Chimpanzee Sanctuaries and Towards Zero Waste Living Year 4

Hello All!

It has been quite a while since I’ve published anything on here and I think that’s good, I know my inbox is constantly filled up with newsletters and other content and whatnot, which can be quite overwhelming, so maybe I’ve been doing us all a favor by keepin’ to myself. But alas, I do have some things I wanted to jot down real quick for continuity.

As far as the Zero Waste Journey goes, a couple new advances have been made since I last wrote about transitioning to a more Zero Waste lifestyle:

1. Stone nail files: These particular ones come in a plastic tube but that’s the only plastic involved. There are other stone nail files on the market but I haven’t found any others available in the US.

2. Toothpaste tabs: I’ve been buying them in bulk from a local Zero Waste Shop called Ethos in Capitola, Ca. They’re by the company Unpaste.

3. Nudi Goods Mascara: When I first wrote about this mascara I didn’t like it, but now that I’ve been using it for a while I really do like it. So I say go for it!

4. Micro-plastic laundry bags: I figured I should give these a shot because plastics in the ocean is not a good thing. I bought one and then another because it balances the machine spin better to have two. The one’s I bought are by Guppyfriend. They are good for washing clothes made from synthetic fibers because they catch plastic micro-fiber lint that comes out in the wash cycle. I haven’t noticed a huge amount of plastic lint and don’t really enjoy the process of using these bags, but I’m going to continue using them because it seems like a good thing to do.

5. Laundry detergent strips: I also get these in bulk from a low-waste living store. The ones I’ve been using are by Tru Earth. They’re a bit pricey, but I really appreciate how compact and plastic free they are. And they work. I get the Fresh Linen scented ones.

6. Bulk Dishwasher Detergent Pods: When I was living in a home with a dishwasher I tried these out, also from the bulk section of a low-waste living shop. The ones I tried are by Dropps and they work great.

7. Probably most importantly, I started on the “road to Veganville” aka started avoiding animal products. I’m not psychotic about it, just shifting. Since I work in the Veterinary field caring for animals and have all these environmental leanings, I felt it makes sense for me to start making that shift. How to Create a Vegan World: a Pragmatic Approach by Tobias Leenaert was a helpful read for me in this process.

If interested in other zero waste shift ideas, I’ve written about transitioning to a more Zero Waste Lifestyle for the past 3 years:

Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

Now for the the initial reason I started writing this blurb: a short list of chimpanzee sanctuaries to check out:

International

  1. Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection: West Africa

Domestic:

  1. Chimp Haven: This is the largest chimp sanctuary in the USA, home to ~300 chimps and located somewhere in Louisiana.
  2. Freedom for Great Apes: They’re located near Bend, Oregon and are currently hiring a chimp caregiver. There are 7 chimps living at this sanctuary.

That’s all folks!

❤ Kelly

PS I’ve been hosting a late-night radio show on KSQD community radio. The show is called The Basement and I share it with DJ Kimi, hosting every other Saturday night from Midnight-2am. The shows can be streamed live on KSQD.org and if you miss it live, the shows are available to stream in the 2 week archive for…you guessed it…2 weeks after they air. Here’s a link: https://ksqd.org/two-week-archive/ . My last episode was Sunday July 31st 12am.

PPS Shamelss plug? I have some music footage up on Youtube if you’re interested. Most of it is clips from a local TV show I did a few months ago called Look Mom, I’m on TV, enjoy!

Towards Zero Waste Living Year 3

Hello dear readers,

This is my annual reflection on working towards zero waste living, an effort I began writing about in 2018.

This past year was most about learning to make my own things at home to replace needing to buy them at the store in plastic packaging.

Here are a few things I learned –

I also tried a few new plastic-free toothpastes/powders. I tried this one – Georganics Tooth Powder with Charcoal– it was black. In terms of taste experience, I would recommend it because it tasted fine and worked, BUT, it stained my clothes since its a powder and can fall from the trip from jar to mouth, so next time I would go for one of the white flavors.

Next I tried Georganics Natural Toothpaste in Spearmint. I was not expecting it to be a paste when I bought it (packaging is similar to powder option). The paste tastes fine and works well, but it kindof gunks up on the toothbrush head where the bristles attach, and I’m not a fan of that. I like the powder better and next will try a different flavor of toothpaste powder from Georganics. Also on my radar as something to try are toothpaste tablets.

Since I finally ran out of shampoo, I’m now trying out shampoo bars. I went with Ethique brand for my first bar since they have a bar that suits my hair needs, the Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar. It has been working great for me; I find it lathers well and does not leave a residue in my hair, something I’ve heard some shampoo bars do. I did some research on shampoo bars since I’ve heard they can be hit or miss. This is an article I found helpful: https://www.byrdie.com/best-shampoo-bars-4707191.

I also got a sample conditioner bar but haven’t tried it yet since I’m still working through the last conditioner I bought, which came in a cardboard container with a plastic pump.

I like this conditioner a lot. Its by Seed Phytonutrients which offers free recycling of the plastic pumps once you’re through with the product (https://seedphytonutrients.com/our-standards/sustainability/). Apparently there is a packet of seeds inside the cardboard packaging, but I haven’t finished my bottle yet so I cannot vouch.

I also transitioned away from dish soaps which usually come in plastic containers to solid dish soap bars. The first one I bought was from the Package Free Shop, and the 2nd one I purchased from a different Zero Waste Shop called Fountain House & Body which makes its own soaps. Here is a link: https://www.fountain.nyc/shop/coconut-dish-soap. I’m going to make my next batch because it seem easy enough despite the creepy lye aspect.

I’ve also begun to experiment with zero-waste cosmetics. So far I’ve tried a cake mascara by Nudi Goods which I don’t really like (but might not be using correctly) and a liquid eyeliner from Clean Faced Cosmetics, which I also don’t really like. There is a learning curve with these products and I’m still fresh to the bandwagon, so much experimentation is still needed. I do really like this daily moisturizer with SPF that comes in a glass jar with a metal lid. Here is an article with links to zero-waste cosmetic brands – https://www.sustainablejungle.com/zero-waste/zero-waste-mascara/. There are also some DIY recipes out there I’m curious to try: lipstick and mascara. In case you’re interested, here is a zero-waste mascara comparison/review video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PHaW0sZTqQ.

I also transitioned zero-waste q-tips. I got these ones because they come in a cardboard box and some of the other brands come in plastic. They work as ear cleaners and make-up correctors (works best if you wrap the end in tissue). https://www.etsy.com/listing/865261920/reusable-buds-pack-of-4-bamboo-and?ref=yr_purchases. Another alternative to q-tips is an ear pick, but since I already got the reusable and multi-purpose q-tips, I’ll probably just stick with those as long as they last me.

Other things to note, one point which I learned from Youtuber Gittemary Johansen, is to take extra napkins home when we go out to eat so they can be used later or composted. Its a good practice to do this since they’ll be thrown out at the restaurant anyway, even if they were untouched. Also composting smaller paper scraps rather than recycling them is a good habit to get into since its less energy intensive to compost these than to recycle them, and it adds a good carbon component to the compost pile.

GOALS for 2021

My goals for the coming year are to reduce online video/music streaming since there is an environmental impact associated with memory storage, and to try out micro-plastic catching laundry bags.

Zero Waste Swap List, Year 3

Below is my running list of Zero Waste Products I have tried over the years (excluding some of the items described above).

  • Dental Floss
    • Dr. Mercola – favorite thus far, works better than silk dental floss and comes in a cardboard container, the floss itself may be made of plastic though
    • Silk dental floss in glass container – a bust, the silk floss breaks easily between teeth as does the container if you drop it, which is likely since its round and can roll off counters…will continue experimenting with different brands.
  • Toothpaste
    • DIY toothpaste eliminates toothpaste associated garbage which tends to be difficult to recycle.
    • Toothpaste in a Jar –
      • Georganics Natural Toothpowder – comes in glass jar with metal lid, I tried the black charcoal one, its weird but it works, would buy again (in different flavor) due to plastic free packaging
      • Georganics Toothpaste – similar to Uncle Harry’s but completely plastic free packaging
  • Deodorant
    • Meow Meow Tweet – can be bought in bulk and comes in a glass jar
    • Lush – Aromaco – no packaging, smells nice-n-hippylike
  • Sunscreen
    • Meow Meow tweet everyday sunscreen – without pump=no plastic, hard to rub in, works well, smells nice, makes you look like a ghost if you don’t rub it in, would 100% buy again
    • Raw elements – I tried the tinted one, feels thick and oily, works well, once you work it in you cant see it, comes in a metal tin
    • Daily Moisturizer w/SPF –By Robin Creations
  • Razor
    • Leaf Shave – an investment, but rewarding since it is zero-waste and also has lifetime guarantee so if it breaks, you can send it in and get a new one free of charge
  • Menstruation
    • Diva Cup, a reusable menstrual cup enables pad and tampon free living. The cup prevents garbage and exposure to chemicals, and saves time and money since you never have to buy pads or tampons after the initial purchase.
    • Period Panties – Thinx
  • Cloth hankies
  • Reusable q-tips
  • Glass spray bottles (with plastic spray nozzles, unfortunately) for home-made home surface cleaner (vinegar + water) to replace store-bought ones in plastic bottles.
  • Food Wrap
  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Food and Beverages on the Go
    • To-Go Ware (bamboo utensil set, but you can also make your own set with any silverware you’d like)
    • metal straws – small, smoothie, and bubble tea sized
    • Sea-To-Summit “Seal and Go Set” – didn’t particularly like this but its worth mentioning because it is a compact food container, pretty heavy, which is what I didn’t like. I wanted something I could carry around at all times. Ask me about my invention.
    • reusable water bottle
  • Shopping/bags
    • shopping bags and produce bags (either cloth or bring my own plastic bags to reuse)
    • cloth velcro bags instead of zip-locks

Reflections

The areas of garbage accumulation I wanted to work on reducing from last year were to-go cups (for coffee and smoothies/juices), to-go food containers (for take-out and nuts), and bread bags. I still find coffee cups to be an issue in 2021. I find it cumbersome to always travel with a drink cup just in case, but maybe that is the solution. The nut problem I have solved by buying in bulk. As for bread, I have pretty much stopped buying bread at store and instead go for bakeries and farmers markets where I can use my own bag, or I buy baguettes at the grocery store that come in paper sleeves. Twistie ties and rubber bands are the next area to tackle…

Notes on Buying Less and noticing packaging options:

Whenever possible and within reason, I first look to purchase items second-hand, usually resorting to Craigslist, having found this to be the easiest way to locate specific items, locally. I like doing this because it reduces packaging and production waste and is usually cheaper. For example, I purchased a blender ($20) and cast iron pan ($5) through Craigslist last year instead of purchasing these items new somewhere else. Saved me beaucoup bucks with the added benefit that there was no packaging or shipping involved. That’s not to say I don’t buy anything online or anything new, because I certainly do. But whenever possible and reasonable, I do look for local options first. to keep in mind.

In addition, I have become very choosy about the products I buy and my thought process around purchasing has shifted. When I am food shopping, I look at all the options and prioritize options packaged in glass, cardboard, and metal. That can be tricky, because sometimes things come in a glass bottle but have a plastic lid. Sometimes we strike gold and find a glass jar with a metal lid. Sometimes not. As an example, if I know I can get a cooking oil that comes in a completely plastic free container from one store and notice its not available at another, I’ll hold off on restocking until I can make a trip to the store that has the product I want. I do this so I don’t have to buy the oil with the plastic lid. Its not always practical to do this, but its something to keep in mind. I also buy veggies at the farmers market whenever possible and bring my own bags to put things in because that can eliminate a lot of packaging waste as well.

Finally, here are a few videos you might find interesting for zero-waste transition ideas:

And a vid about the environmental impacts of streaming, which is a bit ironic, but definitely food for thought.

And Finally Finally, since winter is over, an homage to snow beaches, my winter enchantment:

That’s all folks, many thanks for reading!

~Kelly

Plums, Emergency Vets, and Tap Dancing Today

Hello All~

Before too much time passes and in effort to curb writing procrastination, I wanted to write y’all again to say hello and give some updates.

First off, I have made my return to NYC after a month-long break in California, where I spent a lot of time eating delicious plums. MMm. The particular plum tree I was enjoying, I am told, is of the Santa Rosa variety with thin, freckled reddish skin and ruby/magenta flesh. Mm. I must admit I am a little obsessed and have been for the past few years. Here are some photos of the tree and fruit, followed by a slideshow of some quintessential Santa Cruz images in case anyone is interested in the natural beauty and quirk of the California Central Coast.

 

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Do you see anything strange about this photo?

Do you see what I see? Capitola, Ca

In other news, I had my first day of work at an Emergency Vet hospital in Midtown Manhattan today. I’m training to be a receptionist. Thankfully, I have come to my senses and am transitioning out of manual labor and schlepping yard-waste around NYC via subway (being an urban gardener), and am now trying out a full time job with benefits and all that jazz. We’ll see how it goes. I am hoping I like it since this was my childhood dream job. If this doesn’t stick…I don’t know what will.

In other other news, and the real reason I wanted to write today, is to talk about tap dancing. The one other article I have on this site about tap dancing is the single most visited page on my site, somehow bringing in at least one person from the web almost every day. With the sort of traffic I get on my site otherwise (very minimal), that is a lot. So, I’m curious–if I write more about tap dancing, will random people from the web find this article as well?  Or are they only curious about Tap Shoes vs. Clogging vs. Irish Step? Only time will tell. Experiment commenced.

Today, since it is getting late, I am going to start by sharing a video of today’s most prominent and successful touring tap dancer: Michelle Dorrance. She has a company of dancers who have been touring the world for the past few years, with this coming year slated to be the busiest yet. Without further ado, here is a video of Michelle Dorrance and her feet:

I gotta find me a good floor like that to practice on. To date, I have experimented with a few different types of practice floors. I started off with a very large slab of Masonite from Home Depot (~$50), but that wasn’t portable, so I bought myself a foldable board called Fasfoot (~$175), which I have worn to shreds through a process that fancy tap dancers call “shedding” but which really just means practicing.

Recently, I bought another floor from a couple of bluegrass musicians living out of a Sprinter Van. Their boards are called Leo Percussive Dance Boards and I ended up with the larger of the boards which cost $100. Honestly I can’t even find a link for those online but when I do, I’ll share it. So far I like this board because it is raised off the floor and thus gives my knees a little break and has a more resonant sound. Like the Fasfoot, it is portable and sounds best when played outside, but I’m finding at this stage in my tap game, that I want a larger space to practice on, one that enables me to move around more, and also one thats not so loud since I practice in a basement most of the time and the sound gets trapped down there in a way that I don’t like. I think next I will get another piece of masonite since at least that provided more space, is affordable, and sounds pretty ok (not sure about how it will fare in the basement, however). So, that is where I am at with tap dancing today. Stay tuned for more rambling as year 3 of my NYC tap dancing adventure continues.

Until next time and with love,

KB

Happy Earth Day, 2019

Hello fam n’ friends,

Up late after a relatively short day of work and a trip up to Harlem (I swoon) for an Earth Day art show put on in a fancy apartment, showcasing the work of another garbage artists named Daniel Lanzilotta.

He makes work using all sorts of plastic bits he finds strewn about the streets of the world:

DSCN8697.jpg

This piece in particular includes Tropicana orange juice bottle caps (the orange disks) among other items he has collected around Brooklyn and melts down into funky shapes.

Lanzilotta uses art to speak about plastic pollution and how it is affecting our oceans. He mentioned lighters as being the number one harmful litter he finds due to the butane and other chemicals inside which leak out onto the street when they inevitably break, eventually making their way into our oceans after rains and such.

He is collecting 1,000 lighters for an upcoming piece which he described briefly and which I’ll keep an eye out for and report back about. Coincidentally, lighters have been on my radar lately, as I have been collecting lighters and Juul pods (e-cigarette butts) during my walks around Brooklyn and Manhattan. I recently assembled these colorful items a canvas (also found in the garbage). One man’s trash is another’s treasure, no? Take a look:

DSCN8646.jpg

Ok, enough about me. The takeaway point I got from Lanzilotta as he spoke about his work is #1 don’t use plastic. Is that possible? Hope so!

As a group, the gallery attendees were encouraged to discuss ideas of things we could DO to raise awareness in society about plastic waste. The main idea I heard was to try to have a plastic free day, and to invite others to do so as well. May be harder said than done, considering most of our clothes, our shoes, our brooms, our toothbrushes, etc etc have plastic in them. I even heard plastic is now being found in salt chrystals…so we are eating it. Oy vey.

Well, lets stay calm. Remember, it’s all about baby steps. Identifying the items in our lives that are made of plastic and slowly replacing them with non-plastic products is a good way to go. Doesn’t have to be an overnight transition! Baby steps…

So, to close for the night I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Earth Day.

This year marks the 49th celebration of Earth Day. To commemorate the day, Jane Gooddall released a video wishing everyone a happy day. In the video she thanks us for even thinking about Earth Day and encourages everyone to think about our “blue and green planet” everyday, to “make a commitment as individuals to do all we can to get together with other like-minded individuals so that we can ensure a healthier planet for future generations.” So, here’s to doing that for the rest of 2019 and beyond!

And now to really close it off, some tap videos!

Leo Sandoval, Artist in Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation and member of Dorrance Dance at the Something’s Afoot New Choreography Showcase this past Saturday:

And me and my teacher Christina Carminucci at ATDF last week, working on a piece Christina is choreographing for this class for the adult showcase in June.  The song is called Stormy Weather by Oscar Peterson. Enjoy!

 

 

xoxo

KB

Oh, and I saw this the other day and liked it as a message to stand up, sit down, speak up for what we believe is right:

DSCN8652

 

Inspiration to give up plastic straws for good: Turtle Noses

Continue reading

A Beach is a Beach is a Beach – Sunday Funday Updates

Hello All,

Just wanted to send a little Hello to all my peeps and anyone else who has stumbled upon this post. Greetings!

Thankfully the weather is getting a little warmer over here and the sun is shining today, which is helping me emerge from what I’ll just call “winter hibernation”…baby’s first winter…that was ROUGH! Actually I dont think the cold is over yet, but I’m taking this nice sunny day as an excuse to hit the beach and visit papa Poseidon! Last time I came here (Rockaway Beach) it was a few months ago and it was MUCH colder. I put my toes in and immediately regretted it. Today, we will see. I am still learning that even though the sun is shining, it does NOT mean that it is warm outside. Sunshine is not an indicator of warmth. Oh how I have been spoiled by sunny Santa Cruz!

Rockaway Beach – December 2017

Anyway, updates from me are as follows:

I spent the last week waking up early to tap dance in the subway with my ballerina-roommate friend before work. It has been quite successful! But I am not quitting my day job (yet), promise! Living with a rag-tag group of girls from Korea, India, Senegal, Italy (and me), I have never been so thankful for my American Citizenship, not matter how (insert own word or phrase) our government is.

While I am collecting “Chump Change for Chimps,” she is collecting money so she can buy a ticket back to Italy and get the heck out of NY before her visa expires…it is very hard to live and work legally in the US if you aren’t a citizen, I am finding throught the grape vine, and I am feeling lucky that I can live and work where I want to with relative ease.

Here is a photo of us doing our thing. Its a work in progress, but even in our early stages we have gotten warm responses from people. Its nice to see smirks and smiles replacing blank and sullen stares in the dingy subway platforms. The classical music helps too, I think. Anyway, it is a nice way to start the day and improves my attitude while sit there and make eyes with the computer screen at work for the rest of the day.

Subway Ballet-Tap Show Photo: Kimura Kei

Awlright, thats it for now. Time to check out the sand and sea. I hope you all have a very nice Sunday and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air if you get the chance.

Sparkles, glitter, and a big thumbs up, Brazilian style,

KB

 

 

Diary of a Sailing Lunchlady

See that toilet bowl scum?

That, my friends, is the first thing I noticed when I walked into my assigned room aboard the SS Minnow in 2017. It was my fourth year working as Lunchlady, and I would be on the ship for 120 days, from April to June, travelling from San Francisco to El Salvador, Hawaii, Seattle, and back

Thankfully, I would only be working 2 months, as opposed to 4 which I had done the previos year. And thank goodness all the green slime came off after I struck a deal with the girl I shared my bathroom with. The deal was, she brings the cleaning supplies, I clean the toilet first.

And so it went.

I had done this lunchlady gig for the previous 3 summers. This one may have been my last, but we shall see, I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again. I’d say this was my most successful cruise, all things considered. No co-worker drama (last year, I thought my headmate wanted to kill me, so I’ enter the bathroom with my knife drawn and quickly dash to lock her door from the indside so she couldn’t sneak attack me– dramatic yes, but it felt safer that way, and comical in a ninja warrior way); no Napoleon-complex officers calling the galley staff  (kitchen crew) “lazy and negligent,” blaming us for what was probably 10 years of built up kitchen scum, and no getting called to the captains office for allegedly fraternizing with boys. Yes, this year was a very good year.

More to come, stay tuned…

 

 

Fidlar

For Tina

full nino girls

It was supposed to be the storm of the century when we set off on our bike trip down the California coast. New Years Day, 2016.

Me, Katrina, and Jansyn.

I met Katrina back in college when we worked together for the UCSB recycling program, riding bikes around campus, collecting cans, and redeeming them for cash at the local recycling center along with all the other humble community can-collectors and even the occasional hobo. This was our crew.

IMG_0100.JPG

Katrina and I stayed in touch after college. I always liked her adventurous spirit. One time I visited her in Brooklyn and she fell asleep before I got to her apartment, so I spent several hours at the corner 7-11 store, talking to the flirtatious cashier I was not interested in and observing the colorful characters filtering in and out throughout the night.

In the early morning, as I waited outside Katrina’s apartment, I learned she lived next door to a methadone clinic, which helped make sense of some of the personalities I had observed throughout the night, like that crazy lady with the walker that came in yelling and left with a cup of noodles. In the end, Katrina woke up around daybreak and let me in. No harm no foul. It had made for an interesting experience, just like the one I’m about to recount to you: the FIDLAR bike trip.

Katrina started encouraging me to join in on this adventure a few months before we left on New Years Day 2016. I was hesitant because I had never gone on a long bike trip before and was concerned about chafing. Yes, chafing. Its what happens to people on long bike rides and also can happen to the male nipple after wearing the wrong shirt on a long run, which I learned in high school from Mack Reland (name changed to protect real-life characters’ identity), but that is a different story.

Besides chafing, I was a little concernd about gear. I had limited bike and camping accessories and was riding an old bike, a red Cannondale touring road bike from the 80s that I had appropriated from my Grandma and which the bike shop told me was ready to be retired. No way. I loved that bike and to me it rode well, so I decided to see if it could make the 400 mile journey, my valiant steed.

We would be leaving during a forecasted El Niño event, which another concern. Knowing weather reports usually over exaggerate, I still received a lot of concern from friends and family when I told them about the intended trip. Nevertheless, by early December I decided I would come along, at least as far as Monterey, about 30 miles away, our first day’s journey. If I didn’t want to continue, I could easily turn back from there.

As it turns out, I went the whole way. Jansyn too. Another girl Katie also joined us for a few days, but respectably bowed out when the storm hit, and Katrina….well, Katrina made it as far as she could before her bike tragically vanished on our last night before the home stretch, 80 miles from our final destination, Los Angeles.

Day 1

December 31, 2017

Jansyn and Katrina arrive in Santa Cruz. I pick them up downtown and bring them with their bikes up to Fern Flat, my mom’s hippie compound in the woods. We eat dinner, a thai coconut soup my mom had made, complete with red pepper corns that left our mouths a little numb when we unwittingly bit into them. It was delicious nonetheless, thanks Momma. The girls slept in my mom’s cabin, and I slept in Lance, my soon-to-be moldy cab-over camper.

Me n' Lance

Me n’ Lance, day one. Aptos, California // Photo cred: Shannon Cecil, Seafoam Films

We went to bed before the clock struck 12. The girls exhausted from a long day of biking, all of us knowing the long road ahead.

The trip started a few days before for Jansyn and Katrina, who flew in from New York with their bikes and rode down the coast from San Francisco, staying in Pidgeon Point the night before at a hostel with a very annoying family as neighbors, according to Jansyn.

Day 2

The day begins bright and early. Its cold out but not raining as we head down Trout Gulch road towards town. It was all downhill, which was a breeze, but the sun hadn’t risen enough to shine down on us, so it was cold. Our hands were aching by the time we reached the bottom, 5 miles below. I was nervous about the trip, mostly about being uncomfortable, but after warming up a bit in a patch of sun, we continued on our way along the frontage road towards Watsonville.

We biked about 40 miles that day, passing a stretch of road with a view of the ocean on one side, and a sea of plastic on the other, agricultural land covered to suppress weeds and pests I later learned. I sang silly tunes and listened to music to entertain myself and gradually we all warmed up and de-layered as the day unfolded, stopping in Moss Landing for lunch.

We biked on Highway 1 for a stretch, which was intimidating because of all the fast cars, but interesting since I’d driven that route by car many times before and so appreciated the new perspective. Biking slowly past the wetlands and dunes, the giant smokestacks, taking in the sights and smells, feeling the cool ocean air, it was beautiful.

Eventually we arrived in Monterey, where we would camp for the night at Veterans Memorial Park Campground. There we made friends with another group of bikers from Santa Cruz who were heading to Big Sur. The group was led by a guy who worked at a bike shop and had a bunch of fancy gear including a high tech trailer to hold gear and food, and the tinyest camp stove I’ve ever seen. He was accompanied by a young UCSC student with gorgeous long hair and a hippie looking Cabrillo student named Armand. He may have been riding barefoot and when I first saw him he was doing yoga. Like I said: hippie.

That night we had an alarming exchange with a very drunk girl who was fighting with her boyfriend in the car. They were making such a fus, car alarm going off a few times, the two of them yelling, both of them crying at different points of the night. They were sleeping in the next tent over, that’s how I knew about the crying. They really caused quite a scene at the campground and I was surprised security didn’t come to kick them out. Anyway, it also made for an interesting story, so I have no complaints.

Day 3

Monterey to Pfeiffer, Big Sur.

The ride started off excruciatingly uphill. We rode up and over Skyline Drive, a mountain highway where Katrina and I spotted a hobo with a busted face while passing over a bridge. I was so shocked by the sight all I could do was say “hello” as I pedaled by.

Eventually we emerged from the mountains and coasted down into beautiful Carmel-By-The-Sea, but we didn’t see the sea from there because we were in the valley.

It started raining at some point but we didn’t let that stop us. I think this was the first day I wore bags over my socks in my shoes to keep the rain out. It worked surprisingly well. In retrospect I would have selected a different shoe for this trip. The canvas Converse high tops were hell on my toes in the mornings when the air was cold.

Eventually we made it to Pfeiffer and were joined by Katrina’s friend Katie and her entourage, girlfriend Sarah, a bike mechanic, and eccentric friend Emilia who sang us a song about sharing food while we ate our fondue dinner. As the night continued we drank bourbon by the fire until one by one we all went to sleep.

There was an interesting woman at our campsite that night and the next morning. It was a hike-bike campsite like in Monterey, so we had company. This woman was strange, but of course I talked to her. I don’t know about any of the other girls did. But I think so. We were also joined by the trio from the night before. Luckily there were no drunken couples to be found at this site. Too remote.

Day 4

The next day we spent the day in Pfeiffer, went on a hike and enjoyed a day of rest. Katie spotted a deer foot dangling from a fence and was terrorized by a strange homeless man who was pretending to lather up and wash himself over his clothes while peering through the visitor center window. I had seen this man earlier that day seated with his bundle of possessions, looking out from a sunny perch over the big sur coastline. I thought to myself that he was really livin’ the life.

Katie’s girlfriend had a car so we all went out to lunch, meeting up with Emilia’s friend who had a disgruntled cat in a box.

We returned to the site and hunkered down in our tents as the storm rolled in.

Day 5

Pfeiffer to Limekiln, not our intended spot but a smart stop since the storm was really rolling in by then. The day started off dumping and we all got ready near the covered bathroom area like good little hobos.

We stopped for lunch and were advised by the waitress to stop short of our goal and hunker down at the nearest campsite. It was about 4pm and with the storm coming and it getting dark, we had to listen. We spent about an hour trying to hitchhike. Katrina started doing the stand up worm to draw attention, but it was to no avail. Its tough trying to hitchhike with 4 people and 4 bikes. Somehow or other we made it to the next campsite and were able to eat and enjoy a quick fire before hunkering down in our tents while the storm rolled in.

That night Katie started to complain of an upset stomach. It was the beginning of the end for her and this trip.

Day 6

Limekiln to San Simeon

Woke up and promptly got on the road, only to be rained out rather quickly, about 10 miles down the road. My plastic bag booties were filled with water and the rain was coming down so hard it hurt my face and hands. As soon as we could, we pulled over. Turned out we were able to find refuge at a cute little convenience store and bar stop in Gorda, about 20 miles from the next town where we figured we could get a hotel room.

It took some finegaling and courage, but we ended up finding two cars to give us a ride to San Simeon. Jansyn and Katie befriended a couple brothers in a Subaru, and me and Katrina, we got a ride from a wild haired, wide eyed, surfer looking guy with a pick up truck. And of course that was a story in itself. I will tell you a little.

I forget his name, but he was a Big Sur native. A writer, painfully in love with a woman who double crossed him, or left him, or something. He’d never been published, but had folders of his writings scattered throughout the car. I was sitting in the back seat and could hardly hear anything of the conversation that was going on in the front, where Katrina was sitting. He had the defroster on high the whole time and frequently had to use a sock to wipe off the inside of the windsheild to clear a view. Mind you, we were driving the Big Sur coast on Highway 1, which is a rather windy road. I got pretty nervous a couple times because the windsheild got so foggy and the road was so curvy, but the craziness that was coming out of his mouth was interesting and hilarious enough to keep my mind occupied.

In the end, he dropped us off at a hotel parking lot and gave all us girls a souvenier, a piece of jade he had collected at the beach. He showed us how you shine it, with nose oil. Yummy.

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Day 7

San Simeon to San Louis Obispo

Slightly rejuvinated from a night spent indoors and our things a bit dryer, we made our way by shuttle bus to San Louis Obispo. We had pussed out at this point, it was raining anyway. We made it to San Louis Obispo and stayed the night with a Couchsurfing host, a tech guy who also did product photography in his garage as a side gig. He had a gathering at his house the night we stayed over, cant remember what it was celebrating, and we had a chance to meet his friends. The one that stood out was a lady that worked as a vet tech.

Day 8

San Luis to Santa Barbara

We took the train! Katie took the train back North.

Day 9

Santa Barbara to Ventura

We biked and camped. I got 3 flat tires and biked through the taco bell drive through. Katrina’s bike got stolen.

Day 10

Ventura to Los Angeles

Katrina took the bus. Jansyn and I biked. It was beautiful. We saw a car wreck. I listened to Nate Denver. Made it 80 miles to Katrina’s friends house. Got picked up by Peter and of course the adventure continued. Ending in a very cheap rental car drive home, alone.

After this trip, the Fern Flat days continued, leading up to the Lesbian Cat Fight and my last cruise.