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At the beginning of the February, I set out on the road with my close friend Garrett King to chase winter through Oregon and California. Our first stop was in Bend, to meet up with the legend of the town Ryan Field and explore the surrounding areas. This stop brought us our first deviation; though in this case a very welcome one as Ryan decided to join us for the remainder of the week. After getting some sleep, we headed out into the wilderness near Bend for sunrise. After missing most of the color before a stunning sunrise we took the car atop a butte to watch the final minutes of first light. As we left, we realized that while the road up was fairly easy, the road down was a disaster. When I turned on the Hill Descent Control we were able to navigate through the toughest conditions. I’ll share more on the vehicle a little later but this was our first exciting realization that we would be able push beyond the normal roads and conditions to achieve new perspectives. GPS Update: Brookings, Oregon.
With hopes of reaching coastal areas long on our bucket list, we arrived to a major bust of a sunset. We caught sleep in Brookings and returned to Sam Boardman Park to try the fresh light of sunrise. We couldn’t believe our luck as we discovered incredible light spreading magical rays through the natural bridge as the day got started. GPS Update: Yosemite, California.
Driving through the night to Yosemite was a challenge - many road closures led to many additional hours of driving, taking us deep into the night with freezing temperatures and miles upon miles of black ice. Yet, we were thankful for the car’s Grass, Gravel, & Snow Terrain Response system yet again, feeling comfortably in control of the vehicle over the icy mountain passes. Yosemite has always been incredibly special to me because my grandfather had many prints of the park's expansive wonders throughout his household and often told me stories of his times spent exploring. Experiencing the park with these two fine friends truly allowed me to create my own new memories, which I will never forget. GPS Update: Mammoth Lakes, California.
Mammoth Lakes and the entire Eastern Sierras range are areas rich with many peaks and lakes that I have long wanted to explore. As often is the case, I find that I discover many locations while driving through on another assignment with a different destination. Luckily, we were able to spend two nights and three days total in the area and were able to experience the vast expanses of the glorious range of the Sierras. GPS Update: Alabama Hills, California
At the meeting place of the Sierras and the desert resides an incredible range of mountain faces known as the Alabama Hills. Driving through the desert in the dark of morning, it became quickly evident we wouldn't have much view of the mountains as a thick layer of fog was nestled near to the ground. As had frequently been the case during our trip, the challenge became finding new ways to capture photographs without the optimal conditions we had hoped for. Still, we were treated to some breathtaking desert colors before the clouds finally parted to reveal the mountains. GPS Update: Seattle, Washington.
Our drive home was insane. Long hours through the night filled with many high beams from trucks, more black ice, and so much new snow falling that it visually appeared that we were in hyper speed. Conditions were frigid and mesmerizing. This portion of the drive completely restated and highlighted the experience of the Land Rover Discovery Sport. The Meridian Digital Surround Sound System allowed me to experience new elements and details of music which I had never experienced. The heated seats in all areas of the car kept us all warm as did the heated steering wheel. The GPS navigated us through the best routes for our drive and the Terrain Response system yet again conquered the treacherous roads and conditions. With features such as automated windshield wipers, automated high beam lights, and a camera which reads and displays the speed limit on the dash, the automated functions and attention to each of the finest details made driving a uniquely enjoyable experience. Frequently, I adventure through adverse weather conditions during less than optimal times to be on the road. Many distractions come with this territory. Driving a vehicle that handles many of these details is truly different as you’re assisted by the vehicle to handle the distractions of driving, allowing for pure focus on the road and safety.
This entire trip proved to be one of the most profound learning experiences of my life. Countless times, plans failed and changed beyond expectation, yet as a group of friends, we were in it together. Blown sunsets, terrible road conditions, and significant route detours due to closure all challenged the opportunity to create consistently, yet the vehicle always enabled us to go further. A huge THANK YOU to Land Rover for bringing us together for this opportunity to adventure in style through the challenge of this cold winter – all while inspiring us to explore such incredible landscapes.