Cramped Up, Get Out: Hit The Road Four

A Little Longer, Get Out, Just A Day, Misc., Trips, Weekends

cramped up road trip grand tetons mountain log cabin view

Part Four: Stormy skies, hot springs and other wonders of the great divide.
Summer storms. The power of rain torrentially pouring down upon you, a dark sky ever looming in the distance, threatening to blow your tent down, the most epic rainbows, and lightning’s strobe-light show, slapping loudly not-so-high up above. At any moment the weather can change, really change, drastically, and after five years in California, and a couple weeks in the desert, this was a gloriously welcome addition to our lives.
We burst into Colorado and you could feel the moisture in the air nearly upon crossing state lines. The world was green and the air cool and dewey. After much needed (free) hot showers at Mesa Verde, we started a journey up and across the state, driving through 11,000 foot mountain tops, exploring picturesque old mining towns, and finally landing ourselves in hot bubbling waters beneath the big Colorado stars.
Teetering on the edge of the Great Plains and the Continental Divide, we found ourselves stunned when the Grand Tetons suddenly emerged from behind a poof of clouds with all their jagged glory. We had our first sightings of buffalo, first rumors of bears, and took in the epic views, winding our way up to the most popular park in our country’s system, Yellowstone.
Upon arrival we felt disappointed. The lines of cars, the crowds of people stacked with selfie sticks, and the seemingly zero fucks being given about the reality of where they were besides snapping your photo with Old Faithful, made you think you were at Disneyland rather than America’s greatest natural park. But we soon realized that the moment you make the effort to walk further than a quarter mile on one of the many trails the park offers, you are in absolute solitude and the great wilderness we were promised is anything but disappointing.
After some adventuring we hopped back in the car, and made our way deep into Montana. We got away from the crowds and more glamorous sites this country has, and instead found lakes and rivers we’d never heard of, throwing in a line or two. We found hot springs we got hot tips about, quirky ghost towns, and we drank Banquet Beers at a small town rodeo in Belt, MT. We stood on the spot where Custer had his last stand, and drove by those faces up in the rocks because we didn’t feel like paying for parking.
As we descended from the Rockies into the Great Plains where the buffalo roamed, and hopped on more highways rather than winding roads, the world got a bit flatter, but never less interesting. Our journey was approaching its end with our plan to fast-track across the Eastern half of the states, but we still had a few adventures left ahead of us before we’d be settling down.

cramped up road trip colorado above Silverton

cramped up road trip colorado ouray

cramped up road trip montana field

cramped up road trip grand tetons lake day hike trees

cramped up road trip grand tetons lake day hike

cramped up road trip grand tetons mountain buffalo

cramped up road trip grand tetons mountain log cabin

cramped up road trip grand tetons beaver

cramped up road trip yellowstone thermal dramatic sky

cramped up road trip yellowstone thermal art

cramped up road trip yellowstone landscape

cramped up road trip yellowstone old faithful geyser

cramped up road trip colorado highway

cramped up road trip montana hot spring

cramped up road trip montana rodeo

cramped up road trip south dakota custer state park buffalo

cramped up road trip south dakota

cramped up road trip grand tetons lake sunset

Photo Locations (from top to bottom): Plains below Grand Teton mountain range; looking out above Silverton, CO; mountains near Ouray, CO; power lines; through the trees at Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park; Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park; Buffalo and the Tetons; Log cabin, Tetons; Beaver at Jackson lake, Tetons; Storm and thermal in Yellowstone National Park; Thermal creations in Yellowstone; Land of steam in Yellowstone; Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone; road in Montana; Hot spring in Montana; Rodeo in Belt, MT; Buffalo at Custer State Park in SD; Abandoned roadside in South Dakota near Badlands; Sunset at Jackson Lake, Grand Tetons.
Photos taken on Canon AE-1 with 35mm film and on Canon Rebel SL-1.
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Cramped Up, Get Out: Hit The Road Three

A Little Longer, Get Out, Just A Day, Weekends

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Part Three: Roadside companions
Sometimes on a road trip, it’s the little things rather than the big views that bring you the most satisfaction.  Upon our exit from a horrendously hot and demoralizing experience of backpacking in the Grand Canyon, we were fortunate enough to have an oasis of sorts to go home to, hang our Roo’s and have a cold beer.  Our oasis wasn’t necessarily physical to start, but rather a couple sweet, sweet unicorns that were also road tripping around the southwest at the same time we were.
Our friends, Risa and Michael, offered some much needed comfort, some killer cooking skills, and just the companionship we wanted at that moment.  Over the next week, we made our way up and out of Arizona and into and across southern Utah, zipping through all those Utah state parks that without fail cause a shortness of breath and the occasional tear.  We caravanned through desert, mountains, and even took refuge from the heat in a pine valley, a cool valley of pines, happily accompanied by the name “Pine Valley”.  We saw nature in full Kodachrome, constantly astounded by the colors flying by and taking shape as the sun laid down for another southwestern evening, putting on a show and casting golden hues across our smiling, satisfied and full faces.
Our friends cooked, and when we say they cooked, THEY COOKED! They made meal after meal, carefully crafted on cast iron, heated only by the fires we tended, maybe a stove or two as well. Regardless, we were healed through food, fixed through friends, and when the time came to part there was a palpable bitter-sweetness to leave our comrades.  And so we did, on to Colorado separately, while our friends stayed to explore more of the Mormon wonderland by way of Moab and Arches.
Fast forward 3 weeks and 3000 miles.  We had figured we wouldn’t see our dear friends for quite some time, but as fate would have it, South Dakota had a different plan and we were once again greeted by Risa and Michael as well as an evening of crackling lightning, deafening thunder, and rain drops so thick they sting with their weight.  An evening soaked in fear and soaked in a tent, and we were left a little tired, but happy to grab some diner breakfast and continue on our separate journeys. We said our goodbyes (for real this time), and each moved on to newer, literally greener pastures along the rust belt, every day pushing a little further East.

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cramped up road trip southwest 9 bryce canyon

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cramped up road trip southwest 7 bryce canyon

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cramped up road trip southwest 6 bryce canyon sunset

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cramped up road trip southwest 12 utah pine valley

cramped up road trip southwest 3 campfire cooking

cramped up road trip southwest 4 bryce canyon sunset

cramped up road trip glen canyon southwest 2

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cramped up road trip southwest 11 utah cactus

cramped up road trip southwest bryce canyon sunset

Photo Locations (from top to bottom): Camille taking pictures in Bryce Canyon; Zion National Park geology; Risa at Bryce; Bryce through the pines; Desert tree; Bryce Canyon rock formations; Desert flower; The depth of Bryce Canyon; Ty walking into Bryce; Bryce Canyon big view; Ty at Bryce sunset with camera; Risa’s Bryce sunset; Home at Pine Valley, UT; Michael cooking a feast; Ty’s Bryce sunset; Glen Canyon view; Camille standing in Zion; Desert sage and cactus in Utah; Risa and Michael at Bryce.
Photos taken on Canon AE-1 with 35mm film and on Canon Rebel SL-1.

Cramped Up, Get Out: Hit The Road Two

A Little Longer, Get Out, Just A Day, Trips, Weekends
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Part Two: Hot road lifestyle adjustment.
You forget what it truly means to be on the road. You are rich in places to sleep, yet essentially homeless. Your car is your home. Your car is your kitchen. Every national forest is your home. Your hammock and tent, your nest. Every Walmart parking lot, a potential home if all else fails. You create systems inside your car that only you understand. Everything has a place. Five inches of space are as valuable as a whole room in your house. You become one. Your seats start to smell. The dashboard is thick with dust and dirt. You brought a bunch of clothes, but you wear the same every day. There’s a collection of rocks starting to grow already. Cold beer is god.
We alternated between trail and road. Sweaty then showering down in the campground bathroom. Or a bath in the creek, any cool water would do. The heat penetrated our souls as we careened across the south west of our country, and some days we felt like we may never be cool again. We began to deeply and carelessly long for our future in Maine; the notion of cold winter and icy fingers became an every day daydream.
A hike into the depths of the Grand Canyon brought us to our knees far away from the comforts of civilization. We struggled in a new way, but that discomfort made the reward that much sweeter: friends awaiting us at the rim with a campsite we’d call home where we hung our hammocks, drank cold beer and ate not-cliff bars. We slept like babies (until one of us was nudged by a burro in the night), and awoke refreshed, ready to find new roads to explore and new places to lay our heads for a night or two.
The options were endless, we chose the way. This was our new life.

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Photo Locations (from top to bottom): Roadside stand east of Grand Canyon on AZ Rt 89; Crossing the Colorado River near Marble Canyon; Hermit Creek trail inside the Grand Canyon; Vegetation inside the Grand Canyon; Dreamcatcher on AZ Rt 89; The vast Grand Canyon National Park; Dealing with the heat inside the Grand Canyon; Rocks in Arizona; Comfort at Desert View Campground, Grand Canyon; Roadside stand flags east of Grand Canyon on AZ Rt 89; View of the Colorado River from the Tonto Trail inside the Grand Canyon.
All photos taken with 35mm film on a Canon AE-1.

Cramped Up, Get Out: Hit The Road One

A Little Longer, Get Out, Just A Day, Trips, Weekends

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Part One: Our last hurrah in California.
In May we packed up our San Francisco studio apartment – the one which has kept us “cramped up” – and we busted out of the Bay Area with one thing in mind: to get out.
We got out of our routines, out of our jobs, out of our apartment, out of our comfort zones. Outside, out of town, on and off roads, in and out of our typical notion of civilization. Five weeks zig-zagging our way across the United States, knowing it was only the beginning of an entire three and a half months we would spend on the road; plane tickets awaited us on the East Coast, bound for Europe.
But first this. Our first week was spent working our way down the 395 through the great state of California, our now former home, enjoying its beauty and slowly preparing to detach. Quickly remembering what it feels like to roam free.

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Photo Locations (from top to bottom): Route 62 driving east from Joshua Tree; Yosemite National Park; Hike near Lake George in Mammoth Lakes CA; Crystal Crag from trail in Mammoth Lakes; Shepherd’s Hot Spring in Mammoth; Fossil Falls off CA395; view off Route 62; Desert life in Joshua Tree National Park; Friend’s re-furbished trailer in Joshua Tree; Warm sunset in Joshua Tree; Plant silhouette in Joshua Tree; Ready for bed in friend’s trailer Joshua Tree; Joshua Tree starry night.
Photos taken on Canon AE-1 with 35mm film and on Canon Rebel SL-1.

Baja California – A Cold One on Coco

A Little Longer, Trips
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
On a rough dirt road somewhere between San Felipe and the intersection of Rt. 1 and Rt. 12 lies Coco’s Corner, a legendary Baja pit stop teeming with character in the middle of nowhere.  Upon approach the place looks somewhat derelict, a ramshackle shelter decorated with empty cans in the middle of the desert and few, if anyone, around.  Pulling in, you hear the sounds of the welcoming, thousands of empty cans singing in the warm Baja wind.
A boat, a hanging dirt bike, two out-houses, a circle of abandoned toilets focused on prime time broken television, hundreds of photos of off-roaders and dirt bikers, panties upon panties dangling from the rafters, and finally, a call from your host, Coco, an older fellow with good cheer and humor that warrants at the very least a beer worth of visiting.  Coco is missing the bottoms of both legs but is quite spry none the less; he loves visitors and talking about the area he lives in, as well as a shooter or two from his plastic jug of brandy from behind the counter.  In the end, Coco’s Corner is a place that holds magic and the true essence of the lesser traveled desert Baja.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

 

All photos taken with 35mm film.

Baja California – The Road and The Desert Sea

A Little Longer, Trips
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
Last Christmas we spent five days exploring the roads of Northern Baja California, Mexico. Sometimes a place isn’t what you expect it’s going to be, and you keep driving until you find at least a hint of what it was you thought you were looking for. It’s at that point that your vacation becomes a true adventure and a rigorous journey, and you run with what you’re given.
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
All photos taken with 35mm film.