"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Friday, June 20, 2008

6/20/08: Highway 1-Big Sur to Santa Cruz

We all got up at about the same time and just relaxed, taking it easy. I was feeling like a lame horse because of my feet as was beyond grateful that I was with these folks and not walking today! We eventually got on the road and headed toward Monterey and Santa Cruz where Florian had made a reservation at the KOA for the weekend. After Big Sur and Carmel, the landscape gets drastically worse. Urban. Rather ugly, but of course after seeing the mountains falling into the sea the night before, it may have been relative.

It had occurred to me along the way how lucky I had been in getting this ride. The elevation gains, winding roads with no shoulders to speak of, and traffic would have made that a treacherous walk! Better for the many bike tourists I'd seen. I saw a couple of hikers from the comfort of the RV, but none seemed to be going as long as me. Small packs. I now understand why.

After Monterey we were driving toward Santa Cruz when suddenly I noticed smoke off in the distance. The closer we got the more apparent it was that it was a wildfire. Turns out, it was right off of Hwy 1; literally right next to it...and rather large and threatening some homes. Florian had lived in Greece for a time during some of their fires and noticed that it had three distinct burning points that were far enough apart that it appeared obvious it had been intentionally set.

We were one of the last cars to get through before they shut the highway down and it was VERY close to the exit to get to the KOA. As we were driving by, Veronika and I were both snapping pictures and as we drove down San Andreas Rd., we realized that the fire was VERY close to the campground! Right over a rather large ridge as a matter of fact, so we had a great view of all the smoke. The wind was blowing off the ocean pushing it away from us, so we were obviously in no danger but people were thrown into a frenzy by all the news coverage from San Francisco. In addition to the many water planes, there were news helicopters hovering overhead.

Florian and I decided to try to climb the ridge to see if we could get a better view, but didn't find a way. Shortly thereafter the winds died and they got the fire put out remarkably fast.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, although I did have another clairvoyant experience. I had a dream that the landlord whose house we had just vacated was going to try to screw us out of our security deposit. Sure enough, I get a call saying exactly that. Ever hear of charging someone $350 for HALF of a paint job? Are you KIDDING me? A $700 paint job??? When the place wasn't painted, or CLEANED before WE moved it? It's pretty obvious they're not renting the place and using our money to compensate for the fact they need to cover the second half of June's rent, since we moved out on the 15th.

I wouldn't mention it, but it's something I was planning on having, since we took VERY good care of that place. Losing that money could threaten the rest the trip if things don't go VERY well from here on out. Just another example of people taking advantage of others, figuring out a way to separate you from the money that's rightfully yours, all while hiding beneath a faux ideological umbrella and fake ethics & morality. Horseshit. These are the people to watch out for.

There's a phrase that says the dishonest man who wraps himself in the cloak of morality does more harm than the one who's naked in his immorality. Amen.

We pretty much just relaxed all day, and I spent much of the evening on the phone and unsuccessfully trying to upload a ton of pictures to my Picasa page. Hopefully soon!

We got to bed around 1am after chatting over a few more beers.