My Trip around the country in 2001 with Halley

Friday, July 8, 2011

Leg 7: From The Grand Canyon to some rest in Los Angeles

In the morning we woke up and packed our site up and headed west towards the California border with a final destination of Los Angeles and my friend Deidre's apartment. We didn’t rush there however, as we were really basking in the glory of The Grand Canyon and less so because I wanted to spend time with Hillary, as the hours were now numbered with her departing Monday evening for Ohio. So instead of getting in around 6pm, we got to Deidre’s apartment at 9pm and we were all tired, except Halley who was full of energy having been cooped up in the car for much of the day aside from rest stops and bathroom breaks.
When we got to Deidre’s apartment, I hoped that Halley would just stay in the apartment and be quiet till we got back. I clearly had forgotten the lesson at Ken's house a week earlier: she wasn't going to like being left in a strange place so even though Hillary and Deidre were slipping out the door to go out, I was the final straw and Halley started barking. And barking and barking and barking. Not even downstairs yet, I had no choice but to take her with us to the bar, or at least leave her in the car while we got a few drinks. I went outside to check on her when I went outside to smoke cigarettes and drove back to the apartment to acclimate her fully and without any issue of abandonment.
Leg 7: 506 Miles
That night we slept Deidre's huge couch with Halley on the floor below us. We talked quietly since Deidre had to wake up in the morning to go to work, but Hill was starting to come to terms with the fact that we weren’t going to be together after the next day and the waterworks turned on. I reminded her that I would be stopping by to see her in no less than two weeks and that there was no reason to be getting sad when we simply would be apart for not very long. The big talk could happen when I got to Cincinnati.  I didn’t want to think about it since it was so late and reassured her that we would see each other very soon. This helped to calm us both down before going to sleep. I knew that it was going to be weird in the car with just Halley but I think we would get used to it again pretty easily.

July 9

The next day Halley got to meet Deidre's cousin (and roommate) Justine and her dog Mia, the latter of which was was very rude to Halley at first, refusing to sniff her and simply guarding her bedroom whenever Halley walked in that vicinity. Once they were acquainted enough to become familiar with each other, I left her behind while I went out to dinner with Hillary and her aunt at Cheesecake Factory, well before it had become an average chain restaurant. Tonight was the last night with Hill until the next week and while I wasn't focusing on it, I knew that putting it off would mean a tougher time when I got to Cincy in a couple weeks. Dinner was solid, her aunt paid for all of us and we had some time to ourselves before we called it a night and went our separate ways. I headed back to Deidre's, fielded a phone call from my buddy Mike in New Hampshire, a needed distraction this evening.
Mia, me and Halley
July 10

Halley and I slept alone for the first time since we were back in Albany, a welcome respite despite missing the rest of the sleeping party. But today was a day to go visit another friend from Syracuse, Sara G., who had planned for us to meet her down at Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade. The traffic was crazy intense and a short burst of rain made the roads impassible because out west, you apparently stop where you are and panic when the rain falls. It was insane but I found myself driving through traffic that was easily addressed back east but here it was a clusterfuck at every turn. I drove up into Bel Air and found myself back down on Santa Monica Boulevard just in time to park and get to a nice outdoor lunch with Sara. Since I couldn’t take Halley inside the restaurant, we ate on the Promenade but with Halley hanging on the other side of the fence. She would not stop barking and whining unless I casually fed her bread, which lasted only so long. When I got my sandwich she clammed up, but Sara was visibly pissed but I couldn't do much at this point.

While sitting there with Sara, we talked about the change from college to work, mutual friends that we had from Syracuse, as well as a myriad of her Gamma Phi sisters that I knew quite well from over the years. Coincidentally, we were semi-lucky enough to see Matthew Perry from Friends emerge from rehab and wander down the Promenade, only to be casually followed by Access Hollywood's camera. Sara advised me not to stare or look his way, likely because I was unfamiliar with how you treat a celebrity in a situation like this. Sara went back to work and said good bye to Halley and I, so we headed for a walk down to the beach.

Halley was going to be able to dip her toes in the oceans on either side of the country, as was I. We walked across the longest beach in the world, taking so long to reach the water that Halley wound up needing to go to the bathroom and with no scents on the sand, Halley dropped a squat and peed right into the ocean. A good a spot as any. And then a policeman showed up. It turns out that you can’t bring a dog on the beach in Orange County, where Los Angeles and Santa Monica are located. This didn’t make sense and put a damper on us hanging out on the beach for a little bit while I tried to get in touch with Shawn who would be getting a ride with me a couple days later from Los Angeles back to Syracuse. Halley and I walked up and down the streets near Santa Monica for an hour or so, taking in the sights before again taking a ride through some windy roads in Bel Aire and eventually got back to West Hollywood and Deidre's apartment for a much needed nap.

We went out that night with a couple of girls I knew from Syracuse, including Jess R whom I had a thing with for a bit, but before I met Hillary. All I recall from the night was Jess' friend cockblocking me from chatting with her, so I fed the friend a few drinks until she had to go to the bathroom. I got a chance to talk to Jess then and figured out what was up, talked it out with her and then went home with Deidre driving us first on the way home, then making a split decision to take a drive up the coast, not too far, but just enough up towards Malibu to hang out for a bit. It was a sweet ride and reminded me later of the Colin Hanks tour de force Orange County. It was a nice moment for us to share, coupled with getting pulled over for a taillight being out and Deidre not having her license with her. All was forgiven though and we headed home. 

July 11

Sicne we had spent the better part of the week at Deidre’s, taken some drives around town, slept in, relaxed, and prepared for the next part of the trip, driving from Los Angeles eventually back to Albany. But my car was still without air conditioning and I needed to make it to each show on the Trey Anastasio Band tour which was starting that night in San Diego. We were waiting for night 2, the next night in L.A. at The Greek Theater, but I was concerned we wouldn't make it very far simply due to the car, and we had deadlines of places to be now. I could only hope we wouldn't have any drama with my only form of transportation. 

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