Posts Tagged ‘road trip’

Where Two Rivers Meet

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Today was a slow day of learning how to live life like a local rather than a tourist. One of the few luxuries of a road trip is taking as much time as you want to explore the places you learn to love. Durango is such a surprising town that really impressed and captivated me. Since my little brother had class today at Fort Lewis College my dad and I decided to explore the cafes in town. We worked for several hours at The Steaming Bean, an adorable cafe full of hip young 20 somethings and brick walls covered in vibrant art. I spent the time writing in my journal and on some postcards I had gathered on the way over to Colorado. It was a great chance to relax and do something normal in a new place.

We also wandered around the residential streets in town and found blocks lined with trees with little gnome homes built at their bases. It was charming and one of many little things that consistently surprises me about Durango.


Today was the first time I was able to get some alone time and I took advantage of my solo time to go on a hike while my brother and dad took a bike ride together. Hiking is one of the fastest ways to the true heart of a place, especially in places like Colorado where adventure and the outdoors are the life blood of the state.

I drove outside of Durango to the San Juan National Forest and picked up the Colorado Trail at Junction Creek. It felt great to put on my hiking boots and head out alone into the woods not knowing what I would find. The trail was framed by autumn colors and wove through a canyon next to a crystal clear river.

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I hiked to where two rivers met and found autumn at the crossroad waiting for me.

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After hiking for some time I made camp and sat on the river’s edge and read my book. Listening to the river running by as it cascaded over a series of small waterfalls I sat with my feet dangling over the water as rainbow trout swam underneath me.

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Sitting in silence out in the woods is one of the most peaceful experiences and I treasure that time dearly. Hiking in Colorado is such a lovely (and surprisingly different) experience than hiking in California. The people in the woods are so incredibly friendly, everyone says hello and always are happy to help out with spotting cool things or sharing wise advice on the trails. The silence out in the woods or out on any trail is so much more complete than anywhere else I have ever visited except Yellowstone in the winter. Even the back country trails in California are filled with noises and people who refuse to acknowledge your existence. It is so different here and amiable, it feels like we are an unspoken community rather than individuals inhabiting the same space. It is hard not to love every second of being out on the trails in Colorado, it makes me never want to leave.

The only time my peace was (happily) intruded upon was when my brother and dad rolled down the same trail I was on and stopped to say hello and check out the fish swimming in the river below us.

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It was a peaceful day and a much needed one at that to recenter everything that is important to me. When so much is in flux and changing around you it is easy to get caught in the riptide of life, and a good hike out in the forest along a river is the best remedy for reorienting yourself against the pull of the strong currents of the world.


Taking a Break at the Lake

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Five days after being on the road we finally decided to get away and get off the main road for some back country driving. Gabe took us out to a place called Spud Lake in the mountains behind Durango.

Trusting that our Subaru would get us through, we took to the unpaved rocky mountain road (pun somewhat intended). We drove slowly through extremely rocky terrain spotted with pot holes on a path lined with aspens. Yellow leaves falling from the tall white trees fluttered down from above like butterflies dancing in the wind, littering the roadway with the colors of autumn.

After an arduous journey up this winding back country road we found a lily pad filled lake where we picked up a hiking path that led up to the mountainous lake.

Hiking through the aspen forests we found hidden messages and little surprises everywhere. My favorites were a smiley face tree and a lovely little reminder to Live, Laugh, and Love no matter where you find yourself.


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After hiking for about a mile we came upon the lake that filled a small basin between the surrounding mountains. The water was still, the trees changing color, and small fish biting at the surface of the lake.


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After going non-stop for almost a week it was about time to slow down and take a break. So I found a spot, set up the hammock, and started a new book. But I let Mama the Llama try out the view first.

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Reading Kerouac’s On the Road at this point in my life is beyond applicable and I don’t think I could have found a better spot to sit back, relax, and read.

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We stayed in this pristine spot for a couple of hours of hammocking, book reading, hiking along the lake shore, and unsuccessful fly fishing.



Begrudgingly we left Spud Lake to return to Durango, but the best part of it all was that in either location everything was equally wonderful, albeit beautiful in different ways. Even on the short drive back we found a weird natural geyser just on the side of the highway. Yes, that is its natural, unenhanced color. It was a truly bizarre little roadside attraction and is a great example of how incredible the scenery is in Colorado.


I have been loving Colorado and cannot believe the natural wonders that are hiding down empty dirt roads and behind curtains of aspens. There is something about seeing every car splashed with mud or covered in the red dust of off-road driving and the people here who are so friendly and welcoming. The air is full of adventure and some new exploration awaits around every bend or switchback in the road. I am just happy to get to take part in the culture of exploration and adventure that thrives in this Colorado community.


Desperately Seeking Fall Leaves

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

This is my Californian confession: I have never experienced a true fall. I have never had the pleasure of being in a location that truly changes with the seasons. This is both a blessing and a curse; I have been lucky enough to live in a moderate, sunny climate for my entire life, but that also means I have never seen the trees transform into pillars of fleeting color.

I will admit, one of the many reasons that I decided to take this trip was to travel in the fall and see the fall leaves change as I moved across the country one state at a time. Colorado is the first (hopefully of many) states to come where the once green rolling hills become a sea of vibrant yellows and oranges.

My desperate pursuit of fall leaves has now begun and the first thing on my mind (and my to do list) in Colorado is to hunt down some gorgeous color anywhere I can find it. I am not going to lie, I was a little disappointed that Durango itself doesn’t have much color yet so we decided to take a little tour of the mountains surrounding Durango.

We gave little PriPri a break from driving and jumped into my brother’s Subaru in search of fall leaves and mountain towns tucked away between towering peaks.


And of course Mama the Llama came along to keep a sharp eye out for great fall colors.


Our little mountain drive first took us to Telluride; a small but charmingly upscale ski resort town nestled in a basin amongst walls of jutting mountains.







We wandered around the quaint little streets that fell somewhere between an Old Western town and an affluent playground for nature lovers. Wandering around the streets and between adorable (and extremely expensive) little homes we decided a new vantage point was necessary to take in the view of fall colors that I so desperately wanted to see.


Luckily Telluride is a ski resort with numerous ski lifts to the top of the mountains that loom over the town. We took a gondola all the way up (with me sitting wide eyed, slightly terrified, and astounded by the speed of the lift as well as the surrounding beauty) and saw a truly breathtaking view.

Breathtaking not only because of its astonishing beauty, but also the dramatic 2,000ft elevation climb we made to get to the top.







Mama also liked the view.

Returning down the gondola (now squished between a man who refused to take part in the experience and a burly firefighter who stepped on my toes and wedged me uncomfortably between him and the taciturn stranger) we had our last few jaunts of exploration in Telluride before continuing onward through the mountains.



Circumventing the tremendous mountains, we arrived at our next little mountain town, Ouray.



Ouray is a mining town that has more of an old world charm than Telluride but lacks a lot of the sophistication that the previous city had. Honestly, I prefer the unpretentiousness of Ouray even though Telluride is astoundingly beautiful. Similarly nestled between peaks, Ouray actually had the most amazing fall colors surrounding it once we left the city on the extremely narrow and winding road that leads to Silverton from Ouray. While terrifying, this road held all of the beauty that my California mind had built up real fall color to be.





I had known going into this road trip that I was probably romanticizing a little bit too much about how incredible and beautiful a real fall season would be, but today demonstrated that all my dreams were true.




You may be asking yourself as you look at the last photo, is that river gold? and the answer is YES. The river near Ouray is indeed that rich of a gold color because of the contaminants in the water left over from the mining down in the nearby hills. Not good for life but great for photos. Sorry mother nature, I actually benefitted from your loss in this instance, thanks for taking one for the team.





We got to explore some beautiful aspen groves as well. Aspens are one of my favorite types of trees so this truly was a treat for me!





My pictures cannot do anywhere near justice to the amazing and varied colors of the mountainsides we drove along.




All in all, I would declare today a successful mission. Three major scenic mountain towns knocked off the list and an incredible display of fall colors witnessed. The fall is just beginning and I cannot wait to see the transformation continue. As always, the mountains are calling and I must go, see you all tomorrow.



The Weird Llama Lady

Friday, September 18th, 2015

I have officially become that weird person wandering around with a little llama fluff ball sticking out of my purse. I have already had numerous conversations with strangers about it; it is a great conversation starter. The first conversation I had was with some very nice janitorial staff at a rest stop who were entirely baffled by Mama the Llama. They hesitantly followed me around the rest stop as I took pictures and finally came up and asked me what in the world it was that I was holding. I told him it was a llama, which then sparked a somewhat circular conversation in which he insistently question me about whether it was a real llama or not no matter how many times I told him no, it was most definitely not a real llama. Aside from the giggles and pointing whenever I am out and about taking pictures with my lovely sidekick it has been quite a lot of fun even if it is hard to remember to always take her with me places.

Today we left Page for Durango where I will be staying for almost a week with my little brother. I am happy to say that we made it safe and sound with little incident.

After a slow morning where our tour plans for Antelope Canyon fell through and a meandering look at the ever faithful Horseshoe Bend we headed out to Monument Valley.


We took off from the straightforward route and fit in some adventuring time to visit this tribal park. Sitting right on the border between Utah and Arizona, this collection of monolithic rock formations of fiery red stone and sunset oranges always is a treat to stop for on a road trip.


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At Monument Valley we took a picnic break and then I made an ill-informed decision to try to drive just a short bit of the dirt road loop around the monuments. I learned today that PriPri is in no way, large or small, an off-roading vehicle. There were a few moments on that road (which I was doing by myself since my dad had the foresight to decide not to come with me) in which I really thought my car wasn’t going to make it. I survived and so did PriPri, although the car was definitely covered in red dust for quite some time afterwards.


From Monument Valley we continued on a smaller road to cut over to Colorado above four corners where we encountered some really beautiful rock bluffs that towered over the road. Driving in the shadow of these red mountains is truly a humbling experience. It makes you wonder at the thunderous sound it would make to hear the mountains crumble and it is impossible not to feel small when underneath them.

There is an extreme beauty in this country that constantly confounds me. The fact that I can drive on these bumpy chewed up roads across this vast nation and be so close to so many incredible natural formations and feel as if it is perfectly normal for them to be there next to me is astounding. I never feel more humbled than on a road trip, especially when I go through the Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. I cannot put into words the incredible beauty that this country has to offer and my photos cannot do it justice either.

Now I am in Colorado, nestled between mountains in the little lively town of Durango. I will be adventuring, relaxing, and spending time with my brother here before I head out on the second part of my journey across the states that will take me to my next big stop in Northern Michigan.

I cannot wait to see what Colorado has in store for me.


The Weight of Lives I am not Living

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

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One reason I have decided to resurrect my blog is to document my cross country solo road trip. Today I hit the road and won’t find myself back on the West Coast until I have climbed the mountains of Colorado, rolled in the fall leaves of Northern Michigan, put my feet to the pavement of New York City, driven nearly the entire length of the East Coast, let the Atlantic Ocean wash the dirt from my tired feet, sipped a cup of coffee at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, and driven all the way back home. In total, I should be gone for about three months. Just me, my Prius (nicknamed PriPri), vast open expanses of road, and any adventure that finds me along the way.

The main question I have received upon telling people this (after clarifying that yes, I do actually plan on doing this and no, I am not crazy) is WHY?

And this question is not unjustified either, I have asked myself the same thing over and over again as the date of departure creeps closer and closer. I will be the first to admit it, I am terrified. I can make this trip sound so romantic, dreamy, courageous, and many other enviable traits, but the reality is that this is scary; this is going to be extremely hard. There are going to be days I will wish that I had never left home, never gotten out of my bed, never said goodbye to my parents, and never abandoned everything that made me comfortable in life. There is one thing that I know even though the trip has not yet begun: I will never regret this decision.

I could have stayed at my job in the Bay and lived comfortably, but this is the path I have chosen. So to answer the ubiquitous question, which follows me like a shadow wherever I go, I have four things to say.

  1. I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I am not living. This quote from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has resonated in my heart like the rattle of little Oskar’s tambourine since I first read this magnificent book my first year at UC Berkeley. My bones, my body, my mind, and my spirit ache with the weight of not knowing the many paths that my life could lead me down. I plan to go to graduate school and get a doctorate and after that seek a professorship for the rest of my days. While a majority of the people I know are now desperately pursuing a lifelong career, I have found myself unwilling to tie myself to one thing. There are so many things in life I want to do and be that after graduate school I may never get to experience. So I have decided to put real life on hold and go adventure for a while. I do not want to be one thing, I want to be many and I hope to never cease changing in my life. As an English major (aka major book nerd) I have always felt that the most amazing result of reading is that the reader is able to live a thousand different lives through the novels they immerse themselves in throughout their own finite life. I have lived the lives of others both real and imaginary, some more than once, but I have yet to live my own.
  2. Desperately seeking self. Perhaps it is cliche to seek yourself on the open road, or perhaps there is a wisdom in this repetition that proves success. I never feel so inspired than when my wheels are spinning on the pavement and my mind is whirling with thoughts heavily lined with the experiences of yesterday. A solo road trip is obviously a lot of alone time, which both terrifies me and intrigues me with the possibilities of unformed experiences. I have to communicate with me; there is no way around it, no where to run or hide. I am an introspective and introverted person, so this isn’t exactly new to me, but lately I have found myself wrapped around the fingers of others. As time has passed and I have dedicated less time to writing and creating, I have found myself throwing all of my time into others. This is not to say I should not have done this, or that I regret doing this, but I have lost the confidence in being alone that I once had. I have shelved my purpose, my pursuits, and my identity for far too long and traveling alone allows me to be selfish in a way I have not been able to be in a long time. I want to recover the entirety of who I once was and learn how to live a life that is fully mine.
  3. I am a strong young women building my inner independence from the ground (or road) up. Let’s be honest, the main reason people ask me why in the world I would do this is the same reason I have to do this: I am a woman, alone, and the world isn’t always nice to solo women trying to find their place in the world. People ask me, aren’t your parents scared for you? and I can see the real question in their eyes and implied in their words, there is a lot of danger that I am courting just because I am a young woman with no one to watch my back, no one to protect me, no one to stave off the danger of cat calls, rude and greedy eyes, lecherous thoughts of strangers, and the unknown/unpredictable mishaps that could occur on the road. This, however, is the very reason I must go. Yes, I am a woman, yes I can do this on my own. I am capable, strong, independent, cautious, wise, and fear will not hold me back. I am a part of this world and I am going to take part in it. Hiding at home will never change the way the world perceives women. To think that my blog in any way will affect this though is naive and not what I am getting at. What I want this blog to do over the next couple of months is serve as an example that women can do anything. I am just one of many women who has chosen to take to the road alone and just as those women who have served as an example for me, I hope that I can help at least one other woman see that they can do it too. To help show just one person, even if that one person is myself, that it is totally worth it is all I want to achieve.
  4. I am an adventurer and nothing is going to stop me, not even myself. A lot of people see me as someone who is unafraid, outgoing, adventurous, and motivated. In truth, I struggle with all of these things greatly. But still, I must go. Crippled by anxiety, scared, small, often sick, and indecisive, I am horrified by things that are unknown and uncontrollable. But still, I must go. Unable to let go of control and filled to the brim with nervousness, I am unsure about everything I am about to embark on over the next few months. But still, I must go. Why? Why. why. No matter how scared, nervous, chronically in pain, or unsure I am, I am only sure that I must go. Because I am an adventurer; because the road has been calling my name since my mother first introduced me to it six years ago; because I am my own worst enemy and adversaries exist to bring out the best in us; because I am not living my life if I let my fear, anxiety, or illness win. These are the things I know. For some reason my heart picked adventure and I cannot say no, even if the rest of my being is against it.

In some ways, this post is more for me than for you. I am my harshest critic, the one with the most to lose in this, but also the one with the most to gain. I guess you can say this is my manifesto, or simply a reminder for those dark days when all I want to do is give up or cry in a corner. This is my reminder that I can do this, that this is exactly what I want and need, and that no matter where I find myself, I am still me, I am still strong, and I will keep moving.

By the time you read this, I am already gone. Another white streak across the sky, tumbleweed rolling down the road, a stranger in a car window disappearing in the opposite direction. I will see you all again, some sooner rather than later, and hope that you will embark on this journey with me in one form or another.

Ultimately, there are a thousand reasons why I should not go and only one that underlies all of the reasons of why I should: I must. I have told myself a thousand times that I would and now it is hear and there is no backing down. So here I go, down the rabbit hole. Unsure of where it will lead me, this road is the path I have chosen; through all of the exciting loops and digressions, through all the wrong ways and misadventures, through all the new friends and unfriendly strangers, through all the beautiful sights I will see and the empty expanses of nothing, I have chosen this path and now I must follow it to its end.

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Day Eleven: The End

Friday, June 29th, 2012

We made it. I am writing this post from my grandmother’s library where I will be staying for about the next three weeks. After eleven long days of waking up at five in the morning and going to bed at about eleven at night and over 4700 miles later, we are in our home away from home in Bootjack, Michigan.

We spent the entire first half of our day having an amazing time on Mackinac Island. We took the ferry boat across Lake Huron over to the small island where we toured around for several hours. Since we did one of the earlier tours we got to actually go on the ferry underneath the Mackinac Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the USA. The wind was biting and the spray from the waves was really cold as it splashed all over me and my camera but the view was spectacular. The water was almost more amazing than the bridge itself. One of my favorite things about Michigan are the lakes. Lake Superior is my all time favorite, but Huron was beautiful. The deep greens and blues that cast a gradient of color for all to see was stupendous to behold.

When we reached the island we decided to walk instead of rent bikes because no vehicles are allowed on the island. Only horse drawn carriages and bikes are allowed on the island making for an antiquated but lovely atmosphere for the entire island.

However, since everything was so expensive we were indeed limited in what we could do including not being able to go into Fort Mackinac. However, we recieved an awesome tip from a woman who told us to go behind the art museum where there was a children’s park and a very well disguised set of stairs. The very long set of stairs wove into the forests and high up the hills until we came out on top which supplied an amazing overlook of the island right next to the fort which we could see right into.


We even got to see the canon demonstration, where they loaded and fired a canon from the fort. It was very cool, but loud.

Behind the Fort we found amazing wide open fields that we had some fun with as we made our way across the island.

We continued on the wooded pathway all over the island eventually ending up at the famous Grand Hotel, which is so highclass that you are not even allowed to walk around it without a ten dollar fee. Also, no shoulders showing, and no pants for women. It was really quite odd. It did have a nice porch though with lines of rocking chairs overlooking the lake.

Since lunch was too expensive at the Grand we headed back to main where we had lunch at an excellent burger joint called Chuckwagons. It was a tiny little alleyway of a room jammed with chairs and people. We sat at the bar looking right at the grill which supplied all the food for the entire place, which in itself was amazing. The chef and I am assuming owner was working it and he was a constant blurr of action. It seemed like he never stopped, a fine tuned burger making machine. I got the rodeo burger which was sublime but messy. Served on a pretzel bun, these burgers where home made and cooked right in front of our eyes. It was entertaining and delicious. Highly recommended, especially with the price compared to the Grand, which I am sure was not nearly as good as this place.

We also had to stop and buy the famous Mackinac Island Fudge, this little island is known for its rich fudge and there are literally dozens of shops all over the island claiming to be the best. With a lot of contestation about which is best, we naturally had to try several.. which meant a lot of fugde sampling and a very high sugar overload when we were done. After sampling a couple of places I decided that Joann’s Fudge is definitely the best. Their sea salt caramel fudge is amazing and rich with that nice salty bit to counteract the powerful sweetness. Not only was the fudge good but the place was cute, the servers friendly and in my opinion most importantly good at giving samples. They were extremely generous in their samples and made sure you really had a taste for which ever fudge you were thinking about tasting. It was quite the adventure and we really enjoyed ourselves on this beauitful, sunny day in Michigan on the Great Lakes.

We did have to move on and take the ferry back sadly but we kept getting waylaid by more beautiful and interesting things before we even left town. We found a beautiufl beach spot to play around in the sandy beaches and clear waters as well as a magnificent lighthouse right at the foot of the bridge.

But after the crossing of the bridge it was a straight shot to our final destination. We had our eyes on the prize and except for a brief pasty stop, which is always worth it, we headed to our home away from home.

It is so nice to be here again, I quite literally wait all year until I can come back here. I am staying in my grandfather’s home right on the lake where I will be doing my writing and hopefully some good research from my grandmother’s old collection of amazing books. So now starts a new (more relaxed) adventure in Michigan.


Bootjack or Bust: Day One- Gila Bend

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Today my mom and I left for our third adventure across the USA in our car moving towards (albiet on a somewhat random and very indirect course) our final stop in Upper Michigan, Bootjack where we will spend the summer. This years course is a very different one than in our past. We have really out done ourselves this time. We will be heading out from Santa Cruz on a nearly two week excursion across the very bottom of the US all the way until New Orleans and then heading almost directly up, through lower Michigan, to our final destination.

That being said this is either going to be the best trip ever… or the longest one.

3am wake up- out of the driveway by 4am, we like to start early and end late. Sunrise to sunset everyday. As we made our way through Gilroy at 5am, the smell of garlic was thick around us. As gross as it sounds somehow even then, before we had eaten breakfast, or let alone woken up yet, the smell of garlic was mouth watering. What can I say, I am a Gilroy girl. Anyway, besides trying to take pictures of barns in the dark and relentlessly googling questions that we had always wondered but never had time to ask but now have all the time in the world to wonder about, we didn’t do much in the morning. By the afternoon when we had left behind the traffic and smog of Los Angeles, my mother had a request, a single request: to go see the dinasaur park near Palm Springs. So of course, we did because road tripping without odd and unrelated stops every so often is rather boring. So the dinosaurs, a gigantic, plastic T-Rex, and a hollow Brontesauras that you could climb in, where our first real stop on our adventure; they were fantastic in the best, most childish way.

After that brief but joyous stop we headed down towards the very bottom of the state via a road that went along a little known (at least to me) lake called the Salton Sea which is actually the biggest lake in California. It is also saltier than the Pacific Ocean, similar to the Great Salt Lake but not that salty, Salton Sea is an odd and somewhat mysterious place. We past it and decided on a whim to drive into a tiny little RV town called Salton Sea Beach. This little detour was very worth while.

This odd sign was just the beginning to this strange detour that actually wound up being rather creepy and eerie. Driving slowly down this sole road lined with trailer homes that were either being lived in with no present sign of life, abandoned in a state of hollow dishevelment, or burned. There was no one around. At the end of the road was a turn into a section of only abandoned and burned down trailers that was extremely creepy. It felt like if we left the car, people would slowly begin to emerge all around us, all waiting to attack. I am not paranoid, it was really kind of scary. Only when another fellow tourist (possible lost) drove up hesitantly obviously feeling the same way did we get the courage up to get out of the car.

First thing I noticed upon getting out of the car:

  1. It was 111 degrees out and I was dying of heat
then began a slew of other realizations:
  • it smelled of death and decay in a horribly fetid way
  • there was no sand just a mixture of dried, dead coral, and bones from fish that had been left to wither, dry and die in the desert sun.

Needless to say, I was horribly intrigued by this place and wandered around taking pictures of this mysteriously eerie place. There was furniture ripped and worn on the beach and extremely large tires lodged in the ground. It was the oddest scene I had seen in a while.

The furniture strewn on the beach obviously had been stripped from the graffitied and burned buildings behind us that seemed to lurk like ghosts just beyond what the sign had called a “marina”.

Other odd and baffling things like this boat where strewn about. This faded pink motorboat which was buried halfway in sand amidst a palm tree grove seemed to sum up the atmosphere of this place rather well.

Regardless of the eerie feelings, paranoia, and other shiver inducing things we found in this odd place, it was beautiful in an eccentric sort of way. The blue water nestled below the jagged mountains in the back ground as pelicans and great blue herons flew around, all made up a very pretty scene.

Leaving behind the sea we continued all the way to the bottom of the state as far as you can go before hitting Mexico and then turned for the beginnings of our eastward journey. We saw two interesting things: Sand Dunes, and the Center of the World.

Odd, I know, I didn’t really get it at first and I still don’t really understand. So apparently this town, if you can call it that, with a population of four called Felicity, is the certified center of the world. A man, one of the four residents, is a writer who made up  a children’s story about a dragon who lives under the center of the world or something which is Felciity. And somehow, he convinced several nations including China and France to help him certify Felicity as the Center of the World. And they did.

This pyramid marks the center of the world… and I was there.

We also made a pit stop in the newly booming town of Yuma as we crossed over into Arizona. Right on the Colorado river this town, featured in the movie 3:10 to Yuma, is a historic gold mine, not literally but figurateivly 🙂

With the old prison yard and railroad systems, Yuma was once a huge crossing where prisoners where sent. It was seen as Hell. The cells looked like it too, six men to a room and just the length of a single cot and the width of maybe three, seems like Hell to me. It was great poking around this old city and seeing the historic areas and crumbling adobe facades of century old, or older buildings.

Our final stop before settling in was a little rest stop called Dateland. Not for dating but the fruit dates!! I had never actually eaten a date before but I love stops like this that are just weird and fun. This place is world famous for its date shakes. Yes… smoothies made from dates. So I went from never having eaten a date to being a date veteran in a few minutes. It was so much fun and surprisingly good! It had a nice cinnamon like flavor and was delicious. A fun must do 🙂

Our last stop today is a special little spot called Gila Bend. This little hell hole is notoriously the hottest city in the US, it is so proud of this title it often likes to inflate its temperatures just to maintain its title. It is supposed to be near 120 degrees tomorrow. Yippee for me! We are staying in the Space Age Lodge… which has a space ship on top of it, no joke. Oh and a train that runs right outside our window every hour… also no joke. LOVE IT!

Sarcasm doesn’t read well on the internet. But another 4am start tomorrow as we continue on ward towards Las Cruces New Mexico to see some of my lovely relatives!



Spring Break: Mojave

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

For spring break I am going on an adventure in Arizona on a road trip. I am basically doing whatever comes to our whimsy along the way. Whether it be stopping at some old worn down houses on the side of the road, chasing animals for photos, or seeing some indian ruins. Today we decided to stop by Mojave National Preserve.

Mojave is a majestic landscape filled with rocky outcroppings and valleys filled with blond cacti. To me, Mojave is blue skies the stretch beyond the reach of the mountains held up by the arms of the prickly cactus that dwells below.

At the entrance I was able to discover a strange new unknown species called the Gabriel. I was able to photograph its strange behaviors. There was the normal behavioral patterns,

The lounging stretching pose that harkens to possible ancestry to extremely odd primates…..

There was also a nurturing side that showed some obvious caring,

There was also behavioral patterns of strange joyful behaviors that caused spastic and odd behavior.

Finally is the most interesting ability that the Gabriel has… levitation

During our trip we are following around my dad and my brother as they ride their bikes around where ever we happen to be.

In Mojave we explored the area around the visitor center which was an old train station. With the dilapidated of their old remains, it was a beautifully haunting place.

It was a good day and I look forward to even more adventures soon.



Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Sorry for the lack of posts… again. Life is hectic right now as my senior year brings me closer and closer to IB Exams. I have been working hard to catch up on my schooling after being gone for a week in Yellowstone.

However I got away from the hustle and bustle with some friends and took a road trip down to Cal Poly to see my brother. We went to the zoo and just hung out. More info on that will be coming over the next couple of days. I am hoping I will soon be back on track with posting. So here is a photo to tide you over, a funny look into the (inappropriate) life of Meerkats. (notice the guy just kind of chilling in the back ground watching).


Travel Update: Yosemite

Friday, December 24th, 2010

My mom and I on our road trip to Yosemite saw many interesting things and actually had a lot of luck with wildlife on the ride up, however you will have to wait for those stories. Yes I know I am evil, lets just call it a cliffhanger, high-five, then walk away.

We were hoping there would be lots of snow in Yosemite but there was surprisingly little. There was a lot of interesting fog and mist that added another dimension to my photography. It provided an intriguing experience to experiment with photography. It was breath-taking, the beautiful sites all over the park that made both of us sad that we only two days in total for our trip. We made the most of it though, running around after wildlife and chasing reflections in frozen rivers. It was a lot of fun and the little dose of adventure that I was yearning for.

I decided that instead of just getting normal landscape shots of Half Dome that I was going to try to get a new spin off of the original photos to spice up my photography a bit. My idea rested on a hunt for Half Dome’s reflection. Finding just the perfect spot on the river where Half Dome’s beauty could be found was tricky but a fun challenge.

I think it worked splendidly. From Half Dome we moved onto Yosemite Falls. We didn’t have time to go up to the upper falls so we settled for just the lower ones. The rainbow being cast off from the falls was magnificent.

We could at least watch from afar the majesty of the upper falls that cascaded down the cliff’s face.

My mom was helping me by being my camera assistant the whole time. Helping my swap out lens and helping out with the tri-pod. So a little shout out for my best travel buddy, my mom, and my lovely camera assistant. Love You!

It was a really fun little trip and I hope to go back soon and get even better photos. Other photos from our  adventures in Yosemite and the road trip up will all be coming soon!