No, I have no fallen off the edge of the planet. Although I very nearly fell of the edge of a cliff. (j/k) After my brief foray into Yosemite I fancy myself a bit of hair-raising mountain road driving expert. I've calculated that altogether, I must have covered at least 400km of these hairpin turns and trust me, after hours of freeway driving in very hot weather followed by over 2hrs of those turns, it does take a massive exercise of willpower to not simply let yourself drive straight off into the void. Luckily, my willpower is strong, and I was able to enjoy a day's hiking among the peaks and forests of an unbelievably crowded but stunning park. Fortunately, if you're bold and go off the beaten path, you do manage to find some of the peace and quiet that goes so much better with hiking.
Then came the not-so-scenic, welcome to middle America, two-day drive south through central California back to LA (more specifically, Orange County) and civilization. My plans for the next few days here read like a laundry list from movie-famous sets. Already checked off are Laguna Beach (very pretty, despite the - you guessed it - fog; euphemistically coined "marine layer", apparently) and Santa Monica, where I enjoyed a fun night of beach-partying and art installations at a new "nuits-blanches"-like festival called Glow. Still to go, San Diego, Beverly Hills, the Hollywood sign, the Chinese Theatre, and whatever else I can think of to wallow fully in silly-tourist-bliss. Including the mall.