We left Santa Barbara in the morning heading east towards Death Valley. We decided to take a scenic route through Los Padres national forest. After heavy rain people told us that the road had been blocked by landslides for weeks, but everything seemed to be cleared when we arrived and we had everything to ourselves. It was easily one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever taken, and we stopped whenever we could just to soak it all in. It was so scenic that we forgot to refuel on gas and spent the next few hours fearing that we would run out. But when we found this bend we just parked and went for a little cruise down the hill. Don’t let this picture fool you, those roads were so bumpy that almost immediately after this was taken, I fell on my face. But we never ran out of gas! Perfect Day, indeed.
We are so glad we passed through Yosemite on an off-season. The rain decided to slow down on our way up to half dome which let us explore the wilderness. We had the place pretty much to ourselves, so everything was so peaceful and quiet. We came back to camp, collected a bit of wood, and made ourselves a nice dinner and warmed up around the fire.
We decided to camp in Death Valley National Park. This was a major highlight of our trip, sleeping under a clear night sky packed full of stars. It feels good to get out there every once and a while and feel small on our tiny planet. We were on the hunt for a lookout point that we later realized wasn’t even in Death Valley - but it didn’t matter. We got what we were looking for.
This is Mono Lake! We stumbled across this magical place on Instagram, randomly looked it up and noticed it was on our route! Coming out of hot Death Valley to freezing cold mountain winter in one day was mad, but this place made the detour worth it. Once we started off in the morning towards Yosemite, we found out that our pass was closed, forcing us to take a 7 hour detour through Nevada - which never would have happened otherwise, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise - on our way to our next national park. Check your route before hopping in the car, people!
If eating shit on the bumpy road in Los Padres was my skateboarding "low" on the trip - this was my skateboarding “high." We found this road and AGAIN realized we had it all to ourselves. This was maybe the best 10 minutes of my life - going down this insane road, embracing the view, happy, alone, screaming and laughing and wowing out loud. I think everyone should get to experience something like that in their lifetime.
At the tail end of our road trip we drove up the legendary PCH through Santa Cruz on our way to San Francisco. I remember we drove so slow because we knew we would be flying home soon. After two days of rain the sun came out, just in time for us to have an awesome lunch on the beach and some very necessary down time before pulling in to SF. You can see how happy I was to see the sun judging by the big grin on my face - but it was bittersweet knowing our incredible California road trip was nearing its end.