What do you think of when you think of the West Coast? I think I will forever picture the SUN. For a pasty, white artist who spends most of his dedicated time in the studio the sun is not the greatest summer attraction. It rates high on the health meter, you know- vitamins and the oh-so-important joy that comes from emerging out of the cloud of winter. But when it comes to spending time in the sun all I get is burned. Burned in the literal sense of charred skin that is painful for weeks then intolerably itchy for days and burned in the false cultural promise of fun-in-the-sun.
No, traditionally sun is not my favorite part of the summer but going West, oh going West can change all that. At least for one summer.
This summer I seized an entire month for a West Coast road trip. More than 6 months of preparation for 1 month of adventure and it was worth every minute.
From the wonders of the Grand Canyon to the sprawling, expanding city of Los Angeles.
From turvy, snaking paths of Route 1 to the vibrant and eclectic city of San Francisco.
From the sculptural majesty of Arches National Park to the bulls and horses city of Fort Worth.
Each and every minute was worth the prep time, worth the countless emails, worth the hours in the seat of a car.
And for the entire journey I had ONS Clothing alongside me, clothing me and keeping me looking cool in the glare of summer.
(Use code 'Sunflower25' for 25% off)
Surveying the vastness of Grand Canyon National Park I realized all over again that the sun not only beats with endless heat but creates masterful paintings of the evening sky. From morning to night as the light moved from East to West the cliffs of the canyon shifted in color. Reds and oranges and yellows turned softly into purples and blues.
Escaping burn free from Grand Canyon was nothing short of a miracle (and diligent coatings of sunblock). Drought ridden Los Angeles was the next stop and the sun did not shy away. After sampling the myriad coffee shops, tourist traps and Venice beach I was exposed to another full week of merciless sun. But instead of being destroyed I was invigorated. The sun was the warmth of the city. It was the constant companion across the expanse of the city. We began to be friends
.Route 1 summoned the clouds. Clouds like I have never experienced before. They marched in from the ocean only to be met by the cliffs of the North American Cordillera. As we wound our way from LA to San Fran we were constantly under, above and immersed within the march of clouds. The sun fought its way through the clouds creating a mystical shroud of fog, obscuring trees in the distance like British Fens. It was a unique and wonderful way to interact with the sun.
San Francisco relented to the sun and left the clouds during my stay. Up and down the hills, from cafe to brunch and all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge the light from above shone down. By this time the sun and I were good ol friends. She followed me to breakfast and between buildings.
At Arches National Park I almost didn't notice the burn and the heat of the day. The temperature was above 100º F. Clouds were few and far between. I stood in awe at the vastness of sandstone architecture. Here the light revealed every crack and crevice. Each Arch was illuminated with overwhelming clarity. Giant stones sat precariously atop the wasted shell of its pedestal. And as the sun set, from the view above the canyon was a burning sky. The sun dyed the world red as clouds rained a flaming silhouette on the horizon.
I can't get over the sun. We may have found an amicable relationship, if only for this one memory.
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