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santa cruz

Hop in the car with some of your favorite people. Roll the windows down. Turn up the music. Stop when you have to pee. Stop when you’re hungry. Stop when you see people kite surfing and you want to have a closer look. It’s a real road trip — something completely different from what we, as backpackers in Southeast Asia, had been experiencing abroad.

Now, I’m a big fan of public transportation. I love trains. I’ve grown to appreciate buses. Subways, trams, trolleys, sign me up. But after over seven months of depending on bus companies to get me from point A to point B, it’s a relief to go on a proper road trip. And last week when we drove down to Santa Cruz, a bus just would not have cut it.

Every turn down highway 1 unveils another breath-taking view and the control of being in the driver’s seat allows you to stop and appreciate these views instead of honing your drive-by photography skills. As we traveled up and down the coast, we got up close and personal with a beach full of kite surfers and a lone sunning sea lion; went thrift store shopping, which lead to Leah purchasing a pair of rollerblades for $1.30 and proceeding to cruise around for a few minutes before heading to the beach; and stopped at a roadside diner for hot chocolate to sip as we watched the sunset over the ocean.

As I wrote this post, I tried to tie this trip to how influential the mode of transportation is on personal experience while traveling (which is it). But in the end, this post is just in homage of the road trip — the quintessential American travel experience — and the memorable day with friends that Leah’s little Dodge Neon helped shape as we cruised down the coast of Northern California.

There are more (and probably better) photos from Phil’s new camera found here.