5 things to do on the road in California this summer

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What To Do And Where To Go In California

Nothing says summer like a road trip through California USA.  From searching for surf up and down iconic PCH, wandering the High Sierras, or digging on a summer music series in a beach town, there’s a lot to see and do out there. But summer’s only three months long and you can’t do it all. Here are a few ideas to help you get your itinerary together.

1. Have a killer time camping with the rock hounds at Yosemite’s famous Camp 4…no reservations necessary

Since the trail blazing of John Muri and the iconic landscape photography of Ansel Adams, Yosemite has been on the map of serious nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. What’s not to love? The Yosemite National Park, which recently celebrated 100 years of solitude from the noisy world of industrial modernity, encompasses a valley like no other.

Ten million year old granite, carved out by glaciers a million or so years ago, showcase a distinct U-shaped valley that is home to a number of spectacular vistas, hiking trails, and rocks to rock faces to climb up. Must see/climb/stand atop include Cathedral Peak, the romantic Bridalveil Fall (especially at sunset when the light turns the waterfall into a lava flow), the mighty Vernal Fall. Yosemite, which in the indigenous Miwok language means, “killer”, has 800 miles (1,300 km) of hiking trails that range from mild to serious multi-day treks.

Yosemite has been a Mecca for rock climbers since the 1960s, with Half-Dome and El Capitan being necessary rites of passage for any serious climber. Although camping in the park gets rather booked out in the summer, if you’re passing through, just head to casual camp 4, pitch your tent and hit the trail. For more information see National Park Service.

2. Creedle at the U.S. Open

Held annually in the original surf city USA, Huntington Beach, the Vans US Open of Surfing is one of the summer’s main events in the golden state. Although originally a surfing comp, the event has morphed into a multi-sport extravaganza featuring skateboarding and BMX. And when there’s wave and ramp riders, there’s generally a good time to be had, with associated parties and concerts scheduled throughout the event.

If the sea of humanity that converges on Huntington proves to be a bit much, you can always easily shoot down to Laguna Beach or the points of San Clemente for some wave riding of your own. And remember, when in California, eat and drink like a Mexican.

3. Get irie at Reggae on the River

California’s version of Jamaica’s Reggae Sun Splash is not to be missed. Not only does the longstanding event regularly attract the biggest names in reggae music, but it’s held amongst the world’s tallest and oldest trees in the far northern Humboldt County.

This year features up and coming acts such as Slightly Stoopid, Assassin (aka Agent Sasco), Walshy Fire w/ Kabaka Pyramid, J Boog and Stick Figure. As you can probably guess, Reggae on the River is an herbal event, and being in Humboldt, there is green everywhere you look. So if you’re looking to kick back and relax and get your slow steady skank on, head for the river.

4. Soak it up at the “Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer” …as featured in “Step Brothers”

What began as a fictional event in the Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly film, Step Brothers, has turned into reality. Isn’t it great when life imitates art? As the name suggests, this is a semi-refined affair with a crowd that knows its single estate Pinot Noir but likes to let their hair down and get loose.

After ferrying out (or anyone for paddling?) to the picturesque island, the ‘fucking mixer’ features gourmet food, fine wine, live music and DJs and as in the movie, helicopter rides.

Sound like fun? Sure does to me.

5. See Wilco at the Fillmore in SF or the Ace Hotel in LA in Sept

If you’re on the road this summer, do yourself a favour and go see the venerable alt rockers, Wilco, at either the Fillmore or the Ace Hotel in LA this September.

The Chicago boys have been churning out catchy countryesque tunes since 1994 and are still going strong. They released the acclaimed album ‘Star Wars’ in 2015 and will be touring South America after playing 5 shows at the famous Fillmore in the city by the bay (i.e. San Fran), followed by 3 shows at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Check their website for further details: Wilco

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Jake Howard

Jake Howard writes about surfing for a living, and after 15-plus years on the job is still baffled that he's been able keep the hustle going this long.


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