Another month of living in a van and it was filled with California. We last wrote to you from the south side of Lake Tahoe. This whole month we’ve been so impressed by the variety of landscapes and abundant beauty there is in Cali - no wonder everyone wants to live here, it’s freakin’ gorgeous.
After Tahoe it was time for the top item on Brent’s bucket list…Yosemite National Park. It’s a place that we’d seen countless images of so we kind of knew what was in store for us but the pictures don’t even do this place justice. It’s a place that has to be seen by your own eyes to really appreciate the beauty. There’s been so many moments on this trip where we’re so impressed with mama nature and this place is at the top of that list. Tectonic plates are so COOL.
While we were there we stared up the massive monoliths watching climbers making their ascent to the top. Brent has been really interested in rock climbing the last few years so he took a rock climbing class one day. All week long, we basked in the seriously amazing views the valley holds. One thing we were surprised about it the fact that there was no water! Yosemite Valley has one of (if not the) tallest waterfall in the country but sadly it was pretty dried up while we were there since the flow only happens seasonally. A lot of people told us we should come back for the springtime and it’s something we both really want to do. This park is definitely one you could do countless times and never get sick of.
From Yosemite we drove south to Sequoia National Park and met up with one of our dear friends for a camping weekend. Our friends are so important to us and we’ve missed the ability to hang out with them during this trip. It was really nice to get to meet up with one along the way and spend some time hiking, camping, eating and straight chillin.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park was so beautiful. We just grazed the surface of this one but got to see some huge trees, take in the vast canyon and take some hilarious photos of Brent “holding up rocks”.
Initially we had decided going to Big Sur would be too much for this trip. Trekking 5 hours west after being in-land felt like a push. But then everyone and their mom was telling us how incredible Big Sur was and that we just had to go. So, on Monday morning when it was time to go somewhere we thought…why not, let’s do it. First we went to Carmel and Monterey (which we loved) and then cruised down Big Sur.
We caught Bixby Bridge right at sunset. It was a big moment for Cass since she had a photo of this spot as her desktop background at her corporate job years ago. It was her inspiration to get out to Cali and finally she got to see it in real life.
After that momentous view we were drained by the driving. The ‘push’ to Big Sur was indeed just a little too much. We’d promised ourselves we’d slow down and not drive so much and then we reneged on that. Lesson learned. The next day we’d planned to take in the rest of Big Sur and we were met with straight FOG. The marine layer strikes again! It was a bummer but also a sign to come back another time. We did get to see some super cute elephant seals which were a treat since they’re hilarious creatures.
We’d heard a lot of about the small town of San Luis Obispo (or SLO as the Cali kids call it) so we made our way there and fell in love. It was the perfect blend of being in a happening place and then an epic camping spot right outside on top of a mountain. We got to watch the marine layer roll in at night and then burn off in the morning. Waking up above the clouds is a very special experience we’ll never forget.
Continuing down the coast we stopped in Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach and along the side of the road so Brent could have a hilarious Michael Jackson/Free Willy moment. The cliffs right at the water’s edge will never stop amazing us and we totally get what all the fuss is about in Southern California.
We were excited to finally get to San Diego a few weeks ago. San Diego meant friends, sunshine and a few weeks of a home base. It was a big check point for us since we flew back to Virginia to meet Cass’ niece Willow, see family and celebrate two dear friends at their wedding. It was nice to be back east and we were wondering how we’d feel about it now that we’ve traveled so much. There’s nothing quite like the comforts of home and the ones you love. We loved our trip back but felt ready to get back out west and continue our journey.
Back in San Diego we hit a hard pause on traveling far distances, instead choosing to stick around the San Diego area and explore the different neighborhoods and parks. This time has been much needed and we are loving the 70 degree days and constant sunshine, I mean who wouldn’t?!
This week we leave San Diego for Joshua Tree. It’s time to say goodbye to the pacific ocean which makes us kinda sad since we’re both such ocean people. As we head into the desert we’re wondering what’s next after a few more months on the road. We’re working to figure that out, unsure about what’s to come but staying grounded in the beauty of this adventure we’re having.