10.29.2014

So-Cal Bucket List, Bubble Gum Alley :: San Louis Obispo

We write our epitaphs on walls with gum,
And though it may be meaningless to some,
We have a symbol of our gummy youth,
Whose walls may not tell some glorious truth,
But eloquently speak of better times,
Of cruising, shopping sprees, and nursery rhymes.
If gum is all you see upon our wall,
Your mind is closed, your spirit shrunk and small,
Though memories of youth may never last,
Gum Alley is our present to our past.”
—“M”, Arroyo Grande, Pieper, Don. "An Ode to Gum Alley." Telegram- Tribune 30, Apr 1986



I have driven through San Louis Obispo a few times since I moved to California. Never really finding the time to stop for longer than 5-minutes at a gas station. Knowing that I am not staying in Southern California forever, I started a list YEARS ago with my friend Pierce dubbed 'SoCal Bucket list'. Both being new to the concrete city - we came up with local destinations that we deemed appropriate to visit during our time in Los Angles. Our first trip was California City, CA. It was weird and totally creepy. Most of these bucket list adventures are looped into a 48-Hour adventure - but - sometimes they are wild enough to deserve their own post.

Over the years I have added on to the list, which now features not only SoCal destinations - but a plethora of different places I need to stop up and down the state. Some...even go as far as Mexico (hello, I need to try authentic tacos).

On a recent 48-Hour adventure (which was really 72 hours) - Adam suggested that actually stop in SLO and I can visit Bubble Gum Alley. For about the last 8 months Adam has been a great adventure companion - essentially letting me drag him to random locations that I NEED to visit.

So, with two pieces of BubbleYum slyly tucked away in my pocket we park the car and adventured down Higuera St for the infamous wall. A group of decked out motorcyclists stood covering the entrance - squawking about how disgusting the alley was. Once I had the opportunity to slide in past them I took it, and quickly agreed with the motorcyclist that that alley is gross - but so cool to see! After pacing up and down the alley a few times - trying to decipher the different gum art, notes and designs on the wall I pulled out the BubbleYum - so that Adam and I could leave our mark.

After doing a little world wide web clicking, one can quickly realize how controversial this stick alley actually is. No one really seems to know when it started, and why. It has been cleaned a few times, but, then the process always starts again and the alley is quickly covered again in various chewing gum flavors.

So, next time you are in SLO and you feel like leaving your mark head into downtown and look for the alley!

Sending Love from SoCal,

Xx

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