I did it, I made it to my trips main destination!
The Halfway point, and one of the main reasons I chose the itinerary I did, was to meet up with my friends Danielle and Ryan out at the Quail Spring Permaculture farm. It's located in the Cuyama Valley surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest. The Farm itself is a leading environmental educational nonprofit that focuses on cultivating ecological and social health. I had visited here once before, a few years ago, and loved the sense of connection with the surrounding nature, the sustainable efforts, and the buffer from society that is so hard to find these days. More info can be found on their website - http://www.quailsprings.org/
A couple hour drive from Bakersfield got me to the first gate where my friend Ryan awaited. I followed him down the dusty 10mph dirt road full of tumbleweed into the canyon until we arrived at the farm. Just as I remembered it was bustling with crops, livestock, and people busy at work. From earth building, to gardening, to maintenance, there is always something to do.
With my first real bed and a full kitchen for use, I enjoyed my time at Quail Springs quite well. Danielle makes a killer goat milk latte every morning, and Ryan knows how to make some damn good potato and damn good fried PB&J! I fed my extra food to the pigs (they loved bologna and hotdogs...cannibals), and helped clean up one of the larger spaces for the class they would be hosting later that week. The Quail Springs crew is also a blast. Having conversations with each of them brought new perspective into my day. One of the people staying there, Diva (Pronounced Dive-ah) had mentioned the Salton Sea as being a really cool place to visit on my way out of California. Luckily I wrote this down, because it made for a fun adventure a few days later.
My favorite conversation however had to be with Andrew. As I was walking out of the main hut to use the restroom, I noticed Andrew heading in the same direction to pick some Goji berries. He began whistling classical music so I started whistling the harmony. We continued until I had sat down to do my business and then we transitioned into a conversation! It was a special moment I doubt I could get anywhere else...
All in all it was a great stop along my journey and though I would have loved to stay a couple more days, the show had to go on! On the 18th I said my goodbyes and headed to LA to meet up with a couple people. I picked up a mutual friend from LAX as we were both headed to the San Diego area, and I stopped in with Landon Brands for lunch at a Ramen shop! I had a great time catching up with Landon (since we lived together in NYC back in the Summer of '14) and I look forward to the possibly of working on film projects with him in the future.
The next 2 days I simply relaxed with new friends on Imperial Beach right next to the Boarder of Mexico. Did a little beaching, a little bit of vehicle troubleshooting, and continued my rest. I knew leaving California would bring adventures and some long nights as I wanted to continue pursuing serious nighttime photography. I left San Diego the afternoon of the 20th, with Salton Sea as a waypoint as I headed towards the next leg of my journey; Arizona.
Traveling further into California, I've begun to notice my allergies continue to get worse as I am needing to take Claritin daily now. This is unfortunate but does support my conclusion that the desert environment is not what my nose desires. Though I normally develop seasonal allergies this time of year, apparently the high desert conditions create constant pollination and therefore always offer seasonal allergies for those of us with a sensitive sinus. Thankfully some of the cranial psychotherapy techniques i've learned helped naturally clear the worst of it!
I remember being at the Quail Springs farm before, and it was a peaceful and fun experience. It was great to find that feeling again, even though Im in a different place personally, it was refreshing in the same way. I also really appreciated the friendship Danielle and Ryan provided. Before this trip we had been more acquaintances, but after just those few days I count them, along with the many others I've gotten to know on my travels, as good friends. That alone, has been a one of wonderful highlights of my journey thus far.