California Catchup

By Keith Smiley
The guy that Brad tricked into writing

As far as road trips go, driving a few thousand miles across the country is just an appetizer. We could have spent our entire trip in Ventura County, splitting time between the beach and the hills of Ojai, and been happy with the experience. But we kept logging miles instead, taking side trips to places like Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Yosemite and Death Valley.

A park ranger at Glacier Point in Yosemite talks about the sunset at Half Dome as the sun sets on Half Dome in the background. Funny how that works.

But anyone who’s reading the blog already knows about our excursions because Brad works so hard on keeping the blog up to date. Before the trip to California started, Brad said he would try and update the blog “3-4 times a week.” But for at least the last month, there’s been a minimum of one post each day, and they rarely come from me.

All the blog’s regular readers and everyone who’s been following the progress of this trip online should thank Brad for his dedication to keeping the blog current. I’m sure he enjoys writing and sharing his photos; otherwise he wouldn’t have started this in the first place. But I’m sure there have been plenty of days when he’d rather be out doing things instead of writing about the things we’ve done.

So I hope everyone appreciates the effort Brad puts into his work, both on the blog and elsewhere. I certainly do; it’s a lot easier to point everyone that asks — all three of them — to the blog instead of trying to recount everything that’s happened on the trip.

Everyone likes feedback, so I’d encourage more people to post comments on Brad’s  posts; something like, “Hey, thanks for all the thought and effort you put into the blog. I use it to kill time at work but enjoy it so much that I read it at home, too.”

For reference, here’s who I’m talking about:

That’d Brad in the middle; he’s the one not made of wood.

The problem with Brad writing so often is that it I don’t usually have a reason to post; he’s already covered the best parts of each day with quality writing and awesome pictures, so there’s not much room for me to put anything up. But I’ve still taken a few pictures here and there, so I’m playing catchup and posting some photos from our road trips to Simi Valley, Santa Barbara, and Yosemite.

Not many words in this one, so if you’ve had to force yourself to read this far, it’s paid off: there are only a few words left in this post and I’ll totally understand if you don’t read them.

What’s unusual about this scene? It’s not the hairpin turn, the randomly placed traffic cones or the hundred-foot drop right off the side of the road. No, it’s the guardrail that’s a luxury California doesn’t usually bother with.

This railing protects the casual hiker from a three-thousand or so foot drop. If you choose to look over the edge anywhere else, well, you’re on your own.

The scene from around where the above railing is. It’s hard to tell at this size, but there’s a spot on that trail on the right. That’s a person.

Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley

Camera, Nalgene bottle, reporter’s notepad poking out of camera bag… what else do you need?

Santa Barbara

Sequoia National Forest
That’s a pretty good sized tree sitting in that pool of light, but the sequoias on either side probably just laugh at it and call it a pipsqueak.

Yosemite National Park



7 Responses to “California Catchup”

  1. Brad,
    Tom and I really have appreciated the blog. Your writing, Keith and Ed’s too, have made us feel we have made the trip with you guys. So we thank you very much for letting us and the other readers see the west through your words and pictures. Please be very careful on the trip home. Be sure to get some rest. The “parental units” want to see you all get home safe and sound. I hope your grandfather is doing better. We’ll have a cookout when all four of you can get together so we can hear the rest of the stories. Have fun seeing Incubus. XXOO Momma Becky

  2. Shannon M. Says:

    Following Keith’s instructions and Becky’s post, I want to thank you too Brad. It’s been difficult not having you guys around to pick on and invite over for dinner, but your well-written and thought out posts have kept me informed and up to date on how four of my favorite guys are doing. I keep telling Elliott I should have gone with you guys (lol), but really it’s because I admire what you’ve all done this summer — it’s amazing, and thanks to you, I feel like I’ve gotten to see a lot of it. Thanks again, miss you guys and see you soon!

  3. Christen Says:

    Yay for all of you! You helped to keep me distracted from studying for my exit exams…which in itself is not a difficult task, but to make it interesting is. I loved all the pictures and expecially the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot bit (thanks especially to Elliot for being the star of most of the posts).

    But if I don’t pass today, I’m blaming you all. Especially you, Keith.

  4. lenscapremoved Says:

    Well Keith, this made for at least one nice surprise when I was awakened by that *$&#@ garbage truck again. I thank you guys for reading. Without the constant reads I wouldn’t give a crap. Well I probably would still write it, but I’d be so desperate for hits I’d be writing the link on bathroom stalls, leaving business cards on windshields and signing state signs with the URL. Actually one of those happened. If you’re a regular blog reader, you may know.

  5. Ha Brad, I have certainly enjoyed reading your blogs and looking at all you pics. If I ever need a photographer, I know who to call. You all be careful coming home. I know your mom, dad and Megan will be glad to see you.

  6. Thanks, Bradley, for keeping me up to date with your trip. And Keith, too, for contributing. I know it takes a lot to keep up with a blog, but you guys have done an exceptional job of keeping all of us informed with your great writing and beautiful and sometimes hilarious pictures. Can’t to see all of you when you get back. We’ll have a family dinner and OC night as soon as possible.

  7. Check out, they have a unique way to look arround in San Fransisco, they have created a character (Jack) and you see exactly what Jack sees. You can roam on the streets using street level view. They just launched Panoramic View of stret-level images, through which you can watch arround jack at 360 degree angle.

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