A quick ride through the "Date Capital of the World" and I ascend the San Jacinto Mountains Coachella - an island of green in a sea of brown It was hard not to feel on top of the world. I had made it across the most remote areas on my trip without a major catastrophe. Kamikaze animals, a wheezing starter on its death-bed, slippery mountain passes, hidden gravel patches, nor fuel scares in the lonesome desert could stop me. As I rose away from the hostile desert into more temperate climate of Southern California, an immense feeling of victory took over. I was one with the motorcycle, swiftly navigating the twisties through the beautiful hills. Motorcycles are inherently dangerous, any sane rider will agree. However, while the machine and road hazards present a tangible danger, it is within the machine where an even more pernicious danger lies. It does not exist in the physical sense - one could take the machine apart and never find it. However, upon riding the machine, it manifests itself into the mind of the rider and, like the deadly fumes of a carbon monoxide leak, it can sneak up on the rider without him or her realizing it. It grants the rider a feeling of euphoria; one could almost feel as though they were immortal. That sense of euphoria is the most dangerous hazard; reckless driving ensues. It just takes one turn too sharp and a motorcycle going just a little too fast, to discover the reality of this fundamental truth. I very briefly lost control of the motorcycle, just enough to cause the motorcycle to skid in the opposite lane. I quickly recorrected my course and continued on, much more carefully. The experience left me shook up and humiliated for being so careless. I imagine other riders pull a similar move at some point, and I was lucky enough to be part of the percentage that doesnt pay for it. However, as I cruised through the beautiful California valleys, it was hard to not still feel a bit giddy. I would be staying with my grandparents for a few days, simultaneously visiting relatives. Getting pampered for a few days would be a drastic, and welcome change to life on the road. I hadnt visited Vista in a few years, but it didnt stop the flood of reminiscent memories as I cruised through places familiar from my childhood. The younger me always admired this unique house. I had to snap a shot of it. As an arrival gift, my grandparents and aunt took me out to a swanky supermarket to "buy anything I wanted". My grandmother had a fear that I might "go hungry" at any point during my visit. After a few weeks of eating mostly oatmeal and lentils, I was very happy to graciously accept their hospitality. After a few days of catching up with relatives, playing tourist around San Diego, and lounging by the pool it was time to depart yet again. I was bound to meet some friends in Los Angeles! Samosas at Venice Beach! Nearby was a place where you could pay $20 to get your "medical marijuana" card. Gotta love Cali. Somewhere around the Malibu/Thousand Oaks area - a very different feel from the city.