Here to Here: An ode to California Morgan Maassen and Nole Cossart on a road trip through the Golden State

At the end of 2015 my friend Nole and I went on a road trip through California. We explored our beautiful home state on behalf of Mercedes-Benz to shoot a video with the new GLC. You can watch our video "Here to Here: An ode to California" below:

While having traveled to many exotic places across the globe, there is still nothing that compares to the beauty of California. Rugged coastline, inspiring mountains and a wild sea - I love it all! Follow us on our trip - surfing, hiking and exploring our beautiful home state.

Our travel companion for the next week.

Day 1

We started our trip in Los Angeles, drove through its downtown and headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu.

The Pacific Coast Highway is truly one of the most stunning coastal roads in the world.

Day 2

On our second day we drove through the nature preservation area of Los Padres National Forest and Camino Cielo Road which runs along the crest of the Santa Ynez mountains. The landscape in the Los Padres area mostly consists of steep mountains, bare sandstone boulders and dry creek beds. Later we hiked in the hills above Santa Barbara.

Day 3

On our way up north we traversed the sand dunes of central California and surfed waves around Oceano and Vandenburg.

Winter in California means lots of storms which make for such beautiful light over the Pacific Ocean.
The storm followed us to our morning surf location.

A behind-the-scenes photo of myself as I film Nole from atop Oceano's sand dunes.

Endless coastline; endless waves...

Me! :)
We surfed briefly before it started raining, then we hit the road again to find some warm food and drinks.

Day 4

Next stop on the road was Big Sur, one of the most stunning coastal areas of California. We went out for a surf at Willow Creek.

Big Sur is utterly breathtaking.
This massive Golden Eagle circled over us as we checked the surf in Big Sur.
Looking back on the endless rolling hills of California's coastline.

Heading out for a surf session at Willow Creek.

A wave crashes off a headland in Big Sur.

Nole's perfect style - I will never grow tired of photographing it.

Golden hour... something that makes the search always worth it!

Just Nole out surfing and enjoying another amazing sunset in Big Sur.
Nole can surf waves of any size! He had an absolute blast surfing the more manageable waves in Big Sur after the bigger surf we scored earlier.
Another day of exploring California's beauty!

After this intense surf session we visited San Remo Canyon's redwoods, a natural wonder of California. They belong to the largest and tallest trees in the world and can live for more than a thousand years. You feel pretty small in front of those majestic giants, I can tell you...

Watching the sun peek its way into the shady redwoods.

Day 5

Heading north we drove through the interior of California's farmlands, which are oddly beautiful.

Rows and rows of lettuce in Salinas, California.
The amazing colors of California.

We arrived in San Francisco and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. We couldn't help but stop and enjoy the beauty of the city and its amazing coffee.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge enroute to San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge.

The view of downtown San Francisco.

Many roads in San Francisco are very steep - you'd better not forget to pull the handbrake when you park your car.

After passing through San Francisco we visited the giants of Muir Woods - one of my absolute favorite corners of California.

Afterwards, it was about time for another surf session. We drove the beautiful roads past Stinson Beach to find a good spot. The water is freezing cold but we just can't say no to a great swell and a session on one of those endless lonely beaches.

Nole Cossart, suiting up before entering the freezing cold surf of Northern California.

Day 6

We surfed the northerly Russian River in the morning. It's a perfect spot in terms of waves but there are a lot of sharks in the area.

Searching for waves along secluded beaches.
Back on the road on our way down to central California.

We finished our journey via the snaking backcountry roads of central California. That night, back in southern California, we camped off the Camino Cielo Road.

The Santa Ynez mountains have a pretty interesting microclimate. The mountains run from east to west like a wall and plunge into the ocean at Point Conception. The winds that flow along the coast from the north are pushed up and over the mountain wall, making it cold, wet and windy at the top of those mountains. But at the foot of them lies a little oasis; Santa Barbara is sheltered from some of the harsher weather of the north.

Day 7

The next morning, rain squalls pelted our car as we crept along steep cliffs and past gnarled oak trees...

It rains in winter, even in southern California.

Just as we passed over the ridge of Camino Cielo Road into Santa Barbara, the sun emerged from the storm.

During these days, a long year of traveling to foreign locations was forgotten as we marveled at our state’s dynamic beauty. We love California! Thanks for following us on our trip.

  • Photo - Nikon D4s, 20mm f/2.8, 35 mm f/1.4, 50 mm f/1.4, 300 mm f/4
  • Other - Bogan Manfrotta tripod, SPL waterhousings, Tenba bags

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