Photos and Reflections on Working on the Road in California (Pt. 1)




(Story below)

PHOTOS-Working on the road in California-Part 1

(1) A Filipino cook grills.

(2) Tell me that doesn’t look delicious!

(3) Foster’s Freeze, an old chain of ice cream and burgers. Looks great, but based on my dipped cone, I wasn’t all that impressed.

(4) Apparently we were staying on the ol’ ’60s main street in El Segundo.

(5) Ferris wheel blurring fun.

(6) Confetti eggs. The kids loved these!

(7) Giant slide.

(8) Papusa man. I wanted one of these, but by the time I had come back to get one, he was all out.

(9) Carnival outlook.

(10) Can someone please tell me what these green frosted fruits are?

(11) Girl on swing. This was just before I almost got arrested for taking photos.

(12) That ride that suspends you upside down.

(13) The best spicy crema corn on the cob ever. Chavella’s can’t even beat it!

(14) Hello San Fran.

(15) 14-year reunion with a childhood friend!

 Striking a radice pose in a redwood trunk.

(16) Car traces in the city at night.

(17) Sketchy NorCal…instead of bringing housekeeping carts up to the first floor, they just take da buckets.

This. Don’t know how it happened, still, but it was fixed in a jiffy.

(18) This was somewhere around Bakersfield…when I maybe somehow broke the truck by doing (next photo).

(19) This.

(20) Which is the real one?

(21) A hummingbird at rest.

(22) Big redwood tree trunk.*   *This photo meant only in part to immitate Radice.

(23) From the palm trees to the redwoods…Ahhh, I love being in the redwoods again! Couldn’t bring the truck in there, however…too windy, steep, and narrow.

(24) Brandon almost stepped on this little guy.

(25) Beautiful scales!

(26) I had to get a photo of this amazing tree…green wood and bright red flaking bark…so pretty!

(27) Vista during our hike.

(28) Coop cut in half by rock.

(29) These little lizards kept flitting here and there, but upon catching an actual photo of one, I noticed its beautiful coloring.

It’s been a while since my last post, but with good reason: I’m in California working every day of the week! Living and working on the road with Active Minds has been an adventure thus far, but not necessarily for the reasons I expected. So far I’ve been from San Francisco to NorCal, back to San Fran, down to L.A., and east into the desert. Work has been most definitely gratifying, and I feel I’m doing truly meaningful things. On the other hand, I’ve been sick on and off, haven’t gotten to explore nearly as much as I’d like, and feel it’s impossible to make it through a day without getting nitpicked for something…but more on that later. I guess this all comes with the territory of a 1-month job.

The day I was offered the Active Minds job as an on-the-road worker for Send Silence Packing, I started feeling sick. I had head fog, no appetite, nausea, and dizziness, all of which are very unlike me. It took several visits to different doctors and a self-diagnosis, but I finally got a doctor to diagnose me with Lyme Disease. Goodness knows that after watching my mother suffer through it twice for the past 16 years of my life (as well as seeing my good friend currently going through it), I knew how much damage it could do. 3 days after that diagnosis, though, the same doctor called, said my test was negative (which means nothing in Lyme speak–negative is often still positive), and said to stop medication. 9 hours later, my family brought me into the ER. It was a scary moment, as I’d never had reason to be admitted to the ER in my life. I remember lying on the couch, feeling really sick, and mouthing words but having nothing coming out. I started writhing and crying (yeah…not exactly like me at all), and my mother told me they were taking me in.

After waiting 4 hours in the ER so stupid drunk kids from local colleges could detox and free up some beds, I was finally admitted and stuck with an IV. I can call them stupid because I would never do anything so dumb as to ruin my body and not be able to take care of myself while simultaneously taking away hospital beds from people who truly need them. So after 4 hours of sitting, moaning, and shivering in the waiting room until after 3AM, I had my blood taken and told that even though I was negative, the doctors said I had Lyme and was having a herx. This was one week before I was to leave for California, so you can imagine how afraid I was that I wouldn’t get to go. And believe me, I wanted this job more than anything! It was simply terrible timing, but hey, at least I was able to come out, right?

Since then, I’ve had little appetite, and have gotten sick twice. Brandon, my road partner, probably thinks I’m nuts and faking it or something, but there’s nothing I can do about that. Even after watching my mother go through Lyme for so many years, there’s no way to understand it until you experience it. Same with so many things in life, right? But really, small things can set off a reaction in your body. I’ll suddenly feel like vomiting and collapse into fitful sleep for several hours. I’m on a medication at the moment that makes me super susceptible to sunburn, so I’m supposed to avoid the sun. Remember that part about working outdoors in California? Yeah…my hands, nose, knees, lips, ankles, and other odd splotches of skin have very red blotches that burned almost immediately. So now, going near anything icy, hot, or sunny immediately produces a painful burn that radiates all over my body. Just typing this, my hands are in pain from the monitor’s heat. Yep, Brandon must think I’m a complainer, but there’s no way he can understand the pain I’m in just standing in the sun for 5 seconds, or experience how hard it is to sleep when the bed sheets cause friction and the a/c creates cold breezes, causing pain all across my body. But what am I to do, not work? I love what I’m doing, so I try to stay in the shade and smile through it, complaining as little as possible.

Besides the pity talk, how about speaking of the awesome aspects of this trip? I’ve gotten to see parts of California that I’d never go to visit on my own. We found Chico to be out in the middle of nowhere, but full of friendly people and an overall very Ithaca-like town. We saw endless brown hills, rice fields, walnut orchards up the wazoo, and much more. We spent time exploring San Fran (not new for me, and it’s not my favorite city, but still enjoyable), then headed down south. We’ll be taking route 1 up on the way back, but for now we had a time crunch and had to drive down quickly on the most dull road known outside of Nebraska. There were orchards, and there were brown hills. That’s it. I also seem to have broken our truck while driving down near L.A., for we had to get a quick fix the next day. But that’s another story for another time!

I’ll explain more about the display in my next post, but for now I’ll mention that in my off time, I’ve been eating what I can and trying to enjoy the local cuisine. Last weekend I went to a very sketchy Latino Catholic fiesta. The carnival was full of, well, people who stared at the lone white girl with her camera, and amazing food opportunities, none of which I should have eaten. I did, of course. I was enjoying practicing with a borrowed lens, and had fun getting carnival ride light patterns and kids flying on the swings in the right focus with this newer lens. I REALLY enjoyed the things I didn’t understand–the picture bingo, the mysterious frosted green fruits in cups, the papitas, the fried skewers, the funny antics. I absolutely loved it all. Except for the almost getting arrested part. On my way out, a security guard stopped me and said something unintelligible. He then radioed in, got several other security guards, brought over a policewomen, etc. I was explained that a mother complained of me taking photos of her kids (perfectly understandable), and was asked why I was doing it. True, had I not stood out as being white, tall, alone, and with a camera, I never would have gotten in trouble, but I was brought to more guards and more policemen, where I explained I was happy to erase the photos her kids were in. I did understand, and apologized profusely, but thought it was funny that I was considered a threat (especially standing there with my half-eaten spicy crema corn on the cob in my hand).

The carnival, the exploration of ethnic food shops with foods from Fiji, Samoa, and Sri Lanka, the fun of exploring a foreign city near L.A., the massive and amusing food stores…it was all a delight for me to explore. I only wish I could have eaten more! I’m sure I’ll have no trouble stuffing myself in due time, but for now, I just wish I felt better and could go hiking and exploring everywhere. Thanks for listening to the rant, and do enjoy the photos, aight? Above is a list of what they are.




26 thoughts on “Photos and Reflections on Working on the Road in California (Pt. 1)

  1. (10) I think those long things in the styrofoam look like insects. Crickets maybe. So is the green stuff caterpillar custard?

  2. (10) You guys could be right on the kiwi part, but if you saw them in person you’d see a sugary sheen or some coating on the outside…guess I’ll have to try them next time!

  3. (10) You guys are nasty. Think I’m gonna go with caterpillar custard now for creativity points. Laura, you should be a creative consumer!

  4. (13) By the way, I went to the new Chavella’s last night. They moved to another spot in the hood. It’s basically Chavella’s plus more space plus margaritas.

  5. (13) I heard! My brother’s roommate trashed the place, however, so I’m not friends with him. The roommate, not my brother.

  6. (13) I went to the new Chavella’s last weekend! Sangria on tap = Heaven. Even though I can’t really have it. Oh but Coop, have you tried the corn at Cafe Habana? New York may still be able to beat your Cali grub…

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