The drive from Tucson to San Diego is pretty much a straight shot from the desert to the coast: up the 10, left at the 8, gas at Yuma, tight rope walk the border, slow through several racial profiling stations (er, border patrol), and role into casual town USA (San Diego). On a good day, the drive is 6.5 hours; but when you’re on a mission to catch a buddy’s CD release show you make it in less than six – stops included.
Yuma: home to Lou Dobbs and not much else was rest stop one-and-only. The objective: Chevron and Jack-in-the-Crack in under twenty minutes. Outcome: twenty-eight minutes because Brad had to get curly fries which were unfortunately not yet ready to be served. Also worth noting: the telling size of Yuman urinals (see right).
At 9:33 pm, MST (8:33 pm, PST) we arrived in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. We met up with the Helen Earth Band fan brigade and immediately began the requisite “to fit in” boozing. There was a consensus among the brigade that we must go downtown for some pre-function-consumption. Upon arriving on the 14 floor of a swank Gaslamp district apartment, the Homer consensus was, “Wow.” But then our host informed us that we could “only party in my room because my parents were sick and didn’t go out” and it was a high school run back. No bother. Following a disgusting rum shot, bounce down the moving trampoline at Ralph’s, and a jaunt across San Diego County to El Cajon we were at the Beauty Bar celebrating the release of Helen Earth Band’s “Our Own Ghost City.”
The show was great and had all the right ingredients: PBR tall boys, a sketchy bar chocked full of hipsters, hair salon chairs with perm helmets, a few good friends, a drunk girl openly searching for anti-horny pills, and the band killed; they played their entire 13 song set.
The after party was in Encinitas, a mere 30 miles back home. Adam slept on the car ride and nearly froze to death at the party. He was content to eat a burrito – carne asada – alone in the corner.
Adam awoke too early Saturday morning and was pleasantly greeted by a hangover. He showered and decided coffee would be good and Pipes’ coffee would be perfect (if you're so inclined, Pipes also serves delicious gigantic breakfast). Drawn to the three block-long aroma of VG Donuts, he added a glazed and chocolate glazed to the haul and the day began. Brunch at St. Tropez was next. The company was exquisite, the food necessary, and if you’re ever in the mood for delightful French toast made from croissants, this is your joint.
The rest of the day – despite Adam’s cry to “conquer something” (presumably his hangover) – was a celebration of San Diego sensibility. The weather was unseasonably warm (possible in SD?) and we spent the day at a beach house with a view of the sky that is only obstructed by the Pacific Ocean. We dined on over sized (understatement) subs at the Sub Palace; and while it is no palace, they do serve subs fit for royalty. We bid adieu to the daylight hours while sitting on the beach, drinking a heavenly red, and watching surfers share the last sets of the day with dolphins and the setting sun.
Like every good beach/sunset date, we followed that up with two outrageously priced pitchers at Besta-Wan and lots of sports talk. A phone call and rushed check later, we were downtown, on our way to the Nixon Watches holiday party. WHAT?? Yes. We found ourselves in a converted warehouse (The Old Wonder Bread Factory), full of overpriced modern art, unique facial hair, refinished concrete, velvet ropes, equal parts blazers/tennis shoes/awesomeness.
Underdressed and out of place we were entertained by a Roger Federer look-alike, an ex-cousin, and an open bar before we found our calling: the dance floor. As the newly coronated Kings of the dancing empire we closed down the place with the whitest dance moves the world has always known; dice were rolled, several running men spotted, a sprinkler sighting, and a general disregard for any rhythm the music provided. Additionally, photos were taken in the company provided photo booth that will undoubtedly stunt our political careers should the photos ever re-emerge (the were sadly lost).
A hungover wake up, coffee, brief retracing of footsteps, and brunch at the unreal Beach Grass Café rounded out the trip. Please note: the Beach Grass Café should be a breakfast staple for anyone conscious at the brunch hour in San Diego. The trip was strictly by the seats of our pants and a Western winter tribute; visit while it's 72 degrees on the west side and 8 over there on the east side. Go to brunch with your favorites. Listen to Helen Earth Band. Be a wee bit irresponsible. Catch a sunset.
READER AND DRIVER WARNING: there is a coyolina (half coyote, half javelina) parousing somewhere along I-8. He is not afraid of Nissan Frontiers traveling 90 MPH and is terrifying. Beware.