Explorist: Elise Mesner

Elise Mesner

June 24 2015

Life sometimes gets so sweet I have to pinch myself.

Earlier this year the Universe led me to Alex Rodriguez, a sweet man from Los Angeles that I met through the starry goddess of destiny. Alex asked if I’d like to road trip in search of vinyl records as he is a collector and aficionado. For my part, I was a gal ready to say YES to the idea. What fun! The first truly long road trip of my life spent with this rad man, Alex.

I left all the things that needed to be done in Detroit behind and took off for discovery as a total passenger like Iggy Pop. Alex and I followed the rain, a little sunshine, but mostly rain like a couple of real storm chasers. Los Angeles meets Detroit with so many sugar sites in between.

We started off darting around California, hitting all the beaches, spending time with palm fronds, cactus friends and seals. Went through some cities more quickly than others no thanks to the rain. Most pictures from this trip are soaked up in California sweetness — but countless others are stored in our heads. 

Highlights from the road:

Joshua Tree – Spoiled my camera with so many Joshua Tree pictures. It was like stepping on Saturn.

Seattle – Raindrops on windshields make for heavy eyelids; slept through this day.

Salt Lake City – Abandoned café with a 70’s candy machine; broken glass with Detroit soul. A camper named Whinnie Minnie and rocks that look like pistachio pudding.

Boise – Car broke down near Boise on a giant rolling green hill in the middle of nowhere land. Cows roaming the greens chewing their cud like succotash. Ford dealership. Silent TV screens for 10 hours. Country boy tow-truck characters and we kept smiling.

New Mexico – Impromptu portraits on the Mexican border In-n-Out Burger. Pulled over by state cop and had car totally searched. Albuquerque cop: “Why all the records?” “Where are you going with all the records?”

Austin – Rained out Austin flood BBQ adventures

Houston – Thrift store shopping. Records, records, records.

New Orleans – Curious city with gumbo and lots of mystery. A place where there’s definitely a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Cincinnati – Record hunts and more records hunts.

Detroit – Back home for me! Alex and I ate pizza in the car in yet another rain storm.

On this trip, I discovered real hotel cereal milk, what Sleepless in Seattle feels like, Boise fries with blueberry ketchup, yellow lollipops on crisp white sheets. Our eyes basked in the quick-changing landscapes and photographic windows became exactitudes. We photographed metaphorically; flower-like thoughts. My heart overflows with complete gratitude as I write this.

Go Explore Now: Shop Travel Fashion & Gear

Special thanks to our Go Explore partners Design Hotels, B&O Play, Fathom and Herschel Supply Co.

All images © Elise Mesner. Follow her on Instagram @lellopepper