Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Drunken Horror Night

Hey all:

Here´s some pics and a vid from Hostel Pangea in San Jose. Enjoy!

Rooftop bar baby

I got a fever, and the only prescription is more rooftop

Dave and Cash for the win

Here´s to our first night!

Oh yes, and did I mention that tomorrow is Halloween. How convenient that Hostel Pangea has a blowout Halloween party to celebrate. See flyer below:

Need I say more? Pictures and other defamations will be posted soon no doubt. Stay tuned!

Sun, Surfing and San Jose

Ok, so it has been a while since my last post. Dave's post about surfing and Southern California pretty much sum up our last days in the good 'ol US of A. Surfing, chillin' and having a fantastic time.

At around 11:30 last night we boarded our flight to San Salvador. We had been drinking 20oz. beers and eating overpriced airport food. Dave was on the phone right up to the last possible second with his special lady and then we got our seats. Luckily I passed out for most of the flight down, so it went by pretty fast for me. The 3 hour layover in San Salvador sucked though. Dave had no problem sleeping through the whole affair, but I just couldn´t pull it off.

The flight to San Jose was short and sweet. It lasted less than an hour and was one of the coolest flights I have had the pleasure to be on. They had this funky air-conditioning system that blew a cold, white mist out of vents throughout the plane. It made me feel like I was in a refrigerator. Once we stepped off the plane though the humidity hit us and we were crammed on a bus to get from the plane to the terminal. Luckily all of our packs arrived in good order and we had no issues with customs.

There was a pack of aggressive (yet somehow still friendly) taxi drivers when you stepped out of the airport. They had pretty good sales pitches, but we had already done our research. We stopped by the national bank branch and got some US$ and Colones then caught the bus to downtown San Jose - which cost under $2 for the both of us, unlike the cab fares for $10-$20. The bus ride taught me that I never, ever want to drive a car in this country. Just...damn. The incredible thing is that I only saw one accident on the 30 minute ride into town.

Once we arrived in San Jose we needed to find our Hostel (thankfully Dave had secured reservations for us last week). The thing about San Jose is that there are almost no street signs and no address system. People use landmarks and distances in meters instead. So we busted out a map and compass and began navigating. We found the hostel pretty easily actually, and walking through town (especially the central market) was an awesome experience.

The hostel we are at is called the Pangea Hostel and it is pretty awesome. Visit the link to see a list of the amenities. So now we have our bearings, we are operating within budget and tomorrow is going to be a day of sightseeing and exploration. For pictures and videos, check out Dave's posts as he has the camera, so he gets the fancy stuff.

Well, we're here and its happening. Day one of Project:Wanderer has been a success. Take care all and We'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Los Surfistos

More good times in the HB.

These last few days have been pretty chill. Due to the raging fires this season, and the fact that Whiting Ranch has been totally consumed, mountain biking has been out... and surfing has been what it´s about. It has been a little strange to surf to the haze of smoke and the smell of campfires, but breathing is a lot more managable here than inland. Anyhow, my daily ritual has been waking up, eating breakfast, and then hitting the water. Today being our last day here (10-29-2007), we went out a little early to surf to the sunrise. It was amazing. The morning started grey and quiet with no horizon--the ninja swells sneaking in through water that was nearly indistibguisable from sky.

Toward 9:00am the sun came out (while I was under water!), so that when I surfaced the ocean was suddenly visable. It was incredible! It was like an ocean-rise if you could call it that--turqouise and green sparkling with sunlight, reflecting the bowl of the suddenly blue sky.

And I have to admit, my paddling, duck dive, and turtling skills are tons better than they were. For those that don´t know, duck diving is where you push the tip of your board under and through the wave to prevent getting your ass knocked off, while turtling, done mostly on a longboard since you can´t duck dive it, means that you flip upside down and pull the nose of the board to you as you slip under a wave. What this amounts to is saving a ton of energy to burn up actually catching waves, which is a helluva lot funner than going through the rinse cycle over and over again.

Below are a couple of shots of the crew, and a couple videos. Enjoy!

After a hard day surfing

That is a text book example of ¨Shit-eating grin¨on Cash. The gentlemen on either side are Chris (left) and our pal Jason (right). Thanks guys for letting us use your boards!!

Here are some videos!

River Jetties-- one particular surfspot in Southern Huntington Beach

Waxin´the boards baby

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Duking it out with Whiting Ranch

More updates!

Today I went mountain biking with my good friend's dad Dana and his friend Bill. Dana had all the gear and a ride up to the mountain so I thought I'd try out my hand.

For my first experience, let me tell you, mountain biking is nuts-- but what a trip! Riding up I heard a lot of horror stories of mountain lion attacks and bleeding anuses (but definitely not in the same sentence), so I was mentally preparing myself for an Orange County Armageddon. Thankfully, there was a little hyperbole, but the trails were still pretty intense.

The park where we were at is called Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. It's this half forest, half desert chaparral landscape--a parched old mountain with its face etched by dry creeks, covered in old oaks, and studded with granite bluffs that stand like ancient sentinels whistling at the wind. Gearing up I saw that there were signs everywhere warning about mountain lions and trail hazards...

"Just don't stop moving," Dana says to me.


Heading out to the trail the leaves burned a furious orange and yellow, and soon we were bombing down dry creekbeds studded with small rocks and boulders. Strong whiffs of eucalyptus and skunk and something sweet and piney rode with us through the invisible moats of air carved out by the wild and dusty wind.

Frequently low lying oak limbs jutted out into these luge-like runs with banked edges, so we had to tuck under them Indiana Jones Style to prevent being clotheslined off our bikes at 15 mph. Pedaling along these blind turns, suddenly the ground would disappear and dump us into these 45 degree chutes that rocketed us up over the opposing riverbed banks.

As awesome as all this sounds, it sort of flew by faster than I could process. A lot of it was lower brain function stuff--I just had to stay committed to it or risk dying. Or worse, getting off the bike and walking it. You know... the old go big or go home kind of a thing. At least that's what I tell myself now in the relative safety of my good friend's bedroom typing this. At any rate, I was glad that Dana and Bill were around giving me casual pointers on technique, and also mapping out the terrain ahead of me. Bill was usually ahead tearing it up which gave me a little more confidence since I had literally no idea what new devilry was hurtling toward me at a near relativistic clip. Or at least it felt that way. Thanks Bill. Or should I say, Bill the Skill.

Carving these natural halfpipes, totally connected with the machine I was riding, I felt that this was exactly what people meant when they said that they were going to go mountain biking. Before I could really catch my breath and snap out of my reverie, I was powersliding on hairpin curves that had so much inertia and kinetic energy that I was bounding over wickedly knarled tree roots and washboard trail features that normally would've stopped me dead in my tracks.

Sore ass aside, it was an amazing ride. And I'm please to say my anus is not, in fact, bleeding. Yet.

So next week Dana is on vacation. Cash gets here and I plan on waking early and riding in the glassy sets at Huntington Beach, and then taking the afternoon to do some more biking. It has been ideal to be so elemental, and so far I've absolutely loved being so active.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Surfing... and the horror of West Hollywood

Hello all!

What a trip to be back in Huntington Beach, California. This is my birthplace, and although I haven't been here in about a decade, all of the quirks are inexorably seeping back into my consciousness. Like some sort of radioactive dye, LA is permeating me--seeking out buried memories and marking them for retrieval--and the feeling is both alien and familiar. The long, featureless, and mostly industrialized beaches, the worst of Beaverton sprawl and smog mixed with Spanish colonial architecture, and clear fall days in the 80's. It is both paradise and hell...

On the paradise side of things, I have surfed every day I've been here. Up at 6, down to the beach by 7:30, wading out into the surf with my 8 foot funboard. The sand is surprisingly coarser here than I remember, and there are little shells everywhere (link to technissimo). I remember those... The water is also loads saltier and the familiar flecks of gold tumbling in the water remind me of childhood weekends in the sun. I bought a used 3.2mm wetsuit for $45 the first afternoon I was down, and have to admit--that was the best 45 bucks I've spent in a while.

I am still getting used to the mental space generated by not having to do anything. It has put me in a sort of anxious place to tell you the truth... I am out on the water and there is often some tickling in the back of my mind that something needs to be done. But there ain't shit that needs to be done but surfing!

:P Speaking of, I've gotten loads better. I've managed to standup on a few and even been able to cut just a little, but most of the time I'm pearling, or getting tossed in a washing machine just trying to get out there. Actually, I am referring to my time out in the water more as paddling--not surfing. You will laugh if you know what I mean, but jesus... I will have Arnold Schwarzenegger's latissimus dorsi soon.

These aren't the dolpins I saw, but you get the picture!

The coolest thing about surfing in Southern California so far though, are the dolphins. The last few times I've been out, pods of dolphins have come within a couple board lengths of me--so close I can almost touch them--and it has been so amazing. I am surprised at how big they are! And they surf too! The come up to the breakers, and they ride them in with us. So Jase (my friend I am staying with here) and I will bang out rhythms on our boards and try to entice them to play with us. It is wild.

Cash is coming out early next week, so it will be cool to surf with him soon.

Oh, and as far as hell is concerned. Last night I found myself in a pernicious circle of it on Sunset Strip. Fucking Hollywood man. I hate that place. Plastic people, Prada, and 6 dollar California rolls. Ferraris, lipstick, and Entitlement. I don't have the energy to write much more about it, but in my opinion, LA is definitely the worst place on Earth I've been to yet. Enough about that.

More later, and pictures soon!

Friday, October 19, 2007

One Week Later

I have noticed that the week before any major trip tends to be crazy as hell.

Since my post last Friday I have sold/packed/thrown away almost all that I own. I have spent every day saying goodbye to friends and family - and I still have a list of people I did not get to see. Dave has been in Costa Mesa surfing, while I have been wrapping up my time in Portland.

Among other things I have driven hundreds of miles, eaten at over a dozen bars and restaurants and paid for virtually nothing. Somehow I got everything done that I needed to do during all of this and I gotta say - for all the stress involved, there are definite perks to leaving town. It was an awesome week and I am still processing all the things that happened.

Tonight I will celebrate my sister's 25th birthday at a swanky restaurant and surely have a fun, yet intense emotional evening of reminiscing and farewells with my family. This of course will be followed up by an emotional morning of much the same right up to the moment my train pulls away from the station.

After all that I will be headed south and a new chapter in my life will start. All that I own will be on my person or in my pack and I will have no one to answer to other than myself. It is situations like this that remind me how beautiful life really is.


Friday, October 12, 2007


This afternoon I will join the illustrious ranks of the unemployed! What this means is I will have time next week to take care of all the things that need doing before taking the train southbound to,ultimately, paradise!

I want to give a word of thanks to all the people at Ajinomoto Frozen Foods USA. It was a blast working with you all, I won't miss the work, but I will miss the people.

With only one week left in the Great Pacific Northwest I have alot of ground to cover. The most pressing concern is selling the boat! Thats right, scroll down a couple posts and take a gander at her - she's a beauty and you know you want her!

Other than selling all the crap I don't need in my life, I have some pressing gear purchases pending. Things like travel chopsticks, a better backpack, med-kit and water filter are the type of stuff that I still have not purchased. Well there is always REI, which despite its relatively high prices is awesome! Why do I say this? Well, we bought about a million dollars worth of random gear last spring that we ended up using maybe once. Of course we lost the receipts, but last week Dave took it all back - and they gave us our money back no questions asked! I mean, some of this stuff was broken. So yeah, REI is way cool. Buy it, try it, and what you don't want - return it!

I'm going to finish my workplace duties so I can get started on some hardcore slacking!


Friday, October 5, 2007


Happy Conquistador Day!

Exciting times abound for the members of Project:Wanderer - though surely nothing compared to the shenanigans we will soon find ourselves in the middle of.

Of special note is that though it has been a long, arduous path to get here, I finally have my own login! Whereas before this realm lay under the sole dominion of Dave, now we see the beginning of a new, stable bipolar system.

Our departure time is fast approaching, and I find myself caught in the emotional vortex that proceeds any major travel. The mixture of excitement and stress is almost overwhelming. So basically I'm trying not to freak out.Letting go of the world I have lived in for so many years and saying goodbye to the people I care about has been an intense catalyst for my personal development, to say the least.

Incidentally I find that drinking helps with this process quite well (though it can be pretty rough on the body at times). I recommend trying a gin and tonic - hendrick's gin, a slice of fresh cucumber and any kind of tonic water you can find made from actual quinine - it will brighten your day, believe me.

In short the preparations continue and I'll keep you posted on how events unfold. Until then I have lots of things to do so thanks and stay tuned!


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our first video post!

And ladies and gentlemen, here's what you've been waiting for... A chance to finally see...

Cash "Money" Skondin.

Stay tuned!! We hope to have our brazen opinions heedlessly tossed out like so much chum* in the waters of your Monday coffee breaks.

*(I just won a bet that I could use the word chum. yessssss!!!)


Craigslist: Helping Orphaned Recreational Vehicles since 1995

Did you know that 1 in 4 recreational vehicles live lonely lives of quiet desperation, never truly allowed to flourish in their preferred natural habitats?

Do your part to help these pleasure craft! Patronize my Craigslist add! Together, we can make a difference.

That being said, anyone want to buy a boat? Or a motorcycle? I have two good friends looking for a home:

this is The Yellow Dart. You love her. She loves you. And, for $2,500 she's all yours. w00t!

Also, here's my baby:

She'd love to come home with you for $5,500... slut. So please for godssake!!, check out these adds.

Let's hear it for open-source capitalism!


One foot out the door

Hello all--

Much has happened in the intervening weeks since my last post--I apologize for my tardiness.

Here's what I have accomplished thus far:

  1. I've changed my travel destination
  2. Purchased plane tickets
  3. Purchased travel insurance
  4. Finished all my inoculations
Whew! I still have to get rid of all my personal effects and sell my bike and boat--but here's hoping: someone is taking a look at The Yellow Dart (the Catalina 22) this morning. Sweet.

So. As far as where I am starting off on this quest, I've picked Costa Rica.

A week last month was spent surfing, and that was pretty spiritual. For those of you who surf, nothing more needs to be said. For the uninitiated, go surfing and check it out... And here's a tip: bring some gummy worms. After all that time sucking the salty bosom of mother ocean, those small, rubbery-textured confections tasted like ambrosia.

Like any drug addict I am now chasing that first high, and from what Ive heard there's juice in the water down there. I'll be arriving in San Jose on the 29th of October. From there, I will be flying to Peru on the 7th of January... so there will be much Costa Rica-ing going on until then.

For plane tickets, I went to lowes travel and got an amazing deal. My ticket from LAX to San Jose and from San Jose to Lima, Peru cost $520. Smokin' deal I know. The trick was calling the website., 1-800-638-7952, and talking to Max. If you are reading, thanks Max, your Hillshire Farms cheese and sausage basket is on its way. Go Meat!

For travel insurance I purchased a 6 month policy from world nomads for $240. They come highly recommended by Lonely Planet, and you know... I'm covered. Repatriation of my mortal remains is a comforting thought. I suppose.

Lastly, I finished up all my shots at the travel clinic on NW 23rd and Flanders. That was a process! I believe I spent almost $1500 on vaccines (good lord!), but I now have a decent chance at preventing my day from being ruined by yellow fever, typhoid, hep a & b, tetanus, and rabies. For my next trick I will be eating off of the floor in India. h'ok!

Ah yes! Soon my digital camera will arrive in the mail as well. It is a Canon Powershot A720IS. So soon I will have more pictures up, and videos too. Speaking of videos, you gotta check out this one by Make: Magazine -- DIY space!