It all started while I was on the phone with my friend Aaron Noble talking about how each other lives where going. He told to me that he was getting another call, and that he didn’t recognize the number but, felt compelled to take it.
When he called me back an hour later he told me for about 30 seconds that the call had been his college friend Jeremy from Oregon, and that Jeremy was considering moving in with him. Best possible outcome:) Next thing I know I hear a call waiting beep in my ear and tell Aaron I am getting a call from a number I don’t recognize and that since he had such good luck I want to try mine and take the call.
The call was from Scott the Captain of the M.V. Laura, a 80 foot motor yacht I first mated for during the summers of 06 and 07. Scott asked if I could cover a two-week shift onboard the Laura with only four-day notice. (Now, let me just say, the boat was in Newport Beach some 750 miles south of Arcata, and on top of that I was currently working 30 hours a week, which without coverage none of this would be possible.) I told Scott I would check and see if finding coverage for my shifts at Mentor was possible and that I would call him back as soon as possible.
Long story shot I found coverage and called Scott back to tell him we had a deal. My next challenge was transportation. Scott recommended I drive because same day airline tickets out of Arcata airport can be costly. The only problem I had with driving was that my Volkswagen Van takes 16 hours to make the trip from Arcata to Huntington Beach. So, I called my Aunt Linda.
At first Linda was reluctant when I asked if I could borrow her Bio diesel Volkswagen Golf (Nicknamed the Ka Beep). She sounded a little choked up at my request and asked if she could think about it and call me back. About 15 minutes later Linda called and went straight into the logistics of how I could drive her Toyota 4 runner to Mikey Moo’s property in Glenn Ellen and trade her for the Golf.
“Wait a minute, are you saying I can take your car to Huntington?” She had thought about it and figured that since she was going to be flying to Santa Monica for a West Ray’s surf club party the same week I would be on the boat, that she wouldn’t mind if I personally delivered her car to her.
Two days later I was off, heading for sunny southern California and leaving the fog behind. I packed light and arrived at 7:00pm (dinnertime:) to Mikey Moo’s cabin on top a beautiful mountainside in the thicket of wine country. My timing couldn’t have been better. I entered the tiny minimalist cabin equipped with wood burning stove, and microwave, a resent addition at the request of Micky Moo’s younger girlfriend. I sat at the table with Tony (my Aunt’s boyfriend) and a bottle of wine organic wine he made a few years earlier. Linda was serving the steaming food while Tony pored me a glass and asked if I would like some of his cannabis cigarette, I say “yes.”
I was feeling good as I ate dinner with Linda and Tony. We had sponge cake and raspberry sauce Linda had made for dessert. I told them of my plans, swapped cars and made my way down the unfamiliar mountain road at nigh and got thoroughly turned around. Thankfully made it to a rest stop outside of San Luis Obispo at 1:30am and slept in the back of the Ka Beep.
After I spent the first four nights on the Laura moored just out side of Ismis Harbor Catalina at Cherry Cove I learned that the Captain I was working with, Chip, majored in fisheries at Humboldt State. I also Learned that Teresa the cook needed a ride to her mothers in Santa Maria and that I would be the one to give her a lift.
Another thing I learned about Teresa was that my aunt Susan and uncle George saved her life by responding to her Craigslist add in Baja California. She was looking for a lift to the airport before a full-blown Baja Hurricane closed it down.
Teresa lives in San Juanico right above Scorpion Bay, a world-class right-hand surf spot. She has a café there and is well know in their small surf community for her hospitality and baked goods.
We made the crossing back to Newport Marina and had I few days to burn at the dock. On the first day at the dock I finished up my duties around 3pm and called my Dad. By chance he scored a job that same day in front of the Wedge (legendry freak surf spot in Newport Beach) just minutes from Ledo Village where the Laura was at. He would continue working there the rest of the time we were tied up.
Dad picked me up in Lydia my sisters 1989 Toyota Camery wearing a sombrero and toting Ally on her leash (Julie’s fully blown mutt, affectionately identified as an Australian Sheephearder’s Dog). I noted that I was also wearing a straw hat as I seated myself in the car. My dad turned the key and nothing happened. Dad said, “this is the second time this has happened in the last six months since Julie handed over Ally and Lydia me.” The first time was at his job in front of the Wedge. He had the guy he was working for push from the back while he bump started it.
He turned the key again. Nothing. I got out with my Sperry’s and straw hat on and pushed while a pretentious woman walked from her Mercedes Benz staring at what I was doing. It didn’t help that Ally was barking fully volume with her wet nose up against the back windshield staring dead into my eyes. Dad popped the clutch and we were off reminiscing the whole way home.
Dad say’s to me, “Julie, her boyfriend Bligh and their South African friend Alistair are waiting for us to arrive. “What? Really?” It turns out that by chance Julie had planned to pick up Ally and Lydia on the same week I spontaneously went to work onboard the Laura. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least.
After we all got acquainted, my dad put us all to work on dog hair removal. He said, “Stephanie doesn’t want to see any dog hair.” We took everything out of the house: chairs, tables, rugs, everything, and moped the entire place.
After we were through Stephanie my step mom loaded the cleaning crew into her Yukon and drove the lot of us to Trader Joe’s. We stocked up of the necessities: tri tip, beer, vegetables, cheese, etc and returned for a short-notice-family-reunion ready to enjoy ourselves.
There were a couple couches Simon, Stephanie’s brother dropped off in front of our house so we fung shuied the shit out of them, complete with surfboard table top, chips and salsa.
Asa and I jumped on the Rhodes and drums and jammed out. It was a good nigh. We all sat at the kitchen table and ate together.
The next afternoon after I rode with my dad in his dump truck back home to Huntington from the boat, I made plans to met up with my friend Beth who recently moved just around the corner from my parent’s house. I hoped on Maddie’s ski powered scooter and rode over to Beth’s house and kicked it in her layer (A garage converted into a bedroom). Beth, her friend Dillon (the man I hope to play the 60’s rock n roll villain in my musical Dishwater) were smoking and talking up a storm. At some point I told Dillon that he should ride back up with me to Arcata and start production. I had terrible cottonmouth and decided to hook Dillon up with a gift from the prosperous north. He was thankful and has remained in touch with me about coming to visit.
Beth was getting over strip throat and regretted to inform me that she didn’t know if it was a good idea to lioness me. However, one thing led to another, and surprisingly, even without the physical connection of making out we had an enjoyable time together. I told her I would miss her face and rode the human powered ski contraption home at 7:00am in order to catch my dad and his dump truck back to Newport Beach.
Julie and her friends wanted to slack line in Corona Del Mar but ended up going surfing. Afterwards they wanted the grand tour of the yacht. Julie called me and asked if it would be ok if she could bring Bligh and Alistair plus Tiffany and her boyfriend Ian. I said I could ask the Captain and Cook and see it they are ok with it. The captain proudly said, “The more the merrier.” The cook added that she would love to cook up a feast since she wasn’t doing much anyway.
The whole group of them lead by my sister came on board the Laura and got the full tour. I took them out on the Boston Wailer and putted around the marina. We drank all the wine we wanted and had hot artichoke dip on the top deck. I had the table set and helped Teresa serve the rack of lamb and other dishes. We ate, drank and laughed for the rest of the evening.
I spent another week in Catalina snorkeling, fishing, napping and reading. On my final day on the boat Chip took us out for stake dinner. When we returned too the boat we loaded Darrin’s touring motorcycle with Washington plates onboard. It was no small task. I dropped a lit up Mag light into the water and watched the beam dim as it sunk to the bottom. RIP. Chip paid me 2860 dollars that nigh, plus an extra hundred for Teresa and I to spend on whatever.
Teresa and I left at 5:00am the next morning and ended up buying my Aunt Susan, cousin Georgie, and grandma (Nanny) breakfast at a Danish pancake house in Solvang Ca. Susan and Georgie got the whole run down from Teresa about SJ (San Jaunico) and exchanged Baja stories while we drank cup after cup of coffee and ate. It’s a small world.
In Santa Maria Teresa’s mom gave me the grand tour of her Spanish style home and said that I will always have a place with her. I thought to myself, “gee this lady has only known me for 30 minutes and has already fully opened her home to me.”
Just down the street from Teresa’s Mom’s I met up with my cousin Joanna and her husband David at their work office where they lead environmental restoration projects. (Mainly invasive species removal and restoration if I am not mistaken.)
I drove through San Francisco really having to go pee. If you have spent anytime in the city you know if that if you need to pee you are basically going to be uncomfortable for a while. I made it just past Sausalito before I couldn’t hold it anymore. There was heavy traffic and my knees were swinging to distract and to remind me of the urgency of the situation. I grabbed a large Ziploc bag full of fruit from the back seat of the Ka Beep and dumped out its contents. Next thing I know I am peeing into the bag while sitting in the front seat and thinking, “I should have done this 30 minutes ago.” I mean how often have you noted the laps of the people driving around you?
Me and my bag full of piss made it all the way to Willits where I stealthily tossed it, filled up the Ka Beep, and walked across a dirt lot to a taqueria. As I was leaving Willits I passed a hitchhiker that looked pretty mellow and kept driving. I turned around after a mile and figured I could use the company. I picked him up. He had dreadlocks and a large backpack. He told me how he has traveled all over the country doing hurricane relief after Katrina, oil spill clean up in the gulf and told me about his travels south of the boarder. What struck me was his most resent experience panning for gold in Colorado. He told be that there was a curtain way of panning and a time of year to do it. The guy said he panned 3 ounces in 4 months. Not Bad. He told me he was hitching north to find a job cleaning Marijuana. He wanted to check off trimming pot in California during harvest season from his long list of to-dos.
The trip as a whole was a full-blown success. I can’t help but wonder how everything lined up so perfectly. I felt as though I was exactly where I was supposed to be, riding a seamless connection forward to some cosmic destination. For now it’s Arcata Ca.
Thanks for reading:)