2016-03-14 Southern California

10:30pm Monday March 14th, 2016

A month into this tour and I just haven’t been blogging at all, trying to catch up. Today we took a day off to do laundry, mail postcards, post a video, and just chill after a week of shows in Southern California. Its been an eventful month, but I think the fact that I’m sharing it with Sarah has made it feel like I didn’t need to document the trip as urgently as I felt about my bicycle trip down the coast in December 2014, even though this has felt as adventurous and amazing in many ways. Maybe it’s that this has felt more business-like, I’m not sure what the reason is that I haven’t been as compelled to blog as I thought I might be. But there are definitely plenty of experiences to share. Hopefully I’ll get into the story telling mode here as I go.

I’ve decided to work backward day by day from today, thinking the more recent days will be fresher in my mind and might spur me on to embellish on the days farther back once I get into a bit of a storytelling rhythm.

As I mentioned above, today we’ve been hanging close to home in Palos Verdes after a week of shows within 100 miles or so. We woke up to a misty rain here this morning which I’m sure has been welcomed here in the dry LA basin. After a much needed and glorious shower after three days living in the van, Sarah and I drove down to her step-father’s land surveying office to give a little 3-song concert to him and the others there. It was fun, very intimate and informal, and early enough to feel the high notes had to be in a light falsetto while the low notes rolled out in easy low tones. Somehow I’ve managed to lose all my picks already on this tour so we stuck to a finger-picking song at first, opening with Sunshine Woman. We followed that up with Wandering Heart, and then finished with Rosalee. I played my Stella and Sarah played her blue violin, it felt like a homecoming gig, playing for family and friends that clearly knew Sarah but hadn’t seen her in awhile. Growing up as the son of a land surveyor myself, it was fun to trade stories with everyone in the office about pounding stakes, cutting brush, the miscellaneous duties of being a rod man. Such a strange coincidence that both Sarah and I grew up in the land surveying business.

We spotted back to Sarah’s mom’s condo to eat lunch, write postcards, post a video we’d filmed yesterday, send out some booking emails,do laundry, make some phone calls, and so forth. A pretty low-key day. I drove down to the Starbucks that overlooks the ocean around 4:30pm just to get out of the house for a bit, feel the warm sunshine that had taken of=ver the day, made it back in time for a Sarah-cooked dinner, then crashed in the van until 10pm or so, woke up to write this blog.

Sunday March 13th
I woke up around 6am, it might’ve been 7am with the Daylight Savings Time switchover, I can’t be sure, but 6am has been my normal wake up time recently on the road. We’ve been sleeping in the van this week ever since I built a platform in back out of 2-ince PVC pipe and a sheet of plywood. I found the basic plans on Pinterest after googling van platforms a few times with e few different keywords to see what I could find. The PVC pipe plans looked cool because they were pretty light and fairly simple to design for my limited skill set engineering mind. I’ll probably detail that whole project out in a later post.

Anyway, we’d found a relatively quiet residential street where we could park for the night that didn’t have too many street lights or passing headlights, and slept there for the night in San Clemente. I have been waking up earlier than Sarah and driving for a bit until she wakes up, so I drove down to a nearby state beach to cook some breakfast. We stopped at the closest one first, but it didn’t have quite the right feel, the parking lot was built on a hillside and was uneven, and the train tracks were in-between the parking lot and the beach, so we decided to drive down to San Onofre State Beach instead. It was definitely the right decision, because San Onofre has parking right on the sand, with surfers everywhere, it was a perfect place to pull out the Coleman stove to cook some hash browns and eggs. We found ourselves boggling all the amazing vans that the surfers had, some were really sweet. An gorgeous retro 60’s Chevy van that looked like it had just rolled of the assembly line, just month condition for example, but also a brand new Mercedes Sprinter van with curtains that were cut out with round portals, a roof rack, a ladder, stuff like that. Beautiful vintage VW vans, and a variety of hodgepodge pick-up truck campers. Sarah just got this big grin on her face and said “My people!” as we walked up and down the lot. She has really fallen in love with van life ever since I bought this van in Denver last week. Holy cow, it was two weeks ago that we got this van in Denver. Man, this tour has been flying by.

It was super fun to finally pull the Coleman stove out and cook a big breakfast right on the beach, I’d gotten a bag of hash browns and a dozen eggs at the store the night before, so it was a super easy meal to cook up. Sarah spiced it like she does, cumin and salt and pepper I think, from the spice kit. We have a suitcase that we call “The Kitchen” that has pots, pans, pates, silverware, propane, spices, stuff like that.