Training Trip

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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I had been forwarned about the hostel in Gardenia.  The Adventurer Hostel was commonly referred to as the "A-hole."  Neverthless it was giong to be home base for the next six months.  This was the hub for the Trek Leaders and I was anxious to meet my fellow trainees and maybe talk to a few veterans about what to expect.  

There's a certain type of person that's attracted to the idea of packing up everything you own and committing to an undetermined time to lead foreigners on budget adventure trips all over the US.  I was thinking about this in the bar of the hostel as I watched the Alpha Males in the group jockey for position.  I felt like Jane Godall watching clothed apes, silently recording observations and facinating behaviors.  The veterans all had horror stories to offer about impossible passengers, violent weather, injuries, breakdowns and accidents.  The way they were told, like ghost stories, told me this was tradition; a hazing for us newbies.

We spent the next couple days doing paperwork at the office.  I was so excited to see the US it seemed ridiculous spinning my wheels in the concrete jungle going from bleak office walls to bleaker hostel walls.  During the day we learned the workings of the sparse, utlitarian office, studied for our license test and practiced driving the big (yet surprisingly agile) vans.  At night we drank at the hostel bar, played cards and socialized with the backpackers coming through.  Finally we began our training trip.  The nine of us new leaders were heading out with Tavis, our supervisor, to visit some of the popular spots in the West and learn about the mechanics of running a trip.

From the company's home base in LA we drove up Highway 1 through Santa Barbara, Big Sur and San Francisco.  We quickly headed east to Yosemite Valley where we studied company policy and accounting underneath the towering granite cliffs that frame the valley.  We pushed east into Nevada, across the Extra Terrestrial Highway, which if legend is to be believed, is close to the secret location of Area 51.

In Utah we saw Navajo petroglyphs in Monument Valley, climbed to an ancient cliff house dwelling, galloped horses through the red swirled Utah desert, gazed out across the desert floor from the edge of an abrupt and sprawling plateau and rode mountain bikes through the strange sandstone wind statues of Moab.  We met Easton, the ex-leader turned rancher living simply in the forgotten parts of Utah.

We drove south to Arizona, saw the Grand Canyon, met Betty and Rusty who taught us how to lassoo a steer and unfortunatley helped move an entire office suite in the baking heat of Pheonix.  We stumbled into Vegas tired, dirty, and ready for a hot shower, air conditioning and an actual bed.  We all met in the lobby decked out for our training session that night:  the clubs of Vegas.  Tavis suprised us with a Limo and champagne, our training trip was at a close and we would receive our first assignments in the morning.  In the meantime, however, we had some training to do.
ajdennis1980 says:
Wow what a cool job!
Posted on: Jul 08, 2009
carpefunk says:
Nice Deanna! How long did the training trip take?
Posted on: Mar 12, 2008
bkretzer says:
Hi Deanna. Great blog! I'm looking forward to the next installment. This sounds like a great story in the making!
Posted on: Mar 04, 2008
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