We came upon Collier Canyon Road after having the general idea of heading north of Livermore, CA. After exiting the freeway, we took a few random right and left turns past office buildings and condos until the road dwindled down to one lane and took a sharp 90-degree turn.
The hills were electric with green grass and neon yellow dandelions. We were used to seeing country hills like this in the summertime, dry and golden. Today the colors were so bright they looked fake, like out of a video game.
We wound around on a worn-out country road, not seeing many cars coming in the opposite direction. Farms dotted the landscape on either side. Herds of cattle, horses and a couple of llamas looked up at us in wonder (or boredom) as we rumbled past.
Despite the lush green grass, there were still some scraggly trees and bushes that will become this summer’s tumbleweeds. This tree was particularly gnarly and had many broken-off branches caught in its lower parts.
We gingerly approached a dilapidated barn with rotting wood and a rusty roof. It appeared to have been empty for a long time, so we stopped to stretch our legs.
There’s a saying in California that you can surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon. While distance-wise, that’s probably true (though personally, I would be exhausted), this state’s varied landscape and climate make for some great adventures close to home – from lush farmland and rocky lava landscapes to hot dry deserts and the misty coast.
Without looking at a map or GPS, we went as far on the empty road as we thought we should, then turned around and made our way back to the bustling freeway and back home.
Photos by: Nick Johnson | Words and additional photos by: Hayley Johnson