About Me

Tired of the mundane and craving an adventure, on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, I embarked on the ultimate American road trip through all fifty states. After nearly a year and a half on the road, on a budget of less than 50 bucks a day, this is my story...

Calif. PT 2 - Staying w/ "The McMorgans"

Getty Villa - Friday, 3.4.11
Photo by Bobak Ha'Eri
On Sunday, February 13th, I arrived at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, after taking the red-eye from Honolulu - and I actually slept (a first for me)!  I didn't receive as warm a welcome as I had anticipated.  My friend Thomas was too sick to pick me up, and his parents were out and about, so I spent $45 on the Super Shuttle for a ride to Thomas'.  When I got there I saw his car in the driveway, but no one answered the door after several knocks, and Thomas' phone was off.  Odd, since he knew I was flying into Cali this morning.  His parents vehicle was gone, so I figured they had all went somewhere together, but I left a message on their answering machine, just in case.  After lunch, several hours later, his parents returned as I was lying on the front porch napping, lol.  They said "Matthew, why are you waiting out here?  Thomas is inside."  "Inside?!"  "Yeah, he must be sleeping."

I didn't get to see Thomas before picking up my car (which they were generously storing for me in their driveway), which I found very strange, and in the coming months of visiting the Los Angeles area, I wouldn't hear from him.  I still to this day don't know what happened to my good friend; if he harbors resentment for some unknown reason, or what, but I hope he's well and happy.

Ladder Trail at Painted Canyon
Friday, 3.11.11
Over the course of the 3 months I stayed with Kyle & Alida up in Canyon Country, (approximately 30 miles north of L.A.), this scenario repeated itself over and over again, as several people I reached out to had apparently moved on with their lives, awakening me to the harsh reality that long-distance friendships are often temporary, getting shoved into the corner of Facebook Friends-only status.  Life goes on.  The thing to do is move right along with it in enthusiasm, while treasuring the memories of friendships past.

The best long-distance friendships pick right up where they left off, no matter the amount of communication between visits, and this was fortunately the case with a few of the friends I did manage to see, who happily filled me in on what I had missed, and excitedly introduced me to the new chapters of their lives.  

It's crazy to see in just a few years' time how much people's lives have changed!  
Kyle completed his Masters and is now archiving documents for ONE, and Alida very unfortunately has had to experience many losses including her father, putting down Roger, (her loving yellow lab of nearly 15 years), and losing both cats - Cash (aka "Wormy") after 18 years, and Cary ("Little Guy") after 15, both having organ failure.  Kyle & Alida, or "The McMorgans," have had family additions as well, including Bones - an old, black, disheveled, affectionate cat with an insatiable need for attention, who meows relentlessly whenever he's not napping (especially every night at 3am like clockwork!), and Blue - an old white cat with cauliflower ears and the most amazing blue eyes you've ever seen, that never ceases to find new piles of stuff to knock over when falling asleep on them!
Dani made the move from her parents house to a beautiful duplex only a couple blocks from the ocean in Long Beach.

Jenny from Montana is now a successful radiology technologist living with her new boyfriend "Hap" in her new apartment in Burbank.
Salton Sea - Saturday, 3.12.11
 Sherwin from South Africa became Director of Branding & Standards for a high-end hotel on Rodeo Drive, and is planning to adopt a child with his partner of many years.
Terrell is a creative musician that after years of dedication is anticipating releasing his first CD, which he personally wrote, composed, and sang for.
Most of the 3 months at the McMorgan Household in Canyon Country was spent:
Sippin' gin & tonics down at the pool

Hitting the gym (24 Hour Fitness)

Running the paved trail at neighboring "Discovery Park

Patronizing the stores (Hot Topic, Buckle, Express, Finish Line), restaurants (BJ's Pizza & Brewhouse, South Point Argentine Grill) and cinema at the Westfield Valencia Town Center (The Adjustment Bureau, Scream 4 and Hanna)

Running errands with Alida (Jo-Ann Fabrics, Bank of America, Food4Less, T.J. Maxx, Big Lots, Fox Liquor)

Repeatedly having my butt whooped playing Chronology & Trivial Pursuit with Alida & Kyle

Getting bloated from enormous Alida-style meals
Huntington's Japanese Garden in Spring
Photo from Wikipedia.com
Friday, 4.22.11
Watching television (Justified, Anderson Cooper 360, Celebrity Apprentice, Colbert Report, House Hunter International, Real Housewives of Miami/Orange County/New York City)
Listening to Alida continually express her concern that Kyle would burn the house down whenever he tended to the fireplace
Highlights during my stay with the McMorgans:

Touring the grounds of the Getty Villa in Malibu, "an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria"
Hiking the desert, wilderness trails of Painted Canyon (Ladder Canyon Loop and Big Painted Canyon), gasping in horror at the beach of never-ending fish skeletons ringing the shores of the Salton Sea, and joyriding through the busy streets of Palm Springs (in place of the overpriced tourist trap of Tahquitz Falls) on a 3-day camping trip with a buddy from Minnesota
Playing the role of server for Alida's birthday dinner alfresco, after a day of wining and dining at Sea Fresh Restaurant and Old Creek Ranch, in the peaceful getaway village of Ojai
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Tuesday, 4.19.11
Faking fine etiquette over tea & scones at Rose Garden Tea Room, before exploring the immaculate gardens at the Huntington Botanical Gardens with Sherwin
Cheering like pirates and 4-course-feasting with my hilarious friend Dani, at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament attraction
Observing gas bubbles (and good-looking gymnasts), climbing trees and staining my shirt at the La Brea Tar Pits, before admiring huge homes, eying creative cupcakes, and strolling the storefronts of Larchmont Village with Terrell

Almost fainting from an amazing, nearly full-body "foot massage" at Man Han Tang, before grabbing sushi and hitting up the hilarious drag shows at Hamburger Mary's with Sherwin
La Brea Tar Pits, Saturday, 4.23.11
Getting hit on throughout the day of volunteering at Kyle's work, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
Searching for silver in the alleys of shops in Downtown's festive Fashion District with Alida

Listening to storytellers and wining & dining with Kyle, Alida and her mother Phyllis, at the Ojai Arts Center, Ojai Vineyards' Tasting Room and Ojai Cafe Emporium
Trying to locate Judge Judy on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, stepping in the footprints of movie stars at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, strolling and dining in Beverly Hills, loving the rides at Universal Studios Hollywood, exploring Santa Monica Pier to Point Dume and the homes in the Malibu hills, via the Pacific Coast Highway w/ Brandon & Heather
Attending the 2nd annual ONE Queer Film Fest: A celebration of the diversity, culture and history of our queer communities with Alida & Kyle

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