Hello from sunny Southern California!

It’s surprisingly cool here, as I’ve been inundated with stories about the weather on the East coast which has been oppressively hot and humid. So it’s been nice! But I’d welcome some of that disgusting heat while hanging on the beach here; I’ve had to make due otherwise.

My plan was to arrive at the southernmost California in San Diego and drive northward. Well, I’ve been here for nearly a week, and am still here. There’s a bunch to do!

I drove through from Flagstaff, Arizona, and the drive was about 8 hours, all told. Consumed most of a day.

The drive was largely uneventful, until passing through California, where I was treated to more expansive fields of sand dunes and then mountains before entering San Diego.

With no itinerary in mind that day, I just kept driving until I hit the coast. I parked right along the beach on Coronado Island, and couldn’t stop smiling as I walked out onto the sand. The water was cool, and the salty breeze smelled awesome.

I had an overwhelming feeling of, “I made it!” Two and a half months on the road and I’d finally hit the West coast. I treated myself to a wonderful sunset and then slept right by the beach.

It’s a great feeling to wake up in the back of the car, and it’s an even greater feeling to do so and see palm trees just, like, hanging out.

I got up, walked the beach, drove across the bridge, and took a shower at the local planet fitness before checking out the view at Mt. Helix Park, a high point offering sweeping views.

Next, I made my way over to Cabrillo National Monument, an outcropping with fantastic ocean views, and a lighthouse.

It was recommended to me that I check out the tide pools there. I caught the coastline as the tide was going out, so I missed low tide which promised a treat. Even so, the scenery was beautiful.

I headed up to La Jolla, a beautiful coastal area with tons to do. I checked out The Cave Store, a local tourist trap with a damp tunnel staircase to an ocean cave built by bootleggers during prohibition.

From there, I walked to La Jolla cove, and checked out more magnificent ocean views, sea birds, and barking sea lions.

Nearby was Seal Rock, a local hangout for seals, with signs all over mentioning that seals are in fact different creatures from sea lions. (Sea lions have earflaps and seals don’t, seals have furry flippers and sea lions don’t, sea lions can hop and walk and seals can only scoot, etc).

I ended the day at Torrey Pines state reserve, a beautiful nature preserve and beach. (I ended up falling asleep in the sun and got super burnt.)

Food in and around San Diego was great. I’ve gotten all sorts. That night, I had some quick Mediterranean food, and followed it up by hitting little Italy any getting some charcuterie with a friend I had met in Zion National Park.

All over the area were incomprehensibly beautiful beaches. I had the pleasure of checking out Black’s Beach, the local clothing optional hotspot. (Thankfully no more sunburn.) It was a hike down and back up again, but it was way worth it.

More food: we hit up Liberty Public Market, with a bunch of vendors nestled in an old Navy building. Oh my God the lobster roll there. I ate a bunch all week and will throw pictures here and there, too.

I’ve been trying to save money while traveling (Taco Bell value menu calls to me), but my San Diego friend encouraged me to live a little and spend some of the money I bust my ass to make since I’m on vacation. We got Italian, ice cream, and also checked out a local speakeasy, Young Blood.

On a day off, I made the drive up to Julian, about an hour out of San Diego. It was highly recommended that I get “The best apple pie in the country” so I did, and it was pretty fucking awesome. I was glad I got a whole pie.

The town was wonderful to walk through, and there were a bunch of little shops and restaurants to check out.

I kept it moving East, and stopped at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The temperature was over 100F, and I was roasting! The difference between the temperature coast at about 70 and here was super apparent. I checked out some desert scenery, and beat it.

The other tourist destination in town was at Galleta Meadows, a rural desert landscape populated by giant sculptures. It was AWESOME! The sculptures wee absolutely huge, hard to represent in photos, but I’ll try. Driving around the sandy desert and stopping here and there at these behemoths was really fun. If only it was under 100 degrees!

Just East of this area was the Salton Sea, a big old stinky, salty water pit. I stopped at the state park, and snapped some photos despite the heat and smell. I don’t believe this is an area where folks go swimming, rather, it’s somewhat of a bird sanctuary.

Just South of this, on the East side of the Salton Sea, is a ghost town worth checking out. Bombay Beach used to be a functioning town and vacation destination, and now it’s a place for experimental artists to enact real change in this rural setting. Driving through, I also felt absolutely certain that Trevor’s home town of Sandy Shores in GTA V was based off of this place. It was eerie and deserted and fucking awesome. I drove around and took pictures and then worked up the nerve to get out of the car and check stuff out. Brace yourself for a zillion photos —

Over the course of my time in town, I also checked out Temecula, wine country North of San Diego. Libations were had, food was consumed.

I also had the opportunity to off-road in my body’s Jeep up in the San Bernardino National Forest. Check out these views. There’s almost too much beauty in this country.

New things are coming: I flew out of San Diego this week for another week’s break from the car life. I’ll keep you posted:)