Words by Spencer Smith
Photographs by Bruce J. Bales
Video by Bruce J. Bales and Spencer Smith

On the cold monochrome days when life seems to lose its vividity and people in the streets become passersby, with whom you only share a moment and then advert your eyes, on these days the bare trees drape over slush and ice covered, gray streets, these trees like skeleton hands clutching at us, serve as a constant reminder that we are living amongst death. For there is no foliage growing and the colors green, yellow, and blue have become a dull memory of the things we’ve lost and a sliver of hope of things to come. On these dastardly days it is a Midwesterner’s yearning and duty to travel to other parts of the country.

Now that we have got that dreary and dull business of a winter description out of the way lets move on to the topic of sunny California; more specifically, Northern California the location of the zodiac murders, the gold rush, the 2016 Super Bowl, our destination of choice on a cold day in February. Among many goals we set out to make an edit, visit fellow blading cohorts (Phil Austin and Brian Krans), and attempt to have an experience that got at the essence of what it is to be in Northern California. Much to our dismay, the good folks at the NFL (I’m kidding they are terrible, all of them) wanted this for the 2016 Super Bowl and its 72,000 attendees on Sunday February 7th, the day after we were set to arrive in San Francisco. So, after getting through the hellish nightmare that was SFO before the Super Bowl (It wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound I’m just prone to hyperbole) Bruce and I looked at each other and said, “let’s get the hell out of here.” So we set off to Phil Austin’s home of Santa Rosa for a few days before he returned to San Francisco with us.

In summation, the trip cost us blood, sweat, injured wrists and knuckles, and about 450 dollars for a plane ticket. But what the trip was about was something for more profound. It was interacting with a landscape. Sometimes we fought it. Sometimes we enjoyed it. And sometimes it hurt us a god damned lot.

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

Alameda, Ca. Fuji 800.
Alameda, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

Alameda, Ca. Fuji 800.
Alameda, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

Spencer Smith. 180 mute. San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
Spencer Smith. 180 mute. San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

Oakland, Ca. Fuji 800.
Oakland, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800.
San Francisco, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)

Big Sur, Ca. Fuji 800.
Big Sur, Ca. Fuji 800. (Click to enlarge)


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