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YouGuysAreStupid.com Walking across the country so you don't have to...
4/22/24 11:56am
0 Days
Walking across the country so you don't have to...


Andy: We canít be done yet, I havenít figured out the secrets of the universe!

Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 12:00:00 AM

We woke up later than usual at Michelleís. Not really a problem though, since todayís walk, the final walk, was only going to be about 5 miles. We were supposed to meet Johnís girlfriend, Teresa, and her family at the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point. They had flown in last night to watch John finish, I guess us too, but itís not like they would be here if John wasnít with us, so in that respect, they came to watch John finish. We were, as usual, late, and Teresa was a little snippy with John. I canít really why, theyíve been together for something like 5 years now and Johnís never been one to be on time, she should simply expect it by now.
It was a little bit after noon by the time we showed up. After getting our packs on, we said hi to Teresaís family, and left for the bridge. There was some brief discussion back at Michelleís about leaving our backpacks behind and just finishing without all the extra crap. But we just couldnít do that, weíd walked the entire way with our packs, it wouldnít feel right to finish without our full gear. Michelle also wanted to walk with us across the bridge and over to Alcatraz, which was fine with us. The Bridge itself was covered in fog, thick fog. The fog rolls into the bay as though it was a solid mass, Iíve never seen fog so thick. I was hoping we could get a clear day to cross the bridge, but from what I understand, thatís rarity. The Golden Gate is about one and a half miles across, which is actually one of the shortest bridges across the bay, but in my opinion, itís the most impressive. Because of the fog we couldnít see to the top of the support towers, which made them seem even larger. Once we started emerging from the fog closer to the south side of the bridge, we could see people surfing below us by the peninsula. I wouldnít want to be in that water, itís very cold.
As we crossed the bridge and even now on the other side, I couldnít help but feel a little depressed. Was this it, I just didnít have any great sense of accomplishment. I always thought that walking across the Golden Gate Bridge would fill me with some great sense of elation. A sense that all the pain and frustration had been worth it, but I wasnít getting that. In fact now that we were finally in San Francisco, I almost felt just like another tourist, like I was here for a weeks vacation, it almost felt like the last 4 Ĺ months werenít even real. What? I went through all that and I donít even get the benefit of feeling like Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic (ďIím king of the worldĒ). I guess I just expected the end to feel different. I mean, geez, I was almost at Alcatraz and I had yet to figure out the meaning of life. I mean, címon, wasnít that why I did this.
I grabbed the phone from Erik (I asked him for it, I didnít just grab it), and decided to call a few people. I just had to much to think about right now, I was hoping talking to someone would help lighten me. So I called everybody (and talking to 6 billion people takes an awfully long time), I called my dad, my sister, my mom, Romey, just about everyone I could think of at the time. I tried to be as upbeat as possible, but when I hung up I still had those nagging doubts at the back of my mind. Of course this would bother me all the way to Alcatraz, and resurface over and over again through out the next couple of weeks. I guess the big question on my mind, the thing that was really plaguing me was, I didnít feel any different. Had I learned anything? What was the point of the last 41/2 months? At the time it felt like I simply had more questions and no answers. Why does life seem to work that way? I wonít spend any more time on my mental state, I just wanted to lay down what was going through my head as we were nearing our final destination.
Once we were off the bridge we headed down and past Crissy Field, where people were flying these enormous kites. One was shaped like a big grey cat, another was a rainbow colored stingray lookiní thing, and then there was an octopus. The cat and the octopus kites kept unintentionally attacking each other (as in nature, cats and octopi are natural enemies). Then we walked past some crazy people (like we have any right to call anyone crazy) swimming in the bay, in wetsuits oat least. But like I said before, that water is cold, just go to the ďYĒ, itís heated. The wide bike path we were on went through a park and to the piers, were we came across a few street performers and a few beggars. I gave one guy some money because he had a black cat in the basket of his bike, with a sign that said ďdonations for the kittyĒ. It was cute, so I had to give him some money (I just hope that cat doesnít blow it all on alcohol!). There was also a reggae band, a guy painted all silver, moving like a robot and lip-syncing to a radio, and some people with these really bizarre, oversized skeleton costumes. I didnít give any of them money, since they didnít have cats. Then we were finally at the Alcatraz ticket booth.
Erik had been, over the last couple of days, talking to the guy with the Golden Gate National Recreation Department who is basically in charge of Alcatraz. Even though we couldnít get free tickets (yeah, we tried) he said heíd make sure that we got on the boat, even if he had to send an extra one. When we got there, he had put our tickets on reserve and we picked them up, no problem. He even gave us the audio tour portion free! Then we went to wait in line. As we were getting on the boat, someone from the local channel 7 news came down and gave us a real brief interview. We never actually saw the broadcast, but that was cool. Then we got our picture taken and got on the boat. We were now on our way to Alcatraz. I did what I could to concentrate on the moment at hand; I could worry about all my questions and concerns later, after all this was it.
The ferry over to the Island was nice, it had a snack bar and I ate a hot dog, exciting! Then we got to the Island. When I set foot on Alcatraz I was a little disappointed that bright shinning light didnít emanate from the spot I was standing on (not that I really expected it, but it would have been pretty cool). We took the tour, and looked around the Island for a little over an hour. When we got to the audio part of the tour, we found that our tickets werenít marked for it (itís a separate expense). So Erik called up his buddy (the guy who runs the place, he had his number on speed dial) and gave the phone to the people working there. So we got the audio tour for free. Michelle was still with us, sheís lived in San Fran for a few years now and has never been to Alcatraz (shame on you). The audio tour was interesting, and you could stop, pause and rewind the player they gave you anytime you wanted. So if you wanted to stay in a particular area and look around, you could. The pause feature came in handy when my mom called me back. She wasnít home when I had initially called her, so she called back once she had gotten the message. So I had to stop my magical talking device for about twenty minutes, while conversing with my mom. My mom and step-dad live in the Seattle area, so I donít get to see them that often. So I was happy when she said that she was coming out to Chicago to see me when we got back. After talking I restarted my audio tour thingie.
Around 4 oíclock we gathered back on the boat and headed back to pier. Well, as far as the walking portion of the trip went, we were officially done. No fireworks, no great epiphanies, no overwhelming sense of joy, I just thought, wellÖ were done, thatís it. The whole thing just seemed somewhat anti-climactic. Looking back on things now, I realize that I just needed some time to pass in order to really think about everything. But at the moment I couldnít help feel a little let down that I wasnít more excited to be done.
After everything was done, we went out to eat, saw a movie (Kill Bill, great movie by the way), then went back to Michelleís apartment and got drunk (which, embarrassingly enough, is one of the videos in the gallery). Then it was bed time. I didnít pass out, Iím stayed awake for a little while drinking water so I wouldnít have a hangover. I never want one of those, they donít seem fun. I stayed awake until I was sober, after everyone else had gone to bed. Then, when I was sure I was out of hangover territory, I went to sleep myself.
Wait, thatís not a very good ending. Donít worry itís not. I still have at least two more journals to write. Iím going to summarize the highpoints of our weeks stay in San Fran and then a very general journal about being back home and whatís going on in my life currently. Those will be up in the next couple of days (if not by sometime tomorrow). So donít say goodbye yet.

- Andy