Wanderlust Remedy

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Category: Free Fun

An Open Letter to My Bicycle

My Beloved Bicycle,

I pulled up next to you this morning in my beat up van, exhausted, alone, lost.  Really I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I saw you still there, intact, undisturbed after what I’m sure was a pretty raucous Halloween weekend.  You are locked in front of some of the lamest, yet most frequented dance establishments in this little college town.  I had not seen you since Wednesday night when I went to get a drink after my class was over at 10 PM.

I’m sorry I left you.  I took a cab home.  It wasn’t for the usual reasons of why I leave you abandoned on a main street, vulnerable to any passerby with a destructive mind.  I know in the past I’ve left you locked up in front of bars while I am too wasted to use you to get me home.  Yes I’ve been a bad drunk to you.  I’ll never forget that evening when I left you locked up in front of the Sportsman after a nice holiday Midnight Ridazz ride when I couldn’t stop taking tequila shots.  Not only did I throw up all over myself and the back of my friend’s car, I lost the key to the lock I put around you to keep you safe.   I made sure to come back as soon as I could to make a public spectacle on Figueroa Street with a Sawsall to get back in your saddle.  Or how could I forget the time after a long drug and booze filled Cinco de Mayo where I lost another key.  I had the SB Fire Department cut you loose.  I never thought about your safety while I partied.  This time I left you not to have  drunken fun.

I was just tired, weak, and full of sadness.  It’s been a couple months of feeling despondent.  I’m despondent for a variety of reasons, but partly because I haven’t gotten to enjoy you like I typically do.  Really bici, you have defined me more than anything, anyone else.  I remember when I first met you as an adult.  It was out of irresponsibility that we ended up together.  I totaled a car and was shit out of money, but I’m glad I was.  You showed me a better way to live.  You showed me to slow down and smell the world.  You’ve introduced me to some of my closest friends.  We enjoy days and nights of moving through space and being present in it.  We don’t cut ourselves off from the elements.  You’ve also taught me to think about how I treat my world and reconsider what progress and growth really mean.

You are beautiful and incredible.  This is not to say we have had our tough times.  There are times I am too physically or emotionally vulnerable to push my body through the hot or the cold to get to where I need to be.  I want someone else to come help me, or to hold my hand.  It is when I use you to commute that we have our greatest dysfunctions.  I just want to be with you for fun, but I have to work and go to school.  My responsibilities keep me from spending quality time with you.  It’s always rushed, and somewhat bitter times.  This is especially true if I’m having a difficult time with a lover or overloaded with work.  Lately I’ve been emotionally spent.  I know you can’t come in and give me a warm embrace.  I have to warmly embrace you.

Perhaps this is the biggest lesson you have taught me my bici.  Inner strength and inner peace.  When I spent a month with you traveling down the coast I never felt more empowered.  Day and night we just existed without anyone to rely on emotionally or physically.  We just were.  Sometimes you would give me trouble, but I would make sure to slow down and see what was wrong.  I breathed and knew all I had was myself.  You were the first thing I thought of when my boyfriend and I of five years parted ways.  I grabbed you, and put you on the train with me when I ran away.  I rode you around when I did not know what I was going to do with my life.  You helped me just exist in the moment.  This lesson rings true in my recent tough times.  Only difference is I have not had that free time to just be with you and the ocean.  I know we will have our time again soon and it will be sweet.

Until then I will look at you from afar and wipe a tear from my eye.  Thanks for all the memories and helping me to take care of myself.  You are not just a political statement, a symbol of a subculture, a mode of transportation, you are an expression of myself and how I can truly love myself when no one else can.

With much love,

Juana del oeste

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Regaining Wanderlust

I apologize for any grammatical and or spelling errors.  This is a hastily composed hangover post.

I haven’t posted very regularly since moving to San Luis Obispo over a year ago.  My wanderlust has been suppressed and somewhat lost because of three factors:  work, school, and romantic relationships.  Sometimes I feel like I have shot myself in the foot by going to graduate school.  Now I am stuck in one place, piling up debt that I cannot run away from.  As much as I fight it, I have a hard time being “stuck.”  Being “stuck” either results in getting into relationships that could never work out or being a boozehound both to fight loneliness and boredom.  I want to be in transit.

Occasionally a drastic event will wake me up from my self complacency.  There has to be some type of escape from the rat race, right?  In my attempts to free myself from debt slavery I have started to think outside of the box.  Two-thirds of students will graduate with some form of debt.  The average amount of debt is $26,600 per student.  My debt is greater than this total.  There is truly a student debt crisis.  Education goals have propelled the youth of America into indentured servitude.  I stay awake at night imaging myself sitting in the office daily, toiling away to show nothing for it except carpal tunnel syndrome.  I will be the first to say that college is not for everyone.  There are numerous alternative methods to gain skills and education.  For me not going to college was never an option.  My parents ushered me in the direction of a higher education.  Although it has a hefty price tag, I am grateful for the ways my brain has expanded from my education.  I am not happy about now having to worry about what my next move will be.

My options:

1.  Don’t pay.  This will lead me into default basically making me an untouchable in the eyes of the American banking system.  I will have my wages garnished, cannot declare bankruptcy, will be unable to really ever obtain any sort of loan.  Many are going down this route, the three-year cohort default rate rose to 14.7 in 2010.  As irresponsible as I am I don’t want to engage in this clusterfuckery.  I already have enough problems with authority to just screw myself for the rest of this existence financially.

One broke-ass bitch

One broke-ass white trash chola

2.  Be really poor.  I am good at this, but honestly am tired of being broke.  It’s nice to not be under the stress of not knowing how to pay for anything.  If you do find yourself broke, working at McDonalds with your liberal arts degree, you can qualify for deferred payments from economic hardship, but the loan will just be sitting there until you die or until you start making more and have to start repaying.

3.  Get severely fucked up.  The loan will be forgiven if you become disabled and unable to work.  So you can step in front of a semi or get into some type of bike accident and not have to work, but you may miss out on something else.

Countless college students spend their money on cheap beer, but don't recycle their cans.

Countless college students spend their money on cheap beer, but don’t recycle their cans.

4.  Get really rich.  Realistically for me this could be accomplished by winning the lottery, which I am too stubborn to play, marry a rich man (I haven’t even dated a rich man), become an entrepreneur, or by exploiting someone.  Urban planning seldom reaches a 6-digit salary.

5.  Be a debt-slave.  You could go down the conventional route and work 40-hours a week and pay off a loan which will be substantially more than it was when you first took it out.  This is the thought that crushes my soul.  I could sit at a desk for hours everyday to just still live like a student by making massive interest payments to the Federal government, but there are other ways…

This is where you can get a little inventive:

6.  Leave the country.  I personally know people who abandoned their student loan debt and have moved abroad never to come back to the US.  This is risky as you never know what situation may draw you back into the States.

7. Work full-time in a public service job.  The federal government will forgive your loan balance after making 120-months (10 years) of on time loan payments if you work a public service job full-time.  You can use this in conjunction with income based repayments which will decrease your loan payment according to your income.

So what is a public service job?  The following are listed as public service jobs which qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.  Sorry this is a big list:

  • AmeriCorps position means a position approved by the Corporation for National and Community Service under Section 123 of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12573).
  • ƒ An authorized official is an official of a public service organization (including AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps) who has access to the borrower’s employment or service records and is authorized by the public service organization to certify the employment status of the organization’s employees or former employees, or the service of AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteers.
  • ƒ An employee means an individual who is hired and paid by a public service organization.
  • ƒ Full-time means working in qualifying employment in one or more jobs for the greater of: •
  • An annual average of at least 30 hours per week or, for a contractual or employment period of at least 8 months, an average of 30 hours per week; or
  • Unless the qualifying employment is with two or more employers, the number of hours the employer considers full time. Vacation or leave time provided by the employer or leave taken for a condition that is a qualifying reason for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29, U.S.C. 2612(a)(1) and (3) is equivalent to hours worked in qualifying employment.
  • ƒ Government employee means an individual who is employed by a local, State, Federal, or Tribal government, but does not include a member of the U.S. Congress.
  • ƒ Law enforcement means service performed by an employee of a public service organization that is publicly funded and whose principal activities pertain to crime prevention, control or reduction of crime, or the enforcement of criminal law.
  • ƒ Military service for uniformed members of U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard means “active duty” service or “full-time National Guard duty” as defined in Section 101(d)(1) and (d)(5) of Title 10 in the United States Code, but does not include active duty for training or attendance at a service school. For civilians, military service means service on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard performed by an employee of a public service organization.
  • ƒ Peace Corps position means a full-time assignment under the Peace Corps Act as provided for under 22 U.S.C. 2504.
  • ƒ Public interest law refers to legal services provided by a public service organization that are funded in whole or in part by a local, State, Federal, or Tribal government.
  • ƒ A public service organization is: •
  • A Federal, State, local or Tribal government organization, agency or entity; •
  • A public child or family service agency; •
  • A non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code; •
  • A Tribal college or university; or •
  • A private organization (that is not a labor union or a partisan political organization) that provides at least one of the following public services:
  • • emergency management,
  • • military service,
  • • public safety,
  • • law enforcement,
  • • public interest law services,
  • • early childhood education (including licensed or regulated child care, Head Start, and State funded pre-kindergarten),
  • • public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly,
  • • public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health support occupations, as such terms are defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics),
  • • public education,
  • • public library services,
  • • school library services, or
  • • other school-based services

This robust list provides an interesting pathway.  I am scheming some grand ideas, but cannot share them until they are fully formed.

Despite having semi lost my identity in graduate school, I suddenly see how I can make my expensive and worthwhile education work for me.  I am learning many useful skills to benefit humanity, but was scared the price tag of my education would make me bitter towards the experience.  Now I feel some hope.  Unless someone decides the government should default.  Then maybe it would be time for option 6.

There are ways that I can perhaps not have total financial freedom, but can still have the ability to travel.  More to come as I build up my preliminary ideas.

Link to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Page:  http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service

The Bike is the Donkey

A few days ago I rode my bike home from Goleta.  I now know why I didn’t really blog when I rode from Davis earlier this summer.  There is just too damn much to write about.  I broke down the entries into multiple parts.  For those who lack confidence in their riding ability this is a great intro to bike touring.  The Southern California route is flat and close to many amenities.  There are some spots where you are riding with traffic, but this is America.  You will always be riding with automobile traffic.

Dear Master(s) of the Universe,

Why does Laguna Beach hate me so much?

Why is bike riding so fun and so much exercise, but make my ass get bigger, not smaller?

These are two of the many questions I pondered whilst riding my bicycle through Southern California.  No suitable answers were provided so I am left with no choice, but to  move forward.  This is the beauty of bicycle touring.  Questions, concerns, fears, and anxieties arise, but are stymied with each successive stroke of the pedal.  Bicycle touring is a catalyst to living in the now and freeing oneself from the prison of thoughts.  Right before I kicked off my farewell to bum life bike tour with a nighttime ride from Goleta to Carpinteria, I ran into someone I used to casually see.  Ironically, he told me I think and philosophize too much.  If I sit still maybe I do, but when I’m on the move the mind is toned down.  I had to go on another multiday ride before I am bound by responsibilities.  Since doing my first tour in June I’ve been obsessed with going on another ride.  Without much time or money I decided I should just stick with riding back down south from Santa Barbara.  I went up for a bon voyage fete and thought why not?  With bike touring the nowness is usually achieved.  Sometimes I think too much, but in the end all is well.

The nighttime ride from Goleta to Carpinteria is a peaceful one, and I luckily manage to get into the state beach campsite late enough to avoid a ranger.  You could easily bum camp in many places along the way.  I chose to stay at the campsite so I could meet other tourists.  Bike tourists got swag for days.  Because it is labor day weekend the hike and bike is packed although there is no one to talk to.  Everyone is peacefully tucked away in their tents.  I find a couple trees, set up my hammock, and pass out.

Anyone who doesn’t have their head up their ass knows that when you go camping, precautions should be taken to protect food from critters.  I thought about this for two seconds, but had too many Tecates to feel like doing anything.  In the middle of the night I was woken up by movement under my ass.  In my sleepy haze I just wiggled my butt to make it move away.  I heard some rustling noise very close to me, but didn’t want to get up to deal with it.  In the morning I assessed the damage.  Rocky Raccoon must’ve stuck his grimy little claws into my pannier and massacred my package of tortillas.  Luckily my broccoli obscured my brick of cheese and both remained unscathed.  Respect and fear the raccoon.  I’ve heard tales of raccoons learning how to flip latches, open zippers, detonate bombs.  They are an advanced breed of being.

By the time I am up, most of the travelers are gone.  From what I’ve observed bicycle tourists are a diligent group.  Quick to go to bed, early to rise and ride.  I haven’t gotten into this groove yet.  After wiping the ample accretion of crust from my tear ducts I say hello to a middle aged fellow with a solid pair of legs.  His name is JP Comstock.  He is a certified badass.  Turns out his work allows him to ride between SF and Ventura, A LOT.  I did not ask Mr. Comstock how many times he had ridden this route, but turns out he has written a very detailed guide titled “Bicycling and Touring the Big Sur Coast” available here.  He knows the route like the back of his hand.  We discuss why my bicycle sucks for touring.  He gives me a copy of another book he has written, a beginner’s guide to bicycle touring.  He gives me a couple hot tips on good bikes I could find insanely cheap on craigslist because people don’t know what they have sitting in their garage.  I swore to him I wouldn’t share the secret.  He got his own on CL for $60, threw some nice components on there, and then uglified it so no one would steal it.  He also reaffirmed Ortlieb bags are the way to go.  Someday I too will have Ortliebs either when I get a sugar daddy or a real paycheck.  Mr. Comstock and I discuss the national state of affairs, advises me to contact a bankruptcy lawyer, and then states he needs to ride after getting worked up discussing the political apathy of the nation’s young voters.  Much valuable information was gleaned from Mr. Comstock.  Play your cards right you too may meet JP Comstock on the road.  Sounds like he’s a Cali coast fixture.

Mellow is the only word I can think of to describe the near 50 mile ride from Carp to Leo Carrillo SB.  Like most of the SoCal route it is a flat ride.  There is a small section of the 101 you have to ride between the 150 and the Seaside exit.  The shoulder is fairly wide, and is a good intro to what it feels like to ride on the side of a highway.  Feel free to stop between Carp and Ventura and laze at the beach.  If you wake up in the morning there is plenty of time.  It’s a good idea to stock up on food somewhere in Ventura or Oxnard.  There are several Vons, Ralph’s, restaurants, crap food on the route or near the route.  At Leo Carrillo there’s a beach store, but it expect to pay more.  I personally don’t mind riding with a few extra pounds if it means I spend less.  Nutrition on tour has always been a mystery to me.  I always end up eating what is cheap and tastes good.  I stopped at a Vons to try to write a check for cash back (misplaced my bankcard in a drunken snafu in santa barbara) because I suddenly craved Indian lunch buffet.  This did not work.  There were no check cashing places anywhere along the way.  It was cheese, broccoli, mayonnaise, and canned salmon for me.  The ride is pretty uninteresting between Ventura and Point Mugu.  You do get to see some ag land and ride on government property!

Government property never looked so good!

Going into Malibu is a big farewell to the Central Coast.  There’s the familiar vista of rocky cliffs against ocean.  Then suddenly there are beachfront houses on stilts.  Yuck.  Right before you get to Leo Carrillo there is one last restaurant if you don’t feel like cooking.  It’s called Neptune’s Net.  I’m making a habit of stopping here, peeing, getting ice in my water bottle, and taking soy sauce packets.  They also have a dispenser with tartar sauce.  If you have money, they offer a wide selection of fried sea animals to give you diarrhea.  Click on the link to see some shit that will make you nauseated.

Off to Leo Carrillo.

VANishing: My summer of slacking on the road

It’s 7AM in San Luis Obispo.  I have parked my 1989 Toyota VanWagon next to a Starbucks to mooch their wifi.  A few minutes earlier I barely avoided pissing myself, but found sweet relief at a Jack In the Box.  It was close.  I was tempted to piss outside seeing no one was up yet, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it because I passed out in an affluent neighborhood.  I got paranoid.  My back hurts.  Because the nicest neighborhoods are almost always built on the land with the least geologic/seismic stability I slept at an extreme slope.  My body kept slipping forward off my newly constructed bed.  At least it was better than the way I was doing it which was sleeping on the floor with my head jammed between the passenger seats.  Regardless I always sleep like a baby in the van.  Could it be because it mimics a womb?  These minor complications are the little bits and pieces of reality I didn’t anticipate when I embarked on my latest stupid experiment.

For the past couple months, with intermittent stops at my parent’s house, I’ve been cruising around Southern California and the Central Coast in my van with an incredibly limited amount of money.  My madness is fueled by a fascination with the writings of Jack Kerouac, the songs of Woody Guthrie, and the aesthetics of “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski.  Take note these are all narratives of the masculine persuasion.  How few women have ever dared?  Or are there many who’ve also boldly taken on this lonesome experiment, but go unsung.  I’m no gypsy.  I have no caravan to roll with.  It is a solo pursuit.

Other versions of this post delved into the emotions felt throughout this stupidity.  The executive decision was to keep the emotional claptrap to a minimum.  Let’s just say I’ve felt lots of lust, some degree of infatuation, even less love and loss, betrayal, belittlement, misogyny, empowerment, camaraderie, and a whole lot of loneliness.  Every fucking day could be a blog post.  I’ve partied a lot, woken up in stranger’s houses, been kicked out of places, and spent a whole lot of time in the ocean.  There’s a lot of stories that could be told, but instead I want to focus on the inside of my van.

This is my refrigerator.  Along with my backpacking stove I call this my kitchen.  It’s all a pain in the ass.  I’ve probably spent over $30 on block ice.  Food still goes bad.  It’s too fucking hot.  Because this set up is a pain in the ass, I usually end up eating hastily thrown together lavash wraps.  Friends have thankfully let me make use of their kitchens.  In a tight pinch I also have resorted to eating dumpstered donuts.  A bag of dumpstered donuts is a blessing and a curse.

This is my bed.  My friend and I built it out of some plywood and 2×4’s.  We measured no times and cut twice.  Think that’s how you’re supposed to do it.  Upon installation one of the legs snapped off.  I also forgot to put legs on the far end of the bed so it has to be propped up by my wardrobe.  It’s definitely a work in progress and will take on multiple permutations until it is in it’s final state.  Hopefully before then I don’t impale myself on a jagged piece of wood while I sleep.  The van’s shaggin’ wagon status has been revoked.  Nothing wild can be done on this precarious construction.  Underneath my towel and sleeping bag I’ve got a hand-me-down thermarest.  Thankful for the donation because sleeping on the bare floor of the van was not the most comfortable experience.

This is my wardrobe.  Better than a walk-in closet.  I’ve got a nice selection of outfits in here… except my friend did just tell me I need to dress better.  Perhaps I stopped caring in my pursuit of simplification.  Yoga pants and sweatshirts forever.

This is what lunchtime looks like.  I loiter at a public park, set up my backpacking stove, and make culinary magic happen.  I blast some jams from my epic van stereo system.  Today’s selection was Killer Mike.  Parks and beaches become my living room.  I can only chill in the van if the back door is open.

Despite all the emotional, physical, and financial burdens I really am seeing and experiencing a lot of shit.  Here’s a sampling of the past few days.

New Hawk City

The appropriate cliche:  You can find beauty in anything if you look hard enough.  Beauty had to be found.  With a bank account in the negative, the escape had to be hot and incredibly local.  I looked into the thick 100+ degree air and found it in the Fee.  I found it in New Hawk City.  Aeries, boulders, buckwheat, white sage, physical exertion, and bullets of sweat.

 

Have you ever felt like you were internally cooking?  Where there may be few rivers flowing in Riverside County, there are pockets of open space everywhere full of life.  You may think these cities are built on false promises, but the promise is in the hills.  Remember how bitchin’ the Ramona Pageant was? Don’t look down, you may see a subdivision.  Instead look up for blinding sunshine and a sky full of life.  Look straight down at the ground and pretend you are Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western runnin’ from everyone.

By the end of my time in Hawk City, my water bottle was left with only a drop of piss warm water and the desire to return over and over again.

 

Finding Fun in Tha Fee (mostly surrounding regions)

Southwest Riverside County conjures images of Travis Barker motocross bros tatted out, big box shopping centers, lifted trucks, and dusty hot winds.  For most of my life I shit talked about my hometown, Menifee, CA.  Honestly, Menifee did very little for me.  My education sucked and I witnessed a lot of racism.  After-school activities included walking over to target or driving to the mall 20 minutes away.  The transit infrastructure is non existant. If you don’t have a car you’re screwed.  In fact, I attribute normalizing myself by moving out of Menifee and Southern California.  After thrusting myself into the grips of non-stop adventure, I am forcing myself to be at home as an exercise in self-control.

I am having a difficult time adjusting to life not being on the road, but every now and again you have to stop.  Stopping gives perspective.  Stopping let’s you fully appreciate life on the road.  Stopping reminds you about the excesses in one’s life and the need to simplify.  So betwixt adventures I cannot let fun stop.  Menifee and the surrounding region can be fun.  Adventure can be found anywhere.  Even in the land of tweakers and tanned bro hoes there lies hidden treasures.

The Big Skies of Menifee.

NATURE

Santa Rosa Plateu

http://www.rivcoparks.org/education/santa-rosa-plateau/santa-rosa-plateau/

Approximately 15 miles from my house is the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.  Driving westward on Clinton Keith Rd. the monotony of stucco houses and golf courses suddenly stop and oak woodlands begin.  The 9000 acre Reserve is home to 200 species of bird and 49 endangered, threatened, or rare animal and plant species.  The Reserve boasts miles of hiking trails which take you through vernal pools and even to the two oldest standing structures in Riverside County, the Moreno Adobes, which once served as bunkhouses for cowboys.  I have made trips out to the Plateau part of my weekly routine.  The trails have been perfect for getting into trail running.  They are not too steep, and there are a number of different trails so you can diversify your routine.

The van admires an Engelmann Oak at the Santa Rosa Plateau.

Unnamed trails behind Oasis Housing Tract and Adergate Park

A series of buckwheat covered hills separate Menifee from Sun City.  A network of informal trails can take you to the top of many of these hills.  I’m not sure who is in charge of taking care of the trails or who made them in the first place.  Almost everytime I’ve hiked up the hills I have gotten to see red-tailed hawks.  There are great views of the Menifee Valley, although I can’t say this is very interesting other than to take in the pattern of the man-made landscape.

Cleveland National Forest

http://www.fs.usda.gov/cleveland/

Not quite within walking or biking distance to Menifee is the Cleveland National Forest.  Just outside of Lake Elsinore, on the Ortega Highway,  is the closest camping and hiking area, the Blue Jay Campground.  I have yet to explore much of this area because I just got the van smogged and it’s been too hot to drive my vessel up steep grades.

ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT

Reading Cinemas, Murrieta

http://readingcinemasus.com/caloaks.htm

I hate bad movies.  I really hate bad movies.  I think most movies are bad.  Thankfully there is one theater in town that seems to recognize most movies suck.  The Reading Cinemas off of California Oaks Rd. usually plays one critically acclaimed, lesser known film amongst the sea of big budget shit storms.  Ok, not quite lesser know, but the current pick is Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.  Aaaaaand once a month Reading does something called Fourty Foot Films where cinematic classics are screened.  For $7.50 you get admission to the screening, a chance to win prizes during trivia time, and free pizza!  I just went this past Sunday and reconnected with my Jewish heritage while watching Fiddler on the Roof.

Old Town Temecula

In an area lacking in arts and entertainment, the clear winner in this area is Old Town Temecula.  Old Town T-Mac is of particular interest to me because it is the only place in Southwestern Riverside County that is creating successful mixed-use, walkable, urbanized environment.  Because it was built far before the automobile was invented, the streets in OTT are narrow and the storefronts are right on the street.  It’s straight out of New Urbanist handbook.  A number of art galleries, fine restaurants, and theatrical and musical entertainment are located in this less than a mile strip of Front St.

http://www.cityoftemecula.org/Temecula/Visitors/Events/Summerfest/HotSummerNights.htm

During the summer, the city is hosting a free concert series in different locations in Old Town.  Check out the above link to see the line up for each week.

FOOD

Dumpstering

Since returning from the bike tour and acquiring the van, I have undertaken locating dumpstering spots in the area.  The prognosis is grim.  Many of the dumpsters in the area are militarized.  Often dumpsters are on lockdown or have security cameras pointed right at them.  I have yet to check out the Trader Joe’s in Temecula since I am seldom there at a decent dumpstering time, but I’ve checked places in Menifee and Murrieta out with no luck.  If someone has a hot tip, please let me know.  My dirty inner hippy is weeping.

Williams-Sonoma Free Classes (Look at Complementary Technique Classes)

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/customer-service/store-events.html?cm_type=fnav

Fun at the mall!  So I’ve talked some mad shit on Williams-Sonoma over the years.  Mostly because it’s the kind of place my mom loves.  Now that I’m getting older and enjoy cooking I realize the fun in nice cutlery and cookware. Besides what they sell, they offer free classes in a number of cool topics.  I just went to a class on canning jams and preserves.  Next week they will offer classes on canning tomatoes.  A full list of the complimentary classes can be found on the website.  They also give out samples with their classes.  Woohoo!  Beware they try to sell you shit and offer 10% off, but if you’re poor you shouldn’t have any trouble not buying anything when you look at the price tags.

Saturday Temecula Certified Farmer’s Market

One of the saving graces in completely not dreading my time back at home is getting to wake up Saturday Morning and riding my bike out to the Saturday morning Temecula Farmer’s Market in Old Town Temecula.  It’s a nice cross section of people.  Because we are fortunate to live in a Mediterranean climate the market boasts a robust selection of produce.  Most of the producers are from North County SD, Temecula, and Murrieta.  The Sunday Menifee market is a sad affair.  I’m hoping over time the number of growers and vendors will increase.  Sometimes I wonder if I should invest time in making this happen, but alas I will not be here long enough to make an impact.

Wolfee Donuts, Canyon Lake

Last night I discovered a hidden gem among gems.  Quite possibly one of the most creative donut shops I have gone to in some time, Wolfee’s is open 24 hours 7 days a week.  The owner really loves donuts.  Besides the usual maple bar or old fashioned, the proprietor offers gummy bear donuts, almond joy donuts, and a really damn good chocolate croissant that is glazed with chocolate, sprinkled with chocolate chips, and filled with chocolate.

GENERAL GALAVANTING BY WALKING, RUNNING, JOGGING

Menifee Lake

Remember when you were a kid and you really enjoyed walking around the fake lake?  Remember when you grew up and you realized how the lake is really fake and you got really grossed out by it.  Remember when they required you to carry an ID card to run around the lake because you also realized most of Menifee is under the totalitarian rule of Homeowner Associations of Master-planned communities?  Well I don’t know if all Menifee kids feel the same way, but I fall in and out of love with the lake all the time.  Like most aesthetic features of suburbia, it’s a bastardization of features of large European estates (i.e. lawns).  I could say Lake Menifee or Menifee Lake is a representation of the lakefront villas of Italy.  Anyways,  the lake can be fun to run around if you don’t get grossed out by the artificial nature of the lake.

Temecula Wine Country

http://www.temeculawines.org/

http://www.greatharvesttemecula.com/

Lately I’ve gotten into the habit of going on long runs.  In trying to be a conscientious driver, I try to chain my trips so I’m not just driving all over the place.  Because I frequently have to go to Temecula to take care of bidness, I’ve enjoyed doing longer runs in Temecula wine country.  Head east on Rancho California Rd. and park in the Baron’s shopping center parking lot.  From here you can run eastward for miles, turning on one of the many roads that turn out taking you towards one of the many wineries in T-Mac.  You can even stop and drink and keep running if you please.  You’ll get drunk faster this way.  Opportunavores Tip:  Once you get back to the Baron’s parking lot (except Sunday) this place called Great Harvest Bread Company, hands out free samples of bread.  This isn’t just a run of the mill sample.  They’ll give you a fat slice of bread.  Good amount of carbs to give you some post run fun.  The bread is pretty damn good, but it’s a little pricey.  I’ve ended up buying a lot of bread there because I cannot resist.

Menifee Summer Nights

It was really fucking hot today.  There’s a lot of ungodly hot days out in these here parts.  Just serves as a little reminder that human beings are not meant to live in these areas.  I can’t wait for one of the typical summer days where the grid is overloaded and the power goes out.  Gonna sweat it out.  I’m a really sweaty person.  I hate being indoors.  These times are tough because it is really so hot you can’t do anything outside.  You’ll have a heatstroke like Martin Lawrence in the Fat Momma outfit.  In attempting to find the positive in the unbearable heat, the summer nights are quite pleasant.  I’ve found myself walking the quiet neighborhoods at midnight.  The clear skies are full of constellations.  You might run into other weirdos who wander Menifee at night.  I just met a fellow who is trying to start a company decking out beach cruisers and rims in LED lights.

Typical bro litter found on the streets of Menifee at night.

Life in tha Fee ain’t so bad.  I will continue to search for new funportunities