The first thing that comes to mind when I typed 'The Final Countdown' as the title for this post was that uber classic 80s tune by the band Europe that I used to mimic playing, you know the synthesizer riff, so classic. Come on... put your hands out as though you are playing a hot 80s keyboard and start belting it out, 'dun-na-na-NAA, dun-na-na-na-Naaaa...' Awesome.
Time to slam-dunk a few more words down in this blog before I end up home, shake my head, and then try to figure out what the hell just happened over the past 3 months. What a blur already. At times this trip seems very surreal. At other times this trip has been uniquely present and vivid, it is hard to explain.
And then there was Vegas.
Vegas was fun. Vegas IS fun. Hold on, where did I get that tatoo?
The past week has been a whirlwind. I've managed to successfully cross back into the USA. I'll never forget the BEST question asked to me by a US Department of Homeland Security customs official upon arrival, 'Umm, do you have anything illegal with you?' Seriously, it was asked exactly like that. I had to pause for a few seconds for the question to sink in before I proceeded to provide my non-sarcastic response. It was tough.
|I started seeing these signs as I was approaching the US border so I decided to take full advantage of the situation by stripping down buck-naked to ride my bike without any hassle what-so-ever, it was great.|
|My cookie cutter cabin for a night in Ajo, Arizona|
|Some serious l-o-v-e was happening while filling up at this gas station|
After arriving back to the US, I figured it would be a cake walk home. I didn't want to let my guard down while on the road, but I figured I'd been through the more challenging situations while in Mexico and Central America.
I was wrong.
I encountered winds between Arizona and southern California that almost blew me clear off the road. It was roughly 2 hours of hell where I was even reluctant to stop as it was blowing so hard. Then, I ran out of gas. The first time in my entire trip I had to hit reserve on my bike (when you run out on a moto, you have a 'reserve' that you can switch to which gives you a few more kms). Luckily my reserve got me to the next gas station. By the time I arrived back to Encinitas, California, I was ready to sit, chill, and decompress. I headed straight to Pannikin, sat in the sun with an expresso and tried to put things back in perspective.
|Pannikin Coffee and Tea in Encinitas, CA is in an old Santa Fe Railroad station built in 1888|
Hot off the press! The recent talk of Encinitas is the infamous and very recent Surfing Madonna mural under a trestle in the city. I guess it appeared unannounced a few weeks ago. I read an article about this mural while I was in Mexico about a week ago and I was keen to check it out if it was still on the trestle. Once arriving to California en route to my friend's house, I found the location of the mural and snapped these photos. By the sounds of a recent MSN article <here<, the mural is going to be taken down as it is looked at by officials as a type of graffiti as it wasn't sanctioned by the city. Too bad as it is very beautiful and I'm sure took a great deal of work. Back to the land of rules I guess.
|The Surfing Madonna mural in Encinitas, California - slated for removal|
|Very intricate and detailed with tile and glass mosaic|
|More surf-art at the Patagonia store in Cardiff.|
I personally received the traditional Hawaiian hang loose at least 4 times that I can remember while cruising both in, and out of Southern California with my board strapped to my bike. The first instance was on the #5 freeway between San Diego and LA. A shiny Lexus passed me and the driver proceeded to pump his fist out of the sunroof in hang-loose-fashion at me over and over again. I started smiling, waved back at him and gave him a verbal thanks as he carried on - not that he could hear me as we were both rolling over 60mph. The other few instances were in passing while either on the PCH heading out of town, or on a variety of freeways while working my way north to Las Vegas. The bottom line is that Californians are stoked for surfing and were excited to see a dude on a motorcycle with a surfboard. Thanks California!
|My yard sale at Andy and Nicole's in Encinitas.|
|The Las Vegas Strip|
|'Viva Las Vegas!'|
|Caesar's Palace fountain|
|Caesar's Palace exuberance|
|'You can't win if you don't play'... I managed to win $65 on a 4 of a kind! Then I pulled in another $50 at a Blackjack table - my winnings will pay for my fuel to get home.|
|'Look Ma, free drinks when you gamble, who knew!?'|
|Loading up the bike to head north out of Vegas - views from my plush $29.99 motel digs|
|South of Caliente, Nevada|
I was jumping for joy today for a couple of reasons.
1. I'm getting closer and closer to home
2. Seeing snow in the mountains makes me happy
3. I no longer have sweat beading down from areas on the body I didn't think one could acquire sweat