SPRINTIN' CROSS CALI
Videography by Studio Hayes
The desire and inspiration to explore the Higher Power’s gems of California came from a variety of different places! First, was attending the DREAMIEST, indie folk meets vogue style weddings of one of my dearest friends Willa, in Yosemite Valley back in Aug 16’. The scenery, energy and aesthetic was truly everything under the sun! In that moment I was captivated by the natural sediment and trees that I was only a mere fraction of. The engaged couple lived in NYC but on their journey back West, the two decided to travel cross country in a self-convert van! They installed a kitchen, convertible bed/lounge area, plumbing system, storage compartments and more. Check out ViaTheVan for insane travel inspo and details of their ongoing journey! Willa and Luke are both California natives born into a family of Van Lifers!
Van Life: Similar to RV camping; you are living life out of a mobile vehicle. If blessed with the gift of time and wheels, it gives you the opportunity to travel the world without time constraints or deadlines.
Me on the other hand, a black girl from Brooklyn, was blown away by the concept altogether! The second wave of inspiration came from the energy of auntie Beyoncé at Beychella with my High School soul sister Nyah in Palm Springs!
Lastly, when thinking of a happy place and searching for a location for my ELEMENTS clothing launch my heart took me back to California. This time the drop pin was in Joshua Tree, CA. This was my first solo trip (check out my previous rant!) where I had the pleasure of working with fashion photographer Sana Nodelman. On the quest to travel deeper I discovered Outdoorsy, a nifty app that allows you to rent RVs, vans and campers! And that is where the journey begins….
Selecting and planning what National parks to explore was the most challenging part of the trip! It was a constant battle between dream/bucket list locations and trying to see as many terrains as possible. Luckily, the range of geographical features varied drastically within miles! One second you’re mesmerized by snowcap mountains and the sight of daring skiers at the mountain’s peak; next thing you know your chugging water because you realize your surrounded by sand and desert heat!
The 6 day, National park tour through the states of California and Nevada began in Los Angeles! With my heart's core and international photographer Lindsay Hayes by my side, our journey began! The Sprinter was equipped with a propane stove/oven, mini refrigerator, storage compartments, sun shields and a bed! Not having a bathroom was surprising easier than we thought! With consistently being on the road, you’re likely to pass several rest stops, RV camp sites, truck loading stations and restaurants.
Taking a trip? Email or DM for Consultations and/or RV Campsite recommendations!
If your a foodie like me, food is ALWAYS on the mind! We packed a little over a week's supply of food! Both with the fear that we’d run out and be somewhere we wouldn't have access to any! In addition to stopping at Walmart to pick up our online order (all hail peanut butter & jelly!), we packed camper meals. Camper meals are these tasty self heating on-the-go meals from OMeals! You unzip the bag, pour in ANY liquid up to the stopping mark (...ANY liquid.. let that simmer 🙂 ), release the heating pack and reseal the bag! BOOM! Watch the steam, take in the aroma and chow-down!
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park (Tulare County) is known for the Sequoiadendron giganteum! Also known as big ass trees! These trees can live up to 3,000 years old and can grow in height up to the size of a 26 story building (300-379ft). Sequoia trees never stop growing and reproduce every 20 years - typically they are one hitter quitters (only reproducing once in a lifespan). General Grant is the Largest living tree (massive-2.7 million pounds to be exact!). Another cool tree nearby is the Tunnel Tree, a toppled tree where the center has been cut out to accommodate the road and trails! It can lead you to the most beautiful streams and rock formations.
Kings Canyon (Fresno- Moro Rock Trail) - deepest canyon in US!
Big Sur is also known as El Sur Grande or Big South! Gems that you can find are the Vichy bridge and Pfeiffer beach (strong tide and current- not recommended for swimming!). Pfeiffer beach is a magical fairy land, for the sand glistens purple, silver and pink because the sand composed of garnet!
The Golden Gate Bridge, color inspired by the red primer paint on the steel beams! Being a creative, I immediately got butterflies when researching the creative direction of the Golden Gate Bridge. The colors considered were carbon gray, aluminum, black, or black with yellow stripes as desired by the U.S. Navy for visibility.
What ended up winning? International orange - to match its surrounding and stand out from the sea and sky - translation: We want a pop color bishhh! It can also be seen through the fog. Thank you Irving Morrow!
Tahoe National Forest
South Lake Tahoe was breathtaking! The lake is the largest alpine lake in North America and the second deepest lake in the United States - making it the 16th deepest in the world! Lake Tahoe is so fresh that it is the source of drinking water for many towns! Determining whether you'd like to conquer North or South Tahoe depends on your vibe! North Lake is known for nature walks and outdoor activities where South Lake is art and nightlife. We suggest both if you have the time!
If the Empire State Building (1454 feet to tip) was placed in Lake Tahoe, you wouldn’t see it nor would it scrape the surface OR flip your kayak! (We’ve found Atlantis!)
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite was the home of Native Americans until the 1849 Gold Rush brought miners and settlers to the region... and ... well, we all know how the story ends. Ahwahnee meaning big mouth was the lands original name, currently known as Yosemite. “Yosemite” means killer in Miwok. The language of the renegade tribe and former owners annihilated from the valley. No pun intended.
The tallest waterfall in North America is located in Yosemite National Park. Its flow peaks in May and it has a 2,425 foot drop. Its name is Yosemite Falls. The park is filled with deep valleys and sequoia trees.
Fun Fact: Yosemite was in the running to be the home for the 1932 Olympics!
Popularity increased in 1855, an artist Thomas Ayres painted Yosemite's landscapes, and an entrepreneur James Hutchings wrote articles about Yosemite. Because of these articles, and Ayres' paintings, the tourism to Yosemite greatly increased.
Inyo National Park
Mammoth Lake is located in Inyo National Park. Home of the most relaxing, soul-revitalizing hidden hot springs!
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is named after a statement made by a member of a pioneer group that fought to get out of the desert valley heat in the winter of 1845! Death Valley is 1.7 billion years old.
Fun Fact: Roadside assistance will not travel to the valley if your whip breaks down!
1700 Miles later and we still have ten fingers and ten toes! Our hearts are still pure, vibrant and filled with travel exploration! What started off as a crazy adventure turned into a lifestyle adjustment.
Along the way we discovered that we don't have to travel internationally to see or even feel things that we never have before. Traveling isn't about the distance you travel but rather how your settings heighten your mental awareness and appreciation of life. Van Life allows you to set the tone and pace of your trip! I recommend Van Life for solo, couple and family trips! Although it is a financial commitment, families can save a significant amount of money investing in a mobile home. Who wouldn't want travel & leisure at your fingertips?
We look forward to future Van Life excursions, partnerships and moments of enlightenment! Thank you to our sponsors and partnering brands, we truly couldn't have done it without you!