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I posted a few photos from the first week of a road trip around the USA I'm doing at the moment. Some requested a write up, so here's part 1 for anyone interested!

OK, so bear with me because I'm not the greatest with formatting. But I'll try my best!
As the title suggests, I posted some photos of the first week and a bit of a 6 month solo road trip I am currently undertaking around the USA and parts of Canada. They were received relatively well, and some people asked if I could do some updates along the way. So here's the first one and hopefully it can inspire some people to do similar!
Why?
Firstly, some background on the trip. Around about 4-5 years ago I had a pretty shitty bout with anxiety and depression. This isn't a sob story so don't feel bad for me, I'm actually quite good now. But anyway, after a few trips to a Psychologist, we both decided that it would be a good idea to set a goal that would actually get me through the days. As a university student coming to the end of my degree, starting work didn't really excite me.
So after some deliberation it was decided the only thing that excited me was travel, and no matter what type of work I got upon graduation, I would do it for about 2-3 years and save everything to put towards a 6 month road trip across North America. I actually studied American History at uni, so obviously that's what drew me here. More topical to current events, I actually took a lot of inspiration from Anthony Bourdain. Sounds made up now, but RIP.
Where?
I started planning this trip as soon as the decision was made. So if you're wondering why things are so detailed, that's probably why. Originally a lot was focussed around things with historical significance, like American Revolutionary sites, or Civil War Memorial, etc. But I've also always had a love for nature and hiking so that's where the National/State/Regional Parks come into play.
Then the love of food travel shows started to seep in. Anthony Bourdain being the main one, then a bit sillier shows like Man Vs. Food, and yes, even Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives played a role, for as much shit that Guy Fieri (deservedly) cops here. This drew me to certain cities.
I had already done a 5 week trip to the USA in 2013/14 for Christmas and NYE where I hit the main touristy spots like NYC, Vegas, LA, etc. So this trip was to focus more on the small towns, national parks, and open road.
When?
My previous trip was over Winter, so this trip had to be warmer weathegreener pastures. Originally planning to start in June, it just so happened that a sale popped up around January for return flights from Melbourne to LAX for AU$850 leaving in May and returning in November. Too good not to pass up and not that far from what I had planned anyway. Only problem is I cut it a little short because my cousin is getting married on November 10th and I couldn't miss it, so I arrive back in Melbourne the morning of... Cutting it fine, I know.
Itinerary
Now to the stuff that people will probably actually care about. My general direction that I'm heading in is a loop from LA, back to LA. That was the best looking map I could make out, but it gives you the idea. The good thing is I only have things booked about a week in advance at this stage, so it's more a 'rough' itinerary than anything.
I arrived in the country on May 20th and have a ticket home on November 8th. It was best to have a return ticket because otherwise those border guards will be on your back and you put yourself at risk of getting turned back at the airport.
May 20th - June 8th
So now to the actual good stuff, with pictures and all! Going through each place I've been, what I enjoyed there and recommendations. This will probably be the way each subsequent post will be set out, if I commit to doing them (which I have a tendency to be terrible with commitment).
Los Angeles, CA. 20/05 - 21/05:
OK, now when I say Los Angeles, I didn't actually spend any time in LA outside of the Airport. I got my car and took it straight to a place called Santa Paula, CA. I've been to LA before, spent about a week there, did everything touristy, and didn't particularly enjoy it. Not to say others wouldn't find it enjoyable, just not for me. Santa Paula itself isn't much to write about, but the drive from Santa Paul to Fresno had some cool parts.
Fresno, CA. 21/05 - 23/05:
Now I know what you're thinking, "Who the hell would go to Fresno?" I say this, because basically everyone I encountered in Fresno asked me that question. I went because it was a good base to explore the Sierra National Forest. Can't say much about Fresno, though. Also, a little side note, I'm not that proud of my photos early on. Everything is shot with my iPhone and it's taking me a little time to figure out how to get the best shot. Still in the process.
Santa Cruz, CA. 23/05 - 26/05:
Originally, I wanted to stay in Monterey for this portion. However, everything was either way too expensive or booked out, so I settled for Santa Cruz. Or more specifically, Felton, which is out the back of Santa Cruz. I was happy with the decision.
Sausalito/San Francisco, CA. 26/05 - 29/05:
I stayed in a hostel across the Golden Gate Bridge which I believe fell under Sausalito, but was in the Marin Headlands. I'd been to San Francisco previously so didn't feel the need to spend all my time in the city. I would park on the outskirts and catch the BART to downtown.
Lake Tahoe, CA. 29/05 - 31/05:
I didn't know how I was going to like Lake Tahoe, because having Nevada there and casinos around I thought it might be a little much for me. Can confirm, it's a lovely spot that far exceeded expectations.
Redding, CA. 31/05 - 2/06:
Another baffler for some people who didn't understand why I would go to Redding. This was my gateway into Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Also was an interesting little town with the giant Bethel Church) centred here.
Crater Lake National Park, OR. 2/06 - 5/06:
Based myself about 20 miles outside of Ashland, OR whilst exploring Crater Lake National Park. Stayed with this total hippie family at an Airbnb which turned out to be on a Weed Farm. I'd forgotten that it was legal in Oregon. But they were the best.
Eugene, OR. 5/06 - 7/06:
Back when I was at university, I seriously considered transferring to the University of Oregon for a year. I kinda regret not doing it, especially after being in Eugene and seeing the town/campus. I didn't take a lot of photos, mostly just walked around and took it all in.
Portland, OR. 7/06 - 9/06:
Currently in Portland and to be honest I haven't actually checked out the city itself at all. I'm planning to on my way out tomorrow, so here's what I've done so far anyway.
Summary
If anyone makes it this far, I bloody salute you. I can say already though that the last 2 and a bit weeks have been amongst the best of my life. From here, I head to Seattle tomorrow, before crossing into Canada and doing the Rockies. I'll try to make these a bit more regularly so it's not a huge chunk of writing that is terribly written and hard to read. If anyone has any questions or wants to know more, please reach out! I want to help in any way I can if you're planning a similar trip or a trip to an area I am going/have been.
Cheers!
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[FIGHT PREVIEWS] Akira Yaegashi vs Odilon Zaleta, Adrian Hernandez vs Naoya Inoue, Juergen Braehmer vs Enzo Maccarinelli, Carl Frampton vs Hugo Fidel Cazares + more

Thursday April 3

From Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, CA
TV: Fox Sports 1 (US)

Luis Ortiz 20(17)-0 vs Monte Barrett 35(20)-10-2

10 rounds
heavyweight division
This is what we call a showcase event. What does that mean? Golden Boy is on putting a show full of predictable match-ups to make their young guns look good. It seems like Golden Boy picked up a few heavyweights that looked good or had some sort of amateur success and they’re throwing them at the wall and seeing if one sticks. I suppose it’s a good strategy because recent years have told us that the heavyweight division is a difficult one to predict. These are the hardest punchers in the game and anyone, no matter how good, can be put to sleep. Ortiz is a Cuban defector who carries with him a long and successful amateur career. Whether that’s to be believed or even means anything will be found out some day. Barrett at one point and time could’ve been a good barometer for Ortiz but 2 things have me suspicious here. One. Barrett was the first one to knock David Tua down and fought him to a draw and then he won… then he knocked out Shane Cameron… and he disappeared. He hasn’t fought since July of 2012. Two. Luis Ortiz is 35 years old! Stepping up and trying to enter the elite fold of the heavyweight division as your speed and reflexes begin to diminish seems like a terrible idea to me.

Gerald Washington 11(8)-0 vs Skipp Scott 16(10)-1

10 rounds
heavyweight division
Why is it okay for cards like this to exist? You know what I’m talking about. A series of predictable fights where it looks like 3 guys are walking in with the sole intent on getting lucky or getting knocked out. I’ll tell you why. It’s because boxing doesn’t have any sort of minor league system. There’s no triple A boxing or rookie boxing league. I like to think of it like this. (Sorry, I’m not really gonna preview this fight, I just need an outlet for thoughts I have about this card.) From the time a fighter makes his debut until his 8th fight, typically (and I’m talking about a solid prospect with at least a decent amateur background) the opponents he faces would be rookie ball type opponents. These are guys that are young and inexperienced just like him. Guys with four wins and 6 losses are fine with me. After the 8th fight until around the 13th fight, that’s single A. These are the guys with bad records and don’t have any notable wins. These guys can be a little rugged and have solid chins so that you can test your prospect going some rounds and dealing with how to adjust to finish the job. From 13-16, move up to double A. These are once good fighters, guys with names, and guys who’ve been derailed by a couple of knockouts. These guys usually have talent, but have glaring flaws. These guys can win on any given night, but elite level talent will almost always prevail. Once he gets past this, 16-22 is triple A level. These are guys with 1 or 2 losses, but still contenders. Former world champions and guys who’ve fought for belts and lost. Undefeated guys who haven’t been tested yet. If your prospect can get through this without ease, he could be ready for a title shot by fight 20. This would be my plan if I was promoting prospects. (I would totally hope I get over achievers like Kazuto Ioka and Naoya Inoue though.) Skipp Scott is 6’8” so he’s got that going for him.

Dominic Breazeale 9(9)-0 vs Nagy Aguilera 19(13)-7

8 rounds
heavyweight division
Dominic Breazeale has lived in places I’ve lived in too so I hope he wins. He’s 6’7 and the youngest of the 3 “prospects.” His last fight featured him against a laughably large opponent. Breazeale made the boy quit after 3 rounds.

Friday April 4

From Salta, Argentina
TV: Unknown

Luis Carlos Abregu 35(28)-1 vs Jean Carlos Prada 30(21)-0-1

Abregu returns after nearly a year layoff. Abregu took time off to heal a hand injury which to my knowledge dates back to the Timothy Bradley fight. He’s maintained that the only way Bradley won that fight was because he hurt his hand. I’m sure that sentiment grew stronger in his head when he saw Bradley wobbled and beat to the punch against Provodnikov and Pacquiao. Either way, Abregu is a good fighter who’s got an awkward style. Abregu can punch and if his hand is fully recovered, I don’t see this ending well for Jean Carlos Prada. Abregu is on a mission to get a rematch with Bradley and if you saw the first one, you know that’d be a good fight. Prada has built up a nice record fighting exclusively in the Dominican Republic. The draw on his record came in his first professional match. I know I said earlier that Prada may not be too lucky if Abregu is fully healed, but consider this. Prada was a good amateur, he’s a southpaw, and the guys who have made went the distance with him have seldom won rounds. This will be an interesting fight and a good way to tell if Abregu is ready to come back for an HBO fight. I think a fight with Brandon Rios would be a good move.
From Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
TV: Boxnation (UK)

Carl Frampton 17(12)-0 vs Hugo Fidel Cazares 40(27)-7-2

12 rounds
WBC super bantamweight title final eliminator
Cazares has had a good little run at super bantamweight, but if Frampton is who we think he is, Frampton will be fighting Leo Santa Cruz in the fall…. But wait a second. Not so fast. Everyone wants to think that but Cazares is a little deceiving, much like Orlando Salido is. This guy hasn’t been beaten clean in 15 years. He’s fought everywhere from junior flyweight to super bantamweight and nobody has gotten a clean win over him. He damn near beat Ivan Calderon in his prime. Who is Calderon? This guy was Floyd Mayweather of the lower weight classes in his prime. The guy was a slick counter-puncher who’s defense in that weight class was unheard of. In his prime, Calderon looked unbeatable and Cazares dropped and him lost a split decision and the other fight was stopped because of a headbutt… which is a recurring theme in his fight so Frampton better not look to step in with his head down. None of Cazares’ opponents have been like Frampton. Frampton is an undefeated, in his prime fighter who’s going to be fighting in his hometown. Frampton has faced solid competition for the past 3 years and has a TKO win over one of the champions of the division. If Frampton is everything we think he is, this will still be a tough fight. Cazares is aggressive, he comes after you, and he hasn’t been dropped in several years.
From Liacouras Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: NBC Sports Network (US)

Curtis Stevens 26(19)-4 vs Tureano Johnson 14(10)-0

10 rounds
middleweight division
The last time we saw Stevens he dropped his guy with the first punch he threw. A few more and the fight was over. All that we know is that he still have his power, but how will he react to being hit after being a good boy. Johnson can box, his Olympic experience tells us that much. There are a lot of questions about both.

Amir Mansour 20(15)-0 vs Steve Cunningham 26(12)-6

10 rounds
heavyweight division
I’m sure you’ll hear a lot about it when you tune in, but Mansour is 41 years old. Why is this guy just barely progressing like a 21 year old prospect (or a 31 year old if you’re signed to Golden Boy)? I’ll tell you why, this dude spend a significant amount of his time in jail for trafficking blow. He’s paid his dues and is coming off a nice win against Kelvin Price.

Mike Lee 11(6)-0 vs Peter Lewison 6(5)-0

6 rounds
light heavyweight division
You know how everyone is always asking, who’s that guy in the Subway commercials? I’ve never seen him before. Well it’s this guy. Mike Lee. He hasn’t fought in 2 years and is coming back head first. He’s 26 years old and have been dropped before. If I was him I would steer clear of light heavyweight given the rampage the top tier fighters have been on, but hey, Mike Lee moves tickets. I think.

Saturday April 5

From Hipódromo Caliente, Arena Tecate, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
TV: Azteca (Mexico) UniMas (US)

Giovani Segura 31(27)-3-1 vs Felipe Salguero 19(14)-5-1

10 rounds
flyweight division
Segura has won 4 fights by decision and I don’t know how. I don’t know how you can go the distance with his guy and lose on the cards. If you can possibly last the distance with this guy, you should also be winning the fight. Segura is an all-out brawler who comes to knock everybody out. He’s been able to break down some of the best defenses in his division and has gotten knocked out or outboxed against everyone else. He’s come off a fight of the year candidate against Tyson Marquez, which everyone knew had that kind of explosive potential. Segura is working his way back to the title picture in boxing’s most competitive division. Salguero has power, but not elite power. Segura is one of the harder punchers in the sport. You can make your own assumptions about this one. The one prediction I will make is that this will be a very entertaining fight.

Alejandro Gonzalez Jr 22(14)-0-2 vs Juan Alberto Rosas 38(27)-8

10 rounds
super bantamweight division
From Gran Estadio, Ciudad Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico
TV: Televisa (Mexico)

Marco Antonio Rubio 58(50)-6-1 vs Domenico Spada 38(19)-4

12 rounds
interim WBC middleweight title
Go ahead. Laugh. Let me know when you’re done… … … Are you done? … Okay. Yes, Marco Antonio Rubio, following his los to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr 2 years ago, has gone on to win against monsters such as Jorge Cota, Carlos Baldomir (at super middleweight no less), Michel Rosales, Marcus Upshaw, and Dionisio Miranda to earn his claim at the middleweight title that currently resides around Sergio Martinez’s waist. Rubio. Yes, Marco Antonio Rubio. Over Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Felix Sturm, Daniel Geale, Martin fucking Murray. All these guys… not good enough. But Marco “The Monster” Antonio “The Wrecking Ball” Rubio is in line to hold the title. Why!? I don’t know, maybe because Chavez Jr can’t make middleweight and the WBC would prefer a Mexican champion and Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez would be far too suspect of a choice. The record of The Wrecking Ball’s last 5 opponents... 130-35-10. Our only hope here is that Spada wins. Why? It would be funny. Spada fights mostly out of Italy and would be a wrench in the WBC’s plans to get the belt around a Mexican’s waist. Spada isn’t bad. In fact, he shouldn’t be counted out here. His only losses come against Sebastian Zbik, Darren Barker, and Mahir Oral and that was a split. I’m done talking about this fight.
From Stadthalle, Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
TV: Boxnation (UK) ARD (Germany) Sport 2 (Hungary)

Juergen Braehmer 42(31)-2 vs Enzo Maccarinelli 38(30)-6

12 rounds
WBA world light heavyweight title
So last week after the Kovalev fight, this could have been a thought going through your head. (Maybe, I don’t know.)
Okay, so Kovalev has the WBO title… and Stevenson has the WBC… and Hopkins has the IBF… and Shumenov has the WBA... How does Braehmer have a title?
Shumenov was upgraded to SUPER world champion of the WBA after he faced Kovacs. Why? I don’t know. Usually you gotta unify titles for the WBA to upgrade you. Either way, something tells me that the winner of this fight is not going to be fighting Kovalev. I think it would be a great spectacle in Germany if Kovalev came in to fight Braehmer… on the other hand, maybe not. What if Kovalev gets a ton of money and decided to fight exclusively in Germany like the Klitschko’s and Felix Sturm… and Marco Huck and Yoan Pablo Hernandez and, okay I’ll stop. Nobody in America cares about them anyway. Alright, so Braehmer shouldn’t have too much trouble with Maccarinelli. Maccarinelli held a cruiserweight title at one point (really he was awarded it due to a retirement) and he was then found out to be a bit chinny by David Haye. And Ola Afolabi. And Denis Levedev. And Alexander Frenkel. And Ovill McKenzie. If you have real power, there’s a good chance you’re going to put Maccarinelli down. Braehmer hasn’t lost in 6 years and I don’t see any reason for him to start losing now.

Jack Culcay 16(10)-1 vs Salim Larbi 19(7)-4-2

12 rounds
light middleweight division

MORE IN THE COMMENTS!

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