Cali with Min

by: Samuel James

Man, this was one hell of a road trip. Minna, an old and best friend from my time in Spain, came all the way from the UK to spend a month in America. We didn’t spend a month together but for her first week and a half, she flew to Colorado and we drove all the way to California and back in a rented Jeep Wrangler. 

What. a. time.

Cruising the highway with the top down through such epic landscape is a memory I hope to hold onto for a long, long time. 

I think we did this one right: hardly an itinerary, lots of impromptu decisions, and nothing to do every day except enjoy the company and the space we were in. We DID go to a big guitar festival in LA (Clapton’s “Crossroads”), but speaking for myself at least, that ended up being a small footnote in our adventure. 

Seeing Keb Mo and Taj Majal play together? Special. Gary Clark Jr’s long, drawn out solo to “Our Love”? Legendary. But it was simply traveling down from the mountains, across the desert, and ending at the beach that felt like we were in a movie. 

Even as an American kid with plenty of previous road trips in the bag, I had never been taken away like that from just looking around and trying to keep 10 and 2. I can’t imagine the emotions and thoughts Minna carried through.

I think the most memorable moment for me was rolling through Arizona somewhere, trying to hustle to the Grand Canyon for the sunset but becoming aware we weren’t going to make it. We agreed to “pick a spot” somewhere instead and after driving past a few good places with a hunch they weren’t quite the one, we came over a bridge crossing a small canyon on the way into some no-name town.

I remember saying “oooooooh”, hit a u-turn back over the bridge, then pulled off the west end of the road. We parked fifty yards up on a little maintenance driveway to the bridge.

Minna had queued up an absolutely smashing list of songs (the topper for me? Midnight in Harlem-Tedeschi Trucks..) and keeping the stereo loud, we sat on some lawn chairs and watched a sunset I’ll remember forever. I watched two ravens in the distance twist and turn through the air for a minute or so until flying right above our heads.

Absolute magic.  

see more from this trip at Samuel James’ page

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