Iceland

The trip kind of started on the wrong foot with our flight out of Philadelphia being delayed several hours and making our connection out of JFK almost impossible. So, we decided to drive to JFK and wait for our flight - it was the right decision.

Once we arrived in Reykjavik we immediately got the rental camper van and began our trek driving counter clockwise around Route 1. First driving through the well-known 'Golden Circle' and trying to squeeze in some time at The Blue Lagoon (we were told you need a reservation and the earliest they could have us in was 7pm that evening... not going to work for us). The first night we spent was in Vik, which is one of the most southern points along the country's coastline. The wind and rain was strong that night, making sleep a bit uncomfortable as I thought the camper van was going to be blown over. 

Day two started off very foggy and limited visibility, we were told that the southern portion of Iceland is more often rainy and windy. 

Even with all the fog and constant drizzle there was beauty all around us in the mountains and verdant green cliff sides. It was a relief to finally reach smoother ground once we began heading north along the eastern edge of the island. We even stopped at a public pool at EgilsstaĆ°ir, to shower and regain some semblance of hygiene. Our next major stop was Akureyri, which is known as their northern capitol, albeit small with a population of 17,000. Matt and I got to become very good at driving.

Driving on the northern side of Iceland was a breeze compared to our first couple days. We stopped more often to quickly take pictures, I even taught Matt a thing or two about pohotography. 

myvatn nature baths

myvatn nature baths

We were making good time and decided to venture further than initially expected up into the West Fjords. There was an Arctic Fox reserve I just had to see. 

By the time we left the West Fjords Matt and I were ready to sleep on a bed again and we actually missed seeing the night sky. Here are some pictures we took on the trip.

Hickory Run State Park

It was one of those beautiful early September weather weekends where all we wanted to do was to be outdoors surrounded by nature. Barrett, Holly, Andy, Carney and I trekked up to Hickory Run State Park up in the Poconos. It was the first sense that autumn was around the corner delivered by the brisk cool mornings.

Boulder Field

Boulder Field

Inside of my new REI tent, couldn't be happier.

Inside of my new REI tent, couldn't be happier.

Trip to California

California has to be one of my favorite states; it has everything and more. The rugged coast line, copious national parks, and plenty of big and small cities that are each uniquely different. The trip started with my flight out of Philly with a lay-over in Las Vegas, which was awesome because its flight path goes right over Grand Canyon National Park. Once I landed in LA (well, Burbank to be exact) the real fun began. Steve picked me up from the airport and he showed me his stomping grounds and his recording studio. Tim met us at his studio and we noodled around making a quite ridiculous song named "Bro." Before we knew it... it was Thursday and we were heading north on the Pacific Coast Highway.

In a rented Mitsubishi Mirage we drove up the coast stopping about 4.5 hours into the drive to camp in Morro Bay. The clamoring of sea otters woke us to continue the road trip to San Francisco. A few hours into the drive north we whipped around Big Sur, took in the smell of the nearby forest fire and quickly headed our pursuit to meet up with Mike, who gave us a deadline of 8pm.

It was great to catch up with old friends and make new jokes. But the trip wasn't over; I separated from the rest of my friends to head to Sonoma (only an hour north of SF). The rolling hills of vineyards reminded me of my semester abroad in Rome. My cousin, Rob, was getting married and I was staying with the rest of family and family friends at a beautiful villa in wine country... what more could I ask for?

Big Sur

Big Sur

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

Myself, Tim, and Steve picture opportunity in Big Sur

Myself, Tim, and Steve picture opportunity in Big Sur

Morro Bay State Park Campgrounds

Morro Bay State Park Campgrounds

Sea Otter taking a swim in Morro Bay

Sea Otter taking a swim in Morro Bay