When we began planning this trip, we ran into a lot of trouble in deciding where to go and what to do. I’m usually much more into adventurous trips, or as Evan would say “uncomfortable and stressful vacations.” Driving across the US and camping along the way sounded great to me, but to Evan not so much. I’m honestly a little surprised I even convinced him to do this in the first place, but it was not without a fair amount of compromise.
My only stipulation for the trip was that I wanted to be gone for as long as possible and to see as much as possible. My general path was a bit too ambitious for Evan to commit to, though, so we agreed that we would play the trip by-ear as they say. Before we left, we sat down and planned out the first leg of the trip up until my family reunion in Iowa on the fourth of July. We decided that we would see how we feel after the reunion and decide whether we wanted to make the trek out to the East Coast or cut down to Colorado.
With our general path in mind, we left on Friday for our first day of our big adventure. That first day took us pretty far too, right back to Santa Barbara! We had to tie up a few loose ends, and we had some time to kill so we decided to stay with a few friends in the area and try to catch up with those we didn’t get to see before we moved away earlier this week. The next day we headed to the Summer Solstice Festival downtown, true proof of how corky some people in Santa Barbara really are, then we left to head up to San Luis Obispo to stay with another friend.
One thing we noticed pretty immediately into our trip is how generous people are. We’ve had so many people offer to let us stay with them along our way or stop their day to spend time with us. Just within the first three days, we had a friend make us dinner and a friend’s parents make us breakfast. Being two poor college students, the generosity has been so incredible and really made me realize how great a lot of the people in our lives are.
After SLO, Evan and I headed up to Big Sur. We wanted sometime to just be by ourselves and to have a day to read and write, so we went to check out the free camping off of Nacimiento Road before the major campsites. There’s no markings to tell you where you can camp, so Evan and I choose a turnout in the road that had a view of the mountains and ocean. It’s by far one of the best campsites I have ever camped at. I spent most of my day just sitting outside of the tent taking in the view. The minute Evan and I stepped out of our car, we both said that it was so incredibly quiet around us.
The isolation was great, although after a few hours I couldn’t help but let my imagination run. I started to get a little worried that the campsite might not be that safe, I mean we hadn’t seen a single person near us in hours and no one knew where we were. Reruns of old horror movies where a group of friends go camping and never return kept coming to mind. Right as we started eating dinner, though, a group of three drove by and choose to camp within sight of us. Evan admitted right afterwards that he was getting kind of worried also but didn’t want to make me worry (classic).
The greatest thing about the campsite was the view. As the sun was setting, it lit up the sky this amazing orange and red color. We were above the clouds, so we sat and watched as the clouds changed colors and rolled over towards the mountains we were camping on. Around 8 p.m, we noticed that the bottom of the mountain was almost dark but for some reason it was still light enough around us, tricking us into thinking it was much earlier. The next morning, we woke up to an even thicker layer of clouds creeping up over the mountains and as we ate breakfast and packed up, we watched it recede away back over the ocean.
After some quick hiking around Phieffer Beach, Evan and I are back on the road and headed up to Monterey for the day and then Palo Alto to stay with a friend of ours who will be coming up to Portland with us later this week. Please feel free to leave us suggestions of anything we should see on the way!