To California We Go!

My brother was driving down to California to go cheer his Team Run Eugene teammates on at the Payton Jordan Invitational, a big distance athletics carnival hosted at Stanford University. He asked me to tag along; I jumped at the opportunity. Eugene’s weather had been really dreary lately, and it was taking its toll on my mood as well. No one passes up on California’s good weather! (Despite the droughts that the state has been facing recently.)

And thus we began our 10h drive down. (Our car can only go at 110mph max, so…)

My brother had the honor of getting us on the freeway, before handing the wheel over to me after 2 hours or so. He was tuckered from his morning workout.

Bro: (in perfect Singlish) “You know how to drive on the highway hor?”

Me: “Not really.”

– I relished the anxious look on his face: I hadn’t driven long distance before, nor had I been driving that much lately. –

A crash course later, and I was driving us on the freeway. A little jerk here and then while I learnt how to hold the wheel steady, but all seemed fine. I had my tunes blasting, so the likelihood of me falling asleep due to boredom had dropped significantly.

Bro: *grabs a pillow from the back* “When I wake up, I wanna be alive, alright?”

– Ha bloody ha. –

About 70 miles away from our destination, a friend’s place in San Jose, a tyre popped. Twilight had descended. All the light we had was from a glowing billboard next to use, and the headlights of the passing cars. It wasn’t too bad in terms of lighting actually.

Apparently I did something cool that makes him look like the Flash…such as fumbling with the camera while shooting in unstable Night Portrait mode. (Doh.)

He finally figures out how to change a tyre after an hour! And roadside assistance still hasn’t showed…!

It’s after 10 at this point, and now we can only go at half the speed we were previously going at, meaning we’ll only reach our destination in an hour or so. Also, I had a real urge to answer nature’s call. That was the longest hour of the drive ever.

But enough about the flat tyre incident. On to our adventures in California!

Cupertino, CA had at least two Singaporean restaurants, providing a sense of food from home. It was so good, but I’m not much of a food photographer. My first instinct when I see food is to shove it down the hatch, not photograph it!

We did snag a photo outside an explicitly Singapore-themed restaurant:
The girl in blue is Grace, a fellow Singaporean who grew up in San Jose, CA. She runs too, and fast; she covers a mile in 5:08!

The Merlion is Singapore’s national symbol, although admittedly if anyone tried to imitate the Merlion in a game of charades to make me guess Singapore as the correct answer, I would fail miserably. To me, Singapore is all about the food!

The Payton Jordan started really late, perhaps 3pm, but the three of us (me, my brother and Grace) only went just before 5 to catch his friends racing. The really cheap $5 entry fee is definitely not on my complaint list!

Since I’d survived a 10 hour trip down, why not (attempt) to snap some photos from the sidelines? I saw professional photographers milling around on the inside of the track, with their media passes and monster lenses. Someday I’ll be joining them.

I used to do the steeplechase, right before I fractured my fibula in December last year, so nevertheless this is one of my favorite events to shoot. One day when I earn a media pass, or stumble upon an open track meet where I can wander freely, I’m getting myself a cool water jump shot of a steeplechaser!

I burst into giggles when I first saw Jeremy, Alexi Pappa’s partner, carrying Alexi’s shoes and shoebag. He was the track equivalent of a guy holding his girlfriend’s handbag. Unfortunately before I could explain myself everyone was judging me for my seemingly random outburst. He was really nice about it after I caught my breath, the darling director.

Only Alexi is able to shine for the camera after 11pm. And having run a spectacular 10km on the track no less. She met the Olympic ‘A’ qualifying standard, clocking a time of 32:02! Can’t wait for her upcoming film Tracktown: The Movie to come out sometime in 2016! Where I cameo for 10 seconds tops. (That shameless advertising on my part though.)

There were many other cool views on the drive, but unlucky me happened to be the one driving during those cool times when we passed Mt. Shasta, so my brother has all the cool snow-topped mountain photos while I had the honor of admiring a windscreen of insects the car slammed into on the drive through Oregon. Those splotches can get really annoying.

And that was my weekend of inter-state exploration! I have another inter-state exploration planned during the Memorial Day long weekend, but I’ll be headed north this time, to Vancouver, B.C. in Canada! Exploring is what life’s about.


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