On the road. Reporting from California

We have been on the road for quite some time now, and we're loving it. We're having so much fun and it has been a cool adventure so far.

After leaving Sarah's uncle's house we started to drive through the mountains towards Arizona with the aim to spend the night in the forest somewhere (in the mointains). We rarely (if ever) know where we're gonna spend the night before its a couple of hours until it becomes dark. All most all the time (except for one night) we have managed to set up our camp (or find a hotel) before it gets dark. In the cities it wouldn't matter, but it matters a lot in the outdoors.
New Mexico continued to greet us with magnificent views. Beautiful mountains we're almost always in sigtht.
In the city of Alamogordo we went to see a live auction - man that was cool. Just like you see it on TV, mumbling real real fast. I couldn't understand most of it. Picture above is taken right in front of the auction shack.
This is a picture we see often (above). Road, road, long road.

This is the kind of landscape that was prevailing in New Mexico. Mountains and hills, no forest, almost desert (and there was desert at times also), bushes here and there.
Finally we reached the mountains we wanted to go to. This area is called the Gila National Forest. It is very, very beautiful and from on top of mountains the view is just amazing (the picture above is taken from a top of a mountain). The mountain we chose for camping was about 3000 meters high, highest I've ever been. We parked the car on a vista that had a small car park and found a hiking trail. We packed the necessary and hiked into the forest. As it started to get dark, we didn't hike very far and started to set up our camp. We had a nice fire and cooked good food. It was quite cold - maybe 5..10 degrees Celsius. Boy were we in for a surprise in the morning.
In the night when we were sleeping in first started raining and then snowing also. We climbed into the same sleeping bag to keep ourselves warm and covered the entrance of the sleeping bag so it wouldn't snow inside. We do have a tent with us, but before entering the forest it seemed clear and we didn't want to carry it.
In the morning when we woke up we were totally covered in snow and ice, as was the forest. It kept on snowing. It was freezing. Climbing out of the sleeping bag took a lot of courage.
Finally we managed, packed our bags as quickly as we could and started to walk back towards our car.
The view to the snowy mountains was beautiful. When walking with all the hiking gear, it wasn't cold anymore either. Luckily neither of us got sick, so all is good and it was just a day to remember.

I have seen more wild animals here during my trip than in last 10 years of my life. Deer, elk, rabbits, jackrabbits, small desert mice and what not. This deer on the picture was maybe only 5 meters away from us. You also see quite many dead animals on the side of the roads, as I have learned road kill is common here.
This colorful mountain (and many other next to it) was initially (and still somewhat) a mystery to us. Did the nature paint the mountains? Later we discovered there was a silver mine in the middle of the mountains, so the colorful gravel is probably waste from digging into the mountains, so they pile the gravel on top of them. Looks cool.
When we entered Arizona, this was one of the first things we saw. The view was (once again) breathtaking. Check out the road. We drove on small curvy mountain roads a lot during this trip.
In Arizona we decided to spend the night in the Apache Indian Reservation territory. We didn't know exactly how the reservations work, but when entering it we saw a sign that said camping, fishing and hunting requires a permit. So we started to look for a place to get one, first found a police station, but no one was there. Then we found a wildlife recreation center or smth, but they were closed also (it was Sunday). As it was getting dark and we needed to find a camping spot, we decided to camp here anyway. There was a lake nearby and we decided to drive over there to camp.
The lakeside had an official camping site which we used. The weather was warm and the sky clear. We set up a fire (see above), made really good food and enjoyed the view. It was very beautiful, the Apache land. The night sky was also clear and I hadn't seen so many stars for a long time. In the morning we slowly started to pack our stuff, checked out the ducks swimming in the lake and were generally enjoying our time until a local ranger suddenly came. Of course we didn't have a camping permit, so we got into trouble. We explained that our intention was to get a permit, just everything was closed. He had to report us anyway so we told our story in detail, he checked our personal data and issued a ticket. The amount of the fine was to be determined by the tribal court. So we had to drive to the capital of this reservation, San Carlos, to go to the tribal court to get our punishment. In the tribal court we got both sentenced 160 dollars each at first, which was later reduced to 80 dollars per person after we explained story. We took it as a donation to build up the glorious Apache nation.

The reservation was very interesting. Naturally all people living there were Apaches. It was a rather poor community, small municipality buildings, shops with empty shelves (reminded me of Soviet Union), small residential houses. Everything seemed small and poor, but very interesting (we were talking about how we'd like to have a cultural exchange program with the reservations or smth). I was wondering which language do they speak; all pictures and signs at a school (made by children) were in English, so schools work in English. We heard many older people speak Apache language, so at least the older generation knows it. All the official business in the tribal court (even between the Apaches) was conducted in English.
Finally we said good-bye to the Apache people and drove on. Road sides had a lot of cacti like the one on the picture above. That one had holes in it and birds were living inside it.
Day before yesterday we reached California, stopped by the Joshua Tree National Park and yesterday arrived to Los Angeles. Boy we're loving it! We chose Santa Monica as our first destination here (I'm typing this from our hotel next to the beach of Pacific Ocean). It is so damn cool here and very beautiful. The energy is very different here. It's carefree, fun, happy and active. People here are generally beautiful and fit. I almost didn't see any fat people at all. There is a lot of eye candy for both sexes.
View to the Ocean Drive. Its very, very pretty.
This is the beach. After checking out of the hotel, we're going to hang out there.
Streets of downtown Santa Monica. Again, very cool and enjoyable. We had a lot of fun.

VIDEOS



During our trip I took some videos on some of the prettiest places. Here they'are:\



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