Sunday, February 28, 2010

rubber tramping

Here's a story from Matt Cuddihy, our Noosa noseriding king and now king of the road, about his trip to California last year....

Seventy eight days, five thousand miles and an '81 Volkswagon van called ”Honey”.

The start of another Californian Summer, I arrived into LAX like so many travelers before me with a 32kg bag full of surf boards ready for countless adventures.

It was all a bit of a learning curve, from finding the van, learning a stick shift and to add to things, driving on the wrong side of the road. Lucky I had friends to help me out when in need.

After spending the first 2 nights in LA pulling out seats and turning my newly purchased '81 Volkswagon into my home for the next 78 days, I was ready to hit the road.

I headed south to catch up with friends and surf the many breaks of Southern California. It felt good to be traveling on my own, stopping, eating, surfing, sleeping, surfing wherever, whenever. With constant swells and fun waves there was little reason to leave. When the swell dropped I packed up my van & headed North.

Santa Cruz was flat which gave me the opportunity to spend some time with friends and take in the scenery. When the surf finally picked up the water was freezing and full of seals, that’s where my thick wetsuit came in handy.

Having always wanting to go to Alcatraz I headed North to San Fran to see the sights and finally get to Alcatraz, but to my dismay there was only one boat and a 2 week waiting list. Guess I will have to wait until next time.

After lots of photos and admiring the beautiful city I headed inland to Yosemite National Park. I’d been there a few years before but this time I wanted to stay longer and go hiking. I settled in and found a great camp site amoungst the big pine trees on the Yosemite Valley floor. The valley was carved out by a glacier millions of years ago. I hiked for hours and hours taking many photos and enjoying the peacefulness and beautiful surroundings.

The local wildlife love the travelers, especially the bears. Every night they come into the camp sites to look for food.

Leaving beautiful Yosemite I headed inland along winding roads and snow capped mountains. I reached 10,000 feet and it was freezing cold.

5 hours later I was 250 feet below sea level and in the hottest place in America “Death Valley”. At 50 deg in a van with no air con I decided not to hang around and made my way to Las Vegas.

The road seemed endless until I saw the bright lights of Vegas and with an empty stomach I made my way to the MGM Grand multi level garage and found a camp site.
I put on my best clothes and made my way inside past thousands of slot machines and card tables. I had one thing on my mind: the buffet. This meal is the best $20 I have ever spent, with Sushi to Lobster to Chicken Wings to Pizza the list goes on. I spent my night in Vegas going from casino to casino watching people gamble away their life savings.

By morning I was ready to head back towards Malibu for the MSA Classic, a surf contest that I had entered in. It was so good to get back to the ocean after weeks of being away.

I won the contest. I had such a great time, made loads of new friends then packed my bags and set off to the airport and back home to the land downunder.

I look forward to my next trip away where ever it may be.



Gilda said...

you forgot to mention surfing rincon hours before you left matt!!!

TheElegantVagrant said...

WOW! I am about to embark on a rubber tramping trek of my own, and your pictures are gicing me goosebumps... Thanks for writing about your experiences, bro!

I'm leaving with 2 friends and headed west starting sept 1. I live in florida and have never left this time zone, so i was hoping that maybe you could give me a few pointers as to where to stay for free/cheap or any other knowledge you could impart on me.

hope my trip is as amazing as yours looks. If you want, you can check mine out at but it probably wont be very interesting til we get on the road and start updating with stories, pictures, blurbs and videos...

Andrea said...

Hey there man! Your blog is AMAZING and your travels incite envy in me. I'm about to start out on my own adventure. I'm subscribing to your blog for sure! Perhaps we could meet up on the way. Any advice on starting out with life on the road? I'm certainly excited, but definitely nervous. Keep on truckin! If you get a chance, check out my blog and subscribe!