Some times the best hikes are not the smartest hikes and
sometimes these become the best adventures.
Next Exit Gas Food Laughter is a journey of my adventures
through the trails and streams of Southern california. Some times I trail run,
some times I hike mountains and some times I just relax with a fishing pole in
my hand.
One way or another adventures always seem to happen and they
are quite constantly hilarious.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Delicious Pile of Meat; Eating Good at the Rennaisance Faire

    As soon as I reached the faire ground I tripped over five tree roots in a row and stubbed my big tow at least three times.
     I needed mead so that I could fly over these damn tree roots gracefully.
     The Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire used to be held in Devore, California, thirty miles closer to my home ( And I swear way less tree roots to trip over!) About three years ago the group lost rights to the venue and now we voyage to Irwindale a few times every April to put on fancy costumes, sip on honey mead and dance around in the April sunshine with a bunch of other loony people who like things like medieval sword fighting, jousting, naughty humorous shows, cider oh yeah and boobs; did I mention there are boobs at the Renaissance faire?

          The Renaissance faire is where you go if you want to try on a assortment of leather hand cuffs.
         It's where you go if you want to eat a pile of pork ribs as big as your face ( a pile of meat!) or gnaw on a giant turkey leg.
          The Renaissance faire is where you check in your friends on Facebook at the privys. ( It's tradition! Hey you do it once at the Renaissance faire and it becomes tradition!)
       This could be why no one goes to faire with me, well except for other sick fucks like myself. Speaking of which last year we saw a girl at faire who had so much cleavage showing we came to believe  (Of course this conversation happened while waiting in the libations line) that she had been born with out nipples.   
     Poor thing.
    We did not see her this year so I fear she may have succumbed to No Nipple Disease.
     These are the kind of conversations you have at faire as you wander for hours down the dusty faire streets sipping on mead or cider.

    The best thing about after faire is washing your dirty black and brown dusty faire feet.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Campo San Barnaba

    After running thirteen miles this afternoon on my day off I was completely exhausted. I was so tired I could barely drive home. I actually cancelled plans with friends because all I wanted to do when I got home was sit on my couch, watch movies, and try to enjoy my fancy beer without falling asleep.
    I cracked open my Rouge Brewery Hazelnut Ale and settled in for a Indiana Jones marathon.
   Its truly amazing to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark on a HD TV and think, wow this movie is thirty two years old? The picture is so clear (And Harrison Ford is so hot!) it seems hard to imagine I am watching a movie that was made when I was in diapers still.
    I was watchimng my favorite Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade, hours later (I don't know how I was still awake!) and as I was watching the scenes filmed in Venice I thought, damn that church that the library scene is filmed in looks so familiar.
   I googled locations where this movie was filmed and this scene was actually shot at Campo San Barnaba.
   When I was on holiday in Venice with friends about five years ago we had stayed in St Mark's Square, which is just across the Grand Canal from the Campo San Barnaba. It is possible that we saw this magnificent church while on our walking tour we took one day of the vacation through the cobbled streets of Venice. It seems like I would have rememebered being told Indiana Jones was filmed at that location though, but what I remember most from that tour were that my feet hurt walking all over Venice for four days in my Ugg boots!
    The Campo San Barnaba sits not to far from the Rialto Bridge where we would cross the Grand Canal on most days to get started exploring for the day and its pretty close to the famous Harry's Bar where we enjoyed bellenis one afternoon. It is possible that we strolled past it on our journey through the city that sits on stilts over the ocean, but there are so many gorgeous old buildings in Venice its hard to remember and pick one out in my distant memories.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

San G or Bust!

     I had just fallen down a twenty foot snowy slope. Right after the fall I was still grasping my left hand, a little panicked that it might be broken but still hobbling slowly and carefully up hill.
      I don't think I have ever hated switch backs like I did in that moment. Which is a pathetic way to feel as these switch backs on San Gorgonio honestly were not even that bad besides the icy snow in the shady places ( which was most of the mountain.)
      In June last year I had hiked Mt Whitney, the highest peak in California at 14,505 feet with it's ninety nine switch backs.
      Today's hike to the summit of San Gorgonio was way harder for me than summiting Mt Whitney.
       By the time I fell down the ravine and recovered we were already an hour behind schedule.
So I decided we were going to go fast on our ascent up the mountain.      

        The first six miles of the Vivian Creek hike we had just flown up the trail and it had been easy going.
         After stopping for a lunch break below High Creek Camp we set out again, Rosco the dog right at our heels ( that little pup had so much energy it was ridicules!)
         Everything was fine, I had tons of energy until I tumbled down a snowy ravine, picked myself up, seconds later bloody and in pain and we steadily headed up that damn mountain. (Now that San Gorgonio had made me bleed I was not quite as in a good mood.)
          I guess it was at the end of the switch backs that I started hating life and just wanted to turn around and go back. We couldn't even see the summit yet and we crested a saddle 

and we were out of the snow and back in the sunshine for a little bit.
          Once the switch backs were over the views were just incredible! We could see Catalina Island all the way out by the Pacific Ocean over a hundred miles away.
Across the valley and down below us we could see the snow peaked San Jacinto ( The mountain we had thought of peaking, originally today)

      Some where, some where up there was the damn summit, I just knew it...


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beaver Cheese

      "What the hell is Beaver Cheese?"     
       Before Trav can even answer me I move on to my next and completely logical question        
     "And who the hell milks the beavers?"
        " And how the hell do you milk a beaver?!"
      If we were still at sea level maybe his comment about Gouda cheese would have been easier to digest.
      But we are at over nine thousand feet.
     Almost on top of a freaking mountain.
     I'm wheezing so hard I can barely get any air in my poor lungs and my ears have not popped yet at the altitude.
     I may have more of a hearing problem than usual.     And I would like to know what kind of sick fuck milks beavers!
     Also that seems highly unsafe; have you seen their teeth?
     I don't think a beaver would enjoy being milked.
     This was just one of many conversation that took place on the  treacherous hike up San Gorgonio.
     It was one of the few conversations that did not begin with
     "Good god Amber, what did you eat?!"
    "What happened to fresh mountain air!?"
     So I just thought I would share it.
     Just one more instance of me not being able to hear, well pretty much ever.
    Maybe I could not hear over my constant wheezing as we raced up switch backs, me setting a murderous pace as we traversed over mountain sides and up ridge lines. I wanted to summit by noon, I'd read online that a summit can be made in four and a half hours.
I'm a fast hiker and figured four and a half hours no prob.
      I did not take into account snowy trails and taking the time to fall off of snowy trails and than recover from said fall. ( Especially  when it felt like my hand was broken for a while but I just think it was insane snow burn from sliding down a icy twenty foot mountain)
       I recovered and we carried on up San Gorgonio and asked such interesting questions like where the hell would you possibly come across a pizza with a beaver cheese garnish?
       Trav would like me to get my hearing checked as soon as we get off this mountain.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Day San G made me her Bitch

     "Be careful, it's icy"
     The words had barely left Trav's mouth and I'd already lost balance on the slippery icy ledge.
      I was sliding down the icy mountain fast and my calves, in short yoga pants burned as they scraped down the left hands side of my body.
      I felt like I was leaving a trail of blood on the sharp snow as my left hand fought to try to get a grip of something, anything.
      It felt like I was sliding down a sheet of painful glass and I could hear Trav gasping on the mountain above me, shocked I had fallen down the ravine. ( I honestly wasn't panicked like he was, I saw the prickly manzanita bush twenty feet below where I had fallen from; I knew it's rust colored limbs and pink berries would stop my slide down wards at some point.)
It felt like I slid down the ravine for ten minutes and it was actually mere seconds
       Later Trav would quote such things on FB as
Snowy spring time trails. I witnessed a good friend slide down a ravine out of control with complete calmness and stop herself from becoming seriously injured or dead. One of the sketchiest moments in my hiking experiences.

       Honestly I have taken good falls hiking before and I will again, it's just something that comes with hiking. I feel like a expert at falling at this point and I just knew not to panic.
        It sounds logical and came in handy thirty seconds later when I came to rest next to the manzanita patch.
       First reaction would be oh shit did that just happen and above me I hear Trav asking oh my god are you alright.

       He went from taking a scenic picture of me on a snowy trail to thinking damn this hike is over and I am carrying my friend out six miles back to the car!
       Before I could tell him I was okay, Rosco his incredibly happy go lucky dog came sliding down the same path I had just fallen down in terror. 
       Only Rosco did it sliding down the mountain on his butt, front paws raised with this huge doggie grin on his face!
       It was like something out of a cartoon!
       I couldn't help but laugh at the little white dog even as I was hobbling to my feet, checking out the damage, grasping my battered left hand ( wondering if it was broken?)
       It hurt so badly at the moment as I slowly made my way back up the mountain side to Trav.
       My calves were bleeding and my left hand was aching really bad and at that moment I was so tempted to turn around and once again not summit San Gorgonio but a little voice in side told me to keep going...

      To be continued...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Meanwhile in Alaska....

    A summer day in Alaska means fishing for fresh salmon on the Copper River.

    It means fishing ALL DAY on the Copper River.

    It means really feeling that we are Californians and not local Alaskans at all when we do not catch anything.  (even though we had been vacationing in the forty ninth state for two weeks at this point, shopping at Fred Meyers and paying ten dollars for a package of Oreos. We had felt like we were becoming locals until today)
    Our third day of our Alaska adventure in 2004, we took a river boat sightseeing trip down the Susitna River. The river trip was really fun. Our two tour guides were about our age and they both seemed like really fun people. After the tour we all agreed we should have seen if they wanted to get a beer with us in town that night. But I guess we are all too shy. We did take an awesome picture with one of the tour guides welding her shotgun; ya know in case of bear attacks.

     It was a great day to be out on the water. We saw a bald eagle in her nest, although the picture just turned out blurry. Most bald eagles die in Alaska, not at the hands of poachers but they actually drown. They hook their talons into salmon, and their talons can’t detach and if it’s a big fish, forty pounds or so, the salmon will actually pull them under; pretty incredible.  All this talk of forty pound salmon made me want to catch one. So the next day we would fish for about twelve hours straight. We did take a pizza break, of course at Mile High Pizza Pie. It was the best pizza in Alaska, how could we not go back again?

We picked up our fishing gear in the early morning our fourth day in Alaska and found a great spot on the riverbed. We were ready to catch some Copper River King Salmon. You’re only allowed to catch three in a year and when we first threw our hooks in, we thought for sure we would catch our limit that day. All around us people had salmon on their lines, and the red fish were huge! We fished for almost twelve hours, and the closest we got was when Ryan was almost pulled into the river by what must have been a huge King Salmon. Luckily he was wearing board shorts, and believe me we got a ton of weird looks from the locals because of it. We seemed to get weird looks wherever we went actually. At the end of the day, we did not have any salmon to flash freeze and mail home.  I guess my Alaska souvenirs would just be post cards, lupine seeds, cool belt buckles and lots of sourdough starter.

This week I am linking up once again with fellow bloggers over at for a weekends worth of moonshine blogging good times!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Palm Springs Escapades

     I've got a little confession.

     I can't swim.
     At ten p.m. on a Saturday night after way to many Caribbean Mules ( like a Moscow one but w rum) and my boyfriend decided to teach me how to swim in a Jacuzzi at the resort we were staying in at Palm Springs.
    This did not go over well.
    It's hard to learn to swim when you are giggling uncontrollably and oh yes also coughing out of control.
     My asthma has been rechid the last few weeks and I have been coughing a lot.
     Every time he tells me to keep my lungs full of air I have a coughing fit, yeah it's ridiculous I can't keep air in my lungs; I just cough it all out!
     Even on days when I am not coughing up a storm I have this ridicules problem that no one else seems to have;
     Why the fuck can I not float?
     He keeps trying to get my body to float and I just keep laughing hilariously, trying not to drink pool water and inadvertently almost kicking him in his man parts.
     And you wonder why no one can teach me how to swim.
     And most men are afraid too.
     He says my body feels like it's full of rocks (not in a mean way, just in a why the fuck won't you float kind of way)
     Is it because I run and hike a ton and am all muscle?
     I mean, Jesus I am so full of gas all the time, I should float, right?
    Our one and a half day Palm Springs vaca has been epic despite still not swimming with the fishes.

    Last night we chilled at the pool, had a few Long Island ice teas than taxied downtown to my favorite pizza place, Sammy's and had some delicious rum filled girly drinks (okay maybe that was just me, he had a IPA blah) after dinner of deep fried goat cheese filled artichoke hearts and a five cheese pizza loaded with among other delicious cheese, the King of the moldy penicillin filled cheeses, Gorgonzola (have I mentioned cheese is my favorite food group?) we returned to the Jacuzzi at our resort where I took this great picture of me not following the rules  ( authority! Rebel! ) and using the elderly people mover to lower my rum soaked body into the Jacuzzi ( I really am 8  percent disabled and I would have giggled and yelled this fact at any one if any one else had been at the pool with us at the in godly hour of nine p.m. (lesson learned, if you pay over three hundred dollars for a room in Palm Springs it will be full of the elderly)
      Our palms Springs vacation was truly epic and relaxing, even if we did not quite make it to the highest peak of nearby San Jacinto as originally planned.