Up early and ready to tackle Joshua Tree National Park. I knew I would only have a few hours here, at best, before I had to finally make the trip into the Los Angeles area - I had to make the best of it. I had driven through the night before, but with darkness brings the inability to see your surroundings. :-P So, this morning I drove much of the way back that I had during the night. I stopped in a few areas, detoured some dirt roads, and stopped off to get some pretty nice scenes. It's certainly unlike any other park I've visited to date - it has it's own very unique look.
After spending about 3 hours in the park, it was time to go. I had made arrangements earlier to meet some friends near Banning, CA - some wonderful folks that Aaron and I have grown to love in the past few years, and wish the distance between us all wasn't so great. This was, so far, the first successful meeting of friends on my route (hopefully not the last), so that made me very pleased to see some familiar and happy faces. Thank you Kyle & Diane for meeting me - and bringing me the fabulous blueberry scone!! That was amazing!! Miss you much! <3
Up next was the search for a touchless car wash to remedy the dirty Jeep syndrome. I didn't want to freak out my AirBnB host or her neighbors with an excessively dirty ride... so near Riverside, CA, I was able to fix that problem. Mostly. It's no longer crazy-dirty, but it will most definitely need a hand washing once I get back home. But I did wipe out the Death Valley dust from the inside, and that has helped tremendously.
Move on down, move on down the road... to my final destination for the next 6 nights. Costa Mesa! I arrived here about 4:30pm this afternoon, met Sherry - she's a triathlon coach in the area, and she's currently training for the Ironman in Tempe, AZ that happens in a few weeks. Along with her, I met Buster and Bonnie... the shih tzu mixed pups. Super friendly, and already very ready to take over my bed. Haha! I unpacked, and settled in a little before heading back out. I had requested a lens loan from Canon Professional Services before I left home, and had arranged for the lens to be sent to a FedEx location near my AirBnB host... so I had to go pick up the monstrous 400mm f/2.8 L lens - OMG!! That's a lot of lens!! And it's all mine... at least, until next Monday when I have to ship it back. :(
Tomorrow is day 1 of the Sport Shooter Academy. Most of it is classroom time, tradeshow time, and presentations by the chosen professionals in the field. I'm pretty excited about working closely with folks that photographed the Olympics, the Superbowls, and various other huge sporting events. Also a little nervous... but I know I'll find my groove in all of it, and it should be a fun time. So the next handful of days worth of updates will be far different that what I've given you thus far - ready or not!
*some of my phone pictures from the day*