Week four of being on the road with
Matt Herzog, Jack Singer, David Fort Jr, and Bobby Decker
We are now in the thick of the Southwest, overwhelmed by its dry, desert heat. We explored Flagstaff, got caught in the rain, and received a recommendation for a nature trail about 45 minutes south: Wet Beaver Creek.
A fairly straight, unshaded path along a small creek and between two canyons. Three and a half miles one way, and at its end: The Crack. Apparently, it’s something of a water formation - people said it was worth it, but we had no clue. We kept hiking and hiking. We thought we were very close, but that was half an hour ago. Then, we reached it: The Crack. A large oval-shaped boulder standing fifteen feet over a deep pond: a perfect, naturally-occurring diving board. We were alone, so we dove, swam and climbed back up to dive again and again like we were kids at Splash Mountain with no line. It was paradise.
We continued back on the road again to a campground near Phoenix. Matt had an especially terrible sleep that night. He woke up sleep deprived to discover a family of donkeys, cacti as tall as trees and a dozen hot air balloons suspended in the air. He was dreaming, he must’ve thought. So, naturally, he took a dip in Lake Pleasant and shaved his head.
Phoenix wasn’t our favorite. Such an impossibly dry city. That day, it was game five of the NBA finals. We didn’t really care, so we left town to see an amateur wrestling match in Tucson.
There, in the parking lot of a dive bar, stood a wrestling ring. A rowdy crowd cheered as the Deathmatch champion beat the shit outta of his opponent. It’s easy to get lost in the insanity. That strange and gratifying energy of the wrestlers and their fans kept us awake enough to drive nearly ‘til sunrise. That morning, we slept in a Walmart parking lot outside of Brawley, California.
We all had some lousy sleep. Nobody else wanted to shave their head, so we left for Slab City. Not really much of a city, more a town of squatters in the middle of a desert in Southern California. We met Dr. Stevens there. He’s a resident of Slab City and a modern-day mad scientist. He invited us to his home where he talked to us profusely about life, the future and Elon Musk. As we started leaving, he asked us to do some quick yard work, which turned into even more yard work. Eventually, we told him we had to go, so he presented us with some of his unfinished inventions: a flying machine and a perpetual motion device. In the end, he appeared to us as both a guru of the American desert and a lonely old man. We left behind Slab City and Dr. Stevens, and rolled on to Los Angeles.
Somewhere on that drive, the cactus of the Southwest became the palm trees of the Pacific. Before too long, we were in Los Angeles. We finally reached the other side of the country.
Our friends, Cam and Pete, let us stay at their place, so we could afford to spend a couple days here. We spent most of our time in LA, either skating under those peaceful palm trees, swimming at those perfect beaches, or watching old movies at even older theaters.
After a few days, we bid our friends farewell, and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco. Above us, a beautiful, sharply ending mountain range, and, below us, an endless field of blue. It was like that for hours, and we enjoyed every minute, with the Beach Boys and the Highwaymen. On the way, we passed all of those iconic Pacific landmarks: the Hearst castle, Shark Fin Cove and Big Sur. We even got to see those behemoth, alien-like elephant seals sleeping on the coast.
We passed Monterey in the north when we decided to split up in the Bay Area. Bobby and Jake hung out with some old friends in San Jose. Matt visited his brother, who showed him around Redwood City. And, David’s girlfriend, Erica, surprised him, and the two spent the day sightseeing in San Fran.
We had our fun. We made it all the way across America. Now, we only need to make it back.