A Spontaneous Californian Road Trip

Our plans to go climbing, high lining and visiting the lake were ruined by two weeks of relentless rain. Out of curiosity, I looked up the weather in California. When seeing the forecast – warm and sunny – my buddy and I discussed plans to go and leave this dismal weather.

After getting a group of friends together, we were off. Just like that! The next morning we began our trip from Rapid City, South Dakota with no real plan, just California in our sights.

My friend Rick noticed a sign for Arches National Park. We decided to go check it out, so we drove into the park and stumbled across Delicate Arch. Excited by the sight, the group decided to spend a few hours hiking up to it. We didn’t regret it!

Back on the road as the sun set we were eager to make it to the coast. We made it to Pismo Beach just as the sun began to set. In search of a campsite, we came across Oceano Dunes, a beach that you can drive on to and camp. We pulled in, set up camp and headed to the main town of Pismo.

Seeing the big waves on Pismo Beach urged us to buy four surf boards and some wet suits at a used board shop. We spent that day and the next learning to surf. Surprisingly, we were pretty good at it!

We packed up camp and decided to head up the coast. After spending the night in Monterey, we continued north to San Francisco. We walked the main pier and stopped briefly at the Golden Gate Bridge. After this we headed east away from the coast to Calaveras Big Tree State Park.

We woke up to see enormous trees towering over us. It was truly incredible! We spent the day hiking around the Giant Sequoias and camped on the east side of the park.

We continued east a few hours to Lake Tahoe. The smooth crystal clear water made for a beautiful sight. We fished, hiked, and swam as we made our way around the west side of the lake.

After setting up camp, it was time for dinner. Before cooking we shone our lights into the water and found heaps of crawfish! My friend and I dove in and started catching them. I built a fire, got the water boiling, added some Cajun seasoning and just like that, we were eating an awesome, fresh dinner!

Our journey came to a close the next day, we made our way back home after sleeping in that morning. While spontaneous, one-week camping adventures are always fun, we were ready to see our beds again!

Written by Derek Beaumont

See more of Derek’s camping trip and other adventures on Instagram: @beau__96