Right next to the park was the warehouse district where there are amazing underground parties. I had another blast from the past vision in my head as we walked by the site of a High Times 420 party Will and I went to.

After the craft fair, we headed back through Topanga to watch the sunset on the beach in Malibu.

 

 

Monday, April 8

I left early with Vanessa and had her drop me off at the train station near her work so I could get down to South Bay as quickly as possible. I was going to go have lunch with one of my best buddies and former LA roomie, Sung. We have a ritual where we always hang at the Hermosa Pier and usually have drinks and lunch at this table over looking the beach.

The Long Beach train line is under construction so there is a major time delay due to a required bus detour. This construction really makes a metro visit from north L.A. to south L.A. unenjoyable. I left Woodland Hills at 9:30 and arrived at the Manhattan Beach station shortly after noon. It was so exciting being back in my old neighborhood. I walked around the soccer field on the way to Poliwog park where Sung was going to pick me up. Poliwog has a wonderful botanical garden to chill out in. I love reading and writing in this garden.

 

 

day 9 duck tanAfter lunch we went past Sung’s new house to get a tour and then he took me back to the train. I made it back to north Hollywood right on time and Vanessa picked me up to go to her birthday party at a Pizza cafe in Studio City.

Tuesday, April 9

I spent the morning doing some writing and house chores and then headed off to Runyon Canyon shortly after lunch.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 10

I went inland yesterday so today I am going coastal. I walked around the neighborhood on the way to the bus stop. There are beautiful gardens everywhere you look.

I got off the bus at UCLA to hike through the campus first.

As I waited at the bus stop I was approached by another wonderful adventurer.
(IG @StephanieByNature) Stephanie was trying to figure out the fastest bus or train route to the airport to catch a flight. We reviewed the transit maps together and exchanged contacts before boarding different buses. Once I was back on the bus I read about her adventures. She focuses a lot of energy on raising food and delivering it to people sleeping outdoors.

My next stop was the ocean to get some tanning in.

Day 11 beach

After my ocean fun, I headed back to Hollywood to meet Vanessa for a fun night at the Hollywood Improv for a ladies night special set. When we got out of the car I noticed we were in front of a store owned by one of my followers who actively comments on my adventures. (IG @Jannikolander)

Comedy Clubs are one of my favorite places to spend an evening.

Thursday, April 11

Today I followed the same path as yesterday but with a different ending. I moved past UCLA quicker so I could have more time at the mediation gardens.

I left the beach at 3pm so I could spend at least an hour at the meditation gardens before they closed at 4:30. This is one of my favorite garden parks in the world. https://lakeshrine.org/

Day 12 garden

After the gardens closed I headed over to Temescal Canyon for a sunset hike. This Canyon is one of my favorite hikes in LA because it has the least amount of people yet you get some nice ocean views and a stream trail as well. Head over to my youtube channel to view some of it.

day 13 temescal history

After sunset, I headed back by bus. It takes over 2 hours to complete the route going east to Sepulveda then north to Ventura and back west to Topanga north of the Mountain ridge.

 

Friday, April 12

I enjoy the Sunset/Beverly Hills/Temescal area so much that I wanted to spend one last day there with more time to go hiking. I had Vanessa drop me off at Sepulveda on the way to work and then I took the bus straight to Temsecal Canyon.

This time I hiked the east ridge to the boarder of Will Roger’s State Park until Vanessa was able to come join me.

We hiked the river trail for awhile and then it was time to head to my evening poker tournament. I won again and finished with a $250 profit. It was my last night to make some money and I finished below my goal for the week but I was ending the trip with more than I arrived with.

Saturday, April 13

South Bay is one of my favorite areas of LA and I have only been able to make it over there 1 time so far on this visit so today we are spending most of the day there.

It takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to go from Topanga down the PCH to Hermosa so you can not really do much else unless it is along the way.

We went to a Greatful Dead cover concert with the band called Cubensis. I try to catch one of their shows every visit.

Day 14 Cubensis

After the show we went for a little stroll and sunset on the beach.

Day 14 sunset

We closed the night out with a spiritual Kirtan and the Bhakti Yoga Shala. http://bhaktiyogashala.com/ 

Day 14 kirtan

 

Sunday, April 14

Sunday is a great day to be in LA. Some of my favorite things to do in LA happen on Sundays. I like to start the morning at the LA market on the way to the Agape Spiritual Center.

There is a center for day to day gatherings but on Sunday the celebrations are at the Saban Theatre. The theatre is amazing and the energy is so eclectic. Check out this video clip on my youtube channel. There is always several successful/famous people sitting around you or performing on the stage at Agape.

For lunch, I love going over to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Culver City.  This Hindu temple provides the most amazing vegetarian dishes for a very low price. ($6.95 entree’s and $2.95 sides!)

After lunch, we meditated in the temple as they prepared for Owner of the Ford Motor Company Foundation to arrive for a speech. Alfred Ford is an amazing inspiration and philanthropist. He has given a lot of his families fortune to spiritual causes.

Day 15 ISKON lineup

Then we went into the structure next to the temple which houses the Museum full of animated Vedic Diorama’s. It is only $10 for an amazing 45 minute tour through Hindu & Krishna history. Please check it out when you are in the area and make sure you give them some reviews on their yelp to help encourage more people to visit!

We finished our visit by participating in a fire prayer ceremony. This is a series of purification chants mixed with the burning of sacrifices like rice, sage, cedar, flowers, oils and other items. Check out the video on my youTube channel.

Day 15 ISKON fire

After we left ISKCON we went on our own little spiritual quest to harvest and bundle some sage. We know this amazing hike that is covered with white sage.

After such a full day, the time had finally arrived for me to depart back to Texas. I had to wait an extra hour and 30 minutes to leave because the flight crew was delayed. I barely made my connecting flight in DFW with just minutes to spare.

 

 

 

 

Monday Feb. 20, we left at 8am to pack the Shhmokewear event boxes and pick up Will and Raou Raou. It was nearly 2pm by the time they were in the car heading down the road. I contributed a weeks worth of food from the grocery store at the last stop before Sin City.

We got settled into our Casino and scoped out the trade show setup. SP and I walked Circus Circus, the Strat and back to the Riv while Will and David went to a party with one of our customers.

The Riv’s dollar hot dog and penny slot room had been turned into a club room. The Sahara was closed down and the Circus’ Subway jacked their prices 40%.

Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, started by us having training in the room over breakfast and then getting our booth setup. Our partners arrived from Fuma Cigars and pipes and we all got organized.

CHAMPS Booth

I then went walking about to network with possible partners and mingle. I made a new friend named Lisa who had never been to Vegas, so I invited her to our hip hop party this night.

The event went great for day one. While we only achieved 40% of our goal in confirmed orders, we did have enough interest for advance orders to meet day two’s goal.

After the trade show closed at 6pm we played pinball while waiting for the parties to get jumping. Our beatboxer promoter, was performing at a show downtown at the Las Vegas Country Saloon.

Pinball @ the Riv w/ Willy

We got 10 of our associates together and off we went. Downtown is a spot you don’t want to miss if visiting. The Fremont square has the famous video screen ceiling used in tons of movies and there is a large mix of shops.

Fremont Square

Fremont Square

The club was jumping with performances by Swisher Sweets, Los Marijuanos, and Phoenix who is under Linkin Park’s wing. We took a lot of pictures and networked. Mammal came on from 1:30-2:45 then we all headed back.

Champs After Party

CHAMPS after party

Wednesday, we had our best sales, doubling Tuesday. After work we split up as Will was checking into a new casino to help network. It was 8 by the time we got to the room so I laid down for a nap. I notified some friends that I would checkin at 10:30 to meet for the GLow company party at the Palms.

I was extra worn out and couldn’t muster enough energy to go out. SP tried to shake me but I was too far gone. It was 6am the next time I looked at my phone.

Thursday, I got up early and did some pool side yoga then SP and I hit the breakfast buffet to start the day out. Then I went and watched the Taikwandoe tournament for a bit on the way to the booth.

We passed our goal in sales for the day and then packed everything up. Most exhibitors were anxious to get home so there were no great parties scheduled. We rested up and got packed and then hit the casino floor. I broke even on black jack even with the distraction of the Rio pole dancers. I play one stack for 30 minutes. I move the winnings into a new stack and then at the end of 30 minutes I bet at least half of my winnings. Will was focused on a girl and SP went back to the room.

Friday, we followed up with our leads and then cleared out for some fun. We took picts at the Pawn Stars shop first. The old man or a customer had a Roles Roice in the lot that got backed into so I stood in front of him to get a picture.

Going to Pawn Stars

Next we went to Ricks Resorations for more photos and then SP dropped me off at Red Rock Canyon just 5 miles out of town.

Rick's Restorations

From the highway it was one hour to the mouth of the canyon, then the trails start climbing. I took several paths before figuring out the easiest route. I surveyed several camping spots before finding the perfect location. Just off the path was a clump of spruce tree’s providing privacy and wind cover as well as the perfect distance for hanging hamocks. To the west of the tree’s was a 10 foot flat boulder providing cover from the canyon winds as well as a heat reflector for my fire. There was the perfect view as well as a flat spot for the fire and cooking.

Camp Red Rocks

The last 2 hours of sunlight I hiked around collecting firewood and taking pictures. As it got dark I started the fire with my sparker. I played my harp to scare away any predators and then urinated around the camp for extra protection. Just for extra precaution I sharpened a safety spear.

Through the night I used up one battery checking in on facebook and then 75% of my laptop battery working on my comic book. The view of the stars was great but I caught no glimpses of shooting stars even though there was a predicted meteor shower.

About 2a the fire had burned out so I got up to restock it.

Saturday, Feb. 25, I was awoken by 2 super early climbers at 6:30am. I got up and had a PBJ while collecting firewood. I got my gear sorted and did some wake up yoga on the cliff above camp.

Cell phone signal?

Then I walked 30 minutes back toward the entrance so I could trade some grapes for water, not knowing how far I would have to hike to find more.

I hiked up the canyon about 2000 feet to the highest point I felt comfortable without a spotter. Along the way there were several fresh water swimming holes and filtered stream water spots to drink. I jumped in cleaned up while a nice lady from Mammoth and her dog kept me company.

Oak Creek hike

At one point I was eating lunch and laying out on a flat rock in the sun when two bob cats scurried up above me.

I continued hiking and playing my harp while working my way back to camp as it got dark. I did some yoga, read a bit and checked in with facebook updates before starting my fire and prepparing dinner.

The wind woke me up about 4 as the ocean tide breezes blew through. My boulder wall and spruce tree kept me covered from them great.

Sunday, Feb. 26. This morning there was a couple super early birds who woke me up while it was still dawn at 5am. It was also about 40 degrees so I got up and stoked the fire to warm up.

Now knowing water was available 30 minutes up stream, I was able to save the time from asking others. I instead, made some oatmeal for breakfast and then located a good spot to make room for lunch.

I spent about 2 hours climbing to the point where I could not go further without rope and then watched the others around me use their gear to scurry up the 1000 foot wall to the peak.

Climb baby climb

Next I went to get water to dump in my pot for dinner. When I returned it was still cold so I did some lifting and push ups, pull and sit ups to get my body temp up.

I hiked back into the canyon until reaching a water hole in the sun. I filled up my bottle and then did some more workouts to get sweatie before jumping in to bathe. It was cold but refreshing to get 2 days of camp smoke and grime off me and to have clean feet and moisturized hands.

Watering Hole

I climbed up to a flat ledge high above normal hikers view and stripped to work on my tan. Every once in awhile, a black and white creature would poke her head out of the rocks near me to see what was up. She was the color of a racoon but the size of a cat.

I laid out for the next 2 hours and ate lunch until 4 when the sun starts to dip behind the mountains. I returned back to camp and did some yoga as the sunset. I helped guide a few climbers to the main trail and gave them my number then played them a good bye toon on the harp from my perch high above as they vanished into the painted desert below.

The night was warmer then the day as the wind stopped. I sat by the fire, eating noodles in my hamock. As the never ending darkness drifted on, I wrote an article about the top must have phone apps, played some music, text my loved ones and faded away into fantasy land dreaming about sharing these romantic times with a loved one.

Exciting trails to hike!!

Nothing happened on Monday the 10th but Tuesday was a full moon and it was my first time being invited to the secretive Moon Tribe gathering. The tribe is a made up of all types of free thinking spiritual minds that celebrate for a wide variety of reasons.

Some of our group left in the middle of the day but several would not get off work until later so we had a second bunch leave in big momma around 8. The destination was in the Mojave desert about an hour west of Las Vegas.

We knew where to turn off the paved road but finding the right route through winding paths in the sand was a problem. We took a wrong turn and were several miles in when we hit a real soft spot and got stuck. A few of us picked a hill in each direction and climbed to see if we cound see or hear the group. We then pushed the van out of the sand and made Scott run and jump in as we followed the sound of drums and light to the party.

We were able to avoid the $15 entry by coming in on a side entry so it worked out great. The spot was marked by the only trees growing in the desert within view. There was 5 of them in a circle forming a natural amphitheater. The DJ and concert speakers were on one side while the drum circle and acoustic lovers were around the fire on the opposite side. The outter edges of the camp had fire spinners, hoopers, and people with all sorts of glow things…including a remote control plane.

We set up a hammock and blanket to mark our base and then everyone split up to mingle. The people were wonderful but after dancing through to sunrise I found no one to connect deeply with so I let loose and lost awareness. My pictures of the gathering were mostly blurry as were my memories of the night.

As the sun rose all 7 of us joined back up in van and headed to the gas station on the highway. Will was too tired to drive so another Tim took over as we all slept. About an hour down the road we woke up to Tim screetching that the van died and we were coasting to a stop on the left side of the road. It turned out that Will was so out of it that he didn’t remember to pump the gas at the station!

We could see an exit down the mountain and if we could just get to the slope we could coast off the exit. We prayed big momma would start back up to get us out of traffic and our prayers were answered. As we made it to the exit we could see gas ahead so we all jumped out and started pushing like a scene from Little Miss Sunshine.

We made it to the pump and dropped to our knees in celebration. After remembering to pump the gas we headed home. We all took naps and tried to do a few simple work tasks in between.

Thursday we edited our contracts so we could move forward knowing where we all stood on expectations. Friday we reviewed the week of work and then Sung picked me up to go camping.

We had 2 locations in mind and flipped a coin to decide. The destination was to be Mugu Beach park area. It was just after dark when we got there and it was full so we found the largest campground in the area and headed for Lake Casitas.

Only about 100 of the available 400 spots where filled so we had our choice for the best spots. It was $25 a night but included several extras validating the high tent cost. The campground had showers, a water park, playgrounds, general store, electric, disc golf and even a remote plane runway.

The road went around the lake and up cliffs for about 2 miles making for a great bike ride. Sung and I road over a great spot of the disc course over looking the entire lake and took a bunch of pictures. On the way back he got a flat so I came back with the Tacoma to pick him up.

We met several great people around us and shared our fire and movies with a few. One lady and her daughter travel around booking story telling gigs at festivals. Victoria and her daughter were great company. I took Sean to the Hot Springs just 5 miles up the Ojai road and showed him the hiking trails.

Sean was a great spirit and surprised me by letting loose to enjoy the hot springs naturally the way they were intended. There where a few attractive girls around us doing the same as well. After several hours of chilling in the river and hot springs I took Sean to the trail entry and then back to camp.

Sunday morning we packed up and headed to Venice Beach. We met up with Neil for drinks and walked the boardwalk. I looked over our Shhmokewear booth manned by Scott to make sure he was taken care of on the way back to the car. When we got home SP could not find his phone and concluded he must have left it in the bathroom.

On Wed Sept. 28th, Will and I went to the LA Galaxy Champions league game against Monselia. We picked up 2 $40 tickets for $15 each in case we couldn’t jump a fence. It ended up being a waste because we found a spot on the press box.

I got careless and rushed my technique. The was a railing to catch my foot on the stadium side of the fence but it was just out of reach while holding on to the fence so I grabbed a cement rafter to turn around. My grip slipped and I almost fell which I would have resulted in my leg getting caught as I catapulted the back of my head straight into the cement. Fortunately, my angel caught my finger tip on the edge and guided me safely down.

Once inside we sat with the press on the first row of the 50 and got in some of the tv and media shots. Then we were asked to stay above the front section so we got some lounge chairs for the 2nd half.

It was tied going into injury time as LA scored in the last minute off a corner to avoid elimination from the tournament.

Thursday night I stopped at the Lawndale soccer fields to get a workout in and met some Turkish friends to play with on the winter league.

Friday the 30th, Sung/Sean and I went to a Dead cover band in Long Beach called Cubansis. On the way Sung got pulled over and fined $500 for tossing a burning item out of a moving vehicle.

Saturday was the beginning of the Occupy LA march and protests so I spent the day downtown. I met several wonderful new friends, including a few cute girls who would later dance the night away with me at the LA Decompression Burningman festival until the sun started rising over historic park.

I went back to the rally after the girls went home and Will was up playing cards still. It was almost 5 by the time I laid down in the van and then I got up at 7 to take the train home.

As soon as I got back Sung was ready to go to an Art walk event. An old brewery was closed down and remodeled into an artist commune. The place was amazing with all the self expression covering over 100 unique studios. There was a studio open for rent to consider for Shhmokewear but it was not available for viewing. It took us 4 hours to visit all the studios and then it was time for dinner. We stopped at a restaurant in Chinatown where a lot of movie scenes have been filmed in front. It was nice to have authentic sweet and sour pork and Saskatchewan chicken and $10 a plate was fair for L.A.

The next morning, Monday, I headed back to Shhmokewear to get the business plan done. After work Will and I went to City Hall to protest again with Occupy LA. We made several new friends each time we went over there. It was basically a big festival with media around. There is a tent for everything from general store to food and recycling. There are compost bins and drum circles and everyone barters and shares.

It is basically a temporary unitopia of traditional life like the old west gold towns. Unfortunate that there is not a continuous string of such events in more local areas for others to experience. The Occupy rallies would continue on in most major US cities for several months of 2011.

We went to the rally Monday and Tuesday but then Wednesday I went to the Further Fest at the Greek Theatre. You can take the train 15 blocks from the theater near Vermont and Hollywood and then bike up to the park. The first night I went straight to the Hyde Observatory above the theater to watch the show for free. I went in the wrong entrance and took an extra 20 minutes hiking up the Hyde trail.

Once I got to the top I discovered you could park for free at the top vs. Paying 15 down below. The trail by Hyde has several spots to put a chair or blanket down to watch the show plus you get an amazing view of the LA and Hollywood sky lines.

The temps dropped to 40 and I started shivering so I rode down to the theater to scope out ways to get in. The fence top was flat in front but extra security was on duty to stop jumpers. You could climb the hill in back and get over but you need a spotter on the inside to let u know a good time to come over. Once over you need to remove your hat and mix into the crowd to avoid being chased.

The next night Will, Brian and I rode with Scott and his lady to Furthur. This time I was in the lot 3 hours ahead of the show to experience the touring  flea market. It was quite an experience seeing all the colorful characters and their art creations they sell to survive on the tour.

We spent too long promoting Shhmokewear and waiting for scalpers to sell cheap before deciding to hop the back fence so the cross lot was taped off and being secured by security. I ran diversion while Brian and Will snuck around. After that I waited for 20 minutes before giving up. I went by the front gate so I could see the screen and hand out with the other members of Shhmoke that were there.

After the show we set up our merch in the path leading everyone back to their cars and we put Shhmoke cards on the luxury cars. It is a great way to break the ice with attractive people you want to meet.

Friday Will and I went camping. He showed me the sacred Oaji hot springs and hiking trails. We camped and cooked some grub about midnight after several hours of full moon yoga and hot springs rituals.

Saturday we hiked all day and swam in a freezing fresh spring water hole and then returned to Occupy LA.

The weekend group was 2x the size of the week day groups. All areas of the block and park were completely covered and there were now tippis and plywood walls for graffiti art in true Venice skater form. This night there was a community projector theater and we contributed Russo’s Freedom to Fascism.

After meeting several more new activist friends we headed back to the pad around 2am.

Sunday I toured Mariachi plaza shops for hand-made leather crafts then biked with 100,000+ at CiclaVia.org. The city of LA closed downtown and 40 other blocks to biking only to promote green living and transportation. It was amazing. There were events and bands on several streets and parks and it joined with the Long Beach south bay tri-athalon. I rode most of the route and then spent the afternoon making new friends playing volleyball and Manhattan beach.

I especially enjoyed meeting 8 new lady yogi friends who are in LA for a 9 week training by the airport. They were very friendly and added our LA Fun facebook group to keep in touch for future gatherings.

When I finally made it home for a night, Sung’s friend Neil was temporarily staying with us because the job we helped move him to San Diego for, had fallen apart. He was staying with us while lining up a new Dr. position.

We caught up on the weeks events and then passed out. Monday morning (10/7) I hit the hot tub, swam some laps, pumped some iron, did my yoga and then headed back to the Shhmokewear head quarters.

(continued from NE to New Orleans chapter)

I had to leave New Orleans a bit earlier then hoped partly because there was a hurricane heading towards me.

After 3 weeks I had; helped the city park clean up recycling; volunteered for a few green house projects; planted bull grass in lagoons with a Save the Wetlands group; planted around the amusement park and looked for people to help outside the park area. I had not found a host with a safe place to park my van by the day the edge of the storm arrived so I headed northwest. I hope to line up a more secure place to stay before my return at the end of October 2010.

With the storm behind me, I marked the nearest camping spot on the map and set course. I spent the next 3 weeks moving around between camping spots. More details about these days can be found in the next volume of our fundraiser book. As Thanksgiving approached, I headed north to be with family near Dallas.

My first destination was my cousin Darla, near Lake Hawkins. Her Husband had passed away and she had a few projects that I could help with so it was the perfect spot to make camp for a few weeks. It didn’t hurt that her property was a mile from a gorgeous lake. Over the next few weeks I improved a septic ditch, fixed a few things, cleaned up litter, burned trash and brush and organized her storage building and tools.

The lake had a few perfect spots to focus on my writing for the next book. There was a peninsula park that stayed in the sun longer then any other spot in the area. There was also a beach and campground with a dock that I could get a wifi signal on. The signal must have been coming from a boat house near by!

On colder days I wandered around looking for new spots to work. I found a city park in Hawkins that had a strong wifi signal so I spent several afternoons there getting eBay stuff listed. A worker at a bank next to the park and another neighbor complained about me hanging out there two times but other then that it was a great spot.  Another great spot was the Daily Grind Coffee Shop in ..Mineola… The owners were a couple of hippy type peace supporters. Even though they were not selling much, they keep the place open so the community has some place to gather. They have a pool table and organize card nights to attract as many people as they can. They didn’t mind me hanging out there to get work done most the day.

For Thanksgiving I went to ….Paris…. where cousin Kay and her family, Dennis, ….Josh.., ..Jordan…. and Jeremy lived. I was invited to stay for the weekend so I started looking for things I could do to help out around the house. They didn’t have much I could do but I did help hold their spots in line for the black Friday experience.

One day I went to a park with Jeremy and we played some ball. Another day I went to a parade with Kay. When everyone was busy I went to a soccer field and did some workouts. On Sunday I went to a St. Paul”s Baptist Church. I was approached by the church mother, Joan Mathis. She noticed I was by myself so she asked me to sit up front with her group. After the service, the pastor/deacon asked me some questions about my efforts. Once I explained how my goal was to battle depression by building support groups of peaceful, earth friendly, truth patriots in a barter based economy, the deacon wanted to contribute.

I told the Deacon that once I got a bit more organized, I would send them more info. After I was done talking to the Deacon, Joan asked me to join her for dinner. I only refuse invitations if I have another event scheduled so I followed her home.

There were a bunch of youth from the neighborhood and another assistant Deacon joining us. The neighborhood was mixed middle class with some nice houses and a few with busted windows and salvage vehicles. I felt safe in Joan’s presence but would not walk the streets at night.

Once inside, I realized how much Joan and her deceased husband had done for her community. There were all types of letters and awards around her house for events they sponsored or organized. I helped prepare the meal and set the table while telling the children my stories. After the meal was finished and the table was cleared the deacon played some organ music while Joan led in some singing. The day reminded me of when I used to spend Sundays with my grandmother.

The next day I went to the soccer fields to workout and this wonderful lady noticed the writing on my van so she pulled up and wanted to know about me.

Charlene ( ) was at a difficult crossroad in her life. She was passionate about life as a christian and needed guidance. I gave her my contact info and asked her to follow up with me. We would soon be editing each others notes for publications.

From Paris, I headed about 90 miles south, back down to the Mineola area. My uncle had a few projects that he didn’t have enough time to finish so I worked around there a few days. I also got a lot of writing done while passing time until Christmas.

I enjoyed my Texas family’s hospitality very much so I stuck around through Christmas to celebrate with them. I drove around with cousin Lydia, husband (John), kids ( ) and Madison to see the areas holiday lights. They also had a fun pre xmas party at their place on the lake. When a couple of their friends get together and share stories about their high school trouble making, there is never a dull moment!

For Xmas day everyone was meeting at Lydia”s so I spent Xmas eve at another party with her and Darla then went home with Lydia. She invited me to stay the night so I would get a bit of the Xmas morning celebration with her kidos. I was so thankful for all the love they gave me. I had been missing it from my Lincoln family ever since dad died in 2005.

Xmas day was great. Kay’s family all made it from Paris and the food was amazing. The only thing missing was our elder, uncle Ken, their father. He was on a semi run and had timed it to spend time with his girlfriend’s family in Az.

The kids got new laptops, psps and a Play station 3! They were so fortunate to have family with money to spend on those expensive things. When I was a kid, my parents would go in debt to put just one expensive thing on credit so all the kids could share it so their gifts were just as shocking to me as they were to the kids.

After pictures were done, the food was gone, and the games completed, we all went separate ways. I went back to Darla’s and regrouped. Not too long after, I was invited to a party for the next night. I had been looking for something fun to do that could include a friend and this was perfect.

I had found a nice girl in Mineola to spend time with who could help organize a support group in the area so this would be a chance to get together. I texted her and she accepted my invitation. We had been in the local coffee shop at the same time but she usually has her kids with her so we never got to talk much so I was excited when she was able to go out for an evening.

On the night of the party, I followed my cousin to the location to make sure I would not get lost with my friend. I went in and met everyone and then checked in with Alisa. She asked me to come get her after finishing with a care taking client so I went and picked her up. Her friend gave me the standard 20 question interview and told me she just wanted to make sure she was not going to have another stalker. After I passed her test, we drove out to the party.

After about an hour of socializing and playing Wii with cuz Darla and her date I noticed some interesting packages around the house. I was not aware it was going to have an adult theme gift exchange after everyone was lubricated with party favors. I have been in plenty of embarrassing situations so I was all good but I was holding my breathe to see how Alisa was going to react.

It was great! As everyone joined in a circle to play white elephant exchange, sexual conversations filled the air. Everyone joking about what they thought this or that was and which package they would pick. Alisa smiled and joined in the conversations like she was their best friend. She hadn’t even known them for a few hours so I was amazed. Alisa would be perfect for organizing group events here when I was gone.

As the gifts got passed around and the talks got extremely perverted, Alisa’s comfort increased along with her enjoyment. Darla’s date was doing just as well but being a bit more shy. The experience was one I will remember for a long time.

After the party Alisa knew where there was karaoke by the lake so we went there. We learned a lot of interesting things about each others lives through the evening and would be great friends. At the bar I met her friends and all my other neighbors. It had a nice biker bar atmosphere so I was comfy seeing my dad raised me in that surrounding.

From there I took Alisa back to her friends where she would stay the night to avoid the drunken stalker knocking on her door after hours. Had I known that when we were by Darla’s I would have offered the spare room and breakfast. All in all it was a great time.

As new years eve approached, I checked in with my LA buddy Sung Park. He was ready to ring in another decade with me so I packed a hitchers bag and made sure my items at Darla’s were where she wanted them. I was prepared for a crazy hitching experience! My uncle Ken then told me that he could get me on board his semi but it might not get us to LA in time.

As NYE drew near we would find that his schedule would not have him leaving until the 2nd. I decided that Sung and I would find another adventure and act like it was NYE instead so I was fine with waiting. It gave me one last night of partying with Texas family. Alisa was with her kids so I went to Lydia”s for her NYE party.

I was so anxious for LA that it was hard to be in a partying mood. I enjoyed the party but kept my wits so I could drive back to Darla’s to sleep and watch football the next morning. I was packed and ready to go on the 2nd. Darla gave me a ride to the drop point where uncle Ken was waiting and after some hugs, I was on my way to So Cal!