I’ve been on the road for 7 days. Up to this point in my journey, I’ve been isolated. I call my parents every day and text my friends too but aside from that, it’s just me. Sure, I was around plenty of people in these other cities and I even talked to some when I bought something but other than that, I’ve been on my solo adventure. The last two days I’ve been hiking and spending time in my campsite a lot which has resulted in some of the deepest thinking I have ever done. I’ve been alone with my thoughts which was one of the motivations for going on the trip in the first place. I’ve been able to reset my mind and see things in a new light. I don’t think its a coincidence that the two night’s sleep in Henry Cowell were two of my most peaceful, restful nights. Sleeping beneath the trees and surrounded by nature has a calming effect on me. – Day 7, 9/26, 9:33am, Henry Cowell State Park, Santa Cruz
I woke up early in Henry Cowell with the sunlight pouring in once again. Instead of getting up to hike though, I moved with purpose to pack up my campsite. I wasn’t in a hurry, I was just excited to get to my next destination: San Jose. I was setup to see one of my best friends from elementary school, Spencer. Spencer went to college at San Jose State while I was at USF so we were close in proximity to each other. I was familiar with the city from previous visits but it had been years since I’d been back. I was really just stoked to see and talk to Spencer face to face. Within my group of friends, the amount of time between seeing or talking to each other often means nothing. Every time we see each other, it’s right back where we left off. Suddenly I was laughing and listening to stories and meeting his roommates and it felt good. I was comfortable and I felt at home. Spencer had to work that day but I was more than capable of exploring the city myself. We got a bomb sandwich at this spot downtown called “Freshly Baked Eatery” then Spencer went on his way. I grabbed my board (as had become my custom) and I set off into the city.
I decided I wanted to visit the universities: San Jose State and Santa Clara. The area around Santa Clara reminded me of Orange County a little bit. I was able to skate on the sidewalk and get around easily enough and once on campus, it was the same thing. It was large and spacious and beautiful. I couldn’t believe I had never seen it.
State was about a 12 min drive away but the locale of the school was completely different. On the edge of downtown, the school is large but it’s surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a major city. From traffic to parking to actual foot traffic, there was a lot going on. I was able to find a parking spot for a couple hours on the edge of campus and hopped on my board once again to cruise through the interior of the campus. Like previously stated, I had some familiarity with the campus from my college visits to Spencer’s dorm and that helped me navigate a bit this time around.
The cool thing about State was that once I had skated through the campus, I was basically in downtown. I continued on down the main street into the true downtown area. Since it was a week day, everything was buzzing. There were people in every store, eatery and curbside; walking, sitting, standing and lying. I skated amongst them, cruising through the streets and taking it all in. Eventually, the buildings became less dense and sunlight hit my face when I rounded the corner. I went under a bridge painted with blue donuts and found myself right in front of the SAP Center, home of the San Jose Sharks.
At this point, I was exhausted from skating all day and Spencer was about to be off work. We met back at his apartment (which he so graciously allowed me to sleep and shower in) and proceeded to do what we always do: we watched some TV, we drank a little beer and we talked… a lot. Neither of us have any idea of what we talked about that night but I suppose that’s not even the point. I was just happy to see my friend of 20 years and I’m sure we talked and laughed about both everything and nothing all night. It was a great way to reset myself after camping all week and it was also a nice way to launch into my next destination: San Francisco.