Yosemite / San Francisco After a Weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

I'm not big on blogs, but lets give this a try...

First, I'd like to thank the organizer of this adventure. It was all his idea, and out of nowhere asked me if I wanted to stay a few extra days to explore. It was a great time exploring with one of my best friends. 

Following the action packed weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, fellow photographer Halston Pitman and I decided to take a few extra days and explore some parts of Northern California we haven't seen. 

 This is directly behind you while you are shooting turn 6, while the cars speed up towards the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

This is directly behind you while you are shooting turn 6, while the cars speed up towards the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Upon leaving Laguna, we dropped off another fellow photographer John Thawley, at SFO so he could catch his late flight back to Florida, and immediately started the 3 and a half hour journey northeast towards Yosemite National Park and the Red Wood Forest (unfortunately I was in awe too much to take pictures of these ginormous trees...). We got to the hotel around 2:30 am, and after being up 21 hours, shooting 3 races, and driving 6 hours, we were beat. Luckily we had the ever great sour gummy bears, slurpees, and a strange mixture of rap and folk metal to keep us alert (yea, we are still 12 at heart). 

 

We woke up around 9am and and stumbled upon a restaurant from the homeland! Valhalla in Visalia, CA was a great start to the day, and full of Scandonavian cuisine (It really felt like gramdma's cooking). Leaving here, we made made our way to the entrance to Yosemite National Forest, and started driving through the winding mountain roads, stopping every once in a while for a photo opportunity. 

Our first destination was Moro Rock, a giant formation 6,725 feet in the sky. Unfortunately when we arrived it was very cloudy, and could not see too much from the bottom. We hoped that as we climbed it would get better. The climb, was an assault on the legs. Now, you might think that  to be a motorsports photographer, you need to have super endurance to walk to all of the photo locations, and stay up for 24 hour races, working most of the time. The simple fact is no. So even though, I sometimes have to walk everywhere, this did not help with the climb. Halston said it was a crazy climb, and it surely lived up to the hype. 

 Some of the steps leading up to the summit of Moro Rock.

Some of the steps leading up to the summit of Moro Rock.

We finally reached the summit, and it felt like I had run a half marathon, I guess it's time to hit the gym... Sadly once we reacehed the top, there was nothing but white, but we still had a sense of accomplishment!

 Sadly there were nothing but clounds surrounding us. 

Sadly there were nothing but clounds surrounding us. 

 I feel like he just needs an American flag. 

I feel like he just needs an American flag. 

The walk down was a bit easier, but also worked a totally different set of muscles that we soon felt the strain from. 

A  delicious treat that is needed in the rest of the country.

After spending the morning in Yosemite National Park and touring the towering Red Wood trees, (there's no other way to put it, they are simply massive), we drove for a few more hours of twisting roads to exit the park and made our way to Fresno for an authentic California Burrito, afterall it was Cinco De Mayo. For those of you that do not know, a California burrito is typically a burrito with meat, cheese, and fries. The best way to make, it is with carne asada, cheese, fries, guacamole, and sour cream, with some hot sauce. 

We made it to Treasure Island across the bay from downtown San Francisco with about a half hour to spare, so we hung out and took some pictures. Soon golden hour was here, and provided us with some awesome light. 

We ended up getting mexican food again in Novato, CA to finish off our Cinco De Mayo celebrations, and headed to out hotel. We needed to get sleep so we could wake and go post up for the sunrise over the Golden Gate bridge.

 Lombard street from the top, looking towards the sunrise

Lombard street from the top, looking towards the sunrise

Around 6:00 am we called it quits and went in search of more sights in SF. We seeked out Castro Street, Lombard Street, and other sights, before heading to Mel's Diner on Lombard for breakfast.

Once we left Mel's we had a little over and hour before we needed to start making our way over to the airport and decided to find some sea lions on the water. Note for the future, sea lions are loud, and annoying...

It was a good switch from motorsports and luckily the wearher was beautiful. Now I kind of want to live in California for a few months of the year. Oh no!

Jake Galstad1 Comment