angel food cake and road trips

As I was baking an angel food cake tonight, I realized I never dedicated a post to my road trip along the California coast and across the state to Sequoia, Yosemite, and Mammoth Lakes. Two things you should know…(1) this trip occurred last August (yes, it’s really been that long) and (2) I just learned that my grandmother never made a homemade angel food cake, and instead has always used the box version. This was learned after my attempt at baking an angel food cake from complete scratch. I now know why she uses the box-it tastes good and has to be way, way easier. I felt stressed after I was finished and naturally proceeded to eat well past the serving size of Captain Crunch cereal, which they now offer a version with only the crunch berries. Try it. You are never too old for childish cereals. Okay, enough angel food cake venting. I’ll let you know how it turns out…fingers are crossed.

Back to the road trip. It was the one of the best trips I personally ever went on. It included myself and Mike (you’ve been introduced to him in the past already). I was already expected to head out to SF for my graduate school conference. Mike thought it would be a great idea and use of our time to head out early and take a mini road trip. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that in the first place, but I’m just glad he did. The other good thing…he has connections out there; I do not. So we flew out of Baltimore to LA. Our plane was delayed due to poor conditions in Dallas. I am usually a nervous nelly to begin with when it comes to flying, so a delayed plane did not ease my nerves. But the good thing is we got to LA (later than expected but no biggie). Mike took me to a place that serves excellent ramen. I think back to eating my big bowl of ramen now and my mouth still salivates. Afterward, Mike took me on a mini tour of LA and finally made it to his second cousin’s house. His second cousin and wife are the ultimate hippies and the most welcoming people. It was the first time Mike was also meeting him. Not quite sure how to describe that particular overnight stay. How about…interesting? Prior to leaving LA, we visited Santa Monica pier and stumbled upon a cafe that served avocado toast with cumin salt. SOOO good. Mike and I now regularly prepare and eat avocado toast. In preparation, always remember salt, pepper, cumin, and lemon juice if you have it. It’s also good with raw radish slices on top, and even better with a fried egg placed on top. After indulging in expensive avocado toast (totally worth it), we began our trip driving along the coast until we reached Moro Bay. Moro Bay is halfway between SF and LA. It’s gorgeous and has a huge rock (more exciting than it sounds). Well, the rock was huge in my eyes until we visited Yosemite, then it became a “baby” rock. While walking around and taking photos at Moro Bay, Mike lost the rental car keys. Let me rephrase…the keys fell out of his pocket after I told him to push them into his pocket further because they looked like they would fall out. To make a long story short, after about an hour of searching, he found them half-buried in the sand as the waves washed up on shore. We felt like we won the lottery. Let’s just say we were both really relieved. Since that pushed our day back, we quickly visited an avocado farm along the way to a winery a co-worker of mine told me to stop at. We made it to the winery with 15 min. left. Thankfully, that was enough time for a tasting. The views at the winery made it all worth it. Then, we continued driving across the state toward Mammoth. Since our Airbnb hadn’t worked out as planned, we found a cheap hotel and were lucky enough to listen to our neighbor cry into a telephone for part of the evening into the morning (enter sarcasm). But, hey, at least we were able to pick up a free continental breakfast. And, we were able to use one of the avocados we bought at the farm to make some toast. As we continued driving, we finally made it to Sequoia. So, so, so, so beautiful! The trees are magnificent. You must go and see them for yourself. They made me feel so small, but in a good way. Then, we miscalculated our ETA to Mammoth to meet one of Mike’s friends. And so others don’t make a similar mistake…you have to drive around Yosemite to get to Mammoth. Note: This adds on a lot of time. This also meant we drove through Yosemite in complete darkness. Thankfully, we didn’t drive off the cliffs which we did not know were there. Even more thankfully, Mike pulled over and we looked up at the sky. I never had realized the amount of stars that are usually invisible to our eyes back at home. We could see the Milky Way as clear as day since there was practically no light pollution. It was amazing, and I’m so glad we miscalculated the time because it allowed for that opportunity. We stayed at Mammoth for two days. His friend and roommates were so hospitable to us. Highlights there: hiking and taking in the incredible views, waking up and looking out the window and taking in the incredible views, and dancing under the beautifully lit sky at Mobile gas station. Yes, you did hear me correctly. Mobile is the hang-out there because it sits in between two towns and is not only a gas station, it’s also a restaurant with amazing landscape surrounding it and nothing else. Mobile like that does not exist here. I’ve looked and have had no such luck. Before driving to SF for my grad school conference, we spent the day taking in the incredibly, magnificent Yosemite National Park. I would love to go back. It’s breathtaking, and everything is huge! I thought I had seen large mountains, but I was wrong after stepping into Yosemite. That should be on everyone’s list as a place to visit. Neither my descriptions or pictures could ever do it any bit of justice, which is why I’m not going into much detail. Just promise me that you’ll visit one day in the near future. The rest of our trip was then spent in SF, also a must-see city. That had been my third time visiting SF and Mike’s second so we made sure to hit up a few of our favorite locations. This included visiting the Ferry Building and enjoying a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee.

I’m itching to travel again. And I’m so thankful that both Mike and I share that same yearning to experience new places. That road trip will always serve me as a reminder that things really do always work out in some way, and that sometimes what we may see as mistakes or set-backs actually allow for something else to take place, like staring at the night sky in Yosemite.

As I wait for the angel food cake to cool completely before taking it out of the pan, and as I wait until tomorrow to hear if I was invited to a final interview for an organization I have applied to, I realize I may not get the outcome I “planned” for or was hoping for. But, I now have past experiences to remind me to see the beauty in choosing to embrace the perspective that sees the outcome as not necessarily a set-back. Rather, it just might mean I’ll be able to experience and learn something I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

IMG_5222IMG_5537 IMG_5540Photo credits: Mike


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