That’s a loaded title, right? That’s because it was a pretty loaded day and I’ll admit right up front that it was a mistake trying to do so much in a day and I’ll explain all of the reasons why as this article flows. Everything started with making plans for Cirque du Soleil. Originally, I wanted to make a 2-day weekend out of it later in the month by going to Totem at Sun Life Stadium on one day and another event in the Miami area on the other day. I ended up scheduling the other event for another day and city and that left last week open to choose a day for Totem. There were no discounts available for my day of choice so I paid full price. I’ve never been disappointed with a Cirque show as it’s always worth the money so I had no problem plunking down the dough.
I didn’t wanna just do the show. I wanted to do more while I was in South Florida; a place I find myself spending more and more time lately. Don’t worry, I ain’t ever moving down there. I love Orlando way too much. I decided to find some volunteer opportunities there and the HAPPI Farm won my services because it was something different and the attendance time worked with my schedule. I found it through the HandsOn Broward website which is part of the HandsOn Network. I also volunteer with HandsOn Orlando. I’d say the Broward chapter is better because it has a lot more opportunities to choose from on any given day, not just weekends. One thing I didn’t like was that the websites weren’t connected. If you’re signed up with one chapter, that info (including login credentials) doesn’t transfer to another. You gotta start from scratch. Maybe one day they’ll fix that so that travelers will be better able to volunteer when they’re not in their home area.
Between volunteering and going to Totem, I left a few hours for myself to relax in a pool or hot tub somewhere. I chose the Trump Miami because I had explored it before and knew I could just walk right in with no problems to use their facilities. After Totem, I didn’t just wanna drive back home and I didn’t wanna spend money on a hotel either. I was gonna take that time to explore the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk and the surrounding area for pedicab purposes. This trip was part business but mostly pleasure. Rather than sleep in my car or a hotel room, I wanted to sleep right on the beach because the weather was warm enough for it. After waking from that, I’d take my ass on home. Didn’t quite work out that way, though.
With so much shit crammed into one day, there were things I didn’t factor in, like traffic and finding parking. Those were the two things that absorbed a lot of my time to turn what should’ve been a wonderful day trip into a not-as-pleasurable experience. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a great time but rather than let all the negative occurrences fuck with my head, at the end of it all, I realized that it was all a necessary learning experience and I’m glad things turned out the way they did.
The music I loaded up on my phone for the trip were albums from Deepest Blue and Modjo. If you’re a Modjo fan, the whole album has the same vibe as their hits “Lady” and “Chillin’.” Here’s why Wikipedia isn’t the best source of reliable info. Currently, they describe Modjo as an alternative rock band but they made house music. They say Deepest Blue made electronic music but their album is mostly pop and adult contemporary which wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Not that any of the songs were bad but beyond “Deepest Blue” and the “Give It Away” Club Mix, all the other non-remixed songs weren’t electronic in any way. I’ve always had both groups’ singles but never heard the full albums. I also listened to the “I Love” maxi-single by Azusa. The main single is good but before the second verse, they could’ve inserted the opening piano beat for a better mix.
My first stop was the HAPPI Farm. I know you’re thinking to yourself, “What the fuck is the HAPPI Farm?” HAPPI stands for Horse And Petting Pal Interaction. It’s sort of a rehabilitative and learning petting zoo. I had to do an online orientation for HandsOn Broward and fill out and bring other paperwork with me to volunteer here. The directions they currently have on their website are up to date now (thanks to what I’m about to describe) but the literature sent to me via email at the time had bad directions so when I got there, I was in the wrong place. I took the back roads to get there from home and passed through some of old Florida that I hadn’t ever seen before.
Most times, back roads are better than taking the interstate because there’s significantly less traffic and driving stress (cops and bad drivers). I even spent a little time at Lake Okeechobee. I really do wonder what makes people wanna live in those small towns and how they make a living. And when I say small towns, I’m talking small. I’m talking white trash and hoodrats. I’m talking trailer park and ghetto. I don’t get it but if that’s the life those people want, then more power to them. Maybe one day a city boy like me will actually stop and talk to one of them to try and understand them. One thing I do know is certain types of men can clean house with small town women. I speak from past experience. Emphasis on past.
The city that the farm is in is called Southwest Ranches, FL. Who knew that an area like that existed back there near the big city and beaches? It wasn’t the only farm. I ended up in the old location that had chickens and peacocks. I got there too early and called the volunteer coordinator who runs HAPPI farm to let them know. I was told to hang out and someone would meet up with me. A housekeeper from the home in the front of that farm showed up and told me I had to leave because she was gonna lock up the farm (she was polite but could barely speak english). This created confusion. After another call, I was given the correct location of the farm and hung out there for a bit until someone showed up. It was pretty funny because the coordinator thought the directions had been updated online and in the literature. When I told her the place had peacocks, her joking response of “…someone stole my peacocks,” isn’t something you hear everyday. Animal theft must be big business ‘round those parts.
I’m actually glad there was that confusion because in the old location, I got to see some beautiful roosters with their spurs intact. Believe it or not, I’d never seen a rooster with my own eyes or heard a chicken crow with my own ears. Damn things are loud. And I hadn’t seen any peacocks since the 80’s in my hometown. The correct location of the farm is right on the corner down the street. While I was waiting outside of the fenced-in farm, a cow was the first thing to walk over and greet me. Then some llamas started doing the nasty while me and a guy passing by in his car watched. Too bad us humans can’t just fuck in public or where we want to, eh? Not without getting a ticket or arrested, anyway.
I don’t understand llama mating behavior at all and doing research online later didn’t yield any answers. The male hopped up on the females back but didn’t get any. Then the female laid down and the male sat on her from behind. Apparently, that’s the proper sex position for them. After they were done, the male started biting and harassing the female and then walked away. The female just sat on her laurels and didn’t budge while the male was being aggressive. In human terms, he was being an asshole but our words don’t apply to them, do they? I don’t know if his behavior was normal or not. It was like watching an interracial relationship go terribly south (the male was brown, the female was white).
Another regular volunteer showed up to get us started. I dressed appropriately in clothes I didn’t mind getting dirty because there was shit on the ground at every step. The new farm location wasn’t fully setup yet and the coordinator was getting it ready for an inspection so part of my duties were to clean some tubs that horses drink from. They were in pretty bad shape (the tubs) but now they can drink some much cleaner water. The animals were very friendly. Overly friendly, actually. Some were apprehensive and jumped at the slightest approach like some goats and alpacas but the horses and donkeys got right up in your shit. They got in the way a lot when I was trying to work. Some were looking to be petted, others were curious, while others wanted to get sprayed down with the water hose I was using. One horse sprayed some piss all over the ground and didn’t give a damn who was watching. You really gotta love how people don’t mind when animals do their biz all out in the open but have a hissy fit when a person does the same shit. Let’s not forget that what we call animals probably see us as animals in the same light as we see them.
I can’t imagine living next to a farm because of the noise the animals make. The horses, donkeys, cows, and hogs all making noise at any given moment, it has to be frustrating if you’re not accustomed to it. Another thing I never saw or heard before was a donkey. The way they look when they’re braying is pretty funny. The hogs and goats were cute. There was an emu and a camel there, too. The camel tried to take a swipe at my phone to eat it when I was taking some pictures of it. It was an overall wonderful experience and that’s why I chose to do it. I also rolled out some hay bales to the animal pens and bagged some fresh sweet corn for them. There was a lot of work to do and it was hard work; even harder because it was warm outside. I respect the work that ranchers and farmers do now more than I ever did in the past, that’s for sure. The next day, my legs and forearms were sore. If you’re gonna do this type of volunteer work, keep that in mind if you know you’re not in good shape. I am and I still felt the burn.
The coordinator was friendly and I wish her success in getting the new location up and running. Hopefully, in the future she’ll have a handwashing station and cold water available. When I was there, nothing like that existed. I had to leave dirty but I brought my own water as instructed. If you have allergies, they might go haywire like mine did in this type of environment. I wasn’t sneezing much but I had to shoot out some snot rockets constantly. I didn’t mind leaving dirty because my next stop was the Trump Miami. I was under the impression that they had bathroom showers but they didn’t. The most I could do was wash my hands. It’s not like I was dirty as shit because I wore long-sleeves and pants but a shower would’ve been nice since my next stop was Totem. I had my route to the hotel planned out but I missed a turn because the road signs in Miami, and most places for that matter, are total garbage. Rather than put the street name on the signs, they just refer to a lot of them by number. That’s confusing and instead of dealing with smooth-sailing highway traffic, I got stuck in rush-hour city traffic for a little while.
That wrong turn cost me some time. The next time-costing error was finding free parking in Sunny Isles Beach. Even paid parking was a bitch to find. Actually, I never saw any paid parking anywhere. Everything was residentially permitted parking. I had to drive around for a little bit until I found a park. The parking there was only for people going to the park and it was free. Man, fuck that park, I parked my car and walked to the hotel. My goal was to chill in the hot tub for a little while before heading to Totem. I bought my change of clothes with me, too. Then another time-costing event occurred: crossing the fucking street.
Sunny Isles Beach has a lot of traffic, the traffic lights are very far apart, they don’t stay red for long on the main drag, there are no crosswalks other than at the traffic lights, and they have barriers up in the medians that make it hard to cross there as if it’s discouraged and now I know why. It took me about 10 fucking minutes just to cross the damn street because traffic never died down enough for me to cross safely. They really need to install crosswalks along with some metered parking. It was just after 6pm when I got there and most resident spots were empty. You can risk parking at a business but if you stay too long, there are signs everywhere that let you know there are cameras watching and you can’t go anywhere without seeing a ‘tow away zone’ sign. I like the area but they make it hard for the casual visitor to spend some time there. You’re better off parking far and walking or biking in to avoid the hassle. No bike lanes, either. Another addition they need to make.
My first stop was the bathroom to wash my hands. Then I went to another bathroom to change into my swimming trunks. It was nice and warm outside and no one bothered me when I walked into the hotel. I know I ain’t the only one that explores hotels without staying in them. When homeless people start getting wind of how to do it is when it becomes or will become a problem. Smart homeless people (if such a thing even exists) already do. I’m talking about those filthy motherfuckers. They’re the ones who might fuck shit up for people like me. If you look the part and keep a low profile, then no one will bother you. That only applies to public lobbies like hotels, resorts, and apartment complexes. Private residences and condo buildings, it just ain’t gonna happen due to manned security. Believe me, I’ve tried. I saw some ‘open house’ signs in some places during this trip. I might go that route someday to see what I can get away with.
There is a condo portion to the Trump Miami but I entered on the hotel side. I had the hot tub to myself. Then I went into the heated pool that’s no more than 5 feet deep. It has a nice waterfall for adults and several for kids in the shallow end. There was another hot tub with a waterfall that was pretty sweet. The view from the pool area was awesome. You’re surrounded by buildings with great architecture and the beach is right there. A feature I’d like to see incorporated someday is an infinity hot tub with a beach view. That’d be so cool to kick back and relax as if you’re right on the beach with an unobstructed view. The Trump Miami has to fix their outdoor showers, the ones you use to wash the chemicals off after swimming, because only one of the three worked and the employees didn’t seem to know anything about it.
I didn’t wanna leave. A couple of chicks saw me floating face-up in the pool and literally thought I was dead. That’s how relaxed I was. I hit up the bathroom again to change into more dressed-up attire for Totem and went on about my merry way. Dressed up for a lot of men these days is denim and cotton. Sneakers and hats. Not this guy. Polyester and rayon. Silk and leather. That’s how I roll when I dress to impress. I’m old school. If I had a girl and we were going out for a special night on the town, I wanna look as hot for her as she would for me but not in a slutty or scrub kinda way. Classy is what it’s all about with me but if I’m going to a movie (and only a movie) or a supermarket, man, I don’t care what I’m wearing. Cirque du Soleil is a big-ticket show and would make for a great date night for couples interested in this sort of thing but that doesn’t mean that everyone approaches it the same way in our overly casual American culture.
It didn’t take me nearly as long to cross the street again to get back to my car which was still there unticketed and unbooted so at the very least I know of one place where I can park and not have to worry about shit. It was later than I expected and I still could’ve gotten to the show on time but road signs sent me in the wrong direction yet again. I had to use the GPS on my phone to get back on track. My plan was to park in my usual spot for Sun Life Stadium events and walk to the show but that wrong turn, and the one before it, cost me too much time and I had to pay to park. 20 fucking dollars! I wasn’t happy about that. Plus I was about 15 minutes late for the show.
I’d never been late to any type of show until then. Cirque is one of the few shows that starts when it says it’s going to so I missed out on some things. They wouldn’t let us latecomers take our seats during an act so we had to wait until the Hoops Dancer act finished. Turns out I missed 3 acts. I ain’t happy about that shit but I place blame on no one but myself. I didn’t plan properly but there’s more about that to discuss later. The air temperature inside the Grand Chapiteau was just right. The seats weren’t too cramped but it would’ve been nice to be able to cross my legs. The view from my seat was perfect as always because I’ve been to enough shows to know where to sit for the best viewing experience.
Of the acts I got to see, the best one was the Bicycles and Bowls. The Devil Sticks was pretty good, too. What made the Foot Juggling enjoyable was that it was in two parts. The two ladies do their thing separately and you think that’s it when they’re done but oh no, they dramatize the transition into a combined effort in a way that is very theatrical in my opinion. During that act, I noticed something else: Cirque performers don’t just move, they flow. They don’t just raise their hand, it waves itself upwards. They don’t just walk across the stage, they glide and stride. Again, the movements themselves are all theatrical. There’s a big difference between just grabbing something and twirling it around and adding flair to each and every movement to make something simple seem like more than what it really is. Good job.
The Rings Trio act involved a very muscular lady. When she first walked onstage dressed like a woman, seriously, I thought it was a man. Then she undressed and lo and behold, it was a female. At first, I was thinking that she was too damn cut to be attractive but as more clothes came off and we (the audience) got a full view of her physique, she’s actually picture perfect. Pretty and fit. That’s how I prefer my women to be. Sure, she was a bit mannish, but I’ll take that over a fat, sloppy chick any day of the week. Unfortunately, because my planning was off, I was dozing off during the show. I wasn’t happy about that considering how excited I was to be there and the ticket cost as much as it did.
The intermission seemed longer than usual. I should’ve napped but I filled my time with reading some manga on my phone. Another guy in the row in front of me was playing a video game on his. During the show, some foreigners behind me didn’t seem to know that they shouldn’t talk while something is going on onstage. Save that yip yap for intermission and when the show ends. Talkers are unavoidable these days, ain’t they? It’s ridiculous. I contemplated whether or not I should plan another trip to Miami just to see the parts of the show I missed. I’d buy the cheapest possible ticket, of course, but it’s still on my mind.
Sun Life Stadium was looming in the background of the tents and parking lot. Cirque sent an email specifically stating that no cameras were allowed so I left my Canon in my car. No one farted during the performance. I have to mention that because it’s very important in this culture of social ineptitude. On some monitors after the show, they showed the upcoming Florida Cirque shows but when I got home, no information was available for them so I gotta keep my eyes open for the next sale dates. Despite me arriving late and nearly falling asleep during the show, I enjoyed it as I do every Cirque show I’ve been to. Still, I’m heavily leaning towards a return trip to get the full experience. I wonder how much more pissed off I would’ve been if I didn’t have cash with me to pay for the parking? I can’t even imagine it. I don’t even wanna think about it. I was already speeding my ass off at night when I can’t see the cops. It could’ve been worse, that’s for damn sure.
I have to say this about my car: it’s fucking reliable. There’s a big dent in the side of it thanks to a car accident last year (not my fault). Insurance issues with the guilty party aside, I’ve chosen not to immediately get a new car because my car, like every car I’ve ever owned, is mine. I don’t know what it’s like to make car payments since I’ve paid for my shit in full every time or a car was given to me. Ignorant people, who don’t know the time and cost involved in collision repair, like to mention that I should fix the damage or go get a new car but as I’ve said, they’re ignorant. Or just plain stupid. I get comments all the time about the body damage but here’s the thing: it’s mostly cosmetic. I could go get a car right now, paid in full, but I don’t see the need to take on that extra expense (higher insurance premium, tag, etc) at the moment.
My car is fully loaded and mechanically sound. I’ve taken frequent trips to places as far as Miami and Jacksonville without having to worry about breaking down. A lot of people can’t say that about their ride. I don’t give a damn about a ding in the side of my car. I love my baby. It looks like I’m rolling in a hooptie, and I know that, but I don’t care what other people think. I know what my priorities are and I know a thing or two about cars. When the time comes to get a new one, and when the right car is available at the right price, it’ll happen. The lesson here is don’t allow yourself to be influenced by other people who don’t know your circumstances and, most importantly, don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. Bad advice leads to bad decisions which can make you go broke. We don’t want that to happen, now do we?
My next and last stop was Hollywood Beach. I’ve stayed at a hotel there once before and walked along the Broadwalk but that was before I was a pedicab driver. I’ve had discussions with other drivers about the area and this was the perfect opportunity to explore it to see if it’d be worth pedicabbing in the future. Parking was a bitch yet again. My plan was to park at North Beach Park, ride my bike around the entire strip (because I brought my bike with me for the trip), circle back to my car, and sleep on the beach. Unlike Sunny Isles Beach, there’s public parking available but it varies. I saw a ticket on a car after I parked. I read the meter and it said the park was closed which also meant the parking spaces were, too. Didn’t matter if you paid or not, if your car was there during that late hour, you were fucked. I went out to the beach and it was dark and peaceful but the ticket on that car was still on my mind. I took the ticket and read it. I had to know if it was a current ticket or an older one from before the park closure. Turns out it was a new ticket. The reason was that the park and parking spaces were closed. That’s some cold ass shit, man.
That meant I had to leave and go elsewhere which meant wasting more time finding a place just to fucking park for free. On that north end, there was no place to do so. The meters around businesses were 24 hours. You’d think close to midnight like it was that they’d calm down with that shit but being that I saw a car with a ticket on it, I wasn’t trying to get one. Bad enough I had to pay that 20 bucks to park at Totem. I didn’t wanna lose any more money. I settled on a place next to the Intracoastal Waterway that said ‘no trespassing’ and had some wooden barriers in place to prevent cars from driving into it. They weren’t well placed and I maneuvered my way in with no problems. Fuck it, I got tired of wasting time and gas and it worked out. Since those barriers indicate that no cars should be able to gain access, that meant to me that cops and tow trucks would leave me alone at that hour. And it was a dark area so I had that advantage, too. Plus there weren’t many cars out so I ended up making the right choice.
Hollywood and Hallandale Beach flow right into each other. Neither of them have anything at all to do along the strip. It’s all hotels and condos so that part was pretty boring although I did admire the views of everything at night. The few businesses on the strip were mostly all closed except for a lone 7-Eleven where I stopped in to get something to drink. I didn’t get anything to eat because I thought there had to be somewhere that’d be open that served food but that wasn’t the case. I ended up at County Line Road which is where Broward County turns into Dade and Hallandale Beach turns into Golden Beach. From there back up to Sheridan along the strip, there’s practically nothing to do or see if you don’t like looking at tall buildings. I think there was a river cruise and water taxi but neither were operating at the time. There’s no riverwalk along the Waterway except at Diplomat Landing. That’s definitely something those cities there need to think about adding as an alternative to the beach.
I made my way back up to the Broadwalk and looked at some of the new hotels and condos springing up like Apogee, Trump Hollywood, and the Diplomat Residences. All were impressive but like so many places, they have a false sense of security. I peeped the public access sidewalks to the beach. Some of them happen to run alongside these buildings. For the Diplomat hotel or residences, if you wanna get in from the back, it’s easy. Just jump the short gate. Apogee is still under construction and is fenced off in the front but in the back, you can just walk right into the area with no problems. Take what you want, do what you want. If I was feeling more adventurous that night, I would’ve went all the way to the top floor. I’m not a thief so stealing isn’t my M.O. You hear about all these thefts and shootings on the news and wonder how it happens. Four words that I’ve already mentioned: false sense of security. The location of the Apogee blocks the view of the beach for some other places. I know that sucks for them. The view they paid a lot of money to have is long gone.
Where Hollywood barely had any parking, closer to and in Hallandale Beach, there was plenty. Too late for me to switch spots, though. The Broadwalk itself is pretty damn long and wide. Parallel to it is Surf Road. I alternated between the two. A funny sign I saw at a restaurant was “If you don’t work here, you can’t park here.” Towing and city revenue from ticketing is probably huge business in areas like that. The road has nothing but parking and lodging. The Broadwalk, at least when I was there at that time of night during this time of year, was dead. Only 2 bar/restaurants were open. Every other shop and place to eat was closed. They have a diverse cuisine but a lot of the shops are the same. Mostly tourist bullshit and older buildings. Personally, I wouldn’t visit the area just for the sake of visiting the area and getting a hotel room. There’s not really anything unique to do. Honestly, there’s nothing to do that you can’t do anyplace else or on any other beach. River cruise aside, the beach had personal watercraft and parasailing but you can get that at almost any other major beach. But the beach is the main attraction so if you just wanna relax and do nothing more than relax, then you won’t be disappointed.
You know how hard it is to find a quality beach lounge chair? It’s more difficult than you think if you rely on brick and mortar retailers. I found that shit out the hard way. And I’m talking about a quality chair, not some cheap ass bullshit. I wanted to have one to sleep on for this trip but couldn’t find any worth buying. There’s a public portion of Hollywood Beach that has some wooden chairs available for anyone. After riding around all night, I went to one of the bars (Nick’s) to get a burger and fries (tasted good) and used one of the free chairs to eat, relax, and eventually (try to) go to sleep. The other place that was open served dolphin burgers. I don’t know how I feel about eating a dolphin because I know their plight. After going to HAPPI Farm, I do know how I feel about eating a horse: I’d love to! Seriously, why don’t we eat horses the way we eat cows, pigs, and chickens?
It was damn near 4am and you’d think people would be quiet during that time but some dumb white chick couldn’t talk in a low voice and kept fake-laughing constantly. It was annoying. You know those people that laugh at every little thing while conversing even though nothing is funny? Those people who use laughter as a defense mechanism? That was her. The guy she was with, I never heard a peep from him so what the hell was so fucking funny to her? She could hear him but had to speak loudly for him to hear her? Obnoxious ass motherfuckers, man, I tell ya. I know an attention seeker when I see and hear one. Not that there were a lot of people on the beach at that hour. It was practically empty but someone like her just HAD to show up and sit near me. She just HAD to! The non-coincidences don’t end there.
They left (thankfully), I was done with my food, and I tried to go to sleep but the sea breeze was too cold and although I was wearing long sleeves (I did change again from my Cirque clothes to more casual clothes when I parked), it didn’t help to keep me warm. I didn’t wanna sleep in my car but had no choice because I was still tired. That was going well until a mosquito decided to bite me and buzz around my ear constantly. At that point, I knew the universe was telling me to bounce. Or the owner of the property had a pet mosquito lurking around instead of a guard dog. When I left, I realized that if I had the right clothes to handle the cold breeze, I could’ve finally seen the sun rise from the beach; something I’ve always wanted to do. The world just wasn’t gonna let me have my shot. The cosmos still had lessons to teach me and dammit, I learned them.
Traffic was a nightmare on I-95 but cleared up after leaving West Palm Beach. I was still tired so I pulled over to get some more sleep. I still had plenty of gas left in the tank but these things are designed to go empty at some point. When I got to the Stuart/Indiantown exit, gas was $3.59 a gallon. I was like, “That shit was $3.35 at home. I ain’t payin’ that much for no fuckin’ gas.” I filled up with about 2 gallons at that price which was just enough to get me to Port St. Lucie where I knew there had to be cheaper gas because the further into South Florida you go, the higher the gas prices are. It’s insane. The exit I got off at, I also wanted to find a Publix to grab some doughnuts so I kept driving a little further into town and saw a 7-Eleven with $3.37 gas. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Got me some reasonably priced gas and some good pastries and milk for the rest of my trip back home. Things ended on a relatively good note after all.
Cirque Totem? We might be revisiting each other. HAPPI Farm? I don’t like doing the same volunteer opportunities twice but I’d recommend the place to those who need their service because it’s accessible and the owner was nice. Sunny Isles Beach? I’m gonna ride through there someday like I did Hollywood and Hallandale Beach but I might stay there, maybe at the Trump Miami, because there are things to do and see and places to go like the pier. The Broadwalk? Hollywood has no pedicab ordinance so if there’s a major event going on there that’s worth going to, I’ll consider it. Miami road signage? They gotta fucking do something about that shit and it ain’t just a Miami problem.
For instance, when you approach 192 on I-95, the signs only indicate Melbourne and West Melbourne as cities of interest. They say jack shit about St. Cloud, Kissimmee, or Disney. I’ve missed that exit more than once in the past but I’m aware of it now. It was still a great trip and a great experience for me. I had fun even though a fucking mosquito ruined my sunrise dreams. The main lessons learned for me here are not to overplan and to include time for the possibility of getting lost, inevitable traffic jams, finding parking, and walking distances in those plans. I tried to do too much and it cost me in ways I didn’t anticipate or prefer, mainly missing the beginning of Totem. But I know better now. Gaining useful knowledge is something you can’t buy and it doesn’t involve cash or credit pricing like Sunoco gas stations. Credit price was $3.66 a gallon. I understand that cash is king but god damn, man, give us a break!