Roadtrip: San Diego

I’m going to indulge in some nostalgia. Yesterday I realized that it was the 11th anniversary of my roadtrip to San Diego to see Radiohead. It was the pre-smartphone era, so I wasn’t able to get anything of the concert, but here are some moments from the surrounding trip, all taken with my first digital point & shoot, the venerable Canon A620.

So, my friend asked if I wanted to join him for a 700 mile round trip to see Radiohead at a venue right on the water in SD. It was summer, I was in my early 20s, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to see the then “most important band in the world” around the height of their game, and it’d get me out of my tourist/retirement town for a few days… yes!

Down the hill out of town. Sometimes happiness is Cambria, CA in your rearview mirror.

Day 1: On a pleasantly Cambriatic June Gloom evening, we were on our way.

The blur that is LA.

I love blurs. Roadtrip motion blurs in particular. The biggest surprise in looking back through these photos from more than a decade ago was how little has changed as far as motivation. The things I love now, I can see I loved them then. My conscious motivation is different, my equipment and technique are different, but it seems what is consciously with me now was unconsciously there then, at least to a greater degree than I’d have expected. It gives me a funny feeling of continuity I didn’t realize I had. Or maybe I’m partially fooling myself with present day edits.

LA skyline

Day 2: Observing life within a newly acquired college living space while waiting for the concert that night.

Looking back, I should have tried to sneak my camera into the show. I think the main reason I was so cautious was because I’d just been to the Santa Barbara Bowl the day before I left on this trip, and they are fiends when it comes to regulating what you bring in. For the RH show, Bayside really only cared that we weren’t bringing in drinks beyond sealed water bottles. Oh well.

Joe’s prize from the show

Day 3: House setup errands around San Diego.

Mormon cathedral in San Diego
The temporary summer mothball fleet of school buses. This image just looks so southern California to me.

Where does a college student go when he needs to buy a futon?

My first visit to IKEA.
Cathedral again. Surely these are intended to look like twin faces of judgment.

And then a late night run to the 24 hour supermarket for, as I recall, hand soap, peanut butter ice cream bars, and an unusual variety of Tiger’s Milk.

This was the funniest moment of the entire trip, perhaps in that way that only late night shopping trips are funny. We were studying the hand soaps. Reading the ingredients. Looking for a good non-antibacterial. Comparing scents. Discussing the merits. Then I pointed out, “Joe, we’re studying soaps in a grocery store at 3:25AM….” And we cracked up at the realization of our own absurdity. It was a had-to-be-there moment, but 11 years later the soap shopping remains one of my most vivid memories from the trip. Life is funny that way.

Day 4: A visit to UCSD before heading home.

College architecture is always interesting, one way or another.

Sun God welcomes you!
Geisel Library
Time to head home.
Goodbye, southern California, with your enchanting bleakness.
Hopping frogs
Back up the hill into town.
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