California Road Trip

Hi everybody! Sorry I've been so MIA, we spent Thanksgiving in California doing an epic road trip and I came back to a peak season workload that's got me going at least 12 hours a day. Now that Christmas is done and New Years is around the corner, I'm going to be enjoying some time with friends and ringing in 2016! Anyway, more about the trip!

We flew into Sanfrancisco and drove straight to Yosemite. We did an Airbnb condo there which was awesome since there aren't a lot of restaurants or stores in Yosemite so we made a lot of our own meals over the 2 nights/ 3 days that we were there.

We went to Tulomne Grove before leaving Yosemite to see the Sequoias and even got to picnic deep in the grove. We drove to Cambria that afternoon for the night. It took longer than expected because some of the roads were already closed because of snow but the drive was still pretty. I got to see parts of the state and landscape I've never seen before. We stayed at another Airbnb in Cambria but woke up early and headed to Hearst Castle in San Simeon (only 15 min north of Cambria) for their earliest tour. The tour was even better than I remember but it could have had to do with the fact that all of the Christmas decorations were up around the Castle. The video at the Visitor's Center is a must and very well done-none of that typical boring historic site stuff. Charley said that Hearst Castle was his favorite part of the trip.

We left Hearst Castle and hit Sea Lion Beach (only 5 min away on PCH). I was in HEAVEN. They were all snorfling and slopping around and snuggling each other. It started raining pretty heavily (the only day it rained the entire time we were there!) and it was freezing so we got back in the car and headed up the PCH to Big Sur.

Luckily, we rented a Hyundai Sonata which is a hybrid because the one gas station on the PCH between San Simeon and Carmel was charging $7 a gallon for regular! During the whole trip over the course of 9 days and covering 1/3 of the state, we filled up only twice! Hybrid for the win.

We stopped at Pheiffer State Park in Big Sur and did the Valley View trail and the Pfeiffer Falls trails. This was probably my favorite day of the trip altogether. The park also has tons of Redwoods so that's an added plus. The woods smelled like the cinnamon tooth picks you can by at Whole Foods, which I know sounds weird, but it was awesome.

We popped back into the car and headed to Monterrey for the night. We checked into a hotel (only time it was cheaper than an Airbnb), took a walk around Monterrey (not that impressive), saw someone get their wallet stolen and the kid took off and jumped in a taxi, and hit up the farmers market that was going on at night outside of our hotel. We crashed early so we could get up and head to Carmel for the morning. We did the 17 mile drive along Pebble Beach and then to Carmel by the Sea-the downtown area. There's a bakery there that had the BEST gingerbread I've ever had in my life and a really neat store called "Burn's" that originally started making saddles 7 generations ago. Today, the store sells uber expensive cowboy boots, hats and leather goods. I got myself a new hat band as it's all that was in the budget.

We spent the afternoon driving up the PCH towards Sanfrancisco and stopped at this awesome beach along the way. It was a very mellow day. We decided to skip over Sanfrancisco and just check into our Airbnb late and went straight over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. We had a delicious Italian meal on the water with Ray Charles (he just looked like it, apparently he's a poet named Arthur that hangs there a lot)...I was dying for him to sing Georgia or Mess Around...because I'm that person. Because we paid for parking until 10p we decided to just go ahead and hang out in Sausalito so we went to a movie. We saw 'The Night Before' with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt which was pretty funny and a good time killer but I'm not adding it to my collection.

We got to the Airbnb late and crashed and the next day, Thanksgiving, we drove around the city to get the layout of things and then to John Muir Woods. We got there around 10am which is apparently too late because we had to park on the street at least a mile away to even get in. The hike was awesome and we spent about 4 hours there. Afterward, we drove to John Muir beach and munched on chipotle hummus we had bought at the farmers market in Monterrey. We aren't huge nightlife people so we took advantage of the fact that stores were open for pre-Black Friday on Thanksgiving and popped into Best Buy and grabbed some DVDs to watch at the apartment that night. We were starving when we left so we went straight to Chinatown for dinner and got a 5-bowl Cantonese's supposed to probably feed a family but we crushed it between the two of us.

The next morning we went to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse and stood in line until 9am when they start selling "cruffins." Yes. Croissant muffins. The flavor of the week was c'offee caramel' so only Charley ate one. I got a chocolate croissant instead. Charley also got an artichoke pastry which he said was life changing. We got an extra cruffin and gave it to a homeless man who said, "dessert?" Yes dude, dessert. Eat your coveted breakfast dessert now.

"The Magic Bus" tour we signed up as part of a package tour through Viator so we could go to Alcatraz (tickets book out weeks in advance) was disappointing. It was too loud, too hot, and the confirmation email had us boarding the boat late that afternoon to Alcatraz. The tour guide didn't make us get on the 1:30 boat which is when our tickets at the pier were for...which we found out too late, missed the boat and couldn't go that day. Needless to say, HATE Magic Bus Tours of Sanfrancisco. We had to get the only 2 tickets they had left the Sunday we were leaving at 8am. We got to go but not part of the plan.

The last full day of the trip we went to breakfast near the Palace of Fine Arts, went and saw the Palace and strolled around the museum. It's awesome and donations only as an entrance fee although $10 is recommended. It has the history of the Palace and the World's Fair which it was built for. We then walked to Chrissy Fields (the beachy area overlooking the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge), and then to the Walt Disney museum at Presidio. It's currently paired with a Dali exhibit (totally not worth $5 much less the actual fee to get in) but the Disney Museum is AMAZING! It chronicled his whole life, how he was interested in new technologies and color, and even had a huge model of Tomorrowland-the new age neighborhood that he said he was building when he was actually getting Disney World permitted. If you haven't been to the museum you should! It was so worth the $30 entrance fee. Also, if you're interested in Disney and the business, you should read "Married to the Mouse" which I read in planning school.

We ordered pizza to the apartment that night because we were so tired after walking around Haight-Ashbury but it allowed us to pack up everything before our early trip to Alcatraz the next morning and before our flight.

Overall, phenomenal trip. It was a lot to cram in but we certainly did see a ton! How was your holiday?!


  1. Amazing- loved it..felt like, I as well, just went on this trip.. I can't wait to go on! Seriously though..excellent!!

  2. Excellent blog, loved the pictures, love Charlie's beard. Auntie D


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