California Camping Road Trip

One of the trips that was canceled as a result of the pandemic was my ex’s lifelong dream of camping her way up to the Redwood Forrest. After reading The Legacy of Luna as a kid, Vanessa has wanted to see the Redwood trees for herself ever since. She had tried to plan the trip in 2019, we tried twice to make this happen in 2020, but it wasn’t until this April of 2021 that we were able to make her dream a reality. People probably don’t understand how ex’s can go on a trip together – especially since I’m in a relationship with someone else – but this felt absolutely normal to us and I didn’t want to miss out.

The trip was AMAZING! California is such a beautiful state, and I loved (almost) all of the campgrounds we stayed in. Vanessa actually cried when she saw the huge Redwood trees – multiple times, actually! We’ve got camping down to a routine, and it was great to have so much time off to just explore and enjoy. My favorite part of the entire trip was the 45 minutes we spent on this random beach we found on our drive – about 30 minutes south of where we stayed in the Redwood National Forrest. We got to run around with the dogs, had a ton of laughs, and it was completely serendipitous.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful that we were able to safely travel all over the state of California after a year of this pandemic. I’m thankful that I harvest healthy relationships in my life that lead to genuine long-term friendships. I’m thankful that the dogs are great travelers who make the trip extra fun. I’m thankful for the amazing and understanding girlfriend that I got to come home to. And I’m thankful that Vanessa still wanted to include me on this incredible adventure.

Here’s the rough breakdown of our trip followed by my video and some awesome pictures:

Day One: 6.5 hour drive from Tucson to Barton Flats Campground in San Bernardino National Forrest
Day Two: 9 hour drive to Kelsey Creek Campground in Clear Lake State Park
Day Three: 4.5 hour drive to Elk Prairie Campground in Redwood State and National Forrest
Day Four: 4.5 hour drive to Wildcat Campground in Hendy Woods State Park
Day Five: No driving! Another day in Hendy Woods
Day Six: 2 hour drive to Bodega Dunes Campground in Sonoma Coast State Park
Day Seven: 8.5 hour drive to Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park
Day Eight: 6.5 hour drive home to Tucson

This was honestly a once in a lifetime kind of trip, and I am so lucky to have gotten to experience this adventure this year.

Thanks for reading!

Road Trip 2019!

IMG-4397I’ve been planning my big move to the amazing city of Tucson, AZ for quite some time now, and the day has finally arrived!! My amazing friend Rachel, who was also my college roommate, was completely awesome and decided to make the trip with me.

IMG-4468We started out in or around Allentown, Pennsylvania, and separately drove a quick hour to my parents’ house outside of Philly, so that Rachel could drop her car there for after her flight home. To be frank, that was probably the worst part of the entire trip, because it was pouring down rain with thunder and lightening. With my windshield wipers on the fastest speed, I hoped for better weather once we got out of PA.

IMG-4403I got my wish, and the rest of the day was absolutely beautiful. We drove through the tip of Delaware, to the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, through Richmond Virginia, and eventually made our way to Nashville, Tennessee for our first overnight stop. We stayed at just a cheap motel, but we were able to see some of the “downtown” life, and had dinner with my cousin, who lives in the area.

IMG-4476Day two took us deep into the South, going through the rest of Tennessee and into Arkansas. We stopped for a leisurely lunch in Little Rock, where Rachel was able to find an outdoor cafe that was dog friendly. With locally sourced food, equality signs, and a cashier with dreadlocks, it was totally not what I was envisioning to find in the South! They did take a very long time, but luckily this was our shortest day of driving, so we still made it to our Air BnB in Dallas, Texas before it got dark. The apartment was beautiful, and we were exhausted, so we pretty much watched some Netflix and went straight to sleep.

IMG-4428The last day was the longest, and as we drove through the rest of Texas, I was made aware of what a gigantic state it truly is. It felt like we were never going to make it out, but it was definitely exciting for us to see how close we were to Mexico. Normally we would have had to go through border patrol check points, but they were currently closed because of some political bullshit, so we got lucky and could fly right by without stopping. We cruised through New Mexico and made it to my new state of Arizona while the sun was still up! (The time difference certainly worked in our favor for the entire trip.)

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Rachel stayed the night with me on an air mattress in my new place, but unfortunately had to fly home the next morning for work. This was actually Rachel’s first time on a plane, and here she was flying home all by herself – signs of a true friend!! She also helped me document along the way while my hands were busy at the wheel, so I was able to compile our adventures into one video:

 

So that’s it! I’m here in Tucson, Arizona! I made it – and this is my new home.

Thanks for watching! And thanks for reading.