Electronic failures and how to extend your stay

November 27, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 3 Comments



I don't seem to have any luck with my electronics. My batteries and accessories for my Go Pro camera never seemed to work properly, my cell phone gave up a couple of days ago and my keyboard for my tablet have started to act more and more strange. Today I finally gave up on it and now I try to learn how to use the integrated keyboard which I find very difficult and extremely slow. Have patience with me! I guess posts will be shorter from now on. ;)



Anyway, everything else is great! We decided to stay in San Carlos, or El Palmar to be correct, for two nights. Two became three and three became four. We had a day trip to Elle Valle del Antón yesterday and today we were about to leave. Well, after breakfast Anders glanced at the hammock and I could see that today wasn't the day either. I am not in a hurry and I guess Anders found out how to relax too. Tomorrow will be the day... I believe.















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Arraiján to Carpita and then some hammock life in San Carlos

November 26, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments


The following days included more up- and downhills. The entire way, no flat roads. I couldn't keep up with Anders speed. To compromise so he wouldn't be bored but I still could push my longboard every day I took the bus for some parts of the road. We had a night in the little town of Carpita, at the only hostel we could find, had an evening meal among drunken locals and spent the rest of the Saturday night trying to get some sleep while the citizens of Carpita decided to start a street party pretty late and continue until early morning. Meaning, not very much sleep for us.



I was in pretty bad shape. My hip joints and one knee was in pain and my muscles sored. On top on that I had cramps in my stomach and an incipient headache. It felt like I was old and grumpy (which I'm not) and I had to convince myself several time during the day that this was actually what I wanted. To live a longboard life for a year! Well, it wasn't really hard to do if I just gave myself some time to rest once in a while. I also had some good experience with locals offering me water along the way and stopping me for a nice chat. They in Español, me in Inglés/Español. They all helped me and encouraged me to continue!


We managed to meet up right before San Carlos where we had decided to camp for a couple of nights. I had read that camping on beaches was allowed everywhere in Panama but when we entered the beach the sign was pretty clear. No camping allowed!


Asked around and everybody said that camping could be hard since the beach and the tide wasn't in our favour. Instead we found a relaxed and nice hostel with hammocks all around and welcoming people who seemed to like being accompanied by a biker and a skater. We decided to stay in that pretty little place, where you could hear the waves from the frontyard and read books in hammocks, for a few days. To be kind to body and to be kind to soul!

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Leaving Panama City and trying to keep the speed of a biker

November 24, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



The taxi driver dropped me off at a bus stop at the same time people quit work and the road was filled with people, all staring at me when I set up my equpiment. I put my things together as fast as I could and started in a slow pace up the first hill. The traffic was heavy, the shoulders littered and even if they were wide enough, cars, buses and trucks were close and I was nervous. It took a while but then I felt more self confident and I could concentrate on the not so steep but long uphills. My legs were sored and my head wanted to be released from my helmet. Hot, sweating, struggling.

Downhill was something else. I used my soles to brake once again and could feel how the asphalt ate them but was to afraid of the speed that came immediately. When I finally felt a little bit braver I gave one hill a try. Unfortunately I had to swerve for some potholes in the road and my trailer, which I thought where more stable after some adjustments, turned over again. I could hear it scraping after my longboard but instead of slowing me down it went back for a while then rolled over again. I couldn't find the balance to foot brake and had to wait until next uphill before I stopped rolling. Looked at the damages, ignored them for the moment and went on, more careful but also annoyed with the fact that my equipment still didn't work.

I was expecting Anders to catch up on me but guessed he had left later from Panama City than expected. A camera flash went off from one of the passing cars, I heard whistles and saw thumbs up all the way, even from a police car. At one point a couple of dogs where a little bit to curious about my longboard and I was nervous because my earlier experiences with dogs and my Subsonic board wasn't great. Those two were sniffing around and I did my best to ignore them and hoped they choosed not to play with my board or attack it. They left and so did I. Glad that I didn't have to defend my belongings.


My legs started to be so tired that I didn't trust them and even if I hadn't pushed my board for slightly more than seven kilometers I felt relieved when I saw our meeting point. Ten minutes later I was accompanied by my biker again and we had a nice meal in a asian restaurant before we went looking for somewhere to sleep. No camping today either. We found a small hotell in the small village of Arraiján.

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Panama City and to meet the one you have missed

November 23, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



Like I had been before I was once again denied access to something I had planned. Last time I was stopped at the enterence at Joshua Tree National Park. This time they wouldn't let me board the flight to Panama until I had some kind of proof that I also was planning to leave the country within three months. "Easy to solve", I thought and as the LAX (Los Angeles Airport) had free wifi I started to google "How to leave Panama by bus + cheap". I found two companies, both made it impossible to purchase a ticket online and after one hour searching for a solution I kindly asked the girls at the check in desk to help out. Fifteen minutes later I had a reservation in december to Nicaragua, by airplane. Nobody would ask for it when I entered Panama I asumed but if I was wrong I could at least give them something. My plan is still to leave by longboard and enter Costa Rica though.

I heard my name in the speaker at the security control. Ran as soon as my shoes were on my feet again and my computer was down in the case. The friendly girl who had helped me with my reservation was there to escort me and once on the plane I could stretch my legs out on three seats all by my own. The night arrived and above the clouds I had a nice slumber before the cabin crew asked me if I wanted pancakes for breakfast.



I couldn't help smiling in the overpriced taxi from the airport. The smell of the humid Panamanian air, the pleasent heat, the many skyscrapers which we drove into in a zigzagging and jumpy minibus and the few minutes left until I should meet the man I hadn't seen for more than six weeks. I knew he would smile to. And so he did...

We spent the next day enjoying each others company, exploring the city and trying to learn how to handle the heavy traffic by foot. Didn't know until later that we had tried the areas tourists are told to stay away from both day and night. We were still safe though. Later Anders bought a bike and tried the streets of Panama City on rubber wheels too.

Panama City is spread out and we had to take taxi once in a while too. It is supposed to be cheap and it happens that you actually are given a fair price from time to time. Mostly, I must say, it was the "tourist fare" that we were offered.



We did most of the things you are supposed to do once in Panama City. Had a walk in the old town and then home through Via España with its shopping (we saved our money though), took a taxi to Panama Canal and watched boats pass, walked the Amador Causeway with a splendid view over the city's skyline and did the same along the water closer to town. Same view but closer. We also had fish chevishe at the lively fish market. A new taste, a good one.



Organized our things and a late afternoon we went off, left the city. Anders had to take his bike out of town, again through qarters we were told to stay away from. I knew he would be fine but didn't like it. I took a taxi to a safer spot where I could begin the climb up and down the green hills outside Panama City.

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San Diego in my heart

November 20, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

OB pier. 💓 #OB #OceanBeach #SanDiego #California

Ett foto publicerat av Longboard Lady (@_longboardlady_)

Going back to San Diego was something extra. Before I left home I was excited about the adventure in the desert but, most of all, my heart was already in Ocean Beach, SD.

I spent almost three weeks there. Went to Californian beaches with long and winding piers, watched the surfers waiting for the morning waves, was blessed with sunsets, spread out my blanket in lovely Balboa Park, admired the skyline of San Diego from Coronado, heard the beat of Gaslamp Quarter, walked in my favorite neighbourhood in Banker's Hill, took my bike, which was still there, along Sunset Cliffs and tried well-known areas with my longboard.

I also met a lot of old and dear friends, had new ones and experienced the American way to celebrate Halloween. Did some hiking, drank some wine and slept until the sun woke me up again. Had some road trips, gave my skin a new colour, danced salsa with a lot of spins, and Bachata and Merengue. Watched the sky and the airplanes every day and made visits to the Farmer's Markets.

I left with tears in my eyes but will probably come back with new smiles.

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The push towards Ocean Beach and the fear of asphalt

November 19, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



I was, all of a sudden, in a hurry. Tina, the long distance bicyclist I had shared the camping spot with had already put her tent together and it looked as she was ready to leave when I asked her when she thought they expected me to be out from the camp. "I think now", she said and my plans of a second cup of coffe was not as important anymore. The time was 9.03 am and I guessed that Tinas "now" was three minutes ago. Well, to put all my things together in a well balanced way took time and even if I didn't have my second cup of coffe I wasn't done until almost one hour later. Bye bye, Encinitas.

I headed slightly downhill for a while in a nice pace and in a good mood, then uphill and in to the small town of Solana where I found an excellent place for some breakfast and an even better thing, great internet connection. Time flew and I was chatting with my loved back home, did some blogging and some other online errands. When I finally left again the afternoon had caught up on me. It was uphill but climbing wasn't as strenuous as expected.




The climb resulted in one of the longest, and quite steep, downhills I had faced and I feared I couldn't handle the speed. I made it, part by part. Slower than walking I guess and probably leaving traces of shoe soles when braking. When I finally had the courage to let go and increased speed I saw a big gap between the slabs on the bridge in front of me which undoubtedly and abruptly would stop my wheels and I had to bail out. Two bikers behind me almost hit the board which went on by itself and then continued, heading towards traffic. Cars honking, me scared but thankful for being safe again. My board was still with me.

I was in a beautiful place, Torrey Pines State Beach just before the next climb, but I couldn't really enjoy it, still suffered from my earlier traffic experience. I was also aware of the late afternoon darkness which approached and I caught a bus to have time to find a new camp ground.

What happend next is a long story but to shorten it let's say that the bus took me in the wrong direction, I was saved by an internet connection at a shopping mall and a friend I had met before, I spent the night sleeping in a car and ended up on the right side of the Torrey Pines the next, very early morning.

Ate some almonds and cheese for breakfast on a bench in the fancy La Jolla Shores, brushed my teeth in the public restroom there and was watched by the friendly but suspicious guard who seemed to be overlooking the area in that early morning hour. Some early joggers showed up along the beach, the surfers where already in the water to catch the waves. I left. The coast was beautiful and dramatic and even if I had seen it before, two years earlier, I couldn't have enough. I had to move on though. San Diego was calling.




When I pushed my longboard into my "old" neighbourhood I couldn't get rid of that stupid smile of mine. It felt like I left only a couple of weeks ago and the distinct smell of pot reached my nose. This was OB. People smoked, someone was playing the guitar in the street and the green little cottage I once said goodbye to was still there waiting for my arrival. I rang the bell, so many memories.

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Los Angeles and how to find squared wheels

November 16, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments




I spent the next days in Los Angeles behind my screen, searching for help with my matter of lost wheel grip and wrong balance of weight on my trailer. I finally decided to try those wheels I had been curious in for a while, Shark Wheels. We found the store but it was during a weekend and everything was closed down. Took a chance and had a look behind the buiding and lucky as we were we found the guys in a garage where funny looking wheels were constructed. We had a tour among square shaped urathane in different colours and choosed some yellow ones for a good price.

Reorganizing my things to put more weight on my shoulders and hips took time and I wasn't found of the idea to carry more in a backpack but less baggage on the trailer made me find the balance again and I was eager to go for another pushing adventure to try it all out. To see how it worked in a safer environment, never too far from a skate shop and with no need of several gallons of water before take off. I was very self confident. Daniel had been the most excellent travel partner, a great and appreciated friend and also very, very helpful. I had been lost without him. Grateful but with that well-known restless feeling and desire to be off by my own I said goodbye and left him waving at the train station. I know that feeling isn't going away, I can't ignore it.

Oceanside train station, simply had to pick one place to start my new longboard settings on and it seemed to be in a fair distance from San Diego where I had decided to stop among friends for a while. I calculated for a couple of nights camping and started my skating again. It seemed to work, it really did! The breeze from the ocean and the amazing views of the sand coloured coast that the sun turned to gold in front of my eyes made me as happy as one can be. Realized again that I was free from all responsabilities and able to do whatever came into my mind.



Miles where added, people where stopping me everywhere to ask me about my travels and how it was to travel on squared wheels. I let one man try my board for a while, nervous that he would run away with all of my belongings. The roads where quite good all way. It wasn't flat as "Salton Sea flat", nor to steep hills either. I made it much longer than planned and ended up in a nice little campground in Cardiff, Encinitas. Shared a little spot for "Hikers and bikers" with an interesting long distance cyclist from Holland, Tina. Watched the sky turn to red with her as a company and then had an early night in my ground camping hammock.

I fell asleep with the sounds of the waves rolling in and a train whistle in the distance. A good feeling, this was what I had waited for and I longed for the morning to come and to have another beautiful day with my long distance longboard.


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A nice arrival to Borrego Springs and to realize that your equipmentdoesn't work

November 15, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

Wildflowers in Anza Borrego
We left the flat roads and hot area of Salton Sea, placed me, my longboard and the trailer in a fair distance from Borrego Springs. Right in the middle of the huge Anza Borrego desert. While I was organizing my stuff the local sheriff pulled over and asked us what we were up to. Daniel explained the purpose of the unusual outfit while I made myself ready to go, tried to eavesdrop and finally included myself in the conversation.

The sheriff expected me to be one of the more adventurous longboarders going up for the steep hills to find the speed down. Dangerous and not my cup of tea, I explained. "Well", the Sheriff told me, "If you are continuing with those crazy ideas you have to place yourself on the other side of the road. From now on you are not a bike, you are a pedestrian."

All my efforts to make my trailer visible from behind was for nothing, my red back light and my orange little flag wasn't needed anymore but I really didn't care. To continue on the other side were going to be a totally different feeling but I would be a lot safer in that high speed traffic I was surrounded with.

I expected the upcoming miles to be easily ridden but, I was wrong again. The road was even worse than earlier and for every push I did the board lost its grip. Couldn't really figure out what was wrong but the balance seemed lost in a way, it couldn't be the road condition by itself that made the difference.

Slow as I was I gave the desert some attention as well. Wildflowers were blooming, not in large quantities but still, I was surprised. I knew the area had had even less water than expected recently and to see life in this inhospitable climate was nice.

The last mile was excellent. Smooth road which was so much nicer to my asphalt-smelling wheels and when I reached the green and lush Borrego Springs I had a good feeling again. I asked Daniel to have a look at my equipage while I was pushing and he confirmed my apprehensions. I was to tail heavy, at least with gallons of water attached to the trailer and it didn't match with my pushing style. How to take care of the problem in the middle of the desert was however still an issue.

We had another amazing camp among snooping coyotes and a bright moon. In the morning Daniel had a call from his work who asked him to come in as fast as possible. My choices were between to be by myself for many days on board with an equipment that didn't work or to join right then, no stops. I was happy for Daniel who had been waiting for that call to come but realized that I had made myself dependent on him or at least some help when I started my trip in the desert without knowing my longboard's pros and cons. I left the desert and the beautiful mountains of Anza Borrego for Los Angeles traffic but also skateshops around every corner.

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The colours of Salvation Mountain and a less scary Slab City

November 10, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments



We left our free spot we were offered last night in the RV park pretty early, went back to the rough road which we left yesterday and headed toward Salvation Mountain by car. My board couldn't handle the asphalt here and I was still confused about the long and time consuming distances. We expected a crowd of tourists when we arrived but like the other day it seemed like people doesn't bother to go into the desert area of Salton Sea in late October. We had the place to ourself. Well, we shared it with the cats who followed us, I guess we were visitors of there home.










Leonard Knight, the man who settled himself out there in the desert, had created a beautiful world for himself and his savior, Jesus. For me it was first too much of all the religious words painted on cars, mailboxes and the "mountain" but then even I, a person with a lot of opinions regarding religion, could see the beauty and the love he shared with his God. Leonard passed away a couple of years ago but there is still an organisation trying to preserve the work he has done. Not an easy thing to do when paint is falling apart and human shoes are stomping on the colourful ground.


Slab City.


We left it in the evening before, dark and kind of friendly but in an offensive way that actually scared us a bit. This day that feeling was totally gone and the RV:s seemed to welcome us, strangers as we were. A "Hi" here and a nod there. We took a closer look at a place that said "Open" but couldn't find anyone there. Cute place anyway. We went back to the car. Me, glad that we went there again and that I now can remember Slab City as a nice and happy place to be.











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Bombay Beach and a try to sleep in Slab City

November 04, 2014 Sofia Nordlander 0 Comments

Bombay Beach
I don't remember how I found out about Bombay Beach, a small town next to Salton Sea, but since I started to look at it I have been totally fascinated, just had to go there. The town itself is known as one of the poorest in California and when Daniel picked me and my longboard up just outside town he told me that some areas down there looked like a war zone. Abandoned houses, graffiti and a general mess. He looked almost worried, I got excited instead. That was exactly what I had been searching for. That and the deserted recreation areas à la "Dirty Dancing" where the rich people spent there luxury vacations water skiing, taking dance lessons and partying. Before Salton Sea became to salt. Fish started to die, the smell turned into awful and the fancy people choosed other destinations, or simply started to spend there vacations in other ways. I think I read something about storms in the 70's that closed down what was left.


Daniel stayed by the car when I started to explore the abandoned houses and trailers. Sofas, refrigerators, childrens toys among used clothes, matresses and smashed windows. Wasn't always sure whether it was abandoned or simply in a really bad shape and watched for signs as "Beware of the dog" or "Keep Out". Thrilled with it and had a lot of imagined storys rolled up in my mind. What was the history behind each and every place?



Daniel took me to the stinky beach and I could understand why a different kind of tourists went there nowadays. We shared the place with a small family who told us that they had recently bought a house on the other side of the lake. Cheap. But they waited for the area to be more attractive. Rumors had told them that investments had been made and I had actually heard that there is a serious try to save Salton Sea and its wildlife.

The beach had a lot of reminders from the earlier and more fancy days and once again my camera had to work. Rust and salt had almost eaten up what was left and I couldn't find all the spots I had seen on the internet but it had also been a lack of rain in the area for a long time. The environment could have been different, not less interesting though.


Clock was ticking, and we went on to find a camping spot. My legs were tired after the long push on my board that day so going by car for a while was a relief. My suggestion was to go camping at Slab City, I had heard that the town's citizens where friendly and just wanted to live an alternative life. We were warned by the locals in the nearby town of Niland that it wasn't a place to go during night because of all drugs out there but didn't really listen and the car went on. When we were closer to the the town of all trailers and unusual decorated RV:s we stopped to ask another driver where we could go camping. Anywhere it seemed like. We were also invited to one of the trailers but looking at the mans eyes and the state of his mind made us say thank you but no thanks even if we were offered the most delicious chicken in Slab City and endless amounts of the best marijuana in the US. And booze. The darkness and the people around us frightened us a bit and we decided to see Slab City during daylight next day. I was surprised of my own feelings.

We found a RV park in one of the close towns and the lovely owner gave us a free spot to camp on. Gravel, but we had been in the desert long enough to not bother and the moment my headlamp was turned of my eyes was already asleep.

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