Labor day – a road trip to be had

Ideally we were going to leave around 8am for Irvine, California. Ideally we were going to go to the gym at 7:30 to allow us enough time to work up a sweat as well as shower and get clean before embarking on a 6+ hour car trip. Ideally this would have all occurred. Alas, like any good adventure begins – there was no plan that was stuck to. I ran late, we got to the gym and worked out a little more than 30 minutes. We took a bit longer to get clean than expected. The end result: leaving closer to 9:30 than 8.

Unfortunately there will be no pictures to illustrate this trek, as I forgot my camera on my desk back in the city.

It seemed all too quick that we sped down the 580, hitting little traffic getting to I-5. We discussed life, the ins and outs, boys, sex, work, traveling, friends, and where we are at in our respective lives vs. where we thought we would be at this age / want to eventually be. We stopped near Hartford at a greasy, dirty, fly infested Denny's for lunch around noonish. Needless to say we were starved. After a huge chicken salad, a little spat over paying 1 bill with 2 cards and using the restroom we were back on the road.

I explained to my friend my fascination with the town of Buttonwillow (of which I have yet to visit). As we passed by she pointed out the sign and I giggled with glee. We did not have time to make a pit stop there. We had a goal.

The first goal was to make it to Northridge by 3. I don't remember if we made it there by 3, but we definitely left Northridge by 4. My friend and I are both not used to heat above 75-80 (Fahrenheit), and as we made the right turn into Cal State Northridge's campus, our mouths dropped – It was 106F. We stepped outside of the air conditioned car and melted. We walked around the campus for about 15 minutes, bitching the entire time. We both stood in amazement of the Library and briefly walked by the Journalism building. We were back in the air conditioned car soon after.

We made it through Hollywood, LA, down past Anaheim and finally arrived in Irvine. There is not much to Irvine as a whole, outside of high-class strip malls, some outdoor shopping mall that was pretty cool (Spectrum I think it's called), fields of gated communities… oh and UC Irvine.

When we arrived the friends that we were staying with hadn't returned from the beach yet, so we meandered over to Ralph's and picked up foccacia bread, lunch meat and kale to make some dinner for ourselves. We at in the parking lot of the gated community that we were staying in. It was like an auto-picnic.

Our friends arrived and after we had unloaded the car and relaxed a bit, we went to the outdoor mall. I bought a hat at the outdoor mall, which I took a pic of myself wearing here once I got back (look at least ONE photo is in this post!):

Everyone (except me – because it was too fucking hot to eat most of the weekend) had a piece of cheesecake for dessert and we drove back to the condo. I hadn't slept that good, on the carpeted floor in a long long time.

Sunday we drove around UC Irvine's campus & I fell in love. I vowed to apply to graduate school there (and possible even transfer as an undergrad, though I don't see that happening realistically). Their Comp Sci / Engineering buildings were not only massive but beautiful. The land it is on is gorgeous too.

When we returned we changed into swim attire and drove the 5 or so blocks to one of the 7 community pool areas. We spent from 11 am until about 5 there. I got a tan, and only a patch or two of true burn. We swam, we ate bbq chicken, we played beach volleyball.. it was fantastic. Super relaxing, super warm, super… great. Later in the afternoon the pool monitors (not officially called "lifeguards") evacuated people from the pools since there was a lightening/thunderstorm nearby. My friend and I said farewell and walked back to the condo as we were exhausted from the sun & heat.

There were a few "brown outs" which I learned is the term for when the power goes in and out only for a few minutes but frequently over a short period (say every 10 minutes for 2 minutes out over the span of an hour). My friend and I showered and vegged, watching cable TV until everyone got back. We headed out to dinner at a really good mexican restaurant (think Chevy's but more upscale). When we returned to the apartment we watched Invincible and the latest Rocky movie before passing out.

The drive back, though significantly shorter (it took us almost 9 hours to get down there between the stops we made and the traffic in the valley vs. about 5.5 to get back). We made one pit stop at a rest stop to use damp bathrooms that on a scale of 1-10 (10 being really clean, 1 being a bathroom a rat would not visit) it was about a 6 or 7. We were back in the East Bay before noon.

It was relaxing, and a good trip.

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