Off to explore California’s newest National Park. I made the wise choice (yes, I do make them from time to time) of cruising into Pinnacles National Park on a weekday. The park is actually quite modest in size compared to its expansive and older National Park siblings. This is great because the options for hiking and sightseeing aren’t quite as intimidating to newbies like me as other parks like Yosemite can be. However, with the compact size comes the fact that this places f
I’ve heard so much about Highway 1 that I made the classic mistake of getting my initial hopes too high, they had nowhere to go but down. From Malibu up had been a disappointment on the fabled “Magic” coastal highway. Nothing but ugly roads, dry brush, and tacky tourist towns. That all changed as I got past Pismo and ventured closer to Big Sur. Thick fog rolled in like a blanket over the sea. Somehow the sun still shone brightly. I had heard that I might catch the start of th
Having (thankfully) navigated out of the hustle and bustle of the big SoCal cities, I was on my way up Highway 1 and onto the coastal half of this California Adventure. Driving through coastal towns was done at a snail's pace. There were sights, eats, and adventures to be had everywhere along the way. Pismo Beach proved to be touristy in some areas, but genuinely beautiful away from the city center. I’ve come to realize that the natural diversity that we’re treated to through
There are many things to worry about when you hit the road on a long distance solo trip into vast wilderness. Did I bring all my gear? Do I have enough food/water? What do I do if the weather sucks? However the biggest worry I generally have (other than death or dismemberment) is simply, getting stuck. What happens if I get lost? What if I break my leg and can’t move? What if my car breaks down? What if a boulder falls on my arm and I have to chew it off? What if I re
I'm often taken aback by how wrong my preconceived notions of what destinations will be like compared to the real thing. However with Joshua Tree, I found that my expectations were exactly what met me upon my arrival. It's a big desert full of Joshua trees. Although I might add that I was slightly disheartened when, after arriving in a large grove, I yelled out, "Hey Joshua". Not a single tree responded. Though in hindsight, maybe that was for the best because I'm not sur
I love driving through the Mojave Desert, although I can't say that it was driving as much as knee boarding. With no one else on the road and seemingly endless stretches with sheer lengths only matched by their straightness, I soon realized that my hands were no longer necessary impliments for driving. Using one knee to give corrective nudges from time to time, I leisurely coasted down the road with cuise control in a manner of autonomy scarcely seen outside of a self-driving
With a name like "Death Valley", it's a wonder anyone visits here at all. Although, I suppose some might take it as a dare. Others may have heard of its reclusive beauty. Some might just have a death wish. The road out has the longest stretches of straight pavement that I've ever seen. A good audiobook or music is highly recommend. Also, no one can hear you sing in the desert (hopefully). One of my favorite sights in the desert (besides the stupefying numbers on the "outsid
After walking among the oldest living trees on the planet, I headed back down into the Owens valley on the way to my next pit stop: the Alabama Hills. As you descend from the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, you pass down into a valley that is enclosed on both sides by long mountain ranges. If the sun is setting, you get the spectacular view of light beams cresting over the Sierra and cascading through the valley below all while viewing from behind the silhouette of the White
Well more than 3,000 actually! When California isn't reeling from a devastating drought, it's absolutely brimming with lakes. I took every chance I could to explore the lakes along my path down California's eastern valley. With more than 3,000 to choose from, I hardly scratched the surface. However, I did make sure to jump in each one. Saying you've experienced a lake without dipping a toe in is like saying you've experienced a restaurant after browsing its pictures on Ye
The Golden State has many claims to fame, some of which are more desirable than others. It has a name derived from ancient amazon warriors, it's the 6th largest economy in the world (compared to other countries), in addition to being the birthplace of fortune cookies and (more dubiously) McDonalds restaurants.
The list of things that make California a unique place within the US (and the world) is extensive, but one of my personal favorite claims to fame is for its trees.