WEST COAST BEST COAST

This summer I got to do something pretty amazing.

Through word of mouth, I found myself bieng asked to take pictures for a Travel Company called Trek America that would take me all over North America, to places I never thought I'd be visiting, let along getting paid to do it.  

 

So "work" Trip Numero Uno.

Basically the gist of my job on these trips was to tag along with these tour groups and take candid pictures for the company to use on social media and their website.

SO

My summer began in LA, a place I'm very biased against because any place that charges $30 to park for two hours in downtown makes me so irrationally angry that you'd think someone just slapped my dog or something. ANYWHO we start our trip with some introductions to the people you'd be spending the next 7 days with and we jet off to Hollywood Boulevard . Kinda overrated to me, but all of these people were from England and Australia and to them it was one of those iconic places from movies and film that made it a big deal for them which showed it was something I took for granted.

 It was here where I figured out Ryan Renyolds and I have the same shoe size

It was here where I figured out Ryan Renyolds and I have the same shoe size

From there we settle into our Sprinter van and head towards our next stop, the iconic Route 66.

 All these places were basically tourist traps selling trinkets and whatnot. They did all have nice murals and for some reason, free coffee of all things, which I didn't try for what I feel are obvious reasons.

All these places were basically tourist traps selling trinkets and whatnot. They did all have nice murals and for some reason, free coffee of all things, which I didn't try for what I feel are obvious reasons.

This was the first time the group ventured off together to wander. We maybe had an hour to ourselves to take pictures and what not but I was impressed that practically the whole group stayed together.

 First attempt at a group picture

First attempt at a group picture

So heres the thing about traveling to Nevada in July.....it had a high of 122 degrees and a low of 98.....so the company (thankfully) put us up in a hotel in Laughlin right on the Colorado river. Now this was one of the hotels where you kinda check the closets to double check for dead bodies, so it kinda lacked some of the amenities a proper hotel would have, but know what it did have? AIR CONDITIONING BABY WOOOOOOOO. Yeah, you bet I cranked that sucker as low as it'd go.

The next night was another day spent in the van traveling (with well planned pee stops) to a place I haven't been since I was 6, the Grand Canyon. The first time I went when I was but a wee lad, I didn't remember much from it. I only remember a general image of the canyon and just thinking it was cool. What I was super excited for this go round was being able to appreciate it more, and I was not mistaken.

 This was the first time where I understood the word  breathtaking

This was the first time where I understood the word breathtaking

At our campsite, we were immediately greeted by some pretty ballsy elk (they would just walk wherever and however close they wanted it was wild) and what I have to only imagine are crows on steroids due to them being as big as german shepherds. 

After we set up camp, we split off so that those who wanted to do the helicopter tour of the canyon could, and others could do a hike and so that we could regroup for a surprise dinner.

 Our tour guide, Charlie, telling us how not to die

Our tour guide, Charlie, telling us how not to die

What followed was one of the best dinners I've had in by far the best you could probably have dinner

 What more could you want really

What more could you want really

 HAVE MERCY

HAVE MERCY

 Some nogoodnicks breaking the rules (but it looks worth it)

Some nogoodnicks breaking the rules (but it looks worth it)

The next morning was one of the very rare times I was glad I was up before the sun was. Emphasis on VERY. 

 This is Doug after he basically sprinted down an extra two miles BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS A COMPETITION WITH HIM

This is Doug after he basically sprinted down an extra two miles BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS A COMPETITION WITH HIM

 This is perhaps the most photogenic squirrel ever

This is perhaps the most photogenic squirrel ever

 Group picture of the morning hike crew ft our squirrel friend

Group picture of the morning hike crew ft our squirrel friend

 Aptly named point

Aptly named point

After settling in for the hottest night of camping I ever had, it was (thankfully) off to Las Vegas (WOOOOOO) 

We go to stay in the surprisingly awesome Golden Nugget where I somehow through a little research and a few emails, found myself on their roof overlooking the strip. Fun Fact: People think your important if you have a camera and you can use this to your advantage. 

 Off in the distance an Elvis impersanator is officiating a soon to be divorce

Off in the distance an Elvis impersanator is officiating a soon to be divorce

After two days of enjoying Vegas and one day of recovering from the past two days, we found ourselves ready to go to our next stop: Y O S E M I T E

I thought the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, then Yosemite came around going "lol hold my beer"

 They call this cup half full dome

They call this cup half full dome

I mean we've all seen pictures and postcards of Yosemite but they just don't do it justice. At all. It was a second home to one of my favorite photographers Ansel Adams and it was just surreal. I caught myself either looking up sheer granite faces or down spectacular valleys in wonder on several occasions.

 I've always wanted to take this picture. Im going to go back soon and do it better.

I've always wanted to take this picture. Im going to go back soon and do it better.

 In the Valley Below

In the Valley Below

 Two Aussies and a waterfall

Two Aussies and a waterfall

Yosemite was truly just an amazing place. Its easy to see how artists gravitated towards it and conservationists fought to protect it. Wildlife roams carefree and if you venture out passed the overridden tourist spots, its still an untouched world. 

 U N T O U C H E D

U N T O U C H E D

 Cup half full dome in la noche

Cup half full dome in la noche

It was just a great place where I wish I had more time to enjoy it, but alas the gang was off to our final stop, San Francisco.

Our last day was spent going to one stop and then dropping everyone off at their respective hotels. That one stop however was pretty iconic.

 Some bridge or something idk man

Some bridge or something idk man

So that was basically the first leg of my summer work trip. I got to stay a few days on my own which was super nice. Got to meet some new peeps, took some pictures (pictured below), caught a Giants game, and before I knew it, it was time to set off for trip number 2!

 This is the back of Mackenzie. She's a doll of a human and was kind enough to drive me around SF in her Prius and take pictures of her. She also has a killer blog by clicking on this here picture!

This is the back of Mackenzie. She's a doll of a human and was kind enough to drive me around SF in her Prius and take pictures of her. She also has a killer blog by clicking on this here picture!

 

Canada is next! (If I ever get around to writing it)

Also if you made it to the end of this long ass post, I O U a high five.