Southern California Coast and Joshua Tree National Park

September 23 – October 4, 2014

Following the JMT, we picked up the pups (Duke and Spike) and spent almost a week in Milpitas, CA (just south of San Fran)with my brother and his family. We lots of great home-cooked Indian food and went to Bikram Yoga several times to work out the kinks in our joints and spine.

We also caught up with a good friend, Kapil, for dinner one night. We tried to meet my friend from college, Ben, but unfortunately, the San Fran insane traffic caused us to miss our meeting time (we waited in gridlock for over 2 hours). Have I said how much we love living in the traffic-free wilderness? We also had a fun time at the wedding reception for my friend Ayush, who was married in India (we missed his Wedding by 1 day when we were on tour in Jaipur earlier this year) but had a reception for his USA friends in San Fran.

Picking up the pups from doggy care after hiking the JMT!
Picking up the pups from doggy care after hiking the JMT!
Hiking in Marin Headlands.
Hiking in Marin Headlands.
Views of the ocean from Marin Headlands.
Views of the ocean from Marin Headlands.
Starting our hike, with Lakshmy and Kumar.
Starting our hike, with Lakshmy and Kumar.
Marin Headlands ocean view.
Marin Headlands ocean view.
Kumar and Lakshmy, at Marin.
Kumar and Lakshmy, at Marin.
This park is a treasure, just twenty minutes from San Fran downtown.
This park is a treasure, just twenty minutes from San Fran downtown.
Great Mexican food in Sausalito.
Great Mexican food in Sausalito.
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The most dressed up we have been since our own wedding!

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We left Milpitas and decided to take the scenic route to LA, along coastal route 1. Unfortunately, we cannot find the pictures from the drive along the coast, so you will have to take our word for it. The road was super beautiful. We spent two nights camping en route, once at a State Park near Hearst Castle and another time in the national forest campground high up in the hills above Santa Barbara. We also stopped by San Luis Obispo, a cool college town, where we ate some awesome vegan food and met up with Matt, one of Alison’s friends who has since relocated there.

If you look really close, you can see Hearst Castle perched high up on the hill...can you see it? We didn't do the tour through the castle grounds, though it looks super cool.
If you look really close, you can see Hearst Castle perched high up on the hill…can you see it? We didn’t do the tour through the castle grounds, though it looks super cool.
Awesome vegan food at Bliss Cafe in San Luis Obispo, just south of Santa Barbara.
Awesome vegan food at Bliss Cafe in San Luis Obispo, just south of Santa Barbara.

In LA, we found a fantastic campground in Malibu, at Malibu State Park near Calabasas which is where Justin Bieber and the Kardashians live, but no we didn’t see either!. We caught up with a friend, Kat and her little boy and spent some time walking around Manhattan Beach and Venice Beach.

Malibu Creek State Park, our campground for several days. Hard to be believe this quit spot is just ten minutes from Malibu Beach.
Malibu Creek State Park, our campground for several days. Hard to be believe this quit spot is just ten minutes from Malibu Beach.

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Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park is land that was once owned by MGM - the TV/Movie company. Many movies were filmed here, including the original Planet of the Apes. It was also the set location for the M.A.S.H. tv show!
Malibu Creek State Park is land that was once owned by MGM – the TV/Movie company. Many movies were filmed here, including the original Planet of the Apes. It was also the set location for the M.A.S.H. tv show!
Meeting Kat and her adorable baby boy, Grider, in Manhattan Beach (LA).
Meeting Kat and her adorable baby boy, Grider, in Manhattan Beach (LA).
Muscle Beach (Venice Beach)
Muscle Beach (Venice Beach)
The outdoor adult jungle gym area at Venice Beach.
The outdoor adult jungle gym area at Venice Beach.
LA coast...
LA coast…

Unfortunately, dogs were not allowed on the beaches so that limited the time we wanted to spend in LA. We were also itching to get back to the wilderness camping lifestyle, and cruised over to Joshua Tree National Park after three full days in LA.

Joshua Tree was amazing. We stayed there three nights, at a high desert campground right on the edge of the National Park. The sun was bright and hot (but not too hot) during the day, and the nights were crisp and cool. We had a variety of sandy trails leaving right from the campground, and we took full advantage of them with daily trail runs. Joshua Trees (a member of the Yucca family) were abundant.

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Some people think the desert is bleak and empty, but Alison and I think otherwise. There is lot to see and appreciate in the desert. Lizards, birds, and a variety of Yucca, Cactus, Mesquite and other shrubbery. The clear air means that sunrise and sunset views are epic and the night stars are as bright as you would see anywhere.

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We spent a day driving through the park. There were a lot of cool rock formations, and of course, a ton of Joshua Trees everywhere. It is a climbers paradise. Since we were with the dogs, we didn’t do any epic hikes in the park. We just saw the sights from the scenic road, and spend most of our time hanging out at our campsite – cooking vegetarian food, trail running, reading and napping.

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View from scenic overlook in Joshua Tree National Park.
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Cool rock formation are all over the place in Joshua Tree National Park.

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After Joshua Tree, we headed into Palm Springs to load up on food, and then headed over to Phoenix to visit Alison’s grandma, and then cruised up to Sedona, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Details on those places to come!

Palm Springs was super hot (well over 100 degrees, with little breeze and lots of pavement)....the Whole Foods had this crazy mister system to make the outdoor patio more pleasant.
Palm Springs was super hot (well over 100 degrees, with little breeze and lots of pavement)….the Whole Foods had this crazy mister system to make the outdoor patio more pleasant. These misters are a common sight in upscale desert towns. Ironic how often people move to the desert for the sun and the heat, only to sit inside in air conditioning and do crazy things like this just to make it cooler!

-Ravi

 

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