The first handful of blog entries discussing the transitioning to California basically wrote themselves. But as I have become more familiar with my surroundings and not EVERYTHING is brand new, it has become more difficult to be interesting and pensive. At this point I can make it from my apartment to the office and back without GPS, which is good for the other members on the family cell phone plan since I was racking up excessive data usage. Thankfully Santa did bring me a Garmin for those foreign adventures off the beaten path: to the pharmacy or hiking trail or funky vegan restaurant.
Living in a new place and having plenty of free time alone allows an open itinerary to explore and minimize time spent in a barren apartment. There have been some highlights thus far in 2015, even if there hasn’t always been someone to share them with. At this point I have basically conquered all of what downtown Long Beach has to offer and have some favorite places I have frequented. I’m not yet “that guy” that is the regular Party of One. I’ve been able to spread out my visits and bounce around enough to avoid local celebrity.
New Year’s Day was spent getting an early start day-drinking for the Blackhawks Winter Classic in Washington and some hot college football action. We got in an UBER for an entertaining commute with a driver whose commentary was too inappropriate (if not hilarious) to be printed here. The three of us bellied up to the bar with a perfect view of the Michigan State comeback at the Cotton Bowl and stayed for the first half of the Rose Bowl. Canned beers and Brazilian BBQ was consumed before enjoying the second half of the Oregon victory over another draft at the local Irish spot. We tried to soak up all of the booze with pizza and wings after an UBER ride back to the apartment, but nothing could cure the hangover of (New Year’s) day drinking. So much for that resolution.
I was able to recover in time to go to my first Clippers game at Staples Center and get the full LA LIVE experience for a contest against the lowly 76ers. The seats were fantastic, even if the game was decided by the third quarter. I might have stayed later and soaked up more of the downtown nightlife, but was worried about the crowd on the METRO train back to Long Beach. The hour transit to the arena featured stops in Compton and Watts and gentlemen on the train selling candy bars and bottled water and headphones. I did my best to minimize eye contact both ways and made it home safely. I intend to use the Blue Line for future trips into Los Angeles, but will be careful about riding after dark.
Sunday Night Pizza is a tradition that I packed and moved to California. Even as a party of one, I have managed to eat pizza every Sunday night. My family first started SNP when my brothers and I played various traveling sports and we needed an easy dinner together as a family as we reconvened Sunday night. Dining al fresco at La Strada on Second Street was an experience. While on the phone with my parents, a disheveled lady speaking broken English showed me a hospital bracelet and said she needed food and asked for bread. Before I could comprehend the situation, she swiped the basket off my table and hustled down the street. After my pizza was delivered to the table, I played better defense and was vigilant ensuring no one took a slice. Passersby did wander closely to the table and inquired the pizza toppings. I calmly explained between bites that the basil, tomato, pancetta pie was as fantastic as it appeared and asked they be on their way.
This blog has been an introduction to myself and transition to the West Coast and method to share my thoughts, though most of my strongest feelings remain suppressed. I have upcoming trips planned to Las Vegas and San Diego and certainly future dinners and drinks out will fuel future blog posts. But what should I be writing about when life is just ordinary? It’s too early to run out of ideas. Find me on the twitter machine (@atgarms) or leave a comment below to make suggestions or motivations for what I should be writing about.
California State Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway)
State Route 1 (SR 1) is a major north-south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California. Highway 1 has several portions designated as either Pacific Coast Highway (PCH),Cabrillo Highway, Shoreline Highway, or Coast Highway. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 5 (I-5) near Dana Point in Orange County and its northern terminus is at U.S. Highway 101 (US 101) near Leggett inMendocino County. Highway 1 also at times runs concurrently with US 101, most notably through a 54-mile (87 km) stretch in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and across the Golden Gate Bridge.
The highway is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA, leading to its designation as an All-American Road. In addition to providing a scenic route to numerous attractions along the coast, the route also serves as a major thoroughfare in the Greater Los Angeles Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and several other coastal urban areas.
SR 1 was built piecemeal in various stages, with the first section opening in the Big Sur region in the 1930s. However, portions of the route had several names and numbers over the years as more segments opened. It was not until the 1964 state highway renumbering that the entire route was officially designated as Highway 1. Although SR 1 is a popular route for its scenic beauty, frequent landslides and erosion along the coast have caused several segments to be either closed for lengthy periods for repairs, or re-routed further inland.