Week 3: Southern California
Southern California was pretty much my dreamland. You will never experience a more perfect climate then you do in LA. Every day was bright and sunny with a temp in the 80s (AKA a lot of beach days). The evenings get chilly, but all you need is a sweater or a light jacket to stay warm. There is always something to do! The city is filled with different neighborhoods and culture. Plus, the people are generally friendly, which you wouldn't typically expect. The only downside is... traffic (and expenses), but I'm sure you've heard that one before!
Big Sur - We took Highway One from San Francisco to Los Angeles, if you have the time to do it - do it. It takes much longer than following your GPS, but it's worth it to go through Big Sur. The view is absolutely amazing! The roads wrap around these huge cliffs and you have a constant view of the ocean. I cranked up Lana, rolled down the window and daydreamed away.
San Simeon - Right off of Highway One is elephant seal central! They are the cutest, funniest, chubbiest creatures I have ever seen. All of them pile on one another and nap on the beach. Sometimes they'll even have a little fight and bark at each other.
Fresh Produce Stands - These places are so cheap and delicious you have to stop! They always have some crazy deals like, 7 avocados for $1. I loaded up on my fave, yellow nectarines.
Venice Beach - My favorite place EVER! I just had this overwhelming sense of belonging right as I stepped on the beach. Venice Skate Park is something out of a movie. Right on the sand, palm trees, skater boys...does it get much better than that? This is the perfect place to have a beach day. It's so quiet down by the water, yet close enough to all the action of the boardwalk. We got here in the morning when it was still quiet and stayed until evening.
Komodo - The best lunch spot in Venice and maybe our yummiest meal! The boardwalk is filled with overpriced greasy fair food, not my cup of tea. We wandered away into the inner part of Venice to this bomb Asian-fusion taco spot for a sweet deal and delicious healthy food. If you go, you must try the mango juice (free refills)!
Runyon Canyon - I'd been wanting to explore Runyon after all the hype it's been getting on Instagram with celebs and "Insta-fames" hiking the trail (or are they really just taking pictures?). The park is in Hollywood Hills, so the view is badass you can see everything! Let me tell you though it is not as easy as it looks. There are some wicked steep hills, where you think, "Oh shit, I could actually die if I slipped right now!" Definitely bring enough water and a friend to get you through it. Mark "the Cobrasnake" Hunter hosts bi-weekly hikes through Runyon follow @cobrafitnessclub for more info!
Fairfax Avenue - Within the Fairfax district is a shopping strip with streetcar and skate-wear shops. It's mostly men's clothing but still a really neat area if you're into this scene. Kayo and RVCA are worth the pop in.
As a result of poor planning we didn't get much time here. Road Trip Tip #8 - Something is bound to go wrong at some point. Just don't get too upset over it. Joshua Tree has wicked looking terrain with trees and rocks that look like they belong on Mars. The park was super cool but Salvation Mountain was higher on our list of must-sees so we peaced out early. All the national parks charge an entrance fee ranging from $10-$30, so we basically flushed $20 down the drain. It happens.
The creepiest place I have ever been! This lake was poppin' back in the day but after it flooded in '76 most of the locals left. Now the little towns literally look like post-zombie apocalypse with abandoned trailer homes, old cars, broken stairs and an overall creepy aura. As if it couldn't be creepy eneough, the water is so salty tons of the fish die and wash up onto shore. If you're coming from Los Angeles you'll drive all around the lake on your way to Salvation Mountain. Bombay Beach is a good place to stop and explore.
Seeing the mountain in person is incomparable to the photos you'll see online. There is so much detail and color that just doesn't shine through on your Instagram feed. You're in the middle of the desert, there is no city sounds and your exploring this huge art installation - can there be a moment more inspiring?