Cover photo for Matt Mayo

March '24 Update

Matt Mayo
Winter ‘23-’24: From Missouri to the Golden State

This winter, I set off on an adventure to leave behind the freezing temperatures of Missouri, driving through the heart of America to the sunny expanses of California. My journey was a tapestry of ancient art, breathtaking landscapes, and the welcoming warmth of California’s central valley.
December 2024 road trip route from Saint Robert, MO -> Atwater, CA
The Road West
My adventure began in December, with the Midwest on the brink of its snowfall. Determined to continue my exploration of the outdoors without the hindrance of icy roads and freezing temps, I headed westward. An early highlight was Standin' on the Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona—a playful nod to The Eagles' "Take It Easy." For those yet to delve into The Eagles' music, their discography is an exploration worth embarking on.
Although Missouri and Oklahoma have their charms—both of which I've explored in past adventures—this trip focused on the journey ahead, leading me into New Mexico.
In Albuquerque, I was drawn to the Petroglyph National Monument. Perched on the city's outskirts, this urban park blends natural splendor with ancient narratives. The petroglyphs, etched into the rock faces as long as 3,000 years ago, offer a silent testament to the lives of the area's early inhabitants. This stop is a must for anyone traveling through Albuquerque, where history and nature are intertwined.
Exploring the enigmatic petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument — each carving an untold story from history's depths.
An ancient canvas: This mysterious petroglyph from Petroglyph National Monument stands as a testament to a long-lost narrative, carved into the very skin of the earth.

California Adventure

Upon reaching California, the adventures continued. From the majestic views atop Mount Diablo State Park—where the horizon stretches over 200 miles on a clear day—to the time-capsule town of Columbia from the gold rush era, California's diverse landscapes never fail to impress, even after 15 years of calling this state home.

From the summit of Mount Diablo, a serene gaze over California's sprawling beauty, where earth and sky embrace.

The holiday season saw me in the Central Valley, enjoying a Christmas free from snow but full of family warmth.
Shared moments and smiles under the sun: Sister Christina and nephews Michael and Bryan.

Post-Christmas, our explorations led us to Sonora and the Dragoon Gulch trail. My nephew, Michael, impressively navigated the trail on a Segway, a testament to its off-road prowess.
Segway'ing the Dragoon Gulch Trail

The allure of the winter coast then pulled me to San Diego, where I reconnected with friends and the vastness of the Pacific. The Cabrillo National Monument and the stunning vistas at Sunset Cliffs were potent reminders of the ocean's enduring beauty.
Cabrillo National Monument: ocean view
Sunset Cliffs: A few steps away from the boulevard

Cherishing the ideal hiking and biking conditions, I ventured onto the Nighthawk trail at Black Mountain Open Space Park and later, enjoyed a bike/hike in Mission Trails Regional Park with my good friends Jet and Ulies. These outings were filled with moments of exhilaration on the declines of the hilly landscapes.
Biking at Mission Trains Regional Park

A stone's throw from Mexico, Tijuana beckoned for culinary adventures. Dining at da Salvatore Restaurante, where the original Caesar Salad was crafted, was a highlight. The tableside preparation of the dressing is an experience I recommend to all.
Sidewalk coin in front of da Salvatore Restaurante, Tijuana, Mexico

Enjoying a meal at da Salvatore Restaurante with Jet and Ulies

Returning to Central California, I visited Great Valley Grasslands State Park, a rare glimpse into the region's natural landscape, now mostly obscured by farmland and introduced grass varieties.
A walk in Great Valley Grasslands California State Park with my sister, Christina
Reflections on the Journey
This trip was much more than an escape from winter; it was a voyage of discovery and connection. From the ancient petroglyphs of New Mexico to the historical echoes of Columbia and the culinary delights of Tijuana, each destination added a unique thread to the tapestry of cherished memories.
As I settle back into life in Central California, these experiences continue to resonate with me, a reminder of the vastness of our world and the endless adventures that await, often closer than we think.