“Nothing in this world is difficult, but thinking makes it seem so. Where there is true will, there is always a way.” – Wu Cheng’en, Monkey: The Journey to the West
One of my goals this year was to make a road trip to California and attend a track day, but with my last minute freelance booking schedule, it was difficult… or was it? Normally, if I had downtime, I would take the opportunity to relax and just rest, or chill in town doing nothing. I’m not a fan of relaxing and would rather do something worthwhile. That’s when I decided to set a blackout week to travel somewhere. I initially booked a plane trip to Los Angeles, but after seeing a friends facebook post of his road trip to the mountains around California and Toretto’s house, I wanted to do the same… I canceled my plane ticket.
THE ROAD TRIP PREP…
Before making any road trips, you should always make sure your car is up to date on maintenance. This means no check engine light (CEL), tire pressure light, or any lights on the dash. You may be able to get away with a CEL if you know it doesn’t affect your car’s performance, but you shouldn’t risk it unless you know your car well. I do have a constant CEL on, but doesn’t affect the performance on my car, I think.
Once the road trip preparations were done, I started planning places to stop and visit with the help of Jan Paul. If the name sounds familiar, he’s a local photo/car guy I used to work with. Check out his blog HERE and HERE. Awesome scenery, automotive, and travel photography.
With Jan Paul’s help the original plan was HOU > Balmorhea State Park > McDonald’s Observatory Center > Fort Davis > White Sands > Petrified Forest > Phoenix, AZ > Fourtillfour Coffee > Grand Canyon > Los Angeles all in a span of 3 days…
Once arriving to Los Angeles, there would be 3 days to explore and visit places like Toretto’s house on Fast and furious, downtown LA, chinatown, PCH, etc.
I could have done this trip alone, but I opted to have my friend, Henry, tag along and be a co-driver for the trip. **I wouldn’t recommend a 12+ hour road trip alone**
THE ROAD TRIP DAY 1…
Our week long bags are packed and tools just in case for the road are all tucked into my 2013 Scion FR-S. We leave early at 8am and arrive to our first location in about 8 hrs at Balmorhea State Park. The plan was to stop by and break for a swim in the public pool. But we didn’t get a chance to jump into the pool because there was a thunderstorm rolling through.
We called it a day after driving back from “Big Bend National Park” entrance because it was soon getting dark. My biggest concern was not from a tire blowout, but from hitting some big ass animal that would cause external and internal damage to the car and/or us. We got back to the hotel around 9pm, slept, and would continue on our drive to the next destination, White Sands National Park.
There’s so much more of this trip that I’ve left out and wasn’t able to capture because I was either driving or I was too busy living in the moment (meaning snapchatting). This concludes Part 1 of our Journey to the West.
Nikon 24-120 F4