Sometimes you take a wrong turn and find yourself on a gravel road in an unknown mountain pass with no AC.
Like last year and the year before, we knew we wanted to head east — out to the desert, where muted rainbow hues splash the landscape and molasses-thick air slows down everything. Painted Hills, our final destination. One thing we knew — we damn sure weren’t taking I-5, the boringest stretch of highway in the entire country. Only problem — the GPS disagreed. It was determined to route us down 5. So we got creative. We forced the route. We took an unplanned turn and headed east.
That was about when the AC broke. In the middle of an epic heat wave sweeping the Northwest. But what can you do? You embrace it, sink down to a lizard-like state and become one with the heat. You embrace the unexpected and see where the road goes.
That’s how you find yourself staring at two cobras and a mongoose rising out of the hood of a vintage black Mustang. That’s how you find yourself in a railroad-station town with no ATM and no shops or restaurants that take cards. That’s how you find yourself headed through winding canyon highways, no other cars in site, driving the speed that feels right rather than the speed limit because why would you do anything else?
Low-down adventures and lo-fi travel are all about the wrong turns. You gotta get down and gritty, feel the heat radiating off the asphalt, the golden wheat on the palm of your hand. It’s a bit uncomfortable, a bit of work, a bit WTF — but that’s when you score.
That’s when you take a turn and get hit by hills of red clay while phat raindrops snap against AC-cravin’ skin. That’s when you find yourself on the deck of a cattle ranch at 10pm, sippin’ hard cider as the last June light fades from the sky. That’s when you get creative with the goods, conversations through diner sandwiches and desert roads leading to our ideal USA Kit.
Had our eyes on wood-case pens for a while and finally made the move on ‘em. The mystery item? We’ve been wanting to collab with Brackish, and the timing was right. We brainstormed with Andy to create something that reflects RAH and lo-fi goods while also reflecting Brackish’s mantra — goods made from reclaimed local materials. Since we’re always bustin’ out notes on the road and needing a hard spot to write on, we landed on a drawing board with gradient shades inspired by the Painted Hills. Once we saw the final design, we knew what the paper would be — loose-leaf sheets picked up from the local art supply shop, sized just-right for the clipboard.
Sometimes the best solution is to get lost. You need the wrong turns to work through the clutter, clear out the brain, find the right goods. It’s longer, it’s hotter, there’s one or two detours — but it’s one hell of a ride.