In the midst of a long, bitter cold, Ohio winter Ryan and I decided to head west. A time for sunshine. A time to communicate + grow. A time to worship. February 27th found us flying from Cleveland to Seattle, where we rented a car and drove LA in the next 9 days.

3,000 miles of adventuring. Rugged coastlines. Washington rain days + coffee. Beautiful Palm Springs sunsets.

So much joy, conversation + new packed in 9 days. We drove through all-day rain, a mountain pass blizzard, sunny and 75 Malibu, and a neccessity–through a Redwood. Ryan loved the countryside, the majestic Redwoods + Alcatraz history. I fell in love with San Fran architecture, drive-thru coffee shacks + the peaceful Joshua Tree Desert. Today I’m sharing our 3 favorite destinations– all of them in California, which is where we spent most of our time.


Colbolt blue water with white wave tips, splashing against the rocks. The views from Highway 1 are breathtaking and the salty air… completely invigorating.

SAN FRAN + Alcatraz

A bit over a mile from the San Francisco Bay is an island aka “The Rock” with old white buildings and stunning gardens. A military base turned prison for the most notorious criminals 1930-60s. So many stories + an escape mystery surrounds the place. A ferry takes you to/from the bay for $36-but buy online in advance or you probably won’t experience the island.


Our last full day was spent hiking Joshua Tree. Never did a desert, a harsh, vast Canyon speak to me so much. As we ambled around “Hidden Valley” where years ago cattle rustlers used to hide their herds, I was enamored by the variety of colors. The unique plants that somehow grew in dusty sand. Beauty in the desert. The past season has been one of walking in the desert. Of wondering why we’re facing things we never prepared for. Only tears to wipe the dust from our faces. But the thousands of plants, the shades of life, the creativity in a harsh land, reminded me there CAN be beauty in the desert. There can be signs of life, glimpses of joy… if we are well watered below the surface. Beyond what we feel or understand, God is still there. And good.


  • Redwoods (travel the Avenue of the Giants)
  • Citrus groves
  • Haystack Rock (Oregon)
  • Napa Valley Wine
  • the cutest pug at an Air Bnb
  • General Lee Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park, world’s largest tree in mass
  • Griffin Observatory in LA, overlooking the Hollywood hills + the famous sign
  • Lombard Street (San Fran) is the world’s curviest street. Brick steps line both sides of the street, lined with beautiful houses and pristine gardens.
  • Random Burger Joints

I love you, Ryan. I want to travel the world with you, even if you have occasional peanut butter breath. Thank you for kissing me when a random stranger took our picture on Pier 39.


  1. DREAMY. Was the car pictured your mode of transportation? If so, even DREAMIER. I love that you took the time to do this, and love that I got to travel vicariously through your photos.

    1. No, sadly this was not the car we rented. We just happened to be at the right place at the right time to capture this scene. Thank you for reading!

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