Monthly Archives: June 2013

US 3 week Itineray

So at the request of the masses (well maybe 1? 2 tops), I’ve posted up the recent US itinerary. Think it was a good one – saw lots of stuff  in 3 weeks and covered a lot of ground. A good mix of  nature stuff (canyons, national parks, beach), cool drives (through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, California) and city highlights (LA, NY, Las Vegas, San Fransisco). Not a lot of relaxing mind. Think a beach trip is on the cards for next time.

Day 1
Accommodation: South Point Hotel

Landed sleepless in LA, jumped into a Mustang convertible for a 6 hour computer-game style race to Vegas (pausing at an old Route 66 diner). Wandered around a few hotels – Luxor, Excalibur, New York New York, etc, Bought  shitty souvenirs and ate bad fast food.

Day 2
Accommodation: Tropicana

PIcked up car (Chevy Impala), drove to Zombie Apocalypse store for essentials (and zombie shooting), checked into hotel, hung out at Tropicana pool, wandered around more hotels – gambled semi-successfully at Circus Circus

Day 3
Accomm: AirBNB (Bonnie’s), Springvale

Drove to Zion national park (Arizona/Utah), Did the late afternoon bus drive and took some sunset pics. Arrived late at the AirBNB joint due to odd time-difference nonsense.

Day 4
Accomm: Jacobs Lake Inn, Jacobs Lake (near Grand Canyon Nth Rim)

Had a coffee with hummingbirds with AirBNB host Bonnie, A couple of walks in and around Zion (incredible place – old and big), stopped at Kanab for Wild West movie town museum/thing (filmed lots of westerns in this town including The Outlaw Josey Wales ). Checked in at hotel then drove down to the North Rim of the (quite large) Grand Canyon for short walks, sunsets and a shitload of really average photography.

Day 4
Accomm: Pageboy Hotel, Page, Arizona

Drove to Page in time for Colorado rafting (ace) and then walked to the horseshoe bend lookout for more average photos.

Day 5
Accomm: Bryce View Lodge, Bryce Canyon

Did lower Antelope canyon tour in Page (one of the more photogenic places I’ve seen), then drove to the also very a amazing Bryce Canyon for more walks and sunset. We were all about the canyons.
Here’s one of Antelope:

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Day 6
Accom: Shitty Salt Lake CIty airport hotel due to cancelled flight.

Lazy morning then drove to Salt Lake City. Wandered a little bit around temple getting weirded out by polite Mormons then went for some beers to kill time before flight at midnight (which was then cancelled at the last minute).

Day 7
Accomm: AirBNB, Williamsburg

Caught a morning flight to NY and checked into our AirBNB in a cool, Hispanic neighbourhood of Williamsburg. Wandered around the suburb, and checked out the Williamsburg cinema to watch the Great Gatsby.

Day 8
Accomm: AirBNB, Williamsburg

Walked to Brooklyn flea market (closed sadly because of neighbouring building falling apart), then to Beacons Closet (thrift shop), then to Brooklyn bridge/DUMBO market, then to the McSweeneys Brooklyn Superhero store (which was closed for renovations), then walked to Prospect Park. Sea Thai (As seen in Garden State; loud bad techno) for dinner, then to the Wythe hotel for drinks/Manhattan views – met nice couple and shared another drink at some German themed pub.

Day 9
Accomm: AirBNB, Williamsburg

Wandered the Highline (we did an audio tour podcast),  The MET (quite an awesome museum), walk around Greenwich Village, bad jazz club for awful rum and Magnolia bakery for decent cupcake.

Day 10
Accomm: AirBNB, Manhattan/East Village

More Williamsburg shopping, Staten Island Ferry for Statue views, Wall St, 9/11 site.

Day 10
Accomm: AirBNB, Manhattan/East Village

Visited Union Square, Public Library, Time Square, Rockefeller centre, Central Park walk. At night – Little Branch (very cool jazz club behind inconspicuous white door) and Comedy Cellar (Louis CK’s haunt ) for some great comedy.

Day 11
Accomm: AirBNB, Manhattan/East Village

Central Park row in the lake, Natural history museum. Then went to a rooftop publishing party on 5th avenue which was rather cool. Because we’re (well, J is) totally connected.


Day 12
Accomm:  San Fran, AirBNB

Mission District, Delores Mission, Pie shop run by high school kids and second-hand book stores (on and around Valencia Ave). Tried for McSweeney’s Superhero store but was closed (also for renovations) then onto Delores Park, At night – City Lights Bookshop (Beat gen hang-out) and Chinatown.

Day 13
Accomm:  San Fran, AirBNB

Went to the Zoo, drove over Golden Gate Bridge and onto Sausalito (cool fishing village/tourist trap where I was gifted 2  large TinTin posters from delightful gf). That night drove to Berkeley Uni to check out the campus and watch The XX at the Greek Theatre – they were really bloody good.

Day 14
Accomm:  San Fran, AirBNB

Checked out some city views from Alamo square, hung out at Golden Gate Park (very impressed – wish we had more time). Checked out Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, and finished up with a night tour of Alcatraz (surprising good), and late night Mexican on Valencia st

Day 15
Accomm: Yosemite, Curry Village

Drove to Yosemite, Walked halfway up the waterfall and back. Was spiffing.

Day 16
Accomm: Big Sur, Ripplewood Lodge

Another couple of Yosemite walks as the place rocks, then drove to Big Sur for a late arrival (traffic mishaps and roadside fires).

Day 17
Accomm: San Simeon, Morgan Hotel

Lazy morning at our fine riverside cabin at Ripplewood, a couple of hours lazing on the beach at Pfieffer Beach (still near Big Sur), then a drive to Hearst Castle for a tour. Which was missed due to purposefully slow coastal driver. Rage! Watched amusing and large elephant seals fight and yell at each other before turning in. They reminded me of John Goodman’s Walter in The Big Lebowski.

Shut the fuck up Donnie!

Shut the fuck up Donny!

Day 18
Accomm: LA, Marina Del Ray Airbnb

Caught a morning tour of Hearst castle. Awesome place – very Gatsbyish and ye olde – dude was rich.  Drove to Santa Barbara to check out the Spanish influenced place – the courthouse is interesting.and the town, attractive. Drove onto LA to our AirBNB in Marina Del Ray – run by a hilarious and really nice gay couple (they were in the entertainment industry – the dog has been adopted from De Niro) – had meal cooked for us to cover for a non-existent embarrassing episode.

The Hearst Pool (well, one of them).

The Hearst Pool (well, one of them).

Day 19
Accomm: LA, Marina Del Ray Airbnb


Paeleontologing a dire wolf.

Tar pits (interesting – especially seeing volunteer paleontologists at work (was my dream job, aged 5), drove to Paramount pictures for a view of the HW sign, then to downtown Hollywood – stars in ground, Chinese theater etc). Drove up to Hollywood Hills and walked up behind the sign (long tiring walk but cool views), then drove up along Mulholland drive, through Bel Air to gawk at the houses of the 1%,  called in at It’s a Wrap for second-hand clothes from movie/tv sets and onto Santa Monica Pier for a wander around. Finally drove back to Marina Del Ray for sushi at the delicious Sugarfish.

Day 20

Went to Echo park to check out McSweeneys Time Travel Store, had a surprisingly fine coffee at Masa of Echo Park ( coffee not probably being an American strength), drove to Griffith Observatory for great views and incredible planetarium show.

Jumped on plane and flew home to this freezing winter. Boo!


Big Sur and the Hipster slurs

So as I’m sitting in a cottage at Big Sur, reading Kerouac’s Big Sur – bought from San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore, stroking my beard and adjusting my thick-rimmed glasses, I can’t help think that maybe the hipster accusations that have been tossed my way may be, in some way, slightly justified (on paper at least).

That being said – amidst the apps and web sites and HBO shows and news and sports updates and Facebook and films and spotify and emails and photos (taking, reviewing and sharing) – I really have missed reading papery books with imaginative and vivid writing. If this is being read as a complaint it is to be firmly filed under ‘1st World Problems’ of course, as having all these options are pretty bloody good.


‘Murica thus far

So America has been fairly whirlwind so far  – a mad dash from California to Utah/Arizona with a couple of days in mad Las Vegas –  crammed full of old canyon landscapes, long drives that distract with stunning open countryside, aching feet, river rafting, NY publishing party, hip NY streets, museums, an amazing XX gig at the Berkeley campus.

A hummingbird/Zion backdrop made for a rad morning view.

A hummingbird/Zion backdrop made for a rad morning view.

Zion and Me

Posing with Zion National Park performing in the background

Zion Filtered

A solo effort from Zion

Grand Canyon Filter1

North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Pictures no do the justice etc

Grand Canyon Me

Awkward pose in front of the GC

Night Drive 2

A terrifying drive through post-apocalyptic – mostly for the road-loving deer that loved to leap out.

Camera Shop

Replacing my camera battery charger at a cool old shop in Kanab, Arizona.

Colorado River - filter

Colorado River rafting (the non-extreme type)

Horseshoe Bend

And the view from above (Horseshoe Bend)

Antelop Canyon Me

Antelope Canyon (Page, Arizona)

Antelope Canyon 3

Antelope Canyon sans me.

Bryce Canyon Panorama

Some more canyons – this time the stunning Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Bryce 1

And Bryce…

Bryce with Sign

More Bryce

Bryce 5

Bryce deserves more

Old Hipster

Elderly hipster in Williamsburg, NYC

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Wburg Bridge

Williamsburg Bridge

Horse Pose

Slight chump behaviour at the NY MET – possibly my new favourite museum (amongst Cairo and the Louvre anyway).

Greek Theatre 2

Greek Theatre on Berkeley university campus, preparing for the XX. Which was incredible.