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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!