I've been a barista for ten years, and ever since I bought my grandparents old 2000 Jeep Cherokee, I've always been in love with the idea of setting up my espresso machine on the back and being able to make whatever drink I wanted while on the road. No more Starbucks, no more searching high and low for good cafes in unknown areas. Although, I do love exploring new coffee spots so maybe not that! Anyway, I recently opened up my own coffee roastery and called it Gallery Coffees. I've got the desire, I now have the Land Cruiser, I have the coffee, it's time to make this thing happen!
I got in touch with some of my favorite brands. Gregory, Coalatree, and Fellow Products. Greg provided us with packs and everything we needed to lug our gear around in. Coalatree helped keep us warm in the evenings and mornings with puffies, hoodies, and blankets. And Fellow hooked us up with cups and a kettle for all the coffees. This trip seriously wouldn't have happened without them all. I'm so grateful to be able to work with companies like these.
We ended up using a small portable generator to power all the equipment. I was going to rig up a big inverter to the battery, but, testing out the day we were going to leave and, guess what, it didn't work. Apparently 1500 running watts isn't enough to power 1200 running watts. Explain that to me. Anyway, the generator worked great. A little loud, but really not all that bothersome, it kind of faded into the background while we worked.
Because of all the issues with the power, we got out to our first campsite super late. Lucky for us though, our friend Abbey, Dave, and Alex all got out there early on and were able to snag a spot for all of us! Despite being dead tired from the drive, we stayed up talking around the fire for another couple of hours.
After a cold night, I managed to drag everybody out of bed at sunrise so that we could go claim a spot at the hot springs. We ended up with them all to ourselves for over an hour! Always nice having a little privacy!
So with all the issues around the power for the Land Cruiser, I hadn't actually tried the new generator or fired up the espresso machine yet. So even though we were here, we had no idea if this idea would actually work. Moment of truth...
We had to add the motor oil and gas into the generator and fired it up. Plugged everything in...IT WORKED!
Still a little underpowered, the machine finally heated up and we got to work making our morning coffees.
Fellow Products sent out cups for us to use and a kettle. Between looking absolutely fantastic, the cups are super durable and perfect for bringing on trips like this.
We put the kettle and testing cups to work as well. Barista Alex getting all the coffee brewed up nice for everybody.
After coffee we got all our stuff packed up and hit the road for the next location.
On to June Lake!
Every time we come down this way we've got to stop at June Lake Brewing for a little break.
We were looking for a place to crash for the night and settled on a nice clearing in the trees. But after a bit of research we realized there were fire restrictions in place and we couldn't light a fire unless we were in an established campsite. So...we went and found a site because it would have been miserable without a warm fire.
We cooked up some dinner and I did a little work on the computer. We stayed up late talking and drinking beer and making S'mores. Even though we had to deal with being in close proximity to a ton of other people, and their music, it was a great night.
Our friends Tim and his girlfriend, Isabel, showed up with their pup, Ally around midnight that night. Just in time to hop in bed and grab a few hours of sleep before we got them up for sunrise.
We made our way over to Grant Lake and we were able to drive out onto the beach and set up the coffee machine for some coffee with a view!
I didn't go out to the June Lake area until about two years ago. But when I did finally get out there, I came across this little dirt pullout on the side of the road. It was like a driveway down into a little creek. I pulled up to the water and checked it out and knew it would be a great image. Unfortunately the sun was too high and the light looked like garbage. So I decided next time I came out I would stop and get the photo.
I've been back a few times, and only got there in time once. But, the water was too high and MUCH too cold to walk out into. So I didn't quite get what I wanted. This time though, I finally got what I wanted.
I'll probably go back again and try to make it even better. But I'm still very happy with this.
By this time, Jack and the other dogs were getting very antsy and ready to get out of the cars and get some exercise.
We agreed with him, so a quick hike up to Parker Lake was in order. Shoving our packs full of water and snacks, we made our way up the hill to one of the most beautiful lakes I've been to yet.
Alpine dunks are a must. Hot and sweaty from the hike, nothing is more refreshing than rinsing off in the icy lakes in the mountains.
It was time to head back and find a place to camp for the night. Next stop were the Benton Crossing Hot Springs. So we made our way back down the hill and found the perfect spot to set up near a spring.
Eddie Bauer sent me a couple of flannels to take a photo in with Jack to celebrate upcoming fall. We don't always look this good.
We chilled out for the night and made dinner, drank, and relaxed by the fire. A group of people came in the middle of the night to enjoy the hot spring. They were super loud and obnoxious but hey whatever. The only thing that really got me was that when they left, the moved the pipe that feeds hot water into the spring off to the side. So when we got up in the morning all the water was running along the ground and the spring was nowhere near as hot as it should have been.
We were here to enjoy it though and get some content! So we put the pipe back in the spring and let it warm up while we set up the espresso machine and then hopped in! Not a bad way to enjoy your morning coffee honestly.
I'm already scheming on where to go next with this. So much fun to shoot and awesome to get to enjoy third wave coffee while out and about on our adventures!