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    • I’ve recently been craving a road trip, so figured I’d share my favourite one so far. It took place last year with my friends, Sarah and Haley. We embarked on our journey from San Francisco to Joshua Tree; NorCal to SoCal. 

      One of my favourite things about any road trip is getting to make new playlists. Our trip south came complete with some eclectic music; both Johnny Cash and Ed Sheeran were definitely there with us on that trip.

      Silliness, deep chats, and lots of laughing fits sums up our 6 hour journey to our detoured planned stop in LA. It was a brief visit in LA to grab some dinner with Sarah’s brother. The three of us found ourselves eating Mexican food from someone’s house—it was basically a family selling Mexican food from their home. I’m not sure what the legalities are there but the food was amazing; really excellent. I can’t recommend it to you because it has no name, but if you ever find yourself in a neighbourhood in LA and you’re asked to go to a house for Mexican food, say yes.

      Onwards to Joshua Tree. We arrive late and it’s dark. Really dark. Our airbnb is in the middle of the desert up an old dirt road. We’re excited. This is gonna be a good week.

      I’m forever lost for words to describe our week in Joshua Tree. It’s difficult to write about it without sound romantically hackneyed. It was epic. A definite highlight of my life and I didn’t realise it was on my bucket list until I experienced it. 

      They say people make places and that couldn’t be a truer statement to sum up our week in Joshua Tree. The three of us bonded around our firepit; eating s’mores, creating our own little band playing country music, and laughing at silly things. Let me tell you, deep chats under a billion stars in a desert is the best therapy you’ll ever receive.

      Watching the sun set over actual Joshua Trees, illuminating the rocks with a warm orange glow; coming face-to-face with rattlesnakes; eating amazing food; and, jeez, those smoothies! What a place.

      One day we took a trip to Pioneertown, which is where a lot of Western movies have been filmed. It’s like taking a step back in time. As if the trip wasn’t dreamlike enough, our stroll led us to the sounds of an acoustic guitar and we looked over to find a guy on his porch, complete with a cowboy hat, playing a guitar. We got speaking to him - his name was JR - and he played us a few songs. As he was playing, a girl rode by on a white horse. You couldn’t make this up. I think I said out loud: “Is this actually real life right now?” JR played a Western version of The Pogues’ ‘Dirty Old Town’, which we soon tried ourselves around the firepit. Something was missing though. A harmonica. Haley sorted that problem out and made us all laugh one day when she came out of a gift shop with a plastic harmonica that cost her $9. She practiced that thing all afternoon and actually got pretty good at it. Rolling Stone we’re waiting on your call!

      We spent one evening at Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Museum. This is a difficult place to explain. It’s very cool, kinda creepy, and super photogenic. It’s basically a bunch of ‘environmental sculptures’, where random objects are pieced together to form works of art. It's very ‘80s’ with old box TVs and rotary telephones. It's an intriguing place and if you ever find yourself in the area, I'd definitely recommend you take a visit. Just watch those goddamn cactus spikes on the ground—it ain't no fun standing on them let me tell you!

      Our last night arrived all too quickly but we ended on a high. The annual Perseid Meteor Shower was active over that weekend and we spent our last night in the National Park under a billion stars and watched the meteors swoop through the sky. JR joined us, or more correctly, we joined him at a campsite he booked. He played his guitar while we took photos. It was really magical. We all got to a point where we realised we should just take time away from our cameras and lay down to experience this spectacular moment. We did. Goosebumps were on our arms. There was a stillness. It was beautiful.

      What’s been your most epic road trip? 

    • Let me tell you, deep chats under a billion stars in a desert is the best therapy you’ll ever receive.

      Amen to that. Great write up! I agree with vegasphotog, more pics!

      I've never considered Joshua Tree before. Just added it to my ever-expanding bucket list.

    • Sounds like you had a great time!

      I love road trips so much. I love the isolation and adventure of being on the road for hours, traveling through unfamiliar territory, at the mercy of the elements and the road and whatever fate throws in my way.

      I recently wrote about a big road trip I took earlier this year, but the best road trip I've ever taken happened way back in 2004.

      Two friends and I crammed ourselves and some camping gear into my Subaru WRX and set off for a two-week cross-country adventure. We started in Portland, Oregon and drove east through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota before finally arriving in Wisconsin, where we attended the wedding of some friends. Then we headed south and made a big circuit through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, and finally made it back home to Oregon.

      Early in the trip, while speeding through Montana somewhere outside Bozeman on a dark and stormy night, I zipped onto a random forest road to run from a cop and avoid a speeding ticket. This was not a good idea. I did evade the cop, but I also braked too late in a sudden blind curve and slid into a guard rail, doing some nasty damage to the front left fender and bumper. Luckily it was only cosmetic, so it didn't scuttle the trip.

      Along the way we stopped at countless roadside attractions, camped in forests and deserts, in sunshine and thunderstorms and wind storms.

      We got lost frequently since this was olden tymes and the only GPS we had was a handheld Garmin eTrex meant for hiking, so it didn't know anything about road routes. For navigation, we relied on an outdated copy of Microsoft Streets & Trips on my giant 17" laptop, which was such a power hog that we couldn't use it too often because it would either drain the battery or trip the breaker on our AC inverter. We could hook the GPS up to the laptop with a serial cable and see where we were on the map, but someone had to hold the GPS out the window so it could get a good enough signal. It wasn't ideal.

      Large portions of the trip were miserable and fraught with peril, like the time we headed down miles and miles of dusty backroads to find a campsite in the middle of the Arizona desert, then almost couldn't find our way back to civilization the next day. Or the time we somehow ended up driving around in circles on a deserted military base somewhere in Alabama while trying to get to a campsite that turned out to be in the midst of a forest fire.

      But we made it home, and the memories of those seat-of-the-pants adventures have stuck with me. I doubt I'll ever have another road trip experience as memorable as that one. I doubt it would even be possible, now that I have Google Maps in my pocket (and now that I'm much less irresponsible).

    • "Best" roadtrip would be impossible because I have been addicted to roadtrips since the mid-70's when jumping in someone's car to go skiing at Lake Tahoe and knowing the roads might be closed due to snow and you might have to suffer through the night. Which makes me think that my most memorable road trips usually have a strong component of fear of the unknown involved.

      When I literally sold everything I owned in 1996 and decided to "move" to Italy. I knew no one, spoke half-ass Italian and had the highly delusional idea that I would be able to do some technology consulting as I had recently bailed on a career selling board-level components to technology OEM's. When I was at the Salt Lake airport getting ready to board my plan to JFK -> Milan, Italy I was literally locked up in the fear of the unknown. But, you just get on the plane and move forward.

      Fast forward a month where I had spent some time in Venice, Florence and Rome, I took a train over to the town of Lecce. I was slowly making my way towards Sicilia (Palermo) but I was drawn to Lecce as a non-tourist stop for Italians. To the north, Brindisi is the ferry gateway to Greece and a major confluence of Italians and tourists alike.

      Lecce is a city in Italy’s southern Apulia region. It's known for its baroque buildings. In the central Piazza del Duomo, the Cattedrale di Lecce has a double facade and a bell tower. The Basilica di Santa Croce features sculptures and a rose window. Nearby are the Sant’Oronzo
      Column, a Roman column topped with a bronze statue of the city’s patron saint, and the sunken Roman amphitheater. (wikipedia)

      I was a little unnerved arriving into town. There was an ominous vibe and probably due to the very old history and anywhere on the coast that had 100's of years of notorious battles.

      I came across a very interesting art gallery mostly of sculptures composed of a unique clay composition indigenous to the area and struck up a quick friendship with the gallery owner. Super cool guy and I think he appreciated my off-the-beaten-path compass. Anyway, he raved how I absolutely had to rent a car and drive the "boot" of Italy. He hooked me up with a local car rental that was economical (3 or 4 speed Fiat) and off I went. I had never driven on the other side of the road and was not absolutely sure where I was going but with the blue skies, warm sun and windows rolled down, I was absolutely exhilerated!

    • 2004, ferry from Ireland to England, channel tunnel to France, 3 days later riding my bike up the Stelvio Pass. Had a large scale map, no gps, and turning right off a main road, checked the map, crossed a bridge over a small river and began the ascent up Stelvio.

    • I had toured parts of Europe on a bike before but this trip hit some bucket list places and was the first time I ventured to teh alps.. fell in love with the mountain roads.

    • It really is a wonderful place. I know how it feels to have an ever-expanding bucket list haha. I've posted some photos below.

    • I read your post about the Tesla, Ryan. Loved it.

      I get so envious of American road trips. There's so much land and you can do 'real' road trips. I'm desperate to do one over there. There's just so many places I want to see.

      Large portions of the trip were miserable and fraught with peril, like the time we headed down miles and miles of dusty backroads to find a campsite in the middle of the Arizona desert, then almost couldn't find our way back to civilization the next day. Or the time we somehow ended up driving around in circles on a deserted military base somewhere in Alabama while trying to get to a campsite that turned out to be in the midst of a forest fire.

      This is why I've been reluctant to do a solo road trip stateside. I just know I'd break down somewhere deserted and panic. One day though 🤞

    • When I literally sold everything I owned in 1996 and decided to "move" to Italy. I knew no one, spoke half-ass Italian and had the highly delusional idea that I would be able to do some technology consulting as I had recently bailed on a career selling board-level components to technology OEM's. When I was at the Salt Lake airport getting ready to board my plan to JFK -> Milan, Italy I was literally locked up in the fear of the unknown. But, you just get on the plane and move forward.

      Wow. Moving to Italy solo. I'd like to travel there and toyed with that idea myself earlier this year but my english language ignorance has meant I haven't picked up any foreign languages (except a tiny bit of German). I bailed on that idea, fearful that I would stress about not knowing the local lingo. So kudos to you.

      Love the photo.

    • such an odd draw, waste and nature has on us. the isolation and destruction of household things.

      Some lovely images in those pictures.

      Benton hot springs and Bodie in california is a good combo in a similar vein.

    • In the summer of 2017, I spent five-ish weeks riding my 1979 CX500 across the US. It was at the beginning of a gap year that ended up being more amazing than I ever thought it would be...

      I started from western Massachusetts, and rode in a big "U" across the country. I passed through something like 23 states, ending in Washington state. The scenery was awesome, the people were awesome, the roads were (mostly) awesome...and I learned an unbelievable amount, and experienced a crazy amount of diversity, just within the good o' US of A.

      I met up with, both by chance and by meeting them through AdvRider, a ton of interesting riders. I stayed with people who ran the gamut from carriers of a KKK flag (didn't find that out till after I got there) to devout Mormons to pot farmers.

      I rode and camped in weather that went from 110 degrees and blazing sun, to 45 degrees and raining with snow on the ground.

      Between the beginning and end of the trip, I replaced or repaired damn near every part on my bike -- despite the fact that I spent a couple months fixing it up before I left home, it still broke down a lot, and also had pre-existing issues that I hadn't noticed.

      I think it's safe to say that it's an experience that'll stick with me for the rest of my life. I did a lot more traveling during this past year, but I think my motorcycle trip taught me more about myself and the country I live in than anything else could.

      If you want to read more about it, here's the full ride report. It's hard to choose just one picture, but here's one of my favorites.

    • I just started reading your ADV thread...I think you should have posted your lead photo on post ONE. I don't doubt that anyone that has done a x-country roadtrip with a sketchy ride should write a book. I did two x-country trip in a rust-bucket '86 nissan pickup....I had to pull off the Jersey turnpike once just to "change the bubblegum fix" I had hope to work. I think people that do a x-country like yours versus a $1,000,000,000 motorhome miss out on the true essense of feeling the roadtrip to the core.

    • I don't know if I'm qualified to write a book, but I've definitely thought about writing an article and seeing if I can get it published anywhere. I sure think it was a lot more interesting than an RV...

      The reason I didn't lead with a more exciting photo is that I did the report as I went, so that photo didn't exist until a month after my first post.

    • Have you spoken to ADV's new editorial director, Paul? We have a new editorial home page coming in weeks (work in progress: https://staging.advrider.com) and your story might be perfect.

    • Chris, I've been searching for a site with high-quality long-form (or at least not super short) motorcycle content for well over a year now, so I'm really, really stoked to see that AdvRider is going to have a section for content like that!

      I'll get in touch with Paul for sure. I guess I have to actually start writing that article now :D

    You've been invited!