Lessons in Road Tripping

When caution is thrown to the wind and you go swimming in your clothes, its that hot (Yosemite)

You want to take a road trip you say? Did you read that article on driving through Death Valley? The one about certain death should your car break down and you try to walk anywhere? Moral of that story was: Don’t leave your car EVER; wait for someone to drive by and most importantly have lots and lots of water.

Road tripping is not for the faint of heart. Do you have an emergency kit in the trunk? A tire pump to get you through the tough times. Wait. Question: Do you know how to change a tire? I worry for you, I really do. Look those things up and be prepared. Pepper spray, bear spray and most importantly, bug spray, its summer you silly, can’t hang out on the back porch without some bug spray.

Now until your departure date, here is some light reading on lessons learned while road tripping through California.

The first time on the trip when my breath was taken away from the sheer beauty of mountain, desert and quiet. (PC Alexa)

1. Imagine no internet, then go from there

You are out on the open road and life is feeling right. You take out your phone to snap some photos, maybe send some to your family and friends #travelenvy and maybe ask Siri when the next gas station is.

Oh. Wait. That image wont send? Google Maps, where’d you go? We don’t even know where we are going! Where is the internet connection!?

Action plan: Buy a physical road map, the kind that opens up all big and is impossible to refold into a little pamphlet again. Yes, buy that.

And then download your Spotify list, “Sisterly Road Trip 2018 Summer Vibes.” You can’t trust the radio in some of these areas.

Hike to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness. Hell yeah we went swimming!

2. Shirley don’t care how excited you are

You know when you are on vacation and the excitement you are exuding is just next level? Well, you need to remember that the people you are talking to are still at work, doing their job.

So when the night attendant at the motel in the charming town in the middle of no where (lets film a movie here people!), with the general store, and the horses and mountains and that spontaneous carnival, isn’t matching your excitement; take it down a notch.

They have to live here all year round, you are there for one night.

Note: I didn’t follow my own advice and repeatedly did this to all the concierges. Some were more receptive than others ;)

Alexa in front of the ghost carnival (Bridgeport, CA)

3. Embrace the imperfect

While planning the next 2 days out we decided that one of the nights we would stay in a small through town called Bridgeport, CA. It seemed perfect as we were headed to Yosemite and thought this would make a great 1/2 way point after being in South Lake Tahoe.

Done and done. Motel booked and lots of excitement about all the mountains we were going to drive through.

The night of, hanging in Bridgeport, like the bad ass cow girls that we are, we look up directions for the next day in Yosemite and see a shocking number. Two and a half hours to get to the valley!? I thought it was right there?

Apparently there is a mountain in the way?

Well, that was unexpected! Well, if we plan to beat the summer crowds, see you at 4:30am Moon, Sun, whoever…

Pumping gas at 5am. (Bridgeport, CA)

4. Things can turn around

With the 4:30am wake up call, little sister with a double ear infection, and no other option but to continue driving south bound, we had to make this trip happen; and early. Before all the traffic had time to build.

According to our calculations, we would arrive in Yosemite at 7:30am and check into our hotel at 4pm. We must muster the energy for this day!

Oh, did I tell you? This was the BEST day of my life.

Mono Lake sunrise // Yosemite Valley
Big Tree Lodge wrap around porches // Mini historical 1800s town that I still need to research

From watching the sunrise over Mono Lake to frolicking in the river in Yosemite Valley, to stumbling upon donkeys and horses, to eating lunch at The Majestic Hotel (just love a good hotel lobby!) to discovering that the hotel we were staying at that night was more than a place to lay our head, it was an epic historical hotel with a piano player to serenade us at night!

The moral of the story, you never know when it will be the best day of your life.

5. Hotel Tonight

Its the app that lets you live on the edge between homelessness and adventure seeker. You may not know where you are sleeping tonight, but its not that big of a deal, you will know in 5 min…. when you open the app.

Or learn how to pitch a tent, which is the cheaper option.

We can conquer the world!

6. There will be lack luster moments

Things are going perfectly. No traffic, windows down, Lady Gaga circa 2011 blasting. What could be better!?

You even mentally planned for changing a tire (glad you watched the youtube video), exchanging insurance and what you might say should you get in a car accident and have to say your last words.

It really is all about the mental planning, ya know?

Then the thing you didn’t plan for. The lackluster charmless moment. The moment that makes you feel nothingness. Its so lackluster you don’t want to live or die, you just wish there was a time with feeling; negative or positive, who cares, ANYTHING!

And while it could happen on your trip in an unexpected way, just know, it will pass. And will only reinforce how special all the other moments have been and will be again.

You are on vacation for goodness sake! Priorities people!

Stock photo of Bridal Veil because guess what, there just wasn’t time to see it all!

7. Fulfill the mission

So you didn’t get to go to that castle in the mountains, or the restaurant everyone was telling you to stop at or the ghost town that was on your bucket list (Next time Bodie, next time).

Get over it.

Did you fulfill your mission?

What is your purpose for this trip?

Write it down and make sure you fulfill it.

Our vision for the trip was to have as many unique adventures as possible that we don’t get to experience in our every day life.

And of course find the best churro and be sure to swim every day and talk to strangers as much as possible, obviously.

And if we didn’t get to knock a few tourist sites off our list, it was okay. The mission was fulfilled. Therefore it was a successful trip.

What is your mission?

Madonna Inn

8. Find your inspiration

While traveling through San Luis Obispo we stayed at the most darling hotel called, The Madonna Inn. It was 5 minutes from downtown, yet you felt like you were in the middle of no where. Rolling hills, horses grazing and a sprawling complex with secret gardens and hot pink tennis courts.

The interior decor, gratuitous at its finest; Pattern on pattern, color on color, kitsch on kitsch.

With every detail of every corner planned, thus curating a most overwhelming vibe of living in another world; it was a reminder that the beauty of life is in the detail.

My creative synapses were firing.

Madonna Inn Steak House

9. Listen to the locals

After all the hiking and nature adventuring, it was time to head to the coast, play dress up and be girly.

Off to Santa Barbara we were! Shopping, check, tanning on the beach, check, and finding some yummy seafood on the pier, not so much of a check.

One of the days, while flagging down an Uber (haha, yeah right) we were given some great advice by our driver.

Check out the courthouse.

How come?

Just trust me, you will want to see it.

I mean what is so great about a courthouse?

Well, apparently everything.

10. Pull over, turn around, just do it

You are cruising down the road in your Toyota Camry rental and you realize how special life is. You don’t need a Land Rover Defender to feel like a land conquerer #goalsthough

Oh damn, whats this cute bakery tucked behind the trees over there? Did you see all those beautiful flowers and bistro tables? And a gift shop? We have to stop, can we stop? Oh no, why am I passing it. Don’t pass it. Turn around.

I turned around!

Always stop if you are yearning to stop!

Don’t have time for a full blown road trip? Try doing some weekend adventuring nearby. Check out this and this for some inspiration.

And if regular travel isn’t enough for you, maybe time travel is more your speed.

Until next time, happy exploring!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store