A Letter from the Editor
“The two girls grew up at the edge of the ocean and knew it was paradise, and better than Eden, which was only a garden.”
― Eve Babitz, from Sex and Rage
For most of my life, I was never a big fan of California. LA sprawled and was nothing like I had remembered from the movies. San Diego was too hot for my liking. And I never quite garnered the affection my peers had for In-N-Out. Perhaps, as an Oregonian, there was some jealousy having always sat in second chair. Always being the perennial little brother.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a proud Pacific Northwesterner. My hometown of Portland is one of the greatest cities on earth. But all it takes to come back down to earth is for an international traveler to look confused when I tell them I’m from Oregon — only to see them light up when I appease their geographic curiosity with: “It’s north of California”.
Everything turned when, near the tail end of my Freshman year of college, I got a job at a summer camp in Scotts Valley, California. And one of those first long weekends on rotation, myself and my newfound buddies piled into a ‘98 Honda Accord and took the long route to San Francisco: the winding and wistful Highway 1.
It was my first real road trip (outside of the Family Vacation variety), and I quickly realized that there’s something special about being on the road in California. I discovered that Taco Bell tastes even better when your toes are in the ocean. That the smell of salt and sand isn’t something that always needs to be washed away. And that, as the sunlight bounces off the Pacific straight into your windshield, it also bounces straight into your soul.
A lot of years have passed since that trip. And even more years since that thing called “Manifest Destiny” (that’s one road trip I’m thankful to have missed). But it feels like we’re all still searching for something out west. It’s not because of celebrity or sunshine or surf or bikinis (though Ms. Perry makes quite the cogent case for their charms). Rather, it’s because of California’s magical aura of opportunity. In The Land of Milk and Honey, there’s life and hope and possibility. And Disneyland.
So when discussing how we might capture the spirit of the Golden Coast, we unanimously decided on one thing: we would capture it’s golden glory via the inimitable California road trip.
Like any good road trip, we had to pick just a handful of places to go (the state is pretty big, if you hadn’t noticed), and a damn great playlist to help us get there. So we sent our Senior Art Director, Michael Spear, to venture down south. From Santa Cruz to Venice Beach to Death Valley. From Santa Barbara to downtown LA to the San Bernardino National Forest.
Three weeks and 3,564 miles later, this issue is the result. Well, the parts we can publish, anyway. For the full experience, follow some of our iconic stops throughout the month on Instagram, and listen to the playlist we put together (which includes a can’t-miss track from our favorite band du jour: Whitney) But whatever you do, read our cover story on SeaVees’ CEO Steven Tiller, an Oklahoma native who, after traveling the world for years, truly found his soul in California.
We may not all find our soul there. But its soul is somewhere in all of us.
Ian Deming, Editor-in-Chief