This Time Last Year...

This time last year, my fiance Mike and I had just embarked on our epic cross-country road trip adventure. A tour of 20-some states in just about 2 weeks, we spent more time together than was probably healthy and saw more than we could ever have imagined. It was an absolutely perfect trip, except for one small detail. My digital camera crapped out on me mid-road trip. This was over 500 photographs - lost. The mountains of West Virginia, the small towns of mid-America, the Rockies, the streets of Colorado's cities, baseball stadiums, Las Vegas, Joshua Tree National Park, the sunset on Highway 1 in California, Yosemite, Pebble Beach in Monterey... all these beautiful, memorable, meaningful images completely gone. (I'm obviously still having great trouble getting over this loss.)

So Mike saved the day... kind of. He's a filmmaker and decided to take his videocamera with us on the trip. Luckily he thought ahead, making sure to take video footage of most of the sites where I was taking still photographs. Some of those wonderful pictures I took and lost have thus been captured on Mike's film and transferred into still shots. Though it isn't quite the same as it would have been had I created the photographs entirely on my own, I'm still so thankful that Mike was watching out for me and thought to duplicate some of the images I was capturing.

So here are a few snapshots from the trip to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of 2 of the best weeks of my life! Some of these are stills from Mike's camera, a few came from my iPhone, and others were on those precious few rolls of 35 mm film that were successfully developed (cameras were not my friend on this trip at all).

Sunview was a rest spot in Utah or Arizona that was simply breathtaking. This canyon off the side of a road we weren't even supposed to be on was like a rainbow, from the deep red and orange earth to the green foliage and the clear blue sky. It was beautiful and was the primary reason why we felt we could bypass the Grand Canyon. All these rest stops were entirely free and absolutely gorgeous!

Yosemite was one of my favorite spots. I'm a huge Ansel Adams fan, so I felt a great kinship with the place by virtue of how much it inspired the most talented photographer of all time (in my humble opinion). The enormity of El Capitan and Half Dome, plus the sheer scale of the park itself, was unlike anything I'd seen before as an East Coast girl. Though I didn't like the number of people staying at the park in September (I can only imagine how crowded summers are!) because it felt more like an amusement park than a protected natural area, it was a great sight to see and I would not have missed it for anything. We even made friends with an eccentric hippie named Geoff who regaled us with tales and photos of Burning Man... that in itself was quite the experience!

Redwood Forest. The most immense trees I have ever seen in my life. I could have vacationed for 2 weeks just in this park and been perfectly satisfied.

The beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado. This was probably my favorite state that we visited, and Georgetown, Colorado is probably a large reason why. As we were driving through the Rockies, we stopped at a rest stop nestled in the valley of these grand mountains and asked where we could find the nearest post stop. We were sent to the most quaint small town, Georgetown. Shops of all sorts lined the small main street - Native American jewelry, ice cream, glass works, and more. It was absolutely idyllic and just felt unbelievably calm, quiet, and peaceful. The perfect reflection of the mountains in the river didn't hurt wasn't a bad sight either.

This photograph was, of course, meant to be a bit more saturated, however I like the bleached out look with this one. Though I don't remember the exact location of this photograph, it evokes for me the heartland of America, of stretches of seemingly endless two-lane highway leading to who knows where.

Probably the only thing I liked about L.A. (other than leaving it) was visiting the Elliott Smith wall. It was touching to see this shrine of sorts completely covered with notes of sorrow and nods to Smith's lyrics. This constantly growing graffiti demonstration of love for the singer-songwriter offers a rare display of depth, meaning, and true emotion in an otherwise false and alienating city.

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