Is Californication a combination of California and vacation, or a fun way to say California is a sex filled adventure state? If anyone has the answer, I’d appreciate it.

Now that I’ve got that burning question off my chest, I can tell you about my, in true Charlie Gage fashion, spontaneous trip to California.

I bought a plane ticket Thursday morning at 5:30 AM and flew out at 4 PM that afternoon. I have a friend in San Francisco and I didn’t want to sit home all weekend so a spur of the moment trip seemed like a good idea. My only experience in California prior to this was in Fort Irwin, just outside of Barstow, so needless to say my knowledge was extremely limited. Here’s what I think of when I think California:

President of California since 1991

If you don’t know who this is, go do a quick google of the ORIGINAL Point Break movie and then get back over here…loser.

I got into San Fran later in the evening on Thursday. The real fun started on Friday with a 12 mile walk around the city. I’ll chronicle everything starting……NOW…with pictures.


Grace Cathedral
Painted Ladies
China Town!
Water dogs, lots of tired water dogs. Fisherman’s Wharf

That was it for the first day. We rode a trolley, walked around the city, ate some awesome food at a local restaurant, observed an abnormal amount of gay pride flags, and ferried back across the bay while the sun set.




We drove to Yosemite the second day (Saturday). The valley floor was PACKED. The closest thing I can compare it to would be a mall, a gorgeous, granite filled, tourist filled, traffic and bus filled, mall. We pushed up to the high Sierra for the night with plans to hike  early the next morning. The following pictures are from the first day in Yosemite, primarily the less frequented High Sierra.

Half Dome.
Forever chasing the sun…and moon.



We woke up “late” on Day 3. We decided to push for the valley again, this time with the clock on our side. A quick little stop for coffee and we were on our way to tunnel view and Glacier Point.

Leaving from our campsite at Saddlebag Lake.
Tunnel View


Soak it in. Glacier Point 🙌🏻

One of my favorite things about California was the ability to wake up at ten thousand feet in the high sierras with the temperature in the low thirties, and then drive a couple of hours west and soak up eighty degree weather and watch the warm sun set on the coast.


Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves should be playing football out here.


One of my favorite photographers is a man by the name of Chris Burkard. I’ve been a huge fan of his work for a few years now and I was actually fortunate enough to see his gallery in Pismo Beach on my fourth day in Cali. From Pismo Beach we headed north on Highway 1 with intentions to check out Big Sur. We stopped in a little town called Cayucos and had some gnarly fish tacos at Ruddell’s Fine Smoked Goods, a little restaurant on the corner of D street, before continuing up highway 1 for a short while.

Catching Perch off the pier in Cayucos. 

Unfortunately we got to a point during our drive north on highway 1 where the road was closed due to a rock slide so we had to back track all the way to Cambria and link up with 101 which set us back an hour or so. That night we went out to the Headlands in San Francisco and I grabbed some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Gate with San Francisco and the Bay Bridge in the background. 


My last day there we drove around the Headlands some more. We watched small children carry 70 liter packs on a 5 minute hike to a lighthouse. We sat on the beach and watched a few people surf. We heckled those same surfers. We day dreamt about the vans we’d buy to live in.  We ate at a phenomenal Puerto Rican restaurant called Sol Food, and we raced through traffic to get me to the airport on time.


Shit was talked. 

My time in California was incredible. I can’t necessarily say anything positive about the people, but as far as the outdoors are concerned, I have a newfound respect for the west coast. I hated the traffic, but loved the open roads like highway 1. I hated waiting in line literally everywhere to eat, but I loved the food when it arrived. I’m not a city guy by any means and I never will be, but places like Yosemite, Mono Lake, the Sierras, the Headlands, and Mount Tamalpais just to name a few, make up for the stress and anxiety that comes from a busy city. Do I want to live there? Not yet. But I am looking forward to my next visit.


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