Wherein Jack went on an adventure and could have gotten into a ton of trouble if a park ranger didn't have such a good sense of humor.
I might have to make this into two parts. Unless you all think I'm clever and witty enough to pull off a book length post without losing your interest and making you wish you could stop reading and get dinner. And let's face it, only a few story tellers could pull that off.
I will start with the beginning. Because as a general rule Authors try to do that.
Before I moved my friend, her sisters, and I would go on adventures. Sometimes we would drive up to a lake and climb around the rocks and look for pirates and Dragons. It was great, we loved it, but on the drive there and back we could never agree what music to listen to. We'd spend the whole trip flipping through songs and stations.
During one of our last treasure hunts I had in one of the newest Owl City CDs I had bought. On the way back we rolled down the windows and bounced over the rutted road with his songs playing.That was when my friend told me I'd finally found good music.
That's one of the best memories I have with her. Us tired from scrambling over rocks, the rare Wyoming warmth, and her bobbing her head to Owl City. (When Can I See You Again? It was one of our favorites after that.)
When she died I didn't want to listen to his music for a while. I listened to Josh Groban's CDs and cried over them. But my friend was kind of the complete opposite of me. While I would like to sit snuggled up with a good book she would run around and DO things. Anything and everything. Just so long as it was fun and exciting. And I had a feeling she'd be displeased if I spent so much time crying instead of going out and going on adventures.
Since I still couldn't listen to the Owl City CDs we listened to together without sobbing I bought a new one. The Midsummer Station. Of course, some of the songs in that CD make me cry sometimes, especially Gold which reminds me a lot of her.
To make this part of my story a little shorter, over the past few weeks and month or so I've started to listen to the older CDs again. Sometimes I will listen to When Can I See You Again?
One evening, it was during my last week at my second job, I for some reason looked on the Owl City website. I don't even remember why now. I think I was just trying to keep myself awake. While skimming over the site I realized Adam Young would be on tour, in San Francisco. And the tickets didn't cost an arm and a leg like I have found other concert tickets to.
I almost got the ticket, but since I'd just lost my job I decided not to. Rent and all that boring stuff. Also I didn't have enough for gas for the drive down. I was disappointed but since I couldn't go I didn't give it much thought. I figured if he came out here this tour it must mean he'd do so again someday and I'd go that day.
That was before my friends surprised me with enough for gas and a ticket. I may have shed some tears....it was probably one of the nicest gifts anyone has ever given me.
The concert was in the evening, so I decided I would go down extra early and explore San Francisco since I'd never been there. (Or been there years ago, I can't remember if I went there or somewhere else once.) I didn't even really have plans. Just go down and have an adventure. The sort of thing my friend would have found funny. The kind of mishap I would have written home to her about.
If only I knew.
I woke up at five thirty and set off in the pitch black in my friend Ben's borrowed car. My car got health issues at the last second so Ben loaned me her car. I was a little wary taking it. I don't mind driving in big cities - I've driven in every big city back east - but they're not my favorite and I had a feeling I'd end up squishing her new car and she'd banish me to Siberia. (I did make it there and back with no mishaps to the car, though I might have played race car going around some of the sharp corners....)
Nothing exciting really happened on the way down. I did have to stop at a Troll Bridge and give up some money. I guess San Francisco is one of those cities where it is so fabulous you have to pay to get it. Or maybe they just love their bridge and believe they can charge a little extra to allow you to be in the same city as it. Maybe they pave the streets with five dollar bills. Who knows? I'm not a troll so I don't know how any of that works.
Once inside the city I managed to get myself turned around - my GPS thinks I'm an idiot and only mildly tolerates me. I thought I was were the concert would be, so I parked with the idea I'd explore the rolling streets, jump on a tramcar, see what San Francisco was all about, and make it back two hours before the concert. I'd then find a seat right up front to the stage, claim a nice seat, and read my book while I waited. (Just wait, you can see how well that plan worked out.)
The first idea I had that I was at the wrong place was how shifty everyone watched me when I got out of the car. When I locked it up and set out to explore I had a horrible image of coming back hours later to find the tires gone. Again, I thought of banishment to Siberia.
Unsure of where to go, I started walking. I couldn't find any tramcars, but I did find a market area. And suddenly I felt as if I'd dropped into Mexico. Everywhere I looked, Hispanics, and there I was, the only white girl for who knew how far. I might have clung to my lunch a little tighter and gotten the glint in my eyes I think I get when I feel outnumbered. The look of, "I can break your knee if you try anything. Don't push me."
After I circled the streets, left the shifty area and snapped pictures of some of the pretty houses, panicked because I couldn't remember where I parked the car, I decided I should go down and see the Golden Gate Bridge. After all, how often would I be in the city?
It was on the way back I passed by the address where the concert was and realized I'd gotten the wrong street all together. Which made sense, because I couldn't imagine Adam Young selecting a shady part of San Francisco to hold the concert.
The best part of my adventures happened at the bridge.
I found a nice place to park and set off on foot. That's when I became a tourist. The moment I saw the bridge I started sapping pictures. I walked up and down paths, found a tunnel which went under the busy road, and when I came up the other side realized you could walk onto the bridge without the trolls getting you. (They only cared about the cars.) So off I went, pausing sometimes so I could peer over the railing at the massive drop. My stomach might have dropped the whole distance.
I walked out to the first archway. I almost went across the whole of the bridge but wanted to find a beach so I could look for shells. (Just wait, the beach is where the mishaps really start.)
Below the bridge was a fort I wanted to explore, but the road there was a ways off and by then I wanted to find the car and the beach and then head back to the city. I returned to the car, and when I reached it I realized I had parked close to a path which went down to the beach.
Down I went. Down a steep stairway. Down the side of a cliff. A steep cliff. (You get the idea. Just keep that pictured in your head. Steep stairway and cliff.)
Sometimes on the way down I'd pass people coming up. We'd smile at each other, I'd nod, and we'd keep going. Most of the time it was just one or two people. But then these three young men came up. They were nice and moved over as far as they could so we could pass. But as the first one passed me I decided I would be nice. I decided I would walk down the little railing thing which lined the stairs.
I didn't count on it being slippery. The moment I placed one foot on it that foot slid out from under me. Arms flailing, I tried to catch my balance as three young men called out their concern - I was on the side with the cliff drop off - and three pairs of hands reached out to keep me from falling. Somehow I didn't fall on my face, I just stammered my thanks to the three young men and apologized. (Because when I do something awkward I tend to say sorry a couple times as I awkwardly scramble off.)
No wait, it gets even better. (Okay, more awkward I guess.)
I reached the beach at last. It was a cove with rocks all over the place. With the tide coming in I walked close to the waves, down the beach, drenching my boots. I loved it. And down the beach I went, watching the sailboats, enjoying the crash of waves, running up the sand when the salt water came after me.
I was lost in my own little world. But of course, I also liked to look up the cliff and the path at the top of it. That's when I saw them. People, in the sun...with no clothes on. Somehow, while chasing waves, I'd come across a nude beach with no warning.
To be honest I've always thought nude beaches were made up and didn't exist. I was proven wrong and the ocean suddenly became the most fascinating thing in the world. With my eyes fixed on it, I all but ran past the sun bathers. (I was covered almost head to foot in clothing. I had dressed for cold weather, so I had put on tights, socks, boots, skirt, and a sweater. I think the sunbathers were silently judging me, but since it was a two sided judging I didn't give it a lot of thought.)
Don't ask me why I didn't turn around and go back the way I'd come. Once I saw them I just ducked and all but ran. I didn't waste time thinking.
I went on until I came to the end of the beach. In front of me was a barrage of rocks, behind me nude men. I took the rocks.
With the tide coming in, the rocks went and covered with clams, my boots slippery, I started over them. I went slowly. The last thing I wanted was to slip and have naked men come to see if I was all right. I had to dodge the rising tide, and once I'd gotten past the bigger rocks I ran into some annoyed crabs who felt I shouldn't have been on their beach.
At the other side of the rocks was a much smaller beach. I realized I'd arrived at the beach which had been closed off. But still, naked men, so I went on. I came to a rock wall, up on top were No Trespassing signs. I hoped if I stayed at the low end of the wall I'd not be in the place they didn't want me to trespass into.
The tide was coming in faster by then. The spray came up to get me and I ran past the wall - and found myself UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge. In that moment I saw policemen coming out of the locked door. I saw myself in handcuffs and then in a jailhouse, having to explain to someone why I'd disobeyed the law of NEVER EVER going under the bridge.
By the way, it is creepy under the bridge. It rose high up over my head and I ALMOST stopped to get a picture so I'd forever have proof. I decided against it though. It might have looked worse if a guard had shown up and I was there snapping pictures in a place I shouldn't have been.
After I gave it some thought - I REALLY didn't want to go back through the nude beach - I ventured on. I decided if a guard did show up I'd explain everything that had happened.
At the other side of the bridge I saw a gate blocking off my escape. There was a path but at the top of it a No Trespassing sign clearly barred the way. In the end I figured it would be better just to go and turn myself in. If I got yelled at I'd take the punishment. And if the guard ordered me to go back the way I'd come I'd explain about the naked men and beg to be let through the gate.
At the other side of the gate was the fort I'd spied from the bridge. (The one I hadn't wanted to spend the time walking down to.) A park ranger stood at the entrance of the fort and I shyly waved to him. "I got a little lost," I said as he walked over to the gate.
(I had my hair in two braids which I think helped me look like an innocent little girl who'd somehow ended up in a place which should have been impossible to reach.)
With a mild smirk, he pulled out his keys. "We'll both just pretend you didn't see the signs," he said as he unlocked the gate.
I thanked him and left the forbidden beach as fast as I could. I then figured I'd go into the fort since I was there. (It was very cool by the way.) On the way out the guard - who reminded me a lot of my Mercenary Friend - again smirked and said goodbye. (I'm so happy some people still have senses of humor.)
After that adventure I went back to the car and drove to the right address. I then sat out on the street with all the other concert goers, read about Vango, and shivered in the cold, damp air until we were allowed to go in.
The concert was fun. Adam Young is quiet in person and he didn't say much, except to thank us all over and over again. But he sang a ton and it was just tons of fun to go and listen and SEE him in person. He even sang my favorite song by him, which made the whole thing even better.
The whole day was just really nice and fun and enjoyable. I even got to spend the night in a hotel - a king bed all to myself - before coming back home this morning.
I have a ton of pictures but I will save them for the next post, since this one is already long.
Right now I am going to go to bed. I was awake for eighteen hours yesterday - and most of it spent on my feet - so I'm still tired even though I got to sleep in this morning.
Quote is from Vango, the police inspector who was having a horrible day.