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Dan's trip to Kaahlifoonia. Home of Ahhnold.

I'm in California!

During my trip i'll be heading to Salt Lake City between the 3rd and 10th of January to meet up with my old friend Blue and his band of merry travelling ninjas to do some secret training and snowboarding. I'll also be meeting up with Jed Olson who will be getting married (with the help of his fiancee) on January 1st. Jed lives up in McKinleyville in Northern California so i'm looking forward to seeing a lot of California before my visit is over. I haven't figured out how or when i'll end up meeting with Jed but you can rest assured i'll let you know as soon as i know.

I'll be making a quick trip to Mexico to sample the food, beer, beaches and nightlife. I expect that to go ahead between the 14th and 16th of January.

If you want to get in touch with me whilst i'm away you can always send me an email by using this address
call/ sms by dialling +61 410 611 785

Make sure you check by frequently and check the news section!

And remember, in the immortal words of Mr T 'be somebody or be somebody's FOOL'


Diary Entries

Sunday, 23 January 2005

Location: Arcata, USA

Where to start? It has been a crazy 48 hours. On Friday night we headed out to a bar in Arcata called ‘Sidelines’. Major sausage fest because of the sports theme but it was pretty fun. I had already necked about 7 Coronas (without Lime- bad idea) then had a couple of vodka red-bulls at the bar. Pretty sauced by the end. Woke up with a killer hangover, Jed and I were going riding in the forest at a trail called ‘The Couch Trail’. We met up with a friend of Jed’s called Justin Graves and drove his Mitsubishi Ute and my Explorer to a point where the trail ended. We left the Explorer there and then loaded the bikes and ourselves into Justin’s tiny ute for the drive to the top of the mountain. We drove for about twenty minutes before stopping at a short trail called ‘lost cause’. We rode that for a little while as a warm up. Then we loaded the bike back into the ute and headed to our final destination ‘the Couch trail’. A seven mile downhill track. I can’t say I was that excited about the ride because my headache from drinking the night before was excruciating. However, when the ride started I immediately forgot any pain in my skull. This ride was a lot of fun. Fast singletrack sections with lots of jumps and fun corners to rail our bike around. The trail wasn’t completely downhill but the pedally sections weren’t long enough to become a complete bummer. We stopped a couple of times to take pictures and take a breather. I had one crash on a steep, rocky corner that caught me unawares. I slid down this section on my back, all the while trying to keep track of my sunglasses which had popped off my head as soon as I hit the ground. I have some nice grazes on my back and thigh as a reminder of this little crash. The trial would often turn into mud, the likes of which I’d never experienced. We would slip and slide around all the while smiling ourselves silly because the trail was so fun. Once the trail was finished we rolled over to a rock quarry where there was a few drops and chutes to ride. We were all pretty tired but Justin wanted to try this drop he’d done a bunch of times before. After a few practice run ups he pedalled in for real and misjudged the jump. He landed on a rock which stopped his bike completely, in turn catapulting him over the bars straight onto his head. He started screaming straight away and went into a semi-fit. Needless to say, Jed and I were really scared. We ran down to him as he kept moaning for the next two minutes. We established that he had hurt his back so I got sent to get the car and bring it back. Needless to say I was little panicked and whilst bombing down the hill started thinking I was lost. When I stopped to ask for directions this old couple started berating me for being on a private road and that I was trespassing. I apologised and explained that a friend was hurt and needed to get back to my car. They were all pissy that I’d been riding in the forest and that I was trespassing so t hey gave me crappy directions and freaked me right out. I kept riding down the road I was on and eventually found the car. I drove back up the same private road and then had to park the car at the end of the road because it was blocked by a gate. I then ran about a mile to get to the guys and explain what was going on. Justin had settled down although he was in a ton of pain. Jed had called the ambulance and we didn’t have to wait long before it arrived. The paramedics were really cool, as were the firemen that were there to help out. They assessed Justin and got him onto the backboard. Then they took him to hospital. Jed and I still had to pack up the bikes and gear and then pick up Justin’s car at the top of the hill. Long story cut short, Justin had three fractured vertebrae in his upper back. If you’d seen pictures of his helmet, you would have thought a lot worse had happened. A very lucky guy.

There is more to this story but I’m running out of time. Hope all of you are ok and ready to have a few beers with me upon my return this weekend. See you all soon.


Friday, 21 January 2005

Location: Arcata, California, USA

Wow, what a difference a day makes.

Flu is pretty much gone. I had a great nights sleep and woke up to go riding with Jed. It was still dark at 6.30 when we loaded up the Explorer and headed a couple of miles away to the Arcata Community Forest. The land for this forest was donated by locals who bought the land for the community(duh). The forest around here look a lot like the forests down Dwellingup way in WA apart from the presence of the massive redwoods. It was a great start to the morning. We did a short climb and then did two runs of a rather short, but fun Downhill course. The bike was fantastic. Conditions were a little muddy, but who doesn't like getting dirty every now and then? After a great morning ride i dropped Jed off at work and then headed back to his place to SLEEP and pack my bags in preparation for leaving on Monday. This whole baggage limit thing may turn out to be a huge hassle, or it might not. I've packed some stuff in a box to be mailed home and hopefully that will make a big difference. I'll be walking onto the plane with two hoodies on AND my snowboard jacket.

Oh yeah i forgot, last night i went to a pub in Mckinleyville called the Six Rivers. It is a pub which makes its own beers (micro -brewery?), anyway the beer was crap, but they were holding a benefit concert and raffle for the Sri Lankan victims of the Tsunami. Pretty amazing how many different people have stepped up to help with this disaster.

Going riding again tomorrow morning and maybe even on sunday morning. I still have to pull the bike apart in order to box it up so the airline will accept it. FUN.

Alright kids, see you all soon.


Thursday, 20 January 2005

Location: Arcata, California, USA

Sitting at the 'Muddy Waters' Coffee shop again. Just had a wicked drive north to a town called Trinidad and then a little further north to Redwood NAtional Park. This part of the world has such amazing views that i have to hold myself back from pulling over and taking pictures after every corner (and there are a lot of corners).

Still suffering through the flu but the fresh air this morning and heaps of cold/flu tablets has me in a somewhat human condition. Last night was a 3 t-shirt night. That is, i managed to drench three t-shirts in sweat throughout the night. Not fun.

Right now i'm trying to figure out how i'm going to get home in the most efficient manner. That includes figuring out how to pack everything so that it fits under the 32kg weight limit. I'm thinking i'll have to mail some stuff home but it wont be too much since i havent bought any of you gifts! The bike will be at least 20kg's and my bag when i checked it on the way over was 18kg so i'm gonna have to be pretty clever.

The plan for tomorrow is to chill out and then hopefully Jed and I will be going riding on Saturday. Sunday i'll have to pull the bike apart and pack it carefully so that nothing gets damaged by the apes in luggage handling. Monday i'm making a straight line to LAX (12 hours driving) and probably staying in a hotel that night so that i can be fresh and calm when i hop onto the airplane for the 26 hours of travelling (4 hours in Narita airport).

Life is good in NORCAL. A truly beautiful place.

Wednesday, 19 January 2005

Location: Arcata...again., USA

Just so you know, i'm not getting any mobile phone reception up North so i won't be able to receive any messages until i head back to LA on Monday.



Wednesday, 19 January 2005

Location: Arcata, California, USA


Sitting in 'Muddy Waters' coffee shop in downtown Arcata. Arcata is a nice little hippie town with a few interesting aspects. It seems like there are a lot of homeless people as well as people with mental illness and people with drug problems. Some people have all three problems and some have other combinations. That was a stupid sentence but i've got the flu right now and i'm not thinking that clearly. In the space of a 30 minute drive i saw two cars with smashed windows due to break ins.

Due to me having the flu today i'm probably going to sleep and watch dvds at Jeds place so that i'm better tomorrow and for the rest of the trip. Only 6 days before i hop on the big bird and fly back home.

Jed and Kelly's house is really cosy. I slept on the floor last night and slept suprisingly well. Better than i did in the hotel room the night before in fact. Typical of Jed, there is three bikes hanging up in the living room of the house (there are only three rooms, so i'm sleeping next to the bikes. Because of my bike there is 4 bikes in the house. We're planning on going riding amongst the beautiful redwoods this weekend.

Due to my sickness, i'm getting a little homesick at the moment. Despite the amazing surroundings, i'd love to be home. Well, not long to go. I've still got some exploring to do over the next couple of day so i'm sure the time will fly by.

Not much else to report right now, hit me up with some emails kids!


Wednesday, 19 January 2005

Location: Arcata, Californina, USA

Where do I start????

I’ve just driven some of the most beautiful places on earth and I’m cheating myself and everyone else who is reading this if I try and describe what I’ve seen. Even the pictures I took rarely do these magnificent creations justice. What I will do is tell you where I’ve been and how the trip went.

On Monday I got dropped off at the Carlsbad office for Budget car rentals and was pleasantly surprised when I found they had upgraded my car to a Ford Explorer for no extra charge because they didn’t have any of the smaller Ford Escapes. Score! Then I set off in the general direction of North up the ‘5’ highway. I travelled on that until it turned into the ‘101’. The ’101’ actually travels right through California but it is easier take the ‘5’ from Carlsbad. Then I sat on the ‘101’ right through LA, which sucked because the traffic is just like how they show it on tv. I did see an Asian dude try and fight the guy in the back seat of his OWN car right in front of me. Had me a little nervous because I was watching them argue and gesticulate wildly for quite a while because the traffic was so painfully slow. After LA I jumped onto the ‘1’, which drives straight up the Pacific Coast. My intention was to try and get to ‘Big Sur’ before dark. What I found was a windy coast drive which is more spectacular than anything I’ve seen in Australia. It was perfect. The sun was coming down and I had to pay attention to the road whilst desperately trying to get a peak at the view whenever I could. I found myself looking for spots to pull over and take photos every 5 minutes. Really breathtaking stuff. Eventually, I ran out of time and made it to ‘Big Sure’ in the dark at about 5.30pm. I’m going to try and hit it in the day time on the way back. I’ve been told it is as spectacular as the drive up so i’m willing to hit it again. Once the darkness set in I was determined to make some time up and I drove straight through for a couple of hours and made it into Santa Cruz after passing Monterey (been there, done that) for some dinner. After a pointless drive through Santa Cruz in the dark (I got lost) I made it back to the main strip and managed to find the ‘Santa Cruz Diner’, which had grabbed my attention when I first entered the town. I ordered a bacon double cheeseburger and COFFEE. It was the best burger I’ve ever had and I think I may go back for another one. If you think I’ve been eating a lot of burgers and Mexican whilst I’ve been here, then you would be correct. I’m definitely going to be hitting the treadmill/ trails/ gym/ pool when I get back. Anyway, back to my adventure. After Santa Cruz I headed back to the ‘1’ which took me through San Francisco (I got to cross the Golden Gate bridge) and I headed straight up with the aim of hitting McKinleyville at around 2pm. This would be prove to be an impossible task no matter how much coffee I could consume or how many mega sized energy drinks I could pick up at each service station. I started getting pretty tired and managed to find a Motel 6 in a town called Ahuik at 11.30. The only room available was a smoking room but I took it and managed to get to get an ok nights sleep. I’ve been fighting off a cold/flu bug thing for the past couple of days and that has resulted in some uncomfortable nights. So Monday nights sleep after 12 hours driving time was more than welcome. I figured resting would be a good idea because Eureka was still 163 MILES away and I wanted to drive the ‘Avenue of Giants’ through the Humboldt National Park before I got there. And it would be a good idea to do that in the light of day. This proved to be a good idea because the National Park is now one of my favourite places in the entire world. The trees are tall and the roads are windy. Stunning reminders of how beautiful nature is wherever I turned my head. After having my fill of redwoods I turned back onto the one and made my way through to Eureka, then Arcata and then I arrived at my final destination, McKinleyville. All three are really cool little towns. Eureka is on the coast and has a big fishing industry. Arcata is home to Humboldt College and seemed like it has a real hippie nature to it. Mckinleyville is also on the coast but I haven’t had a great opportunity to explore yet.

Sunday, 16 January 2005

Location: USA

A beautiful day in Carlsbad today. The sun is out and warming everything that it touches. Today is my last day in Carlsbad before I head off to Northern California. I’m picking up a Ford Escape rental car from Palomar Airport (small local airport) and then driving North for the next couple of days. No serious plans yet, all I’ve got is a vague idea of the freeways I want to use in order to see a bunch of the beautiful sights California has to offer. Sounds fun right? My main goal is to end up in McKinleyille, the town where Jed lives.

I guess it’s time to update you on all the happenings of the last couple of days…. I guess I should start with Friday night. Friday night was spent in Encinitas. I met Molly, her workmate Rachel and Molly’s uncle Brian in Encinitas and we headed to….you guessed it, a MEXICAN restaurant called ‘El Callejon’ (or something like that). We were there for happy hour Margaritas and chips and salsa. It was supposed to be a quiet night but the consequences of slamming a couple of potent Margaritas in a short period of time got everyone fired up. We headed across the road to a pub called ‘The Saloon’. It had a Western theme with one long bar running down one side of the room and booths on the other side. We jumped on the pool tables up the back and started playing pool……. badly. Whilst we played games of pool we were drinking Red Bull and Vodka (again) and…….. that was about it. A couple of hours of that and we headed back to Carlsbad for some much needed sleep.

Saturday morning started early. Molly woke up at about 5am and asked me if I wanted to drive to Malibu to check the surf and have a drive through LA afterwards. I was a little tired and didn’t bother to check my trusty map of California. I knew Malibu was in LA but where exactly? About two hours drive away apparently. Fortunately, I was able to sleep most of the ride. Malibu is in Northern LA and is the spot where a lot of the movie ‘Point Break’ was shot. We got to drive along a really scenic road that ‘Topanga Canyon Road’ that connected Malibu to the freeway but got turned around halfway down because of flooding. We returned to the Freeway and drove to ‘Malibu Canyon Road’, which took us right down to Malibu. There was no waves at Malibu so we headed down to the coast, heading towards LA. I saw Zuma beach where most of ‘Baywatch’ was filmed and we eventually stopped at Venice Beach. Let me tell you, there are some freaks in the world and a high percentage of them seem to have settled in Venice Beach. There was also a bunch of cool artists showing their paintings (I bought some prints from one guy) and a variety of musicians, souvenir shops, tattoo parlours(3!!!), people selling ideas, smells and tastes. I felt kind of tense walking down the street and found myself realising how much we were ‘protected’ from back in Perth. It was still a great experience and I found myself getting used to all the attractions (and distractions) that Venice Beach had to offer.

The next stop was lunch. We headed to another beach suburb called ‘Playa Del Ray’, which was the home of ‘The Shack’. A burger place that is home of ‘The Shack Burger’, a big piece of ground beef topped with cheese, onion AND a jalapeno sausage (split in two). It was a big feed and it was incredibly tasty. No longer hungry, we headed to Hermosa Beach, which is home of one of my favourite bands Pennywise. The beach suburbs in LA are home to the incredibly wealthy. Unlike Perth, they have a bizarre fascination with building homes right on (or above) the beach. The towns are really cool and relaxed in a way that reminded me of Fremantle. After Hermosa beach, we were both feeling pretty tired from our hungover, early start and decided to trek back to Carlsbad whilst the sun was still shining.

I had a quick nap before heading out to the Village Pub for a couple of beers with some of the locals I had made friends with during my stay. During the festivities, I was presented with a going away present of a ‘Villabe Pub’ t-shirt. I put it on straight away and I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time. Though my stay in Carlsbad was short, I was made to feel like a local because of Doug, Bridget, Steve, Talia and Brian. Thanks guys!

This leads me up to today. Again, another beautiful blue sky and a healthy does of the sun. What more could I ask for? I’ve been reading a book called ‘The Art of Travel’ by Alain Botton (thanks Daver) and resting myself before my big trip for the next eight days.

Enough reading, go outside.

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