Tuesday 18th April – G’Day Jon!

Dan awoke roughly, but in much better shape than the previous night. At around 2am, he was sure it was still early in the night and it took a bit of persuasion to convince him that it was actually a ridiculous time of morning. He eventually crawled back into bed after doing his routine search for the important things in his van. He remembered almost nothing so I filled him in on the gory details.

When actual morning came, we lay around in bed for a long while, trying to decide what to do for breakfast. After a bit of Googling around for a breakfast place, we decided it would be best to cook food since I had so much of it in my van. Dan knew of a place just south of Venice beach that had free parking so we head there. On the way, we stopped at a Maccas for the bathroom. The fog from yesterday still persisted which put a big downer on my mood, but the spot we found for breakfast was nice enough, right by a tall sand dune. After a quick wander to the top to see the ocean, we were back in the carpark and cooking up breakfast.

Potatoes, avocado, bacon and egg, we were both happy campers. Just as we were sitting down to eat, a guy walking his dog stopped when his dog stopped to say hello to Cleo. He then said something about us “dwelling” in the area, that we shouldn’t do it because it would mean everyone would get kicked out. I was still processing what he’d said when Dan ripped into him and told him to get lost. He fought back for a while as he walked away, finishing with his biggest insult, telling Dan to “Go suck a dick in bush”. His accent was foreign, maybe Russian, and it made us both laugh. He’d ruined the serenity of our breakfast a bit, but the food was still good. Ten minutes later, he walked by again, this time keeping his mouth shut until he’d passed us, when he mumbled some more insults. I then saw that he was a traveller as well, in a huge caravan ao I really have no idea what he was on about.

At risk of being accused of “dwelling”, I decided to have a shower, much needed since I still had Coachella all over me. I was fully refreshed after that. Next on our agenda for the day was laundry so we navigated ourselves to a Laundromat that also had a Walmart and Home Depot nearby. At the Laundromat, Dan did a collection of the dirty clothes around his van, joined them with mine and they all went in the machine. While the load was on, we took my canopy to the Walmart with the intention of returning it but had no luck because it wasn’t a big Walmart so they didn’t have an outdoor section. So, we sat back in AF1 to watch the Matrix while we waited. What a lazy day we were having. Half an hour later, Neo had just taken the red pill and we went back in to transfer our stuff to the dryer. More Matrix while we waited, then just as Neo was unplugged from the Matrix, we were back in to the laundry to fold. That done, we drove over to the nearby Home Depot to look for a storage hitch for Dan. We didn’t have any luck there, but I managed to find a perfect sized dowel to strengthen my roof rack and some loctite to stop my solar panel bolts from loosening again. Back in Air Force One, I was trying to bring Dan’s phone back to life while we contemplated what to do next.

We drove around the corner where Dan bought some Subway for lunch, then drove to Eucalyptus park to chill out for the afternoon. Always traffic no matter where we drove, we’d thought about going to the Griffith Observatory more than one, but were consistently deterred by the hour-long drive to get there so we never made it. After an hour of lying on the grass in the park, we drove to the hotel I’d booked for the night. It was just past check-in time and we figured we’d make the most of it. I’d booked a night at the Tradewind hotel so that Jon, who was flying in that night, would have a hot shower and nice bed after his 12 hour flight from Taiwan. We pulled in, parked out front and checked in.

It was immediately obvious that I’d done a much better job with the hotel choice than I had with Kevin. This place was part-hostel, part-traveller’s paradise. It was complete with a Tiki bar, heated pool and a nice restaurant and lounge. Even better, we had a corner room right at the edge of the place so we didn’t have anyone walking past us. The room had not one, but two queen beds, complete with air conditioning and a terrible cigarette smell which Dan dispersed with the Fabreeze spray he carries around. Dan and I were both useless at deciding what we needed to bring with us up to the room so we made multiple trips back to the car, including one for Dan to retrieve Cleo, sneaking her in to the room without any trouble. Dan freshened up from his rough night with a good round of mouthwash and teeth brushing while I watched some F1 on the Wifi, trying to catch up on what I’d missed. We had plans to head up to the Griffith Observatory for a sunset hike, but we got caught up in playing cards and relishing the hot shower and never left the room.

I talked to Mum and Dad while Dan napped, then it was time for dinner and a free champagne, courtesy of the hotel. We intended to play a round of pool, but discovered that the tables only contained two balls so instead we sat by the pool. Champagne sunrises in hand, the burger we ordered was delivered to us and, after a quick trip to my van for some mayo and salt, we dug in. As soon as we’d finished eating, it was time for me to get to the airport which was only ten minutes away.

Jon’s flight arrived at 8:30pm and I got to the terminal around 9pm, still with plenty of time to meet him at the arrivals hall. I eventually found the oversized parking lot (required because of my bike) and spoke to a man at the entrance who gave me a ticket and used barely any English to tell me where to park. I didn’t quite understand how I’d get out, but figured I’d deal with that after finding Jon. I walked into the terminal and found the familiar arrivals hall where I’d been before. It was packed full of people but I found a spot by the railing and got chatting to the guy next to me, waiting on a friend also on Jon’s flight. He’d been waiting much longer than me. Turns out he was a climber so we talked the time away as we watched people come out and find their relatives and embrace them. One of my favourite places to people watch.

Jon gave me updates from the other side, waiting for his bags and slowly making his way out of the airport. I was only waiting about 45 minutes before I saw his happy face come up the ramp. I threw my hands up in the air until he found me and we met at the end of the hall where we had a huge hug. Jon was actually here! We hugged a long time before I took one of his bags and we walked out of the airport back to the car. He wasn’t feeling too seedy or tired which was a good thing.

Back at the car, I asked a man in a nearby exit booth how to get out and he told me to go through the parking complex that had only 8 feet of clearance. That wasn’t going to work so I went back to the carpark entrance and the original guy told me to go back to where I was by the other exit booth and someone would come along. After a few minutes of no action, Jon and I decided it would be best if we just removed one of the metal posts out of the ground so we could drive out. Jon put on his best “I know what I’m doing” pose and lifted one of the metal posts out of the way while I drove out. He replaced the metal post, hopped back in the car and we were off! Thanks to all those who had no idea what was going on!

We were back at the hotel in no time. Jon helped spot me for getting under the roof outside the hotel and we discovered my bike would not fit underneath so I parked another way, thankfully with no impact to the bike. We met Dan outside our room, he was attending Cleo at the bathroom. My new friend shook hands with the old and we all went up to our room for some beers. We all chatted away, rotating between laying on the bed and sitting on the floor and chairs. We only had a couple of rounds but that brought us up to about 1am and Jon was proper tired, along with me, Dan and Cleo.

We bid each other good night and I wished Jon a long sleep to get over any jetlag he had.

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