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Travels With An Airhead

California

— by Notch Miyake

While everyone was riding out to the National Rally in Michigan, Margaret and I were flying to California to see our son, Dylan, run in the San Francisco Marathon.

It was his first marathon and we thought we should be on hand in case he had to go into Intensive Care. Also, he gave us the tickets so we couldn't refuse.

San Francisco has changed from a funky beatnik Mecca in the 1960?s to a yuppie paradise today: Dot-com executives sip cappuccinos where ragged beatniks once drank acid Cool-Aid out of paper cups.

North Beach is now a fashionable neighborhood full of million dollar condos. This was where go-go dancing began. And where Carol Dota showed off her amazing silicone tits, establishing the ultimate standard for women at Harley rallies.

The City Lights Bookstore, where Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti once howled, now looks like Barnes and Noble. And Alcatraz is a National Park where tourists can have their picture taken in a maximum-security cell.

But the hills are still there and the Golden Gate Bridge is still an inspiring sight.

When I saw those familiar hills again, I thought, "The kid is in deep shit."

But Dylan did fine. He finished the marathon and even looked good at the end. Unfortunately, his time was four hours and three seconds.

What a bummer! Now he has to go back next year just for a crummy three seconds. He should have pushed a little harder going up those hills. Of course, it was only his first marathon so his timing was off.

I needed to get some parts for my BMW 2002tii, so after the marathon we went to Los Angeles, the epicenter of automotive culture.

We decided not to rent a car for the first few days and walked around. Although many believe that it is not possible to walk anywhere in Los Angeles, we saw a lot.

Little Tokyo, the Mexican section in the Pueblo de Los Angeles and Chinatown are all within a few minutes on foot. The only difficulty was crossing the freeways. But since the traffic was usually stopped, it was seldom a problem.

The people of Los Angeles have some interesting social customs. For example, every morning and every afternoon they all get in their cars and park on the twelve-lane freeways that run through the city.

They sit in their cars for about two hours listening to their twelve-speaker stereos and talking on their cell phones. Then they go home.

Once in a while, someone will flip out and start shooting. Probably because the batteries died on his cell phone or his stereo crapped out in the middle of his favorite Vic Damone CD.

As a result, bulletproof glass is a popular new-car option in Los Angeles. Bikers may want to wear flak jackets. At the very least, you should not pass any car whose driver is waving a gun.

— Copyright © 2000 by Notch Miyake.

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