Feb. 4th, 2011

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September 2005 was my first ever visit to San Francisco. I found I liked Napa and Grass Valley, but the city was a bit busy, impersonal, intense and scary. I think I even hid in my hotel room one day while Matt went out sightseeing and being a dirty poof.

Then Beast came along, and showed me the joy and beauty to be found in San Francisco. From the back of his bike (when I wasn't scrambling to hold on as we accelerated madly at the Treasure Island onramp- naughty Beast!) we saw the reservoirs, beaches, downtown streets, Berkeley, and all the other wonderful sights the city had to offer. We visited bars that had seemed daunting when on my own, but with Beast there I got to see the love and community that I'd been missing. He introduced me to dirty bikers and soggy Rainbows, and rather than being intimidated I felt comfortable.

Looking back at my journal from that time, I see that I was about ready to foolishly write off the US as too big, too intimidating, too impersonal. Not the sort of place I would ever enjoy or fit in. Without Beast's time and care I would likely have gone back to holidaying in Australia, Thailand, Europe, and never have taken the time to get to explore the US. I would certainly not have spent 3 years of wonderful summers exploring, living with Robbie and Fish, riding a bike around the left coast, enjoying Badger with all the dodgy Rainbows, and taking the time to get to know the US.

I likely wouldn't have developed the courage or wisdom to pursue a relationship with my wonderful but woefully US-resident Brian.

It all stems from that first time Beast opened my eyes to the real city. My understanding of what makes San Francisco so beautiful is always going to be bound up with thoughts of him.

I figured I would sort all this out in my head and tell Greg next time I saw him, but sent it in an email yesterday, just in case. Jon read it to Greg in the hospital, and last night we got the dreaded email.

Greg Garcia, our wonderful Beast, passed away peacefully at 2am, surrounded by loving family. Nothing will be quite the same without his happy chuckle and easy smile, and San Francisco is a poorer place without him.

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growler_south

August 2012

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