One of my favorite lesser known movies is Big Fish. It’s about a son who resents his dad because he thinks the crazy stories about his past are all lies. At his funeral the son finds that the traveling circus, the giant, the Chinese twins that were in his dad’s stories were all real. The stories had been exaggerated over time, the giant got taller with every telling, and the catfish he tried to catch changed in size with every telling, but the fish tales he told were all largely true.
Our tale started yesterday. We started the morning off in Hollywood, hitting up Pink’s (which was satisfying but somewhat disappointing after all the hype) and then drove up as close as possible to the Hollywood sign. On google I found that the closest we could drive to the Hollywood sign was the LA Reservoir. We braved a narrow, steep one lane hillside road to get there. We almost got stuck when we took a wrong turn into a steep driveway but the Camry just barely had enough power to push our hot dog fattened bodies up the driveway and back on track.
After Hollywood we picked up our RV and headed down to San Diego. We were too cheap to pay for an RV site, so we spent the night in front of a Vons and Trader Joes next to the humongous San Diego Rock Church. Our original plan was to park at the harbor where we would be fishing in the morning, but we ended up being too cheap to pay the parking. We ended up paying for it anyways when we went fishing. Dahhh…
We were able to get on a fishing boat at the crack of dawn. The boat ride out to our fishing spot was pretty amazing. Just outside of harbor we saw a dolphin crest about 20 feet away from us. Seals surfaced even closer. It seemed like there was a big military presence outside of San Diego, there was a big aircraft carrier parked outside the harbor, and military helicopters flew over pretty regularly.
The fishing itself was sort of disappointing. I remember going on a fishing boat and catching a fish every time I dropped my line. I remember going home with a huge sack full of fish. This time we all caught fish, but most of them were smaller than the size of my palm. Dho ended up the big winner with four keepers, Jim caught one. Gid and I caught a bunch of fish but ended up feeding the gulls with all of them, they were all too small.
After lunch we headed out to Joshua Tree National Park. In my mind I pictured it being a barren wasteland. It was pretty barren, but beautiful in its own way. We arrived just around sunset, the horizon was painted in beautiful orange, red and yellow hues. After dark the moonlight covered the desert with an eerie bluish glow. We cleaned our fish and cooked by moonlight and flashlights. It ended up being the best fish dinner I can remember– the fish was amazingly clean and fresh tasting. Joshua Tree is famous for its climbable rock formations. After dinner we climbed the rocks that encircled our campsite. It was a pretty amazing experience making it to the top and looking down on the lights of the campsites.
In the morning we hiked out to a small watering hole. At the grassy patch there were a small herd of bighorn sheep grazing. We literally got within 100 feet of them and they were oblivious to our existence. At the end of our hike we saw petroglyphs left by the Indians who lived in the site thousands of years ago.
All in all, I expected Joshua Tree to be a boring, barren wasteland. I ended up being amazed by the scenery and the wildlife there. My experiences over the past couple of days have been awesome, but I wonder if they are really stories worth telling.
I think the concept of the fish tale is dying in our generation. It seems like our lives are boring compared to the lives of people a generation or two ago. It seems like our lives are predetermined to be boring and formulaic. We go to school to get a career to be prepared to get married and have kids, all the while not really making any fish tales worth telling to our kids. Two weeks off every now and then is not nearly enough time to create a compelling life story. But I guess that is the challenge of our generation, to make a compelling tale in the short vacation times we have.