California love

For no reason, a list of things I’ve done in California since being born there in 1972:

  • Stood atop Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states
  • Climbed Half Dome too which has cables as handrails on the top and it’s terrifying to climb down, climbed Lassen Peak, climbed Mt San Jacinto many times, made it about 3/4 up Mt. Shasta before sliding down, climbed Mt Baldy in the summer, and Mt. San Gorgonio
  • Swam in Lake Tahoe
  • Hiked the Lost Coast hours north of SF where the fog is so thick it sits on tops of giant trees where it condenses and falls to the ground so it basically rains 24/7 all year round
  • Partied in San Bernardino
  • Attended Mule Days in Bishop many years in a row
  • Stayed at Harris Ranch, a hotel inside of a cattle lot in the central valley where it was well over 110ºF each day while smelling like a cow’s intestines
  • Cruised the main drag in Palm Springs in a lowered mini truck (my truck—sorry)
  • Stood at the base of the Golden Gate bridge while holding a laptop like a pizza for a NYT photographer
  • Hiked the Anza-Borrego desert
  • High school ditch day entailed going to Raging Waters in San Dimas where we remembered to be excellent to each other
  • Dug 6 foot deep pits for soil samples way outside of Yreka near the northern border while cows wandered around us 50 miles from nowhere on BLM land
  • Rode my bike down to the California/Oregon border on the coast
  • Backpacked at Joshua Tree and hiked miles to an oasis that we had to find and pump water out of because we’d run out
  • Rode out the 1994 Northridge earthquake on the 21st floor of a hotel at Universal Studios, which caused all the glass on the building to shatter, and because I ran out of the hotel barefoot, I had to live out a Die Hard fantasy I never wanted to actually experience
  • Opened my sunroof so I could smell the orange blossoms whenever I drove through the orange tree orchards north of Riverside every Spring
  • Proposed on top of Mt. Tamalpais
  • Whale watched out of Long Beach (and saw lots of whales)
  • Ran the Death Valley half marathon but got on the wrong bus to the start and ended up running 20 miles through abandoned mines down to the finish line
  • Camped in Big Sur
  • Watched 1992 Bill Clinton on the campaign trail drive into a private fundraiser in a Beverly Hills home while standing on the curb out front with Robert Downey Jr.
  • Did aquatic and sediment chemistry research on Lake Elsinore, the only natural lake in all of Southern California (every other one is man-made, all of them) where I also learned to water ski as a teen
  • Raced bikes at Candlestick park before they tore it down
  • Met Huell Howser at a chili cook-off in El Toro
  • Got a poster signed by Neil Finn backstage at a Crowded House show in Hollywood
  • As a kid my dad drove us all up to Half Moon Bay then asked where the giant rock was and was told by a state park ranger that we were looking for Morro Bay with its rock about 4 hours south
  • Scuba dived in Laguna
  • Ran the LA Marathon and vowed never to run another marathon ever again because even after years on cross country teams and numerous 5k and 10k and half marathon races it was just too much running for one day
  • Went tide-pooling in La Jolla many times
  • Watched the sun rise at Mono Lake
  • Got a concussion bailing out on a BMX jump in Huntington Beach
  • Went to Disneyland about 100 times
  • Worked at UCLA
  • Worked in SOMA (SF)
  • Worked in Mountain View
  • Worked at Stanford
  • Got an associates degree in Hemet
  • Got a bachelors degree in Riverside
  • Got a masters degree in Riverside
  • Got married in San Diego