Finally Not Sick in San Francisco

January of last year I visited San Francisco. I was there a good 8 hours before I came down hard with something. It must have been the flu because I was bedridden for the next two nights.

Last week, I got to revisit the city, and I didn't get sick this time! I stayed with my friend the first night at Stanford University. I immediately knew it would be a good trip because of the victory that took place that day. My friend and I went to a dive bar, overflowing with peanut shells and Golden State Warriors fans. They were playing the Rockets that night, and my friend and I were in the minority in that bar, both ethnically and basketbally. The Rockets managed to get a very ugly W. The two of us cheered while everybody else was disappointed. It was great.

 This was on Stanford campus. It's very similar to a  sculpture  outside one of the engineering buildings of the college I went to. Fun fact: my dad went to Stanford. He's a lot smarter than me.

This was on Stanford campus. It's very similar to a sculpture outside one of the engineering buildings of the college I went to. Fun fact: my dad went to Stanford. He's a lot smarter than me.

The next day, we visited our friend at his place of work: Facebook. That office is pretty much a theme park. It was amazing. After that, we went into the city. We experienced a minor delay because somebody was hit by the train we were supposed to take, just a little ways down the tracks from our stop. All the reports say that she was taken to the hospital for her injuries, so it looks like she survived!

Once in the city, we hit up another cool tech company that our friend worked at and took this gem on the roof of his office building:

 It's filtered like that because it was taken through an app that is supposed to be used to take couple pictures. I'm not sure how it differs from the normal camera app or Instagram. It makes no sense, but whatever.

It's filtered like that because it was taken through an app that is supposed to be used to take couple pictures. I'm not sure how it differs from the normal camera app or Instagram. It makes no sense, but whatever.

That night, we went out to the mission district, hit up some bars. The rest of the trip was spent getting wandering around the city, eating, stuff like that. We had to use Uber pool for transportation, so every ride we took had strangers join us. It was actually a really good experience getting to talk to the other passengers and the drivers. One couple that rode with us was about to go on a 3 month road trip. When we told them we were from Austin, they asked what to do and where to eat. We gave them a good list that they wrote down. I did find, however, that in San Francisco I never got a strong suggestion of where to eat from any of the locals. The couple seemed to have trouble giving us a list comparable to the one we gave them. I guess food in Texas is just better.

 Taken at the Korean BBQ place we ate at one night. I really like this picture. I like the way the evening sun shines through the atmosphere, which consists of mostly grease.

Taken at the Korean BBQ place we ate at one night. I really like this picture. I like the way the evening sun shines through the atmosphere, which consists of mostly grease.

Most trips I take are usually outside because I'm not very good at figuring out things to do in places that don't have more dirt than concrete, but I was very pleased with this one. I definitely want to make a return trip in the near future and stay longer.

Oh, and of course I walked on the Golden Gate Bridge. And took a picture of it because you just have to.

Squint, for the Grandeur!

I've always considered myself an adventurer. Even when I was a child, I liked to explore caves, climb things, and trek through the unknown. Now that I'm an adult, I have the means to explore farther than I ever had before. This recently led me to the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

I don't know how to write a travel blog because I've never read one. I assume it's just describing what happened. Lists! Lists are popular. I'll try doing that.

1. Not enough beer

We started out the trip with 18 cans of beer. Being four men, we knew that we would need much more, but for some reason, we only got 12 more cans when we went to the store. We ran out of the sweet nectar halfway into the trip, and the small amount of bourbon I had was only enough for each of us to have a few sips. To make matters worse, moths apparently like bourbon and fly straight into it if it's left in an open cup. So there we were, four grown ass men who had severely miscalculated our beer usage. That's something that should happen to kids, not us. It was sad.

2. Mexican food is the biggest mountain

The first full day of our trip was spent walking through Carlsbad caverns. It was not that difficult of a trek, but when we arrive at the visitor's center, we were informed that the meeting spot for our cave tour we reserved was about a 40 minute walk away, and it started in 38 minutes. We zoomed into the mouth of that cave and arrived with about 14 minutes to spare. After the awesome caverns, we went into town to get some hearty Mexican food. It was good, but the food coma afterward was the most exhausted I was the whole trip, by far. The next day, we hiked to the highest point in Texas and back, and I was still nowhere near as tired as I was after I had that burrito plate.

3. Near death experience

There's a place in the park called Devil's Hall. It's basically a dried up river bed, and there is one spot where two walls create this narrow pathway, which is the Devil's Hall. The walls have layers that are easily climbable, so I decided to climb! I went about 15 feet up before I decided to start my descent. As I was lowering myself down, I grabbed a rock that I thought was stable, but it came loose and detached from the wall. In that moment, everything slowed down. I saw my life in an instant. I turned my head in slow motion and looked at the boulders below me. Death was waiting for me there. I looked him in the eyes, and he said, "You're mine."

"Not today." I replied.

My other hand grabbed a stable part of the wall, and I caught my balance. Death walked away, disappointed.

 Moments before I almost died. Look how happy I was.

Moments before I almost died. Look how happy I was.

4. Mouse Attack

We woke up one morning and went to the car to unpack the food. There was an apple in the car, and it had very intricate nibbles on it. I was quite confused that one of my friends decided to eat an apple like that and leave it in the car. I thought nothing more of it until the next day. A lot of our food was nibbled. There were holes in our bags and tiny chunks bitten off our food. A mouse had somehow gotten into the car and had himself a feast. We searched high and low for the pipsqueak, but to no avail. For all we know, it hitched a ride with us back home and will now become an invasive species in its new habitat. To this day, the perpetrator's whereabouts remain unknown. 

5. Guadalupe Peak

I don't have much to say about this that I haven't already said. It's the highest point in Texas. The round trip took between 5 and 6 hours. If you ever take this trip, bring sunglasses. Most of the rock is white, and your pupils cannot close enough for you not to squint at absolutely everything you look at. When we got to the top, each of us drank our a beer that we had brought with us, which were our last of the trip. 

6. Cold is the night

The last night of the trip, I got the worst sleep I have ever gotten in my whole life. Mother nature was dead set against me getting some shut-eye. The wind was blowing hard against our tent, the flapping sounded like percussion instruments all night long. We went to sleep around 9pm. Initially, earplugs were enough for me to ignore the wind until I felt something hit me in the face. I thought that my friend sleeping next to me moved around in his sleep and hit me in the face with his forearm, so I just shook it off. But then I got hit again, and again, and again. The wind was so strong that it was causing the side of the tent in which I was sleeping to cave in, and the pole was hitting me in the face every time. The wind would die down, and the tent pole would pop back into place. The wind would pick up, and I would get a face full of tent pole. I didn't want to leave the comfort of my sleeping bag, so I wanted to wait out the wind. I waited a very sleepless and face-poley 2 hours before going outside and tying the pole to a nearby tree. Now, the tent would cave in still, but the pole would stop about 10 inches from my face. It was like those scenes in movies where a guard dog runs toward a character and jumps up to bite his face but is caught by the leash its wearing just inches before. I thought I had won. I started to drift back to sleep... until the side of the tent closest to my feet kept caving in and hitting my legs. By this time, there was less than two hours before we were getting up to leave, so I wasn't even sure it was worth fixing. The tent kept slapping my legs as if it were mocking me. I asked the sweet Lord to stop the wind like He did that one time on the sea, but to no avail. I wondered what God was trying to teach me through this. That He will pursue me like the wind, relentlessly? That He hates it when I dream? I didn't care, honestly. I just wanted sleep. I went outside again and saw that the rope used to tie that side down had come loose. I wrapped it around a rock since we didn't have stakes and went back to sleeping bag. I lay there, wide awake, staring at the wall that was being pounded by the wind, waiting for my efforts to fail. The wall held up, though, yet I found no sleep. Thirty minutes later, the wind stopped. I was still wide awake, and my alarm was set to go off shortly. I threw in the towel. I got up and went for a walk and took this picture:

That was nice.

New Blog!

All the cool people nowadays are buying their own domains and making their thoughts public. I had already been making my thoughts public on my old wordpress (danielsmoreno.wordpress.com), but it was time to grow up and own my own website. I moved some of my wordpress posts over to this site, but there are more still on it. Feel free to check those out if you want to see a little farther into my head.

I will be picking this blog up where I left off on my wordpress, so I'll be starting my Names That Fell challenge shortly. BUT FIRST I am taking a little life break for a few days to revisit the wilderness in west Texas. The mountains are calling, and I must go! When I get back, I hope you'll join me here. I thank you in advance.


I want to give a shout out to the people and their blogs that inspired me to do this.

lettersandstories

aleeviate

esthermablog

paraparasailing

Check them out. They are all incredibly smart and gifted writers. I also realized that they are all women, making my blog a little out of place. Oh well. Gender norms are mostly dumb, anyway. Men have feelings, too.

Enjoy!

 Forced expression.

Forced expression.