All of the windows in the white Jeep Compass were rolled down, and an 80 degree fresh ocean breeze was blowing throughout the car. “Smallpools” was blasting from the aux cord, and red velvet birthday bundt cakes laid between me and my brother. Outside, to the right of the car, was the Pacific Ocean and to the left are dark overlapping mountains: the ideal road trip.
One day I’m going to live here. The second I graduate from SME, I’ll be flying to California.
It’s not that I don’t love barbecue and baseball, it just isn’t quite like surfing and fresh pineapple to me
We were going from San Francisco to San Diego, 501 miles.
We stayed at each hotel for one night. When I woke up in our second hotel in Sausalito, California, I was snuggled into a plush white comforter on a king sized bed. I spent my morning in the fuzzy hotel robe, the Keurig all to myself.
However, our last sleep-stop on the way to San Diego had a different vibe. En route, I was commander of the GPS. Blindly speeding down the highway, a British robot suddenly announced our arrival.
Right off the highway, neon letters read: “Cliff House Inn Restaurant”.
I lugged my bags into the hotel where a lively seventeen-year-old boy directed us to our room.
It wasn’t until I passed through the narrow lobby to the hotel’s exterior that I realized it was, literally, on a cliff. The outside patio had tables full of older people surrounding a large lap-pool that sat next to a bunch of rocks. I walked over to the rocks and looked down. Welp…there’s the ocean!
This was the legitimate Cliff House Inn.
I trudged into our room that split into two by a small doorway.
The rug looked like one from an arcade, dark with neon splatters. One of the first things I noticed when I looked up was that the bar holding up the curtains was ripping out of the wall, only held up by five safety pins. That lead me to notice that there were cracks in the ceiling about an inch wide all over.
All of the furniture from the lobby to our room looked like it had been a grandmother’s old belongings that were donated, or maybe just garage sale bought. Lots of furniture left with stains and tears.
The air in the room felt stale and musty, so we opened the windows. The ones in my room opened right to the highway, while in my parents’ side of the room opened to the ocean.
My brother decided that opening the room to the outside might not cool us off, so he decided to turn the knob on a giant “air system” before we headed back out.
We piled back into the Jeep Compass and stopped at the closest town — Carpeteria. First we went to a drug store to grab towels for all of us and packs of gummy worms for my thirteen-year-old brother.
Driving around the small town we considered our dinner options and finally decided to plop down at the patio of a Mexican restaurant. We spend my 16th birthday dinner talking and laughing over our Cliff House Inn, as we stuffed our faces with chips and salsa.
When we got back, the room smelled like fire. There wasn’t any to be found, but the “air system” turned out to be overheating. The overly hot and smelly room forced us spend the night laying down on the rocks so late we almost slept outside.
But even then I just keep thinking, I’m gonna live here some day. And I really cannot wait.
Sixteen years of visiting Cali and it never gets old. My goal is to go to college there, somewhere like Berkley, UCLA, maybe even Stanford… but if that doesn’t work out, as it doesn’t for many, I will make it to California as soon as I graduate.
From San Fran to Monterey to Big Sur to Santa Barbara to Venice Beach to San Diego, the variety of lifestyles are crazy different.
I am fascinated with the cultures that I don’t get to see as much of in Kansas City, like the creativity within the homeless community that springs beneath each bus stop and spills out of their towering grocery carts. Some people living out of Volkswagen vans, others living in apartments in the hills of San Fran, a few bumming it on beaches and others that live in elaborate mansions in the city.
Most of all I’m fascinated by the fact that at every corner, or really every way you turn your head, there is a fresh face. New people everywhere, inspiration hidden in every corner, from the Golden Gate Bridge all the way to the beaches of Malibu.
California is anything but boring.
I really can’t wait to live there.