Road Trip

Notes From The Desert

There's something about the desert, I don't know what. It's amazing how much nothing is out there...

Hwy. 101 South

Ridgecrest, CA

Ridgecrest, CA

I highly recommend these rad "Eco Pods" we found outside Ridgecrest. There are 2 sleeping pods and a bathroom pod with a huge open shower, all solar powered. A kitchen pod is currently under construction...

Panamint Valley, CA

Panamint Valley, CA

Panamint Valley, CA

Heading east toward Death Valley things get empty. Who are the people that put weird stuff on the side of the road in these places? I've never once in my life thought "hey, I should put a big ass cross on the side of this desert road, that would be awesome."

Death Valley, CA

The signage amazes me... it's a road literally in the middle of nowhere. It goes to the left, and to the right. It gets a sign, so nobody goes straight? By accident? I'm confused...

Badwater Basin, Death Valley, CA

Death Valley, CA

Hwy 5, CA

Anyway it makes for great road tripping...

Polaroids From The Road

A few Polaroids from a little Leica Sofort camera that shoots Fuji Instax Mini film... so I guess they aren't actually Polaroids anymore. Fujiroids? Leicaroids? I had an instructor in college that just called them "roids." He was a total asshole. Can we just agree to keep calling them Polaroids?

Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo, CA

San Luis Obispo, CA

Hwy 14 West

Panamint Valley, CA

Panamint Valley

Death Valley

Death Valley

Joshua Tree NP

Joshua Tree NP

Joshua Tree NP

Snapshots from 1,614 miles, roughly...

San Luis Obispo, CA

We headed south to San Luis Obispo and had burritos with a cousin at Cal Poly. College towns are ridiculous. There are burritos everywhere. Took the dog to the beach the next morning before heading east across the valley.

Shot across to Ridgecrest the next day, which is sort of the definition of nowhere, but very near something called the China Lake Naval Weapons Center. We stayed in something called an eco-pod in the middle of the desert and looked at the stars. Entirely solar powered, with a separate shower pod. I highly recommend it.

Desert Eco Pods

Orion's Belt, Etc.

We cut north through Panamint Valley to the eastern entrance of Death Valley National park. Made it as far as Stovepipe Wells and stayed in a really run down motel for the bargain price of $200 a night, which is how it goes when there are no accommodations for 190 miles in any direction.

Death Valley

Death Valley is decidedly more colorful than I had anticipated. Also huge. I highly reccommend at least a couple days if you can swing it. I could have wandered around that place for a week.  There is also a great little restaurant towards the south end of the park in Shoshone that makes a really good Reuben sandwich. Incidentally, the town of Shoshone consists of a gas station, the aforementioned restaurant and a post office. That appears to be it.

Zabriske Point

Badwater Basin

Zabriske Point

From there we hucked it all the way across to Pasadena to see my sister Andrea and her family. There are no pictures from this event because I got stupid drunk that night. Andrea, I blame your husband for this. I should not have taken the handle of Jim Beam to the hot tub as he instructed. (Craig, if you're reading this I don't really blame you, it was a good idea at the time.)

Next day we bolted for Palm Springs and the Ace Hotel to meet some good friends for the weekend. If you've never been to the Ace, it is the epitome of what you might call a "hipster compound." I think they actually breed spindly mustachioed dudes and girls with YOLO tattooed somewhere on their bodies in the back room. It's great people watching.

Joshua Tree National Park

Took a quick jaunt through Joshua Tree while the government was shut down (thanks Obama). As it turns out, National Parks are free when the federal government closes. Kind of a shame really, I like to support our National Parks and Joshua Tree is one of my favorites. Plus all the bathrooms were closed so we peed in the desert. Hashtag #trumpshutdown.

Desert Selfie

Back home in the city, drove straight through in one shot. Feels good to have some moisture in the air again. Film scans to come soon....

On The Road...

Hitting the road. Gear loadout:
Leica M2 & M3
Zeiss 35mm f/2
Zeiss 50mm f/1.5
Zeiss 21mm f/4.5
Leica 90mm f/2.8
Sony A7 w/ Grip
Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1
Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2
Voigtlander 21mm f/4

Film, bags, Metz flash, light meter, money maker, computer, tripod, and a whole plethora of other shit I'll never use... Heading South to San Luis Obispo, Oceano Dunes, turn left, Maricopa, Tehatchapi, California City (literally nowhere personified). Up and on to Death Valley, South through the park, Shoshone, Renoville, into the Mojave, and Kelso Dunes. Past Amboy, South to Twenty Nine Palms, Joshua Tree, and on to Palm Springs for Vodka Gimlets and hot tubs at the Ace Hotel...

Follow me on Instagram for updates and pics from the road @joseph.szymanski

Notes From The Road...

A few polaroids from the long weekend... we wandered up North to Humboldt to escape the heat wave... Was still 98 degrees on the coast, but a far cry from the 112 degrees on the drive up through Santa Rosa...

Drove through the redwoods on the 128 out to the coast, you forget how amazing Northern California is sometimes, living in the city.

We stayed in a cabin made out of an old wine barrel, which I had no idea was a life goal of mine until now...

On The Road

Snapshots from the road... Southbound down The 5 to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, The Mojave, Kelso Sand Dunes Trump Country, and the like...

#0508_06A - Highway 5, Southern California, 2017.

#0508_12A - Joshua Tree NP, California. 2017

#0508_12A - Joshua Tree NP, California. 2017

#0508_27A - Amboy, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0510_12A - Kelsoe Dunes, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0510_17A - Kelsoe Dunes, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0510_19A - Kelsoe Dunes, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0511_12A - Amboy, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0511_15A - Tourist Trap, Palm Springs, California. 2017

Polaroids From The Road...

No. #20170128_05 Amboy, Ca.

Made a quick run down South through Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Desert back in January. I often forget just how empty most of California really is... and how "red" most of the small towns along the way really are. We stopped at this boarded up Motel, Roy's, in Amboy, which is somewhere between nowhere and not here. And then this RV full of German tourists rolls up, gets out, takes a bunch of pictures, and cuts out.

No. #20170127_02 Joshua Tree NP

No. #20170127_05 Joshua Tree NP

No. #20170128_04 Kelsoe Dunes, Mojave Desert.

We almost... almost...  climbed to the top of Kelsoe Sand Dunes, but my ankle full of metal and our small dog were not cooperating. Plus we ran out of water. In the desert. Because we're city folk, apparently.

No. #20170127_07 Joshua Tree NP

No. #20170128_06 Palm Springs, Ca.