Summer Road Trip Series: from San Diego to San Francisco

montana de oro feet

Have you ever traveled solo?

Like, get in the car/on a plane and spend a night or week or month (!) discovering, eating and sleeping by yourself?

I’ve realized… that I haven’t. Long day trips, yes, but I’ve yet to experience the peaceful silence of solitude that descends at night on my own. I’d like to change that one of these days, but for now, I’ll live vicariously through my next Summer Road Trip Series featured guest. Meet Corey of But We Will Stay, and follow along on her adventure traveling from San Diego to San Francisco!

gas

THE INSPIRATION

“To get out of town. To think in quiet. To take pictures. It was to see a friend that had just gotten back from Afghanistan and then explore some places on the California coast that I had seen Kevin Russ take amazing pictures of and that I never knew existed.”

moro bay floaties piratescove

THE HIGHLIGHTS

“I almost didn’t go in the beginning AND when I first go to Fairfield my car smelled like sulfur… turns out the battery in my car was all but bursting into flames by the time I got to a Pep Boys the next morning. My clothes, being that they were in the trunk (where my battery is in my car, weird I know) smelled of sulfur so I had to air them out a bit.

I went Zuma Beach in Malibu to take a picture of a FOOD sign and went on to Santa Monica Pier to ride the ferris wheel. Turns out you are not allowed to do so by yourself there, so by myself so an employee had to ride with me.

I also went to Photobooth SF to get my tintype taken. That was an awesome experience and I highly recommend it. They have all different sorts of toy cameras and refurbished polaroid cameras. After getting my tin type I headed down the coast to stay in Morro Bay. The next morning I went to Montaña de Oro beach and Pirate’s Cove/Shell Beach. It ended up being a nude beach, but as it was very overcast when I was there, there were only a few sunbathing.”

santa monica ferris wheel food zuma beach pismo beach

THE NEXT ADVENTURE

“In the fall I am moving out to Nashville, TN. I am so, so excited not just to live in a new city but to road trip it through the states to get there. I have my current plan on Roadtrippers. I am moving and making the most out of the trip, stopping and going a little out of my way here and there to see gorgeous things. I am so excited. I love road trips so much.”

polaroids morro bay

Corey’s Blog // Instagram // Twitter 

Good luck on your big move, Corey!

The series continues this time next week—with an international road trip!

Summer Road Trip Series: from Big Sur to Seattle

Summer Road Trip series

The Great American Road Trip was the stuff of my dreams in high school.

When we were teenagers, my best girlfriends and I used to fantasize about taking a Volkswagen bus (the color of which was negotiable) across the country all the way to sunny California. We didn’t talk about what we’d do once we got there—the trip itself would be adventure enough, possessing the same aesthetic as a Free People catalog.

When I finally did take that epic road trip from Baltimore to Los Angeles, the circumstances were a bit different (moving with the boyfriend, headed for grad school, with no way of justifying $80 Free People jean shorts), but the trip was no less magical than I’d dreamed up years before. Driving through the mountains, the plains and the desert all the way to the coast was satisfyingly surreal.

Almost just as surreal as that life-changing trip was then is the fact that it happened a year ago this month.

An anniversary like that can’t go unacknowledged. So I invited a few talented and adventurous friends to share their travel stories for a Summer Road Trip Series. Once a week over the next few weeks, I’ll introduce you to a bold traveler who will tell you all about their road trip—destination anywhere—in their own words and, of course, through their photos. And what better time to start than on the Fourth of July?

Kicking off the series, meet David of Death to the Stock Photo (a site some of my blogger friends might recognize… I’ve used it for gorgeous, free photos!). He traveled more than a thousand miles along the West Coast and saw some beautiful sights along the way.

In David’s own words:

“We started in San Francisco renting a car and driving it down the coast to Big Sur. From there we traveled around the area, then back to San Francisco and up to Seattle. We went north of Seattle about an hour to Deception Pass for camping.”

Big Sur

Big Sur to Seattle

THE INSPIRATION

“The purpose of the trip was that we had crowdfunded it to create really quality imagery for designers and bloggers to use in their work. So each location was filled with shooting everything we saw that inspired us and sharing it with the backers who had been following along.”

coast

David bridge

THE HIGHLIGHTS

“Catching sunset at the Bixby Bridge was incredible. The contrast of all of the elements from the hills to the rocks to the water was incredible and we got to share it with some other people who had been waiting there for the sun to go down. At the end of that night we went to these really private hot springs that only open from midnight to 2 a.m. at a place called The Esalen Institute. The hot springs were under an amazing night sky full of stars and the hot water and crashing waves below were incredibly relaxing.”

Bixby Bridge

overlook

THE NEXT ADVENTURE

“I really want to go to Iceland to explore around and see the Northern Lights. There’s a promo called Iceland Airwaves which is tickets to a music festival, hotel, and plane ticket for under a thousand dollars because they’re trying to promote tourism. I’d love to explore that landscape and capture it with my camera. Thailand has always been a place calling my name, as well.”

DavidDavid on Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

I hope David takes that trip to Iceland soon so I can swoon over the photos.

Where is the Summer Road Trip Series headed next? I’ll give you a hint next week, and you can see if your guess is right next Friday for part two.

 

Driving stick in San Francisco

Petrero Hill

I bought my new car, Sheila, just a month or so before moving to California.

When I got her, I envisioned lots of day trips and road trips along the West Coast. This weekend, I had the chance to show Sheila what San Francisco is all about.

When I began to get serious about moving to California and going to grad school, San Francisco felt like a real possibility. The last time I visited four years ago, I was enamored. Northern California is one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

To think that San Francisco is only a five-hour drive away from Los Angeles is kind of mind-boggling to me. You know what else is mind-boggling? How frighteningly steep the hills are—especially when you’re driving stick.

My first car was a stick shift, so I’ve always had an appreciation for the art of getting into first gear. But parallel parking on a steep incline was never part of my training. I might’ve had a mini panic attack over the summer when I was parked between two BMWs on a hill in Runyon Canyon and wasn’t exactly confident that I’d be able to get out of the spot without causing some damage. John gave me a crash course in using the emergency break as a back-up then (and no damage was done), but San Francisco was the real test of my abilities.

There’s something special about zipping around a city as a visitor in your own car. Even though Sheila was embarrassingly filthy (bird poop, bug guts, desert dust, etc.), I was proud to take her around town. We visited Golden Gate Park, drove along the Embarcadero and struggled with directions when we realized you can’t make left turns anywhere. We even parked on one or two of the steepest hills San Francisco has to offer. Though I handed John the keys and let him sweat it out when we parked here.

The weekend went by fast, but knowing the Bay Area is just a few hours away means we won’t go another four years before we visit again, and that’s pretty cool. I’ll share more pictures later this week, when I do my monthly photo roundup.

Do you know how to drive stick? Has anyone ever driven stick in San Francisco?