California dreamin
& Nevada partyin

After the wide open skies of Utah and Arizona, it was time for us to leave these incredible and wild landscapes (why oh why) and go back to civilization. Although, civilization might be a strong word since we started with Vegas. From this point on, we had exactly one month left to spend in the US, and still had the whole West coast to drive, up to Seattle.
Here we cooooooome

Las Vegas, Nevada

Rule #1: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Rule #2: Refer to rule #1.

So, while in Vegas, we also went to the Red Rock Canyon NP and met for the first time with gorgeous Joshua Trees. It wouldn’t be our last.

A few flamboyant casinos, margaritas, hooker cards, wild spy videos and cheap souvenirs later, we were on our way to California.

Los Angeles, California

With our special California playlist on, we started with Death Valley NP. What a start!

Driving from one National Park to another never seized to impress and surprise us. There is no getting used to any of them, each offering unseen landscapes and atmospheres. Death Valley was like a Star Wars’ set. We reached the lowest point of North America in a salt desert, climbed up hills splashed with colors, were attacked by a killer bee, which turned out to simply be a very aggressive flying thing (to be fair, from what PJ told us back in Colorado, it really could have been one, but it wasn’t, my bad), and drove out of the park under the sunset, stopping in the middle of nowhere to watch the most amazing stars shine in the darkness of the desert.

LA and Santa Monica were our little piece of heaven for 10 straight days, and all we did was chill out with family and cousins (hi Catherine, Dori, Elliott, Jules and Mark!!) 🙂 We swam at Venice beach (ok, Sarah did), drove up and down Beverly Hills, said hi to the Hollywood stars and the whole Hollywoodian freak show, barbecued, dyed some t-shirts, sweat and almost fainted at a spinning class (feel it still), missed a yoga class, watched the sun set on the ocean, got 8 tacos for free (and ate ‘em all), played ping pong in a basement bar, hiked in Joshua Tree NP, said our farewells to the desert, wandered around an empty cowboy town...Yes, I did say LA was about chilling out!

Lompoc, California

After 10 days, it was time to go meet the Sea Smoke Cellars team in Lompoc, an amazing self managed wine making company (more here). Once again, we were surrounded by professional winemakers and aficionados, drinking excellent red (and white) wine, learning all about how to make it, and we loved it (hi Victor and the whole Sea Smoke crew, Sonseeah, Carl, Rick, Diana)!

San Francisco, California

Then we went on to meet with Caroline, a mom in the tech industry in Palo Alto, and enjoyed a couple days in the Bay. It was just enough time to wander around Stanford, nostalgically missing our student years, meet the nicest car tuning aficionados on the pier (hi Javier, Jesse, Josue and Anthony), have drinks in an old newspaper basement with the hot crowd of the bay, binge-eat the best and worst shrimp dumplings of Chinatown, catch a last minute meeting with one of San Francisco’s famous incubator, take selfies at the Golden Gate Bridge, and walk about 100,000 miles a day!  San Francisco turned out to be exactly what we expected : sunny, hilly, hypstery and full of diversity.

If you’re going to San Francisco
be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you are going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

And we did.
And then, after a short stop in the Napa Valley to say hi to Audra’s Dad and enjoy his jokes and homemade porto, we headed for Oregon.

Checklist

> Feeding californian chickens right before breakfast: check
> Crashing a restaurant double date: check
> Feeling an earthquake: check
> Swimming in the Pacific ocean: check
> Following a complete stranger with a lifebuoy: check

What we liked

> Vegas’ crazy casino nights
> Getting 8 free tacos instead of 2
> The Californian vibe
> Arco’s delicious cookies
> Paying our respects to J London’s grave
> Learning how to prepare a cacti salad
> Sonseeha's food

What we didn't like

> Paying two days in a row for free parking

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