It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Announcing The Vagabond's open-ended tour of California

page: 1

log in


posted on Mar, 11 2012 @ 01:36 PM
Ok, this is the third shot at this post... the as of yet unidentified "frag all of my work" button on my laptop is somewhere easy to accidentally strike, that much is clear.

Anyway, I've always wanted to hit the road and go looking for whatever it is that will get me out of the 'backstory' and into the main plot of my life, or at least put me amidst a better setting and more interesting characters, but for a decade I've been confined almost entirely to Southern California.

That's finally pretty well wrapped up. Nobody needs my help, everyone is well, I'm stable, been working a year and have savings, and I can carry on indefinitely it seems in this new normal... but there's not much on the horizon. I seem to be at the end of one story and truly ready for another... which experience says will come all on its own, in a form of its own choosing, if I don't choose first.

I will be home working security somewhere not far away from Coachella Fest and also Stage Coach Music festival in April briefly afterward.

The tentative plan is that on Friday May 18th- 20th, I'll hit the Joshua Tree Music Festival not far North of home.

From there, if I don't find a better option, I will head to LA at least through Tuesday- Tuesday being open mic night at most comedy clubs- a cheap show at least, and maybe I'll even get onto an open mic lineup... that could go really well or really badly for me, but either way it could eventually be a decent story.

I haven't firmly decided if I'll take the I-5, the 101, the 1 right along the coast going North. There isn't a hell of a lot on the 5 except for lots of other travelers... they are the only attraction for me so far that way. The coast though is of course slower going and has its additional hazards I suppose. This again could largely depend on anything people can tell me about what's out there to see and any opportunities to meet interesting people.

I will get to the Bay Area by the next weekend (somewhere between the 25th-27th) and probably stay through the next weekend (till June 3rd) at the least. The Bay Area is the first stop that really excites me. I've had three short stops in San Francisco before and they all were great days. My brother wandered into some random bar and got offered a job, and for a while it looked like we were gonna be giving a cute bartender a ride back to So Cal on the return trip- that could have been a missed opportunity of epic proportions.

From there it gets a bit hazy, because I've got to work with the schedules of some people I hope I get to meet while I'm in the Bay Area, then I've got a gold-hunting trip in the works with someone who knows about prospecting, which will be taking me to an as-of-yet undetermined location at a date to be determined, somewhere basically East of San Francisco.

While East of San Francisco I will probably get over to the Nevada border to visit some family briefly,

And then somehow I'm heading to Eureka... since I will be over in Nevada I'm tempted to drive through Reno and on up to Shasta and maybe even on into Oregon before cutting back down to Eureka... but I'm not completely sure it will be worth the gas and i might prefer to cut that leg off.

At any rate, the only end date for the trip is when I haven't got enough money to do much of anything except get home. I'll be lucky if that's at the end of June, but i'm hoping I can stretch it out to August, maybe even October- it depends on my ability to save and to find novel ways to earn small amounts as I go.

I'd love to hear any suggestions of places, events, mysteries, opportunities, and of course any warnings that might seem appropriate.

posted on Mar, 11 2012 @ 01:42 PM
reply to post by The Vagabond

Bon voyage! It sounds like a great trip, keep us posted.

posted on Mar, 11 2012 @ 02:25 PM
reply to post by The Vagabond

One of the most beautiful spots in the country in my opinion is often overlooked - situated near Monterey is Point Lobos State Reserve. It is just a couple of miles south of Carmel. Truly spectacular. I happen to have posted some pics from the park in another thread:

Point Lobos State Reserve

There are a lot of other incredible spots in California, but thats the one at the top of the list.

Edit to add: Here is the scoop from a long time California native (me) who made that choice on transportation routes dozens and dozens of times. On the choice of the I-5, the 101 and Hwy 1. Take the I-5 if your goal is to get from point A to point B in the quickest possible manner, and you are not visiting a coastal area south of San Francisco. Take the 101 if you want to travel rapidly, but are either making a stop to the coastal areas, or want the trip to have some semblance of places of interest to stop and explore. Take Hwy 1 if you have plenty of time, and the drive itself and the scenery is the goal. Hope this helps!
edit on 3/11/2012 by Open2Truth because: additional info

posted on Mar, 11 2012 @ 03:15 PM
Northern California Rules.
I have lived in Newport Beach, Palm Springs, Claremont(Not San Diego Claremont) and San Bernardino.
I owned and operated a restaraunt/niteclub in San Berdoo for almost five years.

During the 80's I opened comedy nite clubs in Palm Springs, Santa Barbera, Encino, Newport and here in Tahoe. Yeah, I was at Leno's 30th Birthday party, watched Letterman get fired from his daytime gig @ NBC to sign with CBS, watched Mork and Mindy become crazzzy with Robin and puked at how unfunny Arsenio Hall was with his "posse" bullcrap.
(Gary Shandling was the BEST outside of Leno and Letterman,and Williams and Sam)

IF you have any material at all, you can always go showcase for Bud Friedman at the L.A. Improve and book some gigs on the road to offset costs. We have an Improv here in Tahoe, but Howie the manager doesn't book the act's. The acts are in rotation throughout Bud's clubs. I don't even know if Bud still books the acts himself.
He probably has a booker who handles it.
If your material sucks but you have good delivery, buy jokes from the L.A. Club.regulars.

Go over to the Comedy Store to buy good material too. I got to hang with Kinnison there a few times and had a BALL. Or go over to Bob Fishers club in Pasadena. (Ice House)
FYI Sam never wanted to repeat material twice. He always wanted new stuff unlike guyss that used to make a living on 30 minutes of the same material for life.

Ther are a LOT of funny writers that have no stage presence. They can write, but they can't perform their own material. Exploit them.

If you can get into the circuit, you can always make extra dough on the road doing standup.

Common up to Tahoe too. It's on the way to Reno. I'll buy any ATSer a beer. My pleasure and have a great trip.

AND? Watch your back over in Gold mining country. It's not a joke at some of the claims over there. Once you get off the main track and hit the hills, they don't take kindly to outsiders. You'll see.

Are they mining or growing? That's the question and it's none of your or my business.

You should have a ball. Northern Cal Rules.

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 02:50 PM
Thanks for the tips guys.

I've got an experienced prospector who will be going with me, so I won't just be crashing through the back country on my own hoping not to step on anyone's toes. I don't even particularly care if we actually find gold- at least it will be more of an experience than buying a bucket of mine tailings to sift through.

As for the growers, yeah, I've worried about them too, more in respect to camping, but they can't be any worse than meth cooks, which I've always been comfortable having to walk wide around in certain parts of the desert.

My family in Nevada ain't working far from Tahoe, so I may hit you up when I get in that area Niceguybob. You clearly know a bit about the comedy busienss- I've been a class clown and the shameless office radical, but that's Carlin's theater of suppressed laughter and its easier, so odds are after LA I'll be coming off my first formal bombing and possibly need some experienced feedback.

Oh, and Open2Truth, Point Lobos sounds good, thanks for mentioning it. I will almost certainly take 1 either on the way up or on the return trip. I've been kicking around stopping to work security at Esalen if I can get the job to re-up on funds. It's pretty in line with my previous security experience, but the people i'd be tollerating would hopefully be a bit more interesting.

I've gotta get ready for work in just a few, but I'll be around every day or two. thanks again everyone so far.

posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:52 PM
Well, I'm on the road.

Joshua Tree Music Festival was a little demoralizing. For starters I spent most of the day buying cheap consumer crap- a lot of which I actually ended up having use for- but still, it felt wrong. It went against the whole point of this journey to want to have a safeguard against any conceivable problem, and to just plop down a few hundred bucks to carry those safeguards out to my truck... which ended up heavy and a little off balance I might add. Between goodbyes, purchases, and a few minor car problems which I have either fixed on the spot or deemed ignorable, I got off the interstate at every single exit between my hometown and the turnoff to highway 62... actually I skipped 2, but only because I was getting mad and tried to ignore problems- i ended up getting off at the next exit each time.

When I got there everyone had a lot more cheap consumer crap than I did though, and most of it a lot pricier. My shade tarp ripped at the grommets after only an hour- it held for another 4 hours though after I fixed it with duct tape... then I decided to stop fixing it and just put it away. Shortly afterward, a dust devil came through that would have taken my tarp a quarter mile down the road before I even knew what was happening... it upturned about half the tents around mine- mine didn't even budge because I'd sprung for better stakes than you get with a 2 man tent from Walmart.

But I met one person at least, a decent start for someone as unsocial as myself, and I really did like him, although he was pretty much the sort of person I would automatically loathe when I'm guarding the country clubs where they tend to live. And I did enjoy the music I'd never heard before, even though I decided to listen to most of it from my campsite.

So we have met the enemy, and they are us... or at least the enemy is the same, as Bill Hicks put it. This trip won't be as simple as getting away from work, distraction, and habit. There's a real issue here of consumerism taken entirely too far- which is a nice way of saying that modern Americans basically don't know how to care for themselves, and we all manage to scrape by using money to establish team work and to decide what doesn't get taken care of for whom. I see it in myself as much as in the country club crowd, and apparently from who I've met so far it is possible to own a business and a humvee and a vacation place in Mexico without being an evil D-bag... that stuff is symptomatic as much as my wasting spree at Walmart (another object of my loathing). I have a definite sense that I've found one of the major puzzles I need to solve on this journey.

After the concert I stopped back home to adjust my load a little, then stopped again in San Berdoo for 2 days to let a sunburn heal and see my brother, who is doing some less enviable vagabonding and may or may not cross my path again for some time.

And this morning I came down from my campground in the Angeles forest and started hammering out my to-do list for LA. I missed Tuesday at the Comedy Store, but I've still got Sunday, Monday, and next Tuesday to hit the clubs before I head up PCH.

Anyway, for today I guess I will be in Venice Beach. I've been waking up early and I've already knocked out all the mundane chores that come with not having a house full of quick fixes and hiding places for when you aren't really in the mood to take care of yourself.

So far so good. We'll see what happens next.

Still haven't completely organized my thoughts- I'm trying to go in a lot of directions at once right now and I suspect that it shows.

posted on May, 23 2012 @ 10:40 PM
reply to post by The Vagabond

Go Baby, go... I am enjoying the tale of your journey. I had the same kind of recognition regarding the golf set crowd, only mine went more like this:

Hmm, these 'Executives' who make the big business decisions and garner the big bucks, who I am suposed to look up to and respect, really don't have any greater knowlege than I do, and in fact, regarding my field of expertise, they have very little knowlege and depend on the information I provide them. Therefore, I have no reason to look up to them.

That did not equate to disrespect, on my part, when I realized this - it just meant I stopped feeling "cowed" and started speaking out in meetings regarding my opinion, and giving people facts they don't always want to hear.

So in your experience, it sounds like it kind-of went the reverse... Like you felt maybe some disrespect for the golf club types, originally, and have now discovered you can relate because they aren't so different on their interests and the stuff they do and what they think about.

Good insights. Your trip seems good to me so far.

Thanks for sharing!
edit on 23-0520125-1212 by gwynnhwyfar because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 25 2012 @ 07:33 PM
Well, Venice did not go well. I've been keeping in touch with people all day so I'm just going to post an excerpt from what I've been sending to realtime friends rather than reinventing it completely for ATS.

Retreat to Berdoo; Slow start in LA; No microphones; Silence and words I don't understand.

This AM I struck my camp as rain began, and crept down the mountain in heavy clouds with bad headlights and bad wipers.

I'm holing up in Berdoo again, going back to LA Sun-Mon-Tues for open mics. One nights hotel fee will be less expensive than 3 days camping, driving, and parking. And I can charge my computer and camera to get ready. And I'm recovering from the cold of LA.

I took too long getting my campsite and missed open mics Tues.

Wed. I paid to camp, paid to drive down the mountain, paid to park in Venice beach, walked around, and didn't find anything to do but buy stuff or look at stuff you want to buy! Nobody talked to me but barkers and pitchmen. It depressed me and made me doubt the point of this trip.

I approached two people- one was too crazy to understand- he thought he knew me from years back and couldn't get over where I had been- the other ended up being too British too understand- she was seriously Cockney.

All of my hygiene, car repair, electrical, and internet needs met in a 2 mile stretch of Foothill Boulevard saved the day, and reaffirmed my dependence on Corporate America. I was very loney in my camp Wednesday, and for a few hours I was completely alone in the campground, until one other group arrived.

I decided to spend Thurs. alone on the mountain anyway- I didn't want to - I climbed boulders, set up my video camera in various places so I can pick out still shots from my camp, got pretty good at controlling a campfire, and wrote about a page of banter full of Dangerfield style rapid fire self-directed cheap shots with more cogent segues into larger issues, but I never got around to playing out the segues and actually developing a full routine of quick shallow laughs spacing out pithy observations... the raw thoughts are there, just not crystalized yet. Same old problem

The best is yet to come though... LA was never the point. I wouldn't have had to quit my job to go to LA... and why the hell would anyone want to? But San Francisco and Eureka/Arcata...

reply to post by gwynnhwyfar

Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far. I hope to write an organized travelogue for this, as a sort of next logical step from On the Road/Dharma Bums to Fear and Loathing to... whatever i end up calling this. Of course I don't expect to be remembered on that level, I just want to be part of expressing this generation's evolution of that always restless and dissatisfied American spirit which seems to find its voice with deeply flawed idealists.

The thing with the golf scene- which really for me represents the service economy, real estate/banking/finance/insurance, social class, etc... is likely to be a big part of this story- I was born into it but my parents went bankrupt when I was 4. I had all kinds of ups and downs, and I won't get long winded about that part, but it changed my views and values a lot, even though certain instincts remain. And I can work in it and do my best for them, even with very mixed feelings about it, because I do a lot of mental tai chi and I'm very flexible and balanced when I have to contort myself to fit into and/or through reality... mostly I remind myself that they almost destroyed themselves once in 2008 already, and we can't protect them forever, so I'm appropriate to my time, but not standing in the way of what will inevitably happen.

But I'm taking a fairly big gamble on getting away from that and into something more in line with who I am, and yet finding myself most at ease and doing most of my business in those kinds of cities/areas. I've been way out of it, but I didn't have any choice and I was with familiar people then... trying to get out of it alone by choice is strange. And in the midst of it I meet this well off fellow, telling me his tale of woe and adventure on the edge, and I really like him and he really reminds me of me in some ways... even while some of the things he says make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

I've always liked "Save the Doomed" as a kind of mantra for my idealism, for my personal struggles, and as a copout when my idealism drags me into depression. But now if I am indeed among the doomed, that mantra implies an even stranger rally cry, "Save the Rich", if only as a possible alternate application of the answers I seek for myself and those who I sympathize with... And maybe so, maybe the system really is alive at this point and even the elite are at its mercy, and if so there's a great macrocosm to compare my own experiences to.

posted on May, 28 2012 @ 04:33 PM
Well the retreat to San Bernardino is over and I'm about to head to Comedy Store in Hollywood to try and get an open mic slot tonight. If anyone here is into comedy and soon hears a 3 minute bit about having a stripper mom with 3 jobs and a drug problem, that was probably me, or at least my material.

I might start YouTubing my practice videos soon, now that I've actually got a process down and know how to get something all the way from free writing to dress rehearsal.

posted on May, 29 2012 @ 08:30 PM
Well I sorta hope none of you were there because I flubbed it. A few things did work, but not enough for me to really chalk it up as a win. But I learned a bit, met a couple people, and several other comics do think I'm funny.

I'll be practicing a lot more seriously and regularly, not just writing but rehearsing on camera as if I intended to perform it soon, even when I don't plan on using it soon. It will be a lot easier now that I really know what I'm trying to do and what it's like to do it.

posted on May, 31 2012 @ 01:02 PM
Well, I'm in San Francisco. I went straight through on PCH, which wasn't the best way to go. I'm still glad I took the scenic route, but I had been thinking about doing a little bit of touristy crap on the way up just to see what it made me think about.

I had wanted to get a few pics around Solvang, not because it's my kind of place but because my facebook is fairly baren and my grandma would have liked it. I figured I'd check out Pea Soup Andersen's while I was around, since they've got signs like 300 miles out and I was too young to really size the place up or appreciate it the one time I have been there- back when my dad was traveling all over hell on a rubberized asphalt plant. I missed the turnoff to 101, and didn't know which road to take after that, because my GPS crapped out somewhere in LA and didn't get fixed till I got to Frisco and looked up what Verizon had done to screw me over this time.

I got a little lost in Lompoc, which shouldn't have been the end of the world, because how lost can you really get in a town like that, but my GPS had crapped out temporarily, and I needed a restroom and gas and food (I was boycotting the Circle K on the edge of town for not having a bathroom, and I went the wrong way into a residential area at first, then made a series of bad turns because I figured there had to be a cop somewhere near the school just waiting for me to make an illegal turn so he could turn off his cloaking device and bust me. When I found my bearings I was too mad and impatient to get directions back to Solvang.

I checked out the hotels in San Simeon, thinking it was time to slow down and not waste the drive, but I couldn't get a smoking room, and I decided I'd go cheap and camp when i found a place. The coast mellowed me out, and then I suddenly realized that my park pass from the Angeles Forest is also good at Los Padres... but I wasn't prepared to hike in because I still haven't gotten around to buying a ruck sack- I've been planning to work something out with pvc and my tarps to save money (in fact I'm trying to draw up plans on how to use tarps and PVC so that the same kit can be re-purposed as a frame pack, shade canopy, cot, etc). Finally I found drive in sites, but they were small and crowded with no privacy, and costed 20 bucks on top of what I already paid for my pass. I got offended again and decided I would stay in a hotel afterall... which I eventually did in San Francisco.

Anyway, I'm learning quite a bit about planning and not relying on technology, and I'm really not all that bent about the way the trip went. I'm in frisco, I'll be checking out in an hour, and today I have taken the time to study a map and a few landmarks I will need to know. I also got a dash video that I'm going to timelapse and if it's anything worth seeing I'll put it up.


log in