Friday, April 6, 2018

Two years on the road! Finally made it to the West Coast

First photos are from a hot spring along the border of AZ and NV, Goldstrike hot spring. We camped out by Lake Mead in a gorgeous spot with amazing geology, right by the water.

Since we were in the area we swung by the Hoover Dam... it was quite the experience. We had no idea it was a 'thing'. I mean security to get in, $10 for parking, a gift shop, restaurant, people from all over the world... we didn't bother getting out of the car. We drove until we could turn around and get the heck outta there. It was just too crowded. Here's what I got from the car...

On our way out to Joshua Tree we stopped at Goldstrike casino on this desolate road because they had a free exhibit of movie cars to include the Delorean from Back to the Future and the original Batmobile from the show!

On the way we also stopped for a short 3 mile hike in the Mojave National Preserve at the Kelso Dunes, one of the hardest 3 miles we've done since it was all on soft sand.

 Happy at the top

 the view

jumping for joy on the way down 

Made it to Joshua tree and next day we were out bouldering. Had a blast and met another couple out there that we climbed with for a bit. The bouldering was pretty easy... getting off was a little trickier for me. The first climb wasn't bad, I just down climbed but that was harder than going up. On the second climb I topped out and had to scramble down the back and do a jump down that I wasn't crazy about... had a 15 min freak out session while Matthew assured me I would not die lol

 Dragon scale boulder

We followed up bouldering with a short hike up Ryan mountain the highest point in the park.

from Ryan mt peak

In the evening Matthew decided to dispose of some stuff we didn't need by burning it...He wants me to note that we were a quarter mile from anything flammable.

More bouldering...

Then an overnight backpacking trip..

 I'm not a thief, the bandana helped with the dry air

Our bedroom

 Matthew packing up his stuff, a bit slow since he no longer uses a backpack

On our way out

We messed up and forgot to fill out a registration before starting this trip so we ended up hiking back out to the car, filling out the registration then going in a different direction just for fun. Oh yeah, there was no trail, this was another wilderness hike. Super easy out in the desert when you can see everything for miles. We saw a few speedy lizards, a jack rabbit and a kangaroo rat! It was a warm evening and we both slept great on the soft sand.

Matthew was still sore from climbing, he'd strained a muscle in his arm, so we did more hiking the next day. We hiked to Willow grove, a nice little spot in the desert that seasonally has water.

Matthew was still not sure about climbing the next day so we took it easy. I needed to work on lead climbing trad so we did a few routes that he followed and cleaned. They were only 5.1-5.3 climbs, very easy.

Shot of a guy free climbing, he did at least 6 free climbs while we were watching.. life goals?

Our next stop was LA. Normally we would avoid it completely but.. La brea tar pits were calling. We had a fun day exploring the museum and the surrounding park. We also went out to lunch and I had my first proper ramen.

the largest tar pit 

 Giant sloth

 Antique Bison (extinct)

 One of the excavation sites


We then ventured off to Santa Barbara to visit an old friend of Matthew's, Lizza and her boyfriend Danny. We had a fun filled weekend wandering downtown, playing on silks (Lizza owns a rig), cycling on electric bikes, eating delicious food, strolling on the beach, stand up paddle boarding and hiking. It was so much fun I didn't think to take photos most of the time. So here's two I got..

 out on a hike

 running to avoid the tide coming in

playing with balancing rocks

After farewells we moved on along the coast with a brief stop in Big Sur and Santa Cruz. We found out from Lizza another friend of his, Kevin, was having a birthday party the following weekend and several of Matthews friends would be there so we headed to SF. 

 Sand dollar beach

Oh right and we had more car problems... heard a strange sound, found a pin for the passenger side brake was almost out, still heard strange sound, found that the shock mount was stripped off... good stuff.

 I thought that didn't look right... 

 jerry rigged fix

 this was along a trail in santa cruz by the water, I just had to hop on

 Lunch by the sea, clam chowder, fish and chips.. and a Santa cruz beer (not pictured)

Seals sunbathing

Ok this is long enough. Next time I'll report on SF.