Tag Archives: Road Trip

[Traveling Tales] The Surreal Scenery of Salvation Mountain + East Jesus

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Tucked away in a small sleepy corner of California just East of the Salton Sea sits not just one but two of the most beautifully bizarre man-made areas I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.  The stores and fables of Salvation Mountain and East Jesus have intrigued me ever since I moved to Los Angeles almost a decade ago, but it wasn’t until last weekend that I finally witnessed the oozing creativity for myself.  One second, you’re taking a dusty road off the beaten path, in what feels like the proverbial middle of nowhere: you’re off the grid and surrounded by a sweeping desert landscape of BLM land with scattered mountain ranges.  All of a sudden, you see it – and once found you absolutely can’t miss it: a brightly painted surreal scene that felt born of Dali and Dr Seuss.

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First created back in 1984, Salvation Mountain is an otherworldly artistic expression from area local Leonard Knight.  Recognized by the Folk Society of America as a “folk art site worth protection” back in 2000, the mountain itself is ever evolving – with volunteers flocking to the mountain the first Saturday of every month with their buckets of paint, ready to pour themselves into Leonard’s vision.  My personal favorite part?  There’s cats – eight of them, to be exact, and they’re so freaking adorable roaming the yellow brick road. Let your wanderlust carry you to the top of the mountain, and don’t forget to take in the vibrant colors that are dancing around you.  Saunter off to the right of the main hill, and you’ll find multiple nooks and chaotic crannies littered with bible verses, prayers, religious sentiment and offerings. All around the outskirts of the mountain are refurbished cars, embellished with impeccable detail and design.If you couldn’t get enough of Salvation Mountain, just you wait until you get into Slab City and East Jesus.

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The best way I can describe East Jesus: think of it as a retirement center for Burning Man art, and maybe even burners as well.  The area itself is so off the grid that one truly could create a year round community built on the ethos of Burning Man – and indeed, some have: Slab City itself is considered a sparse ‘snowbird’ community –  no running water, no food, no amenities – meaning residents are forced to be radically self reliant within it.  If it’s chaos, then it’s the most controlled version of chaos I’ve ever seen – there are blocks, addresses and streets, basic societal infrastructure…just without the rest of society. It really makes you think about the bare minimum you would need to be content, and how magically creative you could be as you create your own world.  Built on top of a Camp Dunlap, a de facto military base that was dismantled at the end of World War II, Slab City was named for the literal ‘slabs’ that were left over – using them to create their city.

Last, but certainly not least, my favorite part: East Jesus.  I’m pretty sure I could get lost inside their art garden and I’m 1000% alright with that.  The art inside is made completely from repurposed and upcycled materials.  Ever evolving and interactive, there’s treehouses to climb, outdoor bowling, the craziest sculptures built out of seriously who knows what, and so very much more.

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There’s not only something to look at around every corner, but something to make your head spin just a little bit, maybe even enough to spark a conversation with a stranger. Hands down, Slab City, Salvation Mountain and East Jesus are roadtrip destination worthy of being on everyone’s bucket list.

For more photos, head to my album here.

For more, head to their socials – or just plan your next visit!

East Jesus: WebsiteFacebook  | Instagram | Twitter  

Salvation Mountain: Website | Facebook

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[Life Hack] Booking A Fun Filled Getaway for Your Crew

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We all have them, those days that go so erroneously wrong that you’re not just committed to the fact you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, it actually – literally -feels like you woke up on the wrong side of Mercury Retrograde. Thankfully, that all ended on February 11th and according to Punxsutawney Phil, we’re* going to be suffering* through another six weeks of winter.  For the record, those asterisks are to denote that we is the Royal, East Cost, we and suffering is because I’m empathetic; I live in California, we watch winter from TV while we tan; anyways.   Last December, my friends took me on an impromptu road trip to Big Bear – it was my first time really playing, hiking, reveling and flat out dancing in the snow and I simply couldn’t get enough.  And to boot, I was reveling in a bit of pre-Retrograde good luck: the company I’ve been contracted to for work was bought out, and in the happiest of mishaps, I woke up with a some extra bounce in my step and cash in my bank account.   If an adventure with just a few friends was fun, an adventure with more was obviously better – so I immediately started plotting our escape from LA. It might sound a little silly, but I’ve never in my thirty years of living planned a getaway for more than two people – so this was an adventure in more ways than one and I’m eager to share my do’s – and don’ts! – of booking a group trip.

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Photo by Jimmy Eid

Being the first time I’d ever secured a trip for a group of more than two, I was more than a little nervous. Sure, when I’d gone to Avila Beach the year before I had a group of seven with me – but I’d taken over another friend’s booking, and as it turns out I only got to witness the easy part.  Considering the state of the economy and current wages, I abide by the principles of  ‘Balling on a Budget’ and I do it well.  Next time you want to secure a cabin rental for a group of 6+, there’s a few ways to do it.  The incredibly rote way, would be a Google search on “Location” + “Group Cabin Rental”; but if you want to get more bang for your buck, there are a few sites that feel like striking gold.  We all know that  AirBnB is a hip, happening, wonderful resource.  From single room to entire home, you can rent based on your necessity – but for large groups, the options dwindle down or are exponentially expensive. Three equally wonderfully options are FlipKey, VRBO and Home Away.  FlipKey has spotted luck depending on your Metro, so obviously the more obscure the more difficult; and for the last two, I’m a huge fan – so it’s no surprise to me that they’re actually tied to the same information hub.   If you’re looking to book an entire cabin or house, these are the sites that you want.

Location, Location, Location

Sandy beaches, blossoming blue skies and sunny dispositions – that’s my vacation personality, so when it came to booking a Winter vacation – I had to do some crowd-sourcing.  Don’t get me wrong – I definitely  have fleeting fancies of being a snow bunny, at least for a night or two.  When you’re planning your group’s getaway, you’re not only taking your preferences into consideration – but you’re taking a simple random survey and through intelligent data analysis, you’ll find the best options.  Yes, I got all statistical on you for a second but for good reason – you at least want some people to come; right? Make sure you pick a vacation, or staycation, spot that has plenty to do for the whole family.  When we were in Big Bear, there was skiing and snowboarding for my snow kittens, a hot tub for the ones who preferred to stay warm and a national park just moments away; we had DJ equipment, photography gear, mood hoops, Cards Against Humanity and Mood Hoops – literally something for every personality type.

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Last, but most definitely not least – your crew!  It’s not a party without the posse, but be sure to set some ground rules before you go because let’s face it – money and friends not only don’t mix, but have the potential of ruining an otherwise wonderful weekend.  If you’re fancy enough to finance the cabin yourself and have your friends pay you back, more power to you – because of my aforementioned work situation, I was finally able to do that and it took such a load off of my shoulders.  But I’ll be the first to tell you, it doesn’t always work that way – as I found out when I went to Arizona at the beginning of the month.  Alleviate your anxiety, and tell your friends that the way to secure a spot over the weekend is to drop a little down payment for the room.  From their entire deposit to a simple $20, every little bit helps in getting you back to square one – and keeps you from discussing or dealing with money on an exciting weekend away from the “real world.” If you’re feeling frisky and want to get super organized, Facebook Events are a great way to keep track of RSVPs and last minute notes, while Google Docs provides the perfect forum for shopping lists and sharing ideas.

Photo by Jimmy Eid

[Traveling Tales] Marinating In Minerals at Tucson’s Famed Gem Show

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“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Augustine of Hippo

There’s no doubt about it, music is my catharsis – catalyzing an emotional exploration of my ego while I put my psyche to rest; salaciously permitting me to adventure inside myself, a sort of mental manifest destiny if you will. In that sense, traveling might as well be musics equal and opposite, passionately pursing novel locations and external adventures at every turn.  Even though festivals are the primary ‘why‘ to my ‘where‘ of recent road trips, it doesn’t take much of a rhyme or reason to figure out that there’s so much else to do beyond  the music. On our way to Red Rocks, we made some beautiful and necessary detours through Zion and Bryce; while chugging along to Shambhala, we had the chance to take a gander at the amazingly lush topology of Oregon and Washington (well, until you reach the Washington Desert – which is definitely a real thing). Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

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Before Danny and I departed for Tucson, my dad doted a bit of fatherly advice for the trip and doled out some great sight seeing destinations – including the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Mt. Lemmon, the Tucson Botanical Gardens and the Saguro National Park.  All amazing suggestions and but as it turns out, absolutely none of these were actually in that close of a proximity that we could pop over and back to Gem and Jam in the span of a day; meaning we humorously tackled absolutely none of these.  However, one thing we did get to experience was the internationally acclaimed Tucson Gem Show.  Drawing in over 50,000 personalities from across the globe – The Gem Show is the premiere destination for gem, mineral, crystal and fossil lovers alike.  For about an entire month, hotels are essentially turned into giant warehouses – with each room playing host to a different pop up shop.  From Africa to Israel, India to China, Alaska to California – you could seriously get your rocks off a thousand ways to Sunday – and for those of you that think I’m exaggerating, trust me – if anything, I’m actually understating how many vendors and locations there are!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)Starting at the end of January and running through February, for three weeks a year – Tucson is transformed into the largest Gem and Mineral show in the United States, while eager observers become transfixed on the glistening, gleaming and gorgeous gems that it has to offer.  Between ornate Quartz Skulls, towering fossil reliefs, gorgeous – and gigantic geodes – and magnificent pieces of Carborundum, Malachite and Azurite – we were whimsically wowed and humbled to gallivant throughout a few key hotels. In the last few months, my interest in gems and minerals has piqued – leading to extensive scavenging on ETSY, plus some good ol’ research and homework to truly understand what I’m looking at. Between their chemical composition, geometric patterns, crystalline building blocks, and rainbow array of colors -they’re a number nerds dream dipped in science and beauty. Instead of paying full value, we paid discounted, warehouse prices and for good reason – this is where ETSY shops come to stock up!

Though the Tucson show is in it’s last leg, you don’t need to fret if you missed out – as it turns out, there are a considerable amount of traveling gem shows and chances are they’ll be coming to a city near you! Just in Southern California, The Gem Faire will be cruising the coast – starting in Santa Barbara from 2/20-22, heading to to Costa Mesa the following weekend, then Del Mar and finally the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Northern California from 3/13-15.  If you’re not keen on traveling but you’re located in the Los Angeles area, the Natural History Museum downtown is home to a vast collection of Gems and Minerals, held in a stunning exhibition hall.

Perhaps time’s definition of coal is the diamond.  

Kahlil Gibran

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Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

[The Audiofiles] Jam Out With Your Gems Out This Weekend at the 9th Annual Gem + Jam Festival

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Countdowns aren’t just for Birthdays; countdowns are perfect for vacations, graduations, and most importantly – festivals.  Yep. Festivals.  I can get through any humdrum week if I know that on the other end of it, I have some tasty beats coming my way – so all week, regardless of how much work gets handed on my plate, I’ve just kept swimming because I know the sweetness of Gem and Jam Festival is literally just on the other side.

Preparing for a road trip isn’t new news at this point, after a year of gallivanting the West Coast in search of the latest and greatest in Bass Music and Transformational Festivals, I’ve more or less turned into a pro.  Also, let it be known that if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done; like, packing, for example.  But as I ambush my dirty laundry, I can update my playlists, sort through my SpiritHoods and reminisce about Festivals Past, elated epiphanies and manifesting good company.  There’s nothing quite like a road trip, and in the words of Hunter S Thompson – I bought the ticket, time to take the ride.  After a bit of counting, Danny and I’ve adventured through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Canada, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire – which marks Arizona as our 10th state together, and means we’ve conquered 20% of the USA.  Fuck yeah.

Not only is this a monumental milestone, but I’ve heard such outstanding things about the Gem and Jam Festival – and I’m thrilled that I get to experience it firsthand.  Hosted by the collaborative minds at Infinite Music, Euphonic Conceptions, New Earth MuZIQ and Challenger, the Festival is entering it’s 9th year – and it’s doing it in style.  Visionary, spiritual artists and leaders Alex and Allyson Grey head up the lineup, followed by a menagerie of musicians ready to rock your socks off.  Thriftworks, Russ Liquid, Random Rab, Girrafage, Vibesquad, Kaminanda, Krooked Drivers….each and every one of the acts is so influential in the West Coast Bass scene.  To give you a little taste of the musical excellence Tucson’s about to experience, take a listen to this playlist we’ve expertly assembled.

Held in parallel with Tucson’s infamous Gem and Mineral Show, which draws upwards of 50,000 personalities from across the globe, festival is a welcome counterpart; providing the perfect pairing of exceptional, sensory arts and the natural beauty of the Earth. Through performance art, live art, workshops, lectures, food vendors and the salacious sonic talent of the musical roster – the Gem and Jam Festival is sure to pique all the senses, providing the groundwork for another exceptional weekend with a stellar community of artists.

Expect nothing short of greatness as each night features the interstellar artwork of Alex and Allyson Grey, plush with lecture, visuals from the always astounding Jonathan Singer, Live Painting, Live Workshops, immersive installations and late night treats including after parties, a Silent Disco and so much more!  A cornerstone of Arizona’s emerging Bass Vibe, this year’s roster is stacked to the brim with acts who truly embody what it means to ‘Jam out’.  From North Carolina Quintet Papadosio to the unique and highly anticipated appearances Emancipator Ensemble and Michael Menert Trio, which is a treat unto itself, electronic instrumental trio Lost Optical hailing from Denver and Late Night Radio’s retrofitted electronic reinterpretation of Hip Hop to some honest lyrics from Zion I’s Amp Live, this year’s Gem & Jam has a little bit of something for every music lover.  My only problem is the time conflicts and they abound! Because how are we supposed to choose between Late Night Radio and the Michal Menert Trio, Lost Optical (a brand new favorite) or Thriftworks (tried and true trippy beats), Krooked Drivers and LTJ Buken, or Andrelien and Psydell, or Papadosio and Pumpkin? Like they say in the Little Mermaid: life’s full of tough choices, dearie.  But if these are the toughest choices I have to make this weekend – sign me up!

Main Lineup

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Afterparty Lineup

Art Workshops

With the the likes of Welch Brothers, Amanda Sage, Jonathan Singer, Jef Logan, Xavi Panneton, and Benedigital, on top of Alex & Allyson Grey, prepare to open your mind, and even your third eye, to pick up what these talented individuals are putting down – live.

We’ve got an exclusive sneak peak of Benedigital live painting at the Envision Festival Pre-Party with Gem and Jam Headliner Kaminanda just the other week from our good friend over at Boom Chamber.

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For more on Gem and Jam, head to their website or socials:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Got the itch, come scratch it – tickets are still available here.

Thank you to Daniel Leist Photography, Boom Chamber Productions, Envision, and the Luminous Movement for the additional images.

[Traveling Tales] The Journey to Shambhala

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Not even a few weeks after we arrived back in Los Angeles from our epic journeys to Red Rocks and Zion, Danny and I were feverishly packing our car and getting ready for what turned out to be the best weekend of our young lives so far. Blessed with amazing connections and peers within the dance music scene, Danny and I were both asked by The Confluence to cruise up to Canada for their famed Shambhala Music Festival out at Salmo River Ranch in British Columbia, Canada – and you all know how I am when threatened with a good time, so when they asked I immediately and obviously jumped on this amazing opportunity with pep in my step and more bounce in my boogie.

Once the car was packed to the brim with camping supplies – tents, tarps, blankets, pillows and a cooler – we were off to the races! What originally was a 23 hour drive got broken up into three simpler sections: a 6 hour drive from LA to SF to visit my father, a 9 hour drive from SF to Corvallis to visit my Step-Mom and then another 9 hours until we found ourselves across the border and at Salmo River Ranch in Canada. What started as an unassuming adventure to both a new country, and new music culture, culminated in a warrior-esque journey to a new mindset, absolutely engulfed by the serenity of nature and enthralled by the beautiful expressions of humanity that surrounded us from every angle. There was never a dull moment, and at each and every turn there was someone or something to interact, connect, dance or laugh with and for every stranger we met – we walked away with two new friends. The Shambhala story – and trust me, it’s an EPIC one -won’t be coming later this week; so, until then, enjoy some of these pics from our roadtrip and Shamble-on!

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[Traveling Tales] Zion So Nice, We Visited Thrice – And Bits of Colorado and Bryce

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On the way back home from Colorado we made an executive decision to not just visit the park at Zion one more time – but to get some double duty in by visiting at dusk and during the day, all the while gallivanting through places Black Dragon Canyon, Red Canyon, Dixie National Park and Bryce Canyon while checking them off of our bucket list.

Before we left for Utah and Red Rocks, we went on a itty bitty adventure to Best Buy where I finally made the perfect purchase of a lifetime: a Canon 6D with a started lens, a 50mm f/1.4 (and yes, I’m in lust!!). I still need to get a wide angle lens to round out the camera package but holy hell, can this thing get those fantastic shots I’ve always wanted! The color, the depth, the timing (and OMG, the lasers at concerts!) – this camera turns every shot into verifiable gold. So, on the last leg of our journey we busted it out and much to our chagrin we captured some of the best nature photos that I’ve ever been part of. From the stars of Zion at night to the beauty of the Checkerboard Mesa during the day, I was swept up in Wanderlust from the second we left California and honestly – was slightly sad to return.

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Colorado was equally extravagant with her lush rivers and winding roads. Driving along the Colorado River was a fantastic addition to an already amazing adventure and seeing the water diverge in the continental divide was beyond trippy.

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Once we got to Utah, we couldn’t help but take advantage of the frequent Rest Stops and turn outs along the way. Starting with Black Dragon Canyon, we were in awe of the sweeping sand dunes topped by obsidian looking stones.

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Cruising back closer through Zion, we roamed near Red Canyon and decided immediately that it was our favorite spot in the whole national park.

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As the sun went down, we got to know the winding roads and breathtaking views of Bryce Canyon – and pictures barely do it justice. Last, but certainly not least – we doubled by Zion at night and I saw – not just stars – but galaxy clouds, I danced underneath beating bat wings and stood, silently, stunned by the wonder of our world.

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The next morning, we took one last ride through Zion – comparing and contrasting the sweeping daytime scenery with our limited night vision. Forever thankful for the opportunity, we did one last circle around the park and picked up a few gems and minerals to remember the trip by. Also, apparently I have a new obsession now lol. This journey was my first formidable road trip – and is the perfect stepping stone for our trip to Salmo, BC next week for Shambhala Music Festival. Until then, I’m fine living on a pixelated diet of nature pictures and images of the wonder of our world.

I’m always looking for new adventures and ideas, so tell me – what’s your favorite road trip, or national park – and when do you plan to return?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Traveling Tales] To Zion and Beyond

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Last Thursday, my boyfriend and I started on one of the most epic adventures I’ve ever been on – road tripping from Los Angeles, through Las Vegas, dashing through Arizona and then into St. George, Utah – a quiet little town near the border where we took refuge for the night. In the morning, we rose with the sun and galavanted our way through Zion National Park. To be honest, I was almost okay missing the first day of Global Dance Fest so we could relax and explore – but, hey – always another time, right?

After Zion, we passed through Bryce and then zipped and zoomed through Utah as fast as we possibly could. Don’t get me wrong now – its a lovely state…to pass through. By late afternoon we’d made it to the continental divide and Grand Junction, and by early evening we arrived at our AirBnB then it was off to the races for Global Dance Fest at Red Rocks! This marks my first time here and I’m in absolute awe of all the natural beauty I’ve witnessed in the last 96 hours. Today’s our final full day in town so we took full advantage of the morning – going into town, picking up brunch, enjoying some refreshments by the Creek. And now, we wait patiently for the third and final day of GDE; I can’t wait to dish about the festival but that can wait til it’s over. Until then, here are some of my favorite snaps from the trip so far!

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Now that Ive had a taste for the open road, historic parks and epic views of nature I’m already planning another trip – the only question is: where to??! What’s the last roadtrip you went on? Or, what’s next on your bucket list?

Ps. I couldn’t leave you hanging, here’s a quick sneak peak of the magic

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