This week Kim gives us the download about her West Coast road trip from Seattle to Los Angeles, California.
192: OFF-THE-BEATEN PATH IN MAINE
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This week we dive into Tamara’s recent Maine road trip and explore how to get off-the-beaten path in the Downeast Acadia and Maine Highlands regions.
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Planning a West Coast Road Trip
- Driving from Seattle to Southern California takes about three days if you want to take the scenic routes and make stops along the way.
- Ideally you will take 10-14 days for this trip. However, if you have less time you can drive from Seattle to Southern California and then fly home.
- The best way to take the trip is from north to south (Seattle to LA) versus south to north because you will have better views and the scenic pullouts will be on your side of the road.
- Try to plan no more than four hours of driving time a day to leave plenty of time for stops and attractions.
- There are three main routes that you can take once you are in California. The fastest route is on Interstate 5. Highway 1 is the coastal route which is the slowest but most scenic. Highway 101 will still take you through vineyards and farms with some scenic attractions but it is faster than Highway 1.
- You can start in Seattle or Portland, Oregon. If you start in Seattle, cut over to the Olympic Peninsula where you can see the Hoh Rainforest, Rialto Beach, Ruby Beach, and the famous tree of life before hitting some of Washington’s small beach towns like Long Beach and Ocean Shores.
- On Kim’s trip they drove straight to the Oregon border and stayed the first night in Astoria, which is a neat little town where the Goonies was filmed. You can also visit the Naval Maritime Museum.
- If you are traveling in the summer of 2021, keep in mind that many restaurants are still understaffed or not fully open so plan accordingly as these small towns get very crowded and overwhelmed with tourists, especially on the weekend.
- A few other stops in Oregon should include: Cannon Beach with Haystack Rock, Tillamook Creamery, Devil’s Punchbowl, and the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area, and Agate Beach.
- Kim stayed her second night in Klamath on the Oregon/California border (be aware that there is major road construction going on in this area.)
- On the Oregon coast, check the tide charts to know when the high and low tides are because it can make a big difference in the experience.
- Try to avoid weekends in the small touristy town as much as possible.
- Google will also sometimes give predictions on when the busiest times are for attractions, which can help plan your itinerary.
- In Northern California, Kim stopped at the drive through tree in Klamath, Trees of Mystery, and Avenue of the Giants in the Redwoods.
- On the third night, Kim stayed in Ukiah, CA.
- The next day, Kim and the girls stayed in a glamping tent at Safari West and got to do the drive through safari.
- Kim then spent two nights in Monterey (read all about things to do in Monterey) and did an e-bike tour with Mad Dogs and Englishmen and visited Pacific Grove, staying at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa.
- In Monterey, Kim recommends eating at Rio Grill, Alta Bakery, and Lucy’s on Lighthouse, which is a hot dog stand with a skateboard theme.
- Keep in mind that highway 1 is often closed by Big Sur because of landslides so always check ahead to see what is open and take Highway 101 as an alternate.
- You can drive as far south as Bixby Bridge, but be careful and stay within the boundaries when taking a picture.
- Lily Valley is another great stop where wild calla lillies grow.
- If you are going to hike to the Hollywood sign, look for options for a four-mile hike, versus the six-mile hike from the Griffith Observatory, and go mid-week if you can.
- There is then so much more to do in Southern California but what Kim did would be at least a 7-8 day trip.
- Read Kim’s Olympic National Park itinerary
- Read all about Kim’s West Coast Road Trip itinerary and tips
- Read Tamara’s tips for driving from San Francisco to Cambria on Highway 1
[00:00:00.060] – Kim Tate
Today, we’re winding down the West Coast.
[00:00:14.880] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara from We3Travel.
[00:00:29.820] – Tamara Gruber
Today’s episode is brought to us by Safe Travels Kit, which does exactly what it sounds like and it helps keep you safe when you’re traveling, whether it’s on an airplane, a train or even in the car, it is all in one little pouch that includes a seat cover and a pillowcase and sanitizing wipes and a face mask. What I love about it is that it’s super soft. So, Kim, the material, you know how sensitive my skin is, but if I’m going to put my face on a pillow case, I want it to be like super soft and comfortable.
[00:00:57.660] – Kim Tate
And I love that part. And if there’s anything that we’ve learned in this last years that there’s a lot of germs out there and now I’m even more like not wanting them to touch me, definitely.
[00:01:07.950] – Kim Tate
I can’t even imagine using one of those airplane pillows at this point where you’re never quite sure if they actually changed that white little non soft cover that they put over them.
[00:01:18.450] – Tamara Gruber
Definitely. So this is very easy to pack in your carry on. It’s actually sold on Amazon as well as you’ll find it in many of the Brookstone airport stores or in Bloomingdale’s. But you can find it on Safe Travels, Kit.Com, and we thank them for their support.
[00:01:35.360] – Tamara Gruber
So, Kim, I know that your West Coast road trip feels like probably ancient history by now, but I know that we wanted to come back to it and really do a deep dive because so many of our listeners have planned on doing some type of California or West Coast road trip.
[00:01:52.010] – Tamara Gruber
So I thought it’d be really helpful if we could, you know, talk about what you’ve done. And I know that you’ve done this trip quite a few times. You have a lot of knowledge to share. But can you fill us in, I know you did, what, two weeks down back in April from Washington down to California. But give us an idea of what was your overall itinerary like?
[00:02:14.890] – Kim Tate
So in this trip, yeah, we had two weeks, but part of that was because we were going to hang out with friends at the end of our trip and then spent three days getting home. So I would say for this trip, we just focused on mainly driving along the Oregon coast and California coast a bit and then headed over and near Santa Barbara where we stopped, which is kind of the southern central. It maybe is considered like the northern tip of, I consider central California.
[00:02:44.140] – Kim Tate
But some people might think it’s kind of So Cal because it’s near L.A. But I think of L.A. is kind of the northern part of SoCal. So anyways, that was a long ramble. So I would say we spent 14 days, but of that, we took about a five day, five to seven days to drive down. That’s the timeline. I think that there’s a few options. Like you said, we’ve done this trip quite a bit.
[00:03:07.850] – Kim Tate
When we were going to Disneyland and spent a few days in Disneyland and we actually did a one way car rental and we drove from Seattle down and just did kind of the California coast and then stayed in Disneyland for a couple of days and then flew home to help save as much time as possible. So I definitely think that’s an option for people. This trip, we actually did some of the Oregon coast and then California coast, which again is adds time and all of these things.
[00:03:34.360] – Kim Tate
You just have to think about how much time you have. And then another option, if we had a lot of extra time and didn’t want to spend as much time like in California being a tourist in California, if that makes sense, if you’re just in it for the road trip, then adding the or The Washington Post, which is basically Olympic National Park, the Olympic Peninsula and a few of the Washington Southern Washington coastal beach towns, that’s another option as well.
[00:03:59.020] – Kim Tate
So I think if people are looking at a timeline, then it’s going to depend on how much time you have on how much you can do.
[00:04:07.120] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, like what things you need to skip or whether you’re taking the highway or the coastal route. And I mean, obviously the point of this is to see as much of the scenic parts as you can. So nobody wants to spend all of their time on the interstate. And I definitely think if people are from not from that area. So if you’re coming from the East Coast, like us you would want to fly in and then just do it one way.
[00:04:29.530] – Tamara Gruber
And if you did that, do you think which do you like better? Do you like the north to south or the south to north?
[00:04:34.510] – Kim Tate
This is a huge, huge tip I have. And this I actually wrote this in my West Coast road trip post. I think north to south is the only way to go. Absolutely. And the reason I say that is for two reasons. One, the driver’s most always going to be focused on the road and for safety reasons. I think that’s good. So I think it’s good that the passenger gets to look out and can have a phone and take pictures if they want.
[00:04:56.260] – Kim Tate
But the bigger point that I think north to South works is because all the turnouts are on the, you know, far west side of the highway. And so if you’re headed on the right side of the road, you are easily you have easy access to enter and exit the pull out into the lane of traffic as opposed to trying to cross traffic, which on busy you know, travel day is not a busy route like that. It actually can make a huge difference and kind of be a safety hindrance.
[00:05:22.780] – Kim Tate
So I think north to south is the way to go.
[00:05:25.990] – Tamara Gruber
Absolutely. I’ve only done, you know, a piece of it, you know, from basically San Francisco down to Central Coast. And I would totally agree. Definitely the better option, you know, from a driver and a passenger standpoint.
[00:05:41.200] – Kim Tate
Yeah. And I think a few other tips for just planning when people are thinking about this is this is the kind of route where you really need to allow a lot of spontaneity and stopping time. And so our first time we did this and I mentioned this before, we way over packed our drive times and we were looking at, you know, five hour days and stuff and then with stops and getting started and going in the morning and then traffic and winding roads.
[00:06:08.080] – Kim Tate
We we were getting into our next stop like at 7:00 or 8:00 at night sometimes. And it was just brutal. And so this trip, I tried to make sure that no day was longer than four hours and my target time for drive time each day was around three hours. So that’s something to keep in mind that really, I think makes a difference in planning. It’s not your typical, you know, open highway type road trip planning. It’s a very I mean, you want to take it slow and easy.
[00:06:35.080] – Kim Tate
I’m sure some people would even want to do, you know, a couple of days in one place and then an hour and another day and, you know, take it really slow. But for us, I found the three hour mark, kind of the sweet spot.
[00:06:46.270] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. I mean, if you have the ability to do slow travel and you can take, you know, the summer. Yeah. And that’s wonderful. But otherwise, yeah, you have to have some trade offs. But it’s good that you gave yourself that extra time this time, especially since you were the only driver to. But it well I guess Lizzy could have driven, but it gives you, you know, a nice little break and it makes it much more relaxed.
[00:07:07.720] – Tamara Gruber
I hate that feeling of like I’m usually the one that wants to stop so the other people don’t like mind skipping as much, but I hate that. Feeling of like missing out, you know, is something I really want to do, like how many times am I doing this trip? And so I hate like having to skip things that I wanted to do. But I also hate that feeling of like stress, like, are we going to get they’re going to get there is going to be too late.
[00:07:29.530] – Tamara Gruber
Everyone’s going to be so hungry, you know.
[00:07:31.990] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it can be horrible. And I’ll just mention, like for people planning who are and pretend that people that maybe are not aware at all, even with all the extra time I had and trying to allow all this time, I still made some choices to shorten the trip. And so this is I’ll give this little tip and information. I think people need to know that there’s three main north south routes along, mainly along the California section. But this sort of applies to the Oregon and Washington, a little Oregon and Washington, the one and one on one, are kind of the same through a lot of it.
[00:08:04.780] – Kim Tate
So it’s not as noticeable. But once you get past the redwood forests of Northern California, you kind of start having this choice of Highway one is what hugs the coast. That is the one that, you know, is right there on the coast. And it’s extremely slow going, but it’s extremely beautiful. And then you have the 101 that kind of juts over. And that’s when you start to get into like wine country and some of the agriculture area.
[00:08:31.180] – Kim Tate
And you’ll notice that the 1 and the 101 kind of travel together until you hit San Francisco and they kind of merge in a little bit together again. And then they split off again. And you’re you’re left with that same choice of the coastal routes versus the a little more. It’s still coastal and not coastal, but it’s still close to the coast in a way. But anyways, that’s two things to know, that there are those two routes and they do separate.
[00:08:54.040] – Kim Tate
And it’s a very different driving experience over time as well as visual like what you’re going to see. And then, of course, Interstate five is the main interstate that runs north and south all the way up to the California border, to the I mean, the Canada border to the Mexico border. So for us, we went down along, you know, the one and then we actually cut over to the 101 because between like Santa Rosa and San Francisco, the one, it’s beautiful.
[00:09:20.410] – Kim Tate
And there’s some cool things to see. And like just north of San Francisco, you have Muir Woods, which is, you know, I’ve still never spent a lot of time on that side of the route. But it does add, you know, probably a couple of hours to what you would plan if you just went the 101, which is a little bit faster and more heavily trafficked. And then on our way home, we just drove by five the whole way because at that point we were just hurrying to get home.
[00:09:48.850] – Kim Tate
So when people. Yeah. So I just wanted to give you a heads up that there’s three main routes that people need to think of. One’s going to be your slowest. So if you want to do the one the whole way, you really need to allow a lot of time.
[00:10:00.700] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, we’ve done part of the one. And I know what when we moved back up to San Francisco, we did the five and it was like, how did we just do that? And what, like an hour or two while the other took all day. And even that was kind of scenic because you go through so many like agricultural, like giant farms. And we realized like we’re so much produce comes from. But yeah. So let’s dig into your trip a little bit.
[00:10:23.650] – Tamara Gruber
So what like what was your first day like, where did you stop along the way. Like if you can walk us through some of your itinerary would be great.
[00:10:31.240] – Kim Tate
Yeah. So I think that like I said, if people are wanting to do this and they’re not they don’t live on the West Coast, Seattle is a great starting point. You could also do Portland, Oregon. That would be if you don’t care about the Washington section of it. If you do want to do Seattle, you can do Seattle and then cross over onto the Olympic Peninsula and do your Washington side of the road trip, which is where you’re going to see like the HOH Rain Forest.
[00:10:54.130] – Kim Tate
You’re going to see some of the beautiful, like beaches like Rialto Beach, Ruby Beach, a few things on the Olympic Peninsula. You’ll see that famous tree of life that some people maybe have seen. And then you’ll come into a few of the popular little Washington State beach cities. I think Long Beach and Ocean Shores are two of the main ones right there, the the border. And then you can also cross there’s a really cool bridge that you can cross into.
[00:11:19.300] – Kim Tate
But our first day we just drove I5 straight down to the Oregon border and then crossed over. And we stayed overnight in Astoria, Oregon, which we’ve been to before. It’s kind of a neat little town. People may be familiar with it because of its famous for being the place where they filmed a lot of The Goonies.
[00:11:37.690] – Tamara Gruber
That’s what I thought.
[00:11:38.860] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. And they definitely have a kind of a seaside. They have a beautiful naval, kind of a fun Naval Maritime Museum. That’s cool. So if you have a kid that is really into ships or even an adult that’s really in the ships, that’s a neat place. And the actual it’s really neat to think because Astoria sits at the mouth of the Columbia River, which is a major, major, you know, like through route. And they have these pilot boat captains.
[00:12:05.410] – Kim Tate
And it’s one of the most rigorous piloting, I don’t know what you would call it, like waters. There’s a lot of sandbars and a lot of heavy. Tides and currents, and so it’s a very you know, it’s you have to have a lot of skill and experience to be able to pilot a boat and help get the barges in and out of that that little Columbia River mouth. So it’s kind of cool to learn about that history. So I think a story is that is cool that way.
[00:12:31.440] – Kim Tate
It’s definitely a little bit of a grungy, you know, small northwest town. It’s got some limited dining experiences, especially, you know, like we’ve talked about on our episodes. We hit there on a Saturday night and our dining experience was a headache. So just a heads up, if you are planning summertime trips around some of these smaller coastal towns, you really need to think ahead of your dinner time planning shows early. No, it’s mostly just because there’s only a few restaurants and then they have all these tourists that come in.
[00:13:05.490] – Kim Tate
And so you have, you know, to wait for an hour to order or they’re a small little restaurant and so they have five tables. And so people are waiting to just get takeout, even if there’s just a long line, because you only have if you don’t want fast food, you only have like three restaurants to choose from to find food. So it’s just kind of a tricky situation with that. So just a heads up on some of those.
[00:13:27.360] – Kim Tate
You know, the weekends, summer weekends we were traveling during spring break can just be a bit of a headache. We waited about an hour, just under an hour to order our food. And then it was another 40 minutes to actually get the food to take back to our hotel room. So, yeah.
[00:13:43.250] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So some angry people at that point.
[00:13:46.440] – Kim Tate
Yeah. And we had that same experience in Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula when we did our Olympic National Park trip in August of 2020, we had the same thing where those smaller coastal towns are just not used to it. And so on the weekends when you have a bunch of tourists that come in, they just really flood the few restaurants that are available and they just are so small they don’t have a lot of seating area. And then their take out program gets really bogged down.
[00:14:11.460] – Tamara Gruber
So, yeah, and we should mention that we did do an episode on your Olympic National Park, a trip last year, so people can look that up. And I’m sure you have a post on your website about it too. I do too.
[00:14:22.170] – Kim Tate
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So our first night was in Astoria, but we just basically got in there at night and that was probably the longest little stretch of our our drive, you know, of our trip. And then the next morning we set out and I had all these great. This is where you have to be, you know, fluid with a road trip. I had all these great plans. And of course, we’re on the Oregon coast.
[00:14:42.270] – Kim Tate
It’s going to be awesome. We were going to go to Cannon Beach and see the famous Haystack Rock, which, you know, we had never really seen. And it was disgusting whether it was blowing blowing winds like, you know, you’re holding white knuckling the steering wheel. So when the you know, the winds, the rain is blowing sideways and it’s just gross. So my day for that day was a little ruined because I had all these plans.
[00:15:04.380] – Kim Tate
So we were going to see Haystack Rock. We skipped we drove over there and kind of looked at it. But no, we didn’t get out and hang out on the beach at all. And then we also were planning to go to the Tillamook Creamery, which is we’ve been to before. And it’s really it’s so funny because we went to years and years ago, it was actually when me we were headed down to California on this road trip for Mia’s fifth birthday.
[00:15:25.080] – Kim Tate
So that gives you an idea. It’s almost, you know, ten years, nine years and it’s gone through. Evidently, everyone figured out that it’s an awesome destination because they have fully made a whole tourist attraction museum tour system. And on a Sunday, it was jam packed with wall to wall, people waiting outside to get in because they had limited entrance. So we skipped the Tillamook Creamery because we didn’t want to stand in line for hours outside.
[00:15:55.170] – Kim Tate
There’s also a famous stop along the way called Devil’s Punchbowl, which we skipped because of the weather. And then we finally we’re going to end right around the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. And again, because of the weather, we skipped that. So we got in really early to our, you know, best Western basic hotel in Reidsport. Oregon was where I kind of picked because it was near those dunes. And I thought it would be a fun a fun stopover, but it did not happen.
[00:16:22.380] – Tamara Gruber
So, yeah, I it’s so hard. Like we talked about, like, you know, letting go of things. I think, you know, you’re a photographer. Like we both, you know, do this for work. It’s it’s sometimes it’s not even just about missing seeing something, but it’s like, oh, we had these dreams of like the pictures that you’re going to get and, you know, how are you going to use them and you know all of that.
[00:16:41.340] – Tamara Gruber
And then you’re like, yeah, now this does not cooperate at all. I’ve had so many of those experiences where it’s like, oh, I’m going to get these epic photos. And you’re like, yep, nope, that’s not happening. Yeah, but I think I find it interesting, like what you’re saying about Tillamook, because I feel like in general, like agritourism has become so much more popular. You know, it’s just something that is, you know, of a lot more interest.
[00:17:02.670] – Tamara Gruber
And I really I think it’s smart the way a lot of these farms and, you know, other makers have turned it into, you know, another revenue stream for them. You know, so it’s interesting, I remember one time we were staying for a week on Cape Cod and it was pouring rain, so it’s like opening the summer, like what are you going to do? You look like indoor stuff. And we’re like, oh, let’s go to the Cape Cod potato chip factory.
[00:17:25.940] – Tamara Gruber
And we stood outside in line, you know, with an umbrella overhead for like an hour. Yes. Get into like this potato chip factory where basically all we did was like shuffle down a hallway and like, look at the machines working. Yes, we know. Yeah, they went to the gift shop. But I’m like, you could have gone to the grocery store and bought like five different flavors, like, why did we do this?
[00:17:44.070] – Kim Tate
Yeah, yeah. That’s what I was thinking. That’s why we skipped Tillamook, because we kind of know already. I mean, it had been improved. So we thought, oh, it’ll be neat to see it. And but you do you kind of just walk and you get to see the factory and, you know, the machines working. But it you know, it was a Sunday, too. So I was like, well, it’s probably not really in operation right now because most of those factories also are just, you know, the the next day.
[00:18:06.740] – Kim Tate
Yeah. So anyways, we skipped it and. Yeah. Just kept going. But yeah, I think that’s, that was our, that was our idea is like, oh it’ll be nice, go inside and have those inside things since it’s such a gross day. But everyone had that same idea here. But the next the fun thing was this was where I talked about once we got to our hotel, since we’re there early, I kind of started looking the next day to see if there were any, you know, like dunes on that stretch on our next day out.
[00:18:31.490] – Kim Tate
And that was where I found that one random all trails where it was like some weird trailhead that held ten cars. And we went and it turned out to be this awesome, cool sand dune that we spent an hour at. So I think that, you know, it is fun when you can have those kind of things.
[00:18:47.120] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, it’s nice. You can find, you know, find something that you didn’t plan on that makes up for the things that you missed.
[00:18:53.690] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. And I think that’s cool. You know, that would be something for people to know about, like the Oregon coast that I know California has it as well. There’s you know, Pismo Beach is known and famous for their dunes. But that is something to just be known that Oregon is known for. And then as we made our way sort of south, we did, like I said, that scenic. It was like this scenic corridor that I saw from road trippers.
[00:19:14.930] – Kim Tate
And again, it’s just on the road, basically. And you just turned off. We just turned off and parked and did a little hike. And it’s where you start getting that feel a little more of the California, you know, rocky coastal feel of stuff. But it’s cool because in Oregon, it was still very Pacific Northwest with lots of, you know, evergreen trees. And so it was kind of a neat feeling as you move south and just see a little bit how things start different, differing, a little.
[00:19:42.650] – Kim Tate
[00:19:44.000] – Tamara Gruber
It makes me kind of want to see that landscape. But, yeah, one of the things about the summer is like, Glen, no matter what we do, like, I need a different landscape. I’m super excited about the trips that I have coming up around New England. And, you know, really, I can’t wait for it, but I really want just a different landscape. And I remember years ago when Hannah and I were driving through central Oregon and we landed in Portland, we did a little bit of the Columbia River Gorge.
[00:20:07.130] – Tamara Gruber
And then we started driving down to Bend and just driving through those forests, the pine forests of those towering trees. It’s like we just don’t have that here. And so, yeah, I’m picturing that as you’re talking. Yeah. Like the redwoods and everything. Just kind of it’s exciting to be in one of those types of forest. They’re just so. Like magnificent.
[00:20:25.910] – Kim Tate
You know, it is it’s a really it’s a cool part of nature and it’s fun.
[00:20:30.170] – Kim Tate
And when you do the whole coast, like, you know, Washington, Oregon, and then you make your way down into California, it’s neat just to see, you know, when you’re doing it on one trip like that, it’s fun to go, wow, you know, things really start changing and feeling different. And it’s cool. It’s neat and fun. So, yeah, but then we so we kind of stayed overnight, right at the.
[00:20:51.140] – Kim Tate
It’s kind of funny how this happened too, because we ended up staying overnight in Northern California, a place called Klamath, California. And the cool thing about that, that you know, how you everyone’s mind you get lucky on something is there was major road construction. And this is something to keep in mind, you know, on these smaller routes. And it’s where it’s, you know, the piloted car allowance. Do you know where they it’s only one lane open.
[00:21:15.470] – Kim Tate
And so they’ll have like a truck that guides the, you know, northbound through and then the truck running right around three.
[00:21:21.530] – Tamara Gruber
So I’ve experienced that before.
[00:21:22.930] – Kim Tate
Yeah. So you know what I’m talking about. Well, we were crossing and it was right along the Oregon to California border and we were crossing and we didn’t have any weight at all. We were like the fifth car and we got picked up on the next pilot and it was fine and didn’t think anything of it. And then the next morning, like where we we’re when we were getting out of the we were checking out of our hotel that we stayed at, they had notices all about like Oregon border, you know, construction and two hour delays.
[00:21:51.470] – Kim Tate
And so I was like, oh, my goodness. So that’s something to keep in mind also is that when you’re on those two lane highway routes, you have to really be mindful of construction and stuff because they that route, Highway One is so susceptible to landslides and, you know, erosion where they have to close the road down because they’re doing major repairs. So it’s just something to keep in mind and. We lucked out being, you know, kind of at the end of the day and doing that crossover.
[00:22:18.210] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, well, it’s funny, we were just talking, you know, on a recent episode about how bad the roads are and how much they need them fixed. I was thinking that today as I was driving Hannah home from school and there was road construction, two places that I had to, like, detour around. And I was like, you know, our roads are terrible, but why do they have to fix these?
[00:22:37.360] – Kim Tate
We get all mad. Really, right? Can it just happen magically? Yeah. Yeah.
[00:22:43.380] – Tamara Gruber
Well it sounds like that good that you avoided that. At least you got a good start.
[00:22:47.730] – Kim Tate
Yeah. So I do think that, you know, something to keep in mind is like weekends right now in this season of local road trip travel that I feel like people are doing weekends. If you can avoid weekends as much as possible, it’s definitely the thing to know, especially on those small, like touristy coastal towns. It seems like a lot of locals are going to them as well and are doing things on the weekends so that you’re getting tourists as well as locals that are just getting out of their house and trying to do something.
[00:23:16.020] – Kim Tate
And so just a heads up to people if you’re planning a vacation at all, that’s involving like smaller towns are road tripping, trying to avoid the weekends because that’s something I noticed, not the most surprising.
[00:23:27.720] – Tamara Gruber
Everyone is so excited to do anything and everything. Yeah. I mean, I found any little thing that we try to do is, you know, it’s busy. Everyone is excited to be out of the house.
[00:23:38.680] – Kim Tate
Exactly. Yeah. We have that experience. A couple places that I can mention, but definitely something I noticed. So as I said, we moved into Northern California and we were susceptible to billboard advertising, which how many people can actually say that? I didn’t even know they worked anymore. But evidently when you have a 14 year old kid in your car, they can still work because my daughter saw this trees of mystery mentioned on the billboard as we were getting ready to cross into California.
[00:24:06.160] – Kim Tate
And she’s like, I really want to do that. You know, I always see that. And I you know, I never let them stop because I’ve always got the schedule planned. I’m like, no, we don’t have time. And so this time, since I did try and allow more flexibility, I called them and they the last entrance was like four or something. And they said we probably wouldn’t make it in time. And so I told me I was like, well, let’s go do we’ll do the drive thru tree, which I had planned for in the morning, and then we’ll do the trees of mystery thing in the morning.
[00:24:32.310] – Kim Tate
We’ll just drive back up because it was about a ten minute is about ten minutes away from the hotel. So we backtracked a little, but it wasn’t a big deal at all and that worked out perfect. So I would say try and have some flexibility with your planning, if you can at all. But it actually paid off because and here’s another tip for people. We if you do like Google, if you do a search for Google, like for the destination.
[00:24:56.310] – Kim Tate
So, for instance, I did the tour through Tree in Klamath, California, and I had navigated to it or something. And sometimes you’ll see Google will give you like it’s busier than normal or they’ll have you seen that where they give you a little line graphs and tell you how busy it is? Well, I noticed that on the daytime, like in the mornings, it’s very busy, but in the evenings it’s not busy at all. And I was like, well, this will actually work perfect.
[00:25:21.870] – Kim Tate
We’ll go in on that Monday evening, get the pictures and do it because it’s still fairly light out, you know, until 7:00 p.m. or so and do that. And then the next morning, it gave us time to go to Trees of Mystery. And we drove up and had no wait. And while we were there taking pictures, only one other car showed up. So that’s the other thing to think about are some of these things. If you can actually, you know, eat somehow and then really use that, I would say it’s the final two minutes, kind of it’s like the five p.m. to seven, eight, especially in the summers.
[00:25:50.610] – Kim Tate
You can really push it to eight or nine with the longer daylight. I think that’s a sweet spot of like avoiding a lot of crowds if you if the places are operational and open.
[00:26:01.320] – Tamara Gruber
So. Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s like typical dinnertime. Yeah, no. So if you can either eat earlier or eat late, but just make sure that places are open, especially in small places like that. But that’s good.
[00:26:12.780] – Kim Tate
Well it’s funny, the road trip routes, people kind of get to their hotels by four or five p.m. and they’re kind of done for the day they go eat. And I mean, that’s sort of what we would do. So then if you add something in during that time or go back out from your hotel, which is what you know, we did it, it really can pay off.
[00:26:28.590] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. It’s funny that you mention, though, the the roadside like advertising, because I actually like that part of road trips where it’s advertising a an attraction, you know, and not just, you know, whatever business or lawyer, you know, fill up at Shell. Yeah. Yeah. So when we were driving to Steamboat Springs, I was probably about two hours on this like smaller road. And I can’t even tell you how many signs it had to be like one hundred signs, just like every, you know, whatever number of feet advertising this one, like cowboy hat and cowboy boots off.
[00:27:06.450] – Tamara Gruber
So when we were in Steamboat Springs, we we had lunch there and then we walked around a little bit before we went to the ranch. I’m like, we have to go into this. Or I mean, they put so much effort into it, like not and we walked in and Glenn was like I’ll be next door, I was like, OK, but I had to at least check it out. Yeah, exactly. Kind of like the wall drugs or, you know, of those sort of tourist attraction kind of places.
[00:27:29.170] – Tamara Gruber
I don’t know. Yeah. It kind of makes me happy to see those kind of things.
[00:27:32.050] – Kim Tate
Yeah. There was another one in like southern Oregon that we kept passing signs for. That was like a wildlife drive through park thing. And the girls were like, oh, that’s cool. And, you know, so, you know, it seems like that’s the thing to do for some of those those attractions is probably how they get a lot of people. But again, that’s where I say having some flexibility and not over scheduling your drive times allow you those a little bit of ability to be a little more spontaneous, which I think makes a road trip because and we’ve talked about this on our road trip thing where you needed to decide if the road trip is going to be just about getting to a destination or if the road trip is going to be a the the trip of itself.
[00:28:11.770] – Kim Tate
[00:28:12.370] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So so I’m getting from you, though, that the trees of mystery is worth skipping, whatever that mystery is.
[00:28:20.290] – Kim Tate
I think it depends. It was definitely like it’s a little pricey. It’s like 20 dollars a person. So but if you we had fun. It’s like rope walks and then you take like a little gondola way high on a hill. And the look from the hill isn’t anything fun. But the girls had fun riding in the gondola and I mean, walking through the bridges, through the trees is fun.
[00:28:44.530] – Kim Tate
And the girls liked that. But it’s short. And I mean, I think I’d be more comfortable at the ten dollars per person mark. However, you know, I don’t regret going. And the girls enjoyed it. And it was a good way to stretch your legs and stuff. And it’s kind of a fun way to it’s a quirky roadside attraction. It was the one thing where we saw it definitely was attract a lot of out-of-state tourists. We saw a lot of out-of-state plates in the parking lot.
[00:29:09.550] – Kim Tate
We did see a lower mask compliance, just like passing people because it’s outdoors and stuff. And this is where the outdoor like if you’re vaccinated. So it I think it just attracts like it’s an outdoorsy type place. So I could see that it could get really crowded on a weekend. Yeah. We definitely by the time we left, so it was good because we got up early because we are and like I say, we were only ten minutes away from our hotel.
[00:29:31.990] – Kim Tate
We got up early, went there and it was it was great. I mean, we weren’t like maybe it seemed like there was five other people there same night we were. But when we came out, it was just packed. And so we probably were leaving around eleven ish and we got there around nine thirty and. Yeah. Yeah. So that gives you an idea of just earlier the better for that thing. Right. Yeah. So then we entered into the redwoods as always that we’ve been to before.
[00:30:00.190] – Kim Tate
We did notice something weird, like the main exit I normally take because I wanted to drive along like the Prairie Creek Road. They had that closed for some reason. So I went south and I could have come back in from the north route. But I don’t know why they had it closed for any reason. But we decided to skip that little leg of it and just kept going. But here’s something to think about. If you are doing a coastal trip and this is something that I mentioned in my Olympic National Park Post, and it also matters.
[00:30:28.360] – Kim Tate
On the Oregon coast you really need to become familiar with tide charts when you’re on the West Coast. And I’m sure the East Coast is the same thing. But it it makes a difference when you’re expecting these great like things. One of the things we looked at that I wanted to do is called Agate Beach, and it’s supposed to be a really popular place where you go and you can walk along a pretty beach and find these really cool Agate rocks and kind of collect some if you want.
[00:30:54.370] – Kim Tate
And we found out, though, as we were coming through and looked at the tide schedule, that we are going to be there basically smack dab at high tide. It seems like it’s not finding any rocks. Yeah. So we wouldn’t and so I pulled in and it was a ten dollar. I thought, well, we’ll still go look and see, but it was ten dollar, you know, park admission. And so I asked the they had a actually they had a park ranger on site there.
[00:31:17.560] – Kim Tate
And so I asked if they had a you know, if it was even worth going down there. And he was like not really, not during high tide. So just something to keep in mind that if you’re doing any like beach visits and things like that, that it can really make a difference depending on the tide charts.
[00:31:31.810] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I feel like I saw that recently. Someone had posted something somewhere about the sea glass beach that you had gone to in the past, much in the past.
[00:31:40.270] – Tamara Gruber
And they were super disappointed with it. And I was like, oh, that’s interesting because someone else, you know, really liked it. So clearly it’s a different experience, depending on if you’re there, you can actually collect sea glass or not.
[00:31:51.430] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And that makes a difference. You know, we had the same thing, like with tide pools, like when the tide pool, when things are really high, the tide pools aren’t as cool, you know, because sure, you can’t walk out and see all the pools. And so you want to visit during low tide. And then something to keep in mind is it’s always good when you look at the charts, you always kind of want the tide to be leaving as opposed to the tide come.
[00:32:13.520] – Kim Tate
And because if you happen to go around like a jut that seems like it’s dry at the time, but the tides coming in, suddenly you turn around to go back to where you parked or whatever, and it used to be a beach and now it’s, you know, two feet underwater. And so that’s just something to keep in mind when you’re doing an app for that or just just the weather app that shows you the the tides as well. I just do Google searches and I click on one of the websites that does the tides.
[00:32:39.530] – Kim Tate
I don’t use just a general weather one. I definitely do like a specific, but I don’t have an app. I’m sure you could install an app. I just do a Google search for it and I just search for the destination. So if I’m like I beach or it was called some park, you know, tide schedule and you can normally find a few different ones and I’ll show you. And there’s, you know, it’ll show you like low tide times.
[00:32:59.030] – Kim Tate
And based on the chart they give you, you can easily figure out if the tides leaving or the tides coming in. And then we kind of the big thing we did was the Avenue of the Giants, which is one of my favorite parts of the Redwood Forest. And so we still did that. And even though we’ve done the redwoods a lot in, the girls are just kind of like your mom. I don’t need to do any hikes. And I accepted that.
[00:33:20.330] – Kim Tate
I was like, yeah, we’ve done a lot of like walking in the redwoods. We still pulled over. There’s a lot of little turnouts and we still pulled over and tried to get kind of some fun, you know, like tree road drive shots, like tree road pictures. That’s a tip is you know, that would be another thing that if you’re there at night, like between five to seven, it would look so much better because with the sunlight dappling through the trees, it looks pretty.
[00:33:42.170] – Kim Tate
And it seems like it would be really pretty on like in photos. But it’s not it doesn’t look right at all. You definitely want the darker, moodier shot for those kind of shots. But sorry, that’s a little photography talk. But we did have one little stop where we went and kind of explored a little. And there is this awesome big tree that the girls climbed on. And I got a fun picture on that, that you guys might have seen.
[00:34:02.120] – Kim Tate
Those of you who follow me on Instagram. Yeah.
[00:34:04.340] – Tamara Gruber
And reminded me of a shot that you and I had when we were in Santa Rosa.
[00:34:08.450] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It was even bigger than that tree at the Armstrong Woods in Santa Rosa. So it was kind of cool, but it was pretty epic. It was funny because I was taking these pictures with Lizzy and all of a sudden I’m like, Mia, where are you? And then she’s like, I’m up here like thirty feet in the sky. It was crazy. But yeah. So we did the Avenue, the Giants, and then we went and stayed at a hotel just for the night to prepare for our two little kind of partnership things.
[00:34:35.120] – Kim Tate
So we the next day we headed into Santa Rosa. This was a funny I’ll just share with people our little tip, because this is something fun that I want to share. We so the weather in Seattle is normally pretty moderate. I mean, we don’t even have an air conditioner at our house that I think, you know. You know, that summer we hadn’t had major harsh hot weather yet from this road trip. Mm. Especially being on the coast.
[00:34:59.450] – Kim Tate
Well, we stayed overnight in a place called Ukiah, and that was where we had kind of moved away from the redwoods in the coast. And we started moving inland at that point. And we woke up the next morning and we slept in it was asleep and day and got in the car and started driving. And it was boiling hot. I think by the I think when we left just before noon, the it was about seventy two or seventy three and then the temperature was going to hit like 81 or 82 that day.
[00:35:26.780] – Kim Tate
And we started driving and we’re all like sweating and the air conditioner is not working. Like I’m literally like my shirt sticking to my back and we’re like, oh my goodness. And I’m trying to get a hold of Paul. I’m driving or trying to call Paul. And he’s in meetings all day. And he’s normally my I’ll be I’ll admit, like he’s definitely the car guy for us and the fix it guy. And we then decided, like, what am I going to do?
[00:35:50.060] – Kim Tate
And so I asked me to help look up a Honda dealership because thankfully this was a really short drive into Santa Rosa and there was a Honda dealership there. So I called them and said, here’s the situation. We have a busy road trip. Like, I don’t have any time, do you have any time to get in and look at it and maybe be able to fix it if it’s something easy and they’re like, yeah, go ahead, bring it on in.
[00:36:09.410] – Kim Tate
And I said, OK, we’ll be there in forty minutes. We’re on the road. And so then we pull into this Honda dealership and they tell us that it’s a five hundred dollar diagnosis fee, like just to diagnose. I’m not even to fix it. And Lizzie jumps on because she’s learned from her dad, she jumps on YouTube and she types in like a Honda Odyssey air conditioner not working. And she finds this YouTube video that she starts to watch.
[00:36:34.850] – Kim Tate
And in it, the guy talks about a Fuse, you know, they call it a Fuse. It’s actually called a relay, I guess, or something. But she learned she’s like, Mom, I watched this video. And there’s just you take the you open the hood and you take off this lid on this thing and you use some pliers and pull out this thing. And I’m going, oh, great. You know, OK. And so we’ve sure enough find an auto autozone.
[00:36:54.860] – Kim Tate
I get a hold of Paul. Finally, he has a short break and he’s like, yeah, just go ahead and try it. And, you know, I’ve got another Mini I can’t talk. And so I’m like, OK, great. So I’m going to the AutoZone and Lizzy and I just are watching this YouTube video. And so we talk to the AutoZone. They don’t have any pliers or anything we can use. They try and sell us a fuse puller, because of that point, Lizzy keeps calling it a Fuse, and so we buy this Fuse puller, we go out there and open it all up and are like, this doesn’t fit. This is not what it is. And so we go back in and return that and ask the guy like, can we just borrow some pliers? Because Lizzie said that’s what the guy used on YouTube. And we buy the had to buy pliers for ten dollars.
[00:37:30.710] – Kim Tate
And sure enough, we pull the piece, the part out that the guy recommended and take it into AutoZone. Do you guys sell this part? Nope, they don’t sell it. So then we call Lizzy actually gets on the phone calls the Honda dealership that just told us they’d charge us five hundred dollars to diagnose it and asks if they have this part. Sure enough, they have the part for thirty four dollars. So we all hop in the car and drive back over to the Honda dealership, going to the parts department, buy the part in the parking lot.
[00:37:56.240] – Kim Tate
We swap out this little Fuse relay and put it all back together, turn on the car. We have air conditioning. So instead of spending five hundred dollars plus, you know, they probably would have charged us seventy dollars for the part and another hundred dollars for to install it. We came out of there having Lizzy empowered about fixing her own car, our own car problem, and then also only spending thirty four dollars.
[00:38:20.780] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah I think that’s amazing. When you shared that story I even told Glenn and Hannah and we were all like, wow, we were so impressed with, with Lizzy and you guys are figuring that out. So awesome job. So Paul should be very proud of you.
[00:38:33.740] – Kim Tate
He was, he was so excited. He thought it was the coolest thing ever. And he was a little, you know, worried, like, did you keep the did you put it all back together? You sure? You know, like a little a little concern, but we’re like, no. And so it Lizzy is very proud of herself to which I think was was a lot of fun. But just a heads up for you guys. YouTube can teach a lot.
[00:38:52.910] – Kim Tate
I feel bad sometimes for the parts departments, but my goodness. Or I mean not part the service departments of car places.
[00:38:59.360] – Tamara Gruber
But it’s helped me with my washing machine when I’ve had.
[00:39:02.010] – Kim Tate
Yes, yeah. We fix so many things on YouTube. And I was so happy that Lizzy, you know, learn from her dad to look it up. And yeah, that was her thinking.
[00:39:09.230] – Tamara Gruber
[00:39:10.340] – Kim Tate
Yeah. So sorry guys. That was a little side note, but we did make it to Santa Rosa finally. And then, you know, we had air conditioning and we headed over to Safari West, which you and I have been to. And I think we talked about it on the podcast whenever we talked about our little getaway to Santa Rosa. But Safari West is a it’s an accredited zoo association. It’s part of the ACA and it’s a wildlife park that, you know, is works towards conservation and education about primarily African animals.
[00:39:41.360] – Kim Tate
And it’s pretty cool because you can camp there overnight and they have these amazing, you know, like really luxury Botswana camping tents. And Tamara, you and I have stayed in one and we got to stay with the girls and had a great time.
[00:39:56.270] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, they’re really nice tents, too. It’s gorgeous. Yeah. I was always I was very impressed. I mean, I’ve now done a few different glamping tents and I would say that they were the best. I was. Yeah, probably. Yeah. Better than under canvas even which I would put maybe second. Yeah. Yeah. Really. Like although I did do a really nice one at KOA that had electricity and he and a bathroom with like a rain shower kind of thing, but not a super, super nice because where else in the U.S. can you stay in that tent and then step out onto your porch and look at giraffes.
[00:40:29.600] – Kim Tate
Yeah. And that’s where, you know, you you and I, we had a different they were like fully booked when they hooked us up for our stay. And so we were in a different location. We were up on a hillside. And I definitely like you and I had the better cabin and it’s worth it. I think they cost probably about fifty more dollars to stay at that lower location. But for reasons of sound and just accessibility to the main lobby areas and then the view of the giraffes, I think the Antelope Valley is what those ones were called and it was well worth a little bit of extra, but they’re definitely the premium.
[00:41:00.380] – Kim Tate
I love all the linens they have, like you said, like the heating blankets. And it’s you don’t and they’ve got the space heater, whereas, you know, under canvas you’re kind of dumping you have to manage your own fire to make heat. And then I also like that it’s got two plugs in the bathroom. So you do have some electricity and then you can also turn on the shower like a normal shower with under canvas. It’s a pull chain shower.
[00:41:22.160] – Kim Tate
So. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, it was it was so nice. And I love it there because you can truly do, you know, like a getaway where they’ve got the restaurant, they serve you breakfast and then you can have dinner there as well. You can even arrange lunch if you want it. And then you get to do this, you can do this wildlife tour, which is about two and a half to three hours, and they drive you around and you get to see see all the different animals.
[00:41:44.540] – Kim Tate
So it’s really fun.
[00:41:46.460] – Tamara Gruber
Do the girls really love it? I mean, they haven’t been before, so now they haven’t.
[00:41:50.630] – Kim Tate
They loved it. Yeah, they thought it was cool. And they’re excited about the they of course, really loved the giraffes and then they just had fun. Once we moved to the top, we weren’t on the top in the giraffe section, but once we moved up to the top later on, they had a lot of fun. And when we were lower on, the ostriches came over in like we’re really close to me.
[00:42:06.860] – Kim Tate
And she thought it was so fun. And we just sat there and kind of looked at them up close and personal and it was pretty cool. So I think it’s great and the food there is really good I mean, we had a great time and with it being covered right now, they’ve got it where you get to order your breakfast in advance and they have, like kind of your tent. You have a section you can set out for dinner and everything is just spaced well and you’re eating outdoors.
[00:42:28.380] – Kim Tate
And it just felt really nice. And relaxing, I think is the big thing is it’s just a really relaxing type of trip, I will say, which you and I experienced. Mara, you do have to look at the temperature, especially the overnight temps, because when you go to bed at night, it can get cold fast. And then when you wake up in the morning to go into that bathroom, you keep the door to the bathroom close because they keep it kind of airflow for smells, I think, or something.
[00:42:51.540] – Kim Tate
But it’s really cold. So when you if you choose to take a shower in the morning, it’s icy, the water’s warm, but the room is just really cold.
[00:43:00.600] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I had that when I did my glamping stay in New Hampshire and I think it was early October, but I was freezing, absolutely freezing. And I had like a little space heater in the bathroom and the warm shower. But it’s still like it was harsh stepping out of it. Yeah, well, it sounds like a neat and fun, very different thing for California. So, yeah. So now you’re like, you know, heading like out of Northern California to central California.
[00:43:27.810] – Tamara Gruber
What was your next, you know, day?
[00:43:29.340] – Kim Tate
So the next stop after Santa Rosa is passing through San Francisco and we almost always have driven across the Golden Gate Bridge. But on this trip, this was where we wanted to go swing by and just see the UC Berkeley campus. And so we actually went across the other bridge, which I don’t know if it’s the Oakland Bridge or if it’s just some other bridge. I’m not sure which bridge it’s called, but it was a pretty nice bridge as well.
[00:43:50.490] – Kim Tate
And it just passed is kind of a little more east than the Golden Gate Bridge. And we drove through the Berkeley campus and then got back on the road and we were going to go to Santa Cruz near Santa Cruz place called Watsonville. There’s the Martinelli’s cider. And we’ve done that cider tasting there and we were so excited to do it again. But before we left, I made sure to check and I realized they’re not even doing the tastings because of covid.
[00:44:16.620] – Kim Tate
And so we didn’t stop, you know, because it’s all closed down. So thankfully, we figured that out before. We actually because it was a little out of the way, but not too bad. But we determined that. And we just made our way to Monterey, where we spent two nights in Monterey, and that was kind of the last part of our trip. So I think you’ve done more of the central coast, like from Monterey down you go through Big Sur and all of that.
[00:44:39.690] – Kim Tate
Cambria, there’s a lot of beautiful stuff that as you get ready to come in, like Ventura and Santa Barbara and stay along the coast there, the highway one was closed at Big Sur. So Monterey was kind of sort of the most the main the southernmost, most section that was still open. And so we headed over after Monterey, back over to the 101 and then headed down to stay with our friends.
[00:45:05.700] – Tamara Gruber
So what do you do in Monterey? Did you go to the aquarium?
[00:45:08.160] – Kim Tate
We did not. The aquarium was still closed, so they had not opened yet. But we actually did a couple of things. So we did a bike tour. So we kind of did an E bike tour, which was fun with a company called Mad Dogs and Englishmen. And so we headed out in the morning, met them, and they actually have a new little spot right there in Monterey on Cannery Row. And so you can park at the hotel.
[00:45:32.910] – Kim Tate
They do free valet parking for the tour guests, which was a huge perk. And you can then get on your little E bikes. And they took us around like part of seventeen mile, seventeen mile, you know, Pebble Beach. Yeah. And only part of it though. And then we headed back around and came through some of the town and they just would stop occasionally. And of course Pacific Grove where they had the beautiful purple flowers just along the coast and just gave us some little tips and had some pretty stops along the way.
[00:46:00.930] – Kim Tate
And it was E bikes, which is yeah, it’s gorgeous. And it was kind of a cold morning. So I actually ended up buying like seventy dollar hoodies for the girls because both of them somehow managed to not get the message to wear coat because I guess it had been so hot, you know, at their other things. So we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, which is just kind of remodeled, I think, not remodeled.
[00:46:24.240] – Kim Tate
The the rooms have been upgraded. So more of a soft linens upgrade and kind of refashion. And it looked really nice. And so we we stayed there. They are like fully open and have a couple pools open and then they also have a golf course there. So they at night they do these fire pits, kind of communal fire pits. But if one group’s already there, you’re not you’re not supposed to go into it, if that makes sense.
[00:46:46.660] – Kim Tate
So it was kind of a central it was a good jumping off point because we stayed there and then went around and did a few things. So that was good. We did drive down to the famous Bixby Bridge, which we just wanted to take a look at that.
[00:46:59.550] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, but I saw you guys there.
[00:47:01.920] – Kim Tate
Yeah. And they’re really they’re trying to, like, not encourage travel there. People are just insane. So it’s really limited parking, of course, but then they have these big, big rocks to try and. Encourage people to stay in, like right along the parking area and just look at the bridge and the coast, but I mean, these people are insane. They’re like climbing over the rocks and climbing, like off the ledge, a little bit of the you know, because it’s a it goes to the ocean and people have gotten hurt there and people are not caring.
[00:47:32.630] – Kim Tate
So they’re not necessarily encouraging that. But I just encourage you, if you’re going to go to Bixby Bridge, make sure you stay safe on the ground. That’s next. The parking area. And don’t try and go get that perfect Instagram shot, which is what I saw. All the crazy people that were doing it were kind of going past that section. But sorry, I’m doing a so it’s really a shame. Like how many things have turned into that?
[00:47:54.980] – Kim Tate
Like, because of Instagram, I was going to get like this shot and it’s it’s definitely not worth taking your life in your hands.
[00:48:04.280] – Kim Tate
So right near that is a place called Garrapata State Park.
[00:48:09.920] – Tamara Gruber
I stopped there. That’s beautiful.
[00:48:13.310] – Kim Tate
It’s beautiful. Beautiful. And they actually have a beautiful you can go, they have a white sandy beach area that you can hike down to and they also have not too far from there are really famous spot called Lily Valley which is where all these wild calla lilies grow. Wow. And it’s kind of along a stream that empties over into the ocean and along this little streamy valley is this calla lilly Valley. It’s just insane of all these wild calla lilies. So it’s kind of a popular little tourist spot.
[00:48:41.030] – Kim Tate
And we hiked around there and all the wildflowers and just kind of the it’s like a cliff beach of a sort. So you’re you’re up a little higher and then you kind of look down on the white sand beach and the waves, it just seemed like a really nice place to hang out. And I think the parking lot is very the parking is limited. And you could see that it’s probably really popular and can get busy.
[00:49:03.440] – Tamara Gruber
So, yeah, when we stayed in Carmel, we we stopped there like on our way down towards Big Sur. But then we had also done like a day hike or, you know, like a spent part of a day at Point Lobos State Park, which is another gorgeous spot right now.
[00:49:19.130] – Kim Tate
Yeah, that’s that’s a really popular spot. We didn’t go there, but yeah, I could tell that was popular. There was people like hiking out to the highway from the from the park entrance. They marked it closed because there was no parking. I mean the park was open but you couldn’t drive in there.
[00:49:32.460] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I was full. I love that part of the coast. It’s really beautiful. And it’s so especially if you can if you can. I know some other people do like kayaking tours are where you can see otters and things like that. So there is definitely a lot to do if you, you know, for people that want to spend. Yeah. A couple or a few days in that area.
[00:49:49.040] – Kim Tate
Well, in the Monterey Bay Aquarium is amazing and really cool. But like I said, that was it was closed, but it was opening. It was opening in May. So it will be reopen soon. And I have to say, I’ll give a couple shout outs to food places in Monterey just because this is one place I know we’re getting a little long, but one place that I really had some good experiences, one place we ate at was called Rio Grill, which it’s kind of cool.
[00:50:09.530] – Kim Tate
You can tell that they have kind of made their sidewalk and outdoor seating area and it was quaint. They had, you know, heating the heaters going and they had created kind of a wall of sorts from the parking lot with plants and. Yeah, fence. And it just looked great. So they did a good job at that. And the food was delicious and they were so helpful. Mia had ordered something and felt like she was like she started eating it.
[00:50:34.490] – Kim Tate
They thought it was safe. But she’s like, no, and it’s normally eggs will do this. It wasn’t nothing. But she’s like, no, it doesn’t seem right. And so they were like, oh, no problem, let’s get you something. And so she took a Benadryl and then they got her something different. And it was so awesome. And the food was delicious and they were so friendly and so helpful. And then there’s also a really famous bakery in Monterey called Alta Bakery.
[00:50:58.280] – Kim Tate
And we stop there for breakfast the next morning before our bike ride. And I have to say they had some amazing things. There’s a huge line normally waiting outside to place your order and stuff. So you do have to allow a little bit of time. And finding parking can be a little tricky, but it was an awesome little spot. And then lastly, I want to give a shout out to a place called Lucie’s on Lighthouse, which was a hot dog joint that’s got like kind of a skateboard theme.
[00:51:22.460] – Kim Tate
And basically they have all these crazy hot dogs that you can get all these different, whatever it’s called, you know, like toppings and stuff. So a little bit about that. It was really awesome. Sound fun. Yeah. And so for Monterey, we went, like I said, to our friend’s house and that was kind of it, and that was in Ojai. And so we didn’t really do much else. We did some day trips.
[00:51:45.950] – Kim Tate
We hiked the Hollywood sign, which was a pretty epic fun thing to do. And that was about a I think it was just over four mile hike, round trip and, you know, some great views of L.A. It was not too smoggy and pretty clear day. So it was a fun and fun way to get outside and something epic that, you know, you hear about. But we’ve never really done so.
[00:52:07.130] – Tamara Gruber
And I was really surprised you said that that wasn’t crowded. Are there different like approaches of different? Or is it just like there is one hike to the top of the, you know, by the Hollywood sign?
[00:52:17.800] – Kim Tate
I think there’s different approaches, like some people hike it from over at the. Is it the Griffith Observatory? Yeah, yeah. Some people hike it from over there. But I think that’s like a six or so mile hike. This one is a little more like you’ll see tons of signs as we approach. We saw in like funny enough, we found it in a blog, but is you approached through the neighborhoods as you’re driving. It’s like no parking for Hollywood sign, no parking for Hollywood sign.
[00:52:39.430] – Kim Tate
And there’s all these warnings and we’re like, OK, but then once you kind of get to the end into this neighborhood, there’s no more signs and it’s street parking and stuff. So we just parked on a street like in this neighborhood, and then you can enter at this little trailhead. So there’s not there’s a trailhead, kind of an entrance, but there’s not really parking like a trailhead. So that makes sense. But they’re definitely trying to discourage people, I think, from because it was an extremely tight, windy, hilly, rich neighborhood, if that makes sense.
[00:53:08.830] – Kim Tate
Yeah, but that’s so that was the Four mile approach. So there was definitely cars there and some people. But we went on a weekday, too. And again, I think the more you can do stuff during the daytime, it’s good. And and I think it you know, it is a bit of a hike and it’s got some elevation climb for sure. So it probably scares off some people.
[00:53:30.230] – Tamara Gruber
Must have been fun for the girls. They’ll be up there. It was you know, everyone has seen the Hollywood sign.
[00:53:34.480] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s I mean, the approach that we took also is, you know, you got a really good, like little outlook view of the Hollywood sign from the front. So from the back, it’s it’s neat. You can kind of have a good overlook of the L.A. area. But, you know, the actual Hollywood sign itself, you don’t see very well, because it’s kind of there’s a big radio tower and cell phone tower that’s all gated off.
[00:53:54.850] – Kim Tate
And the the back of the Hollywood sign, there’s a big fence along it. So you can’t actually go near any of the letters if that makes sense. So you’re taking pictures behind a fence. Yeah, but it’s cool. So, yeah, that’s kind of it. And I mean, we could keep going on because you’ve said everything about, you know, once you go to Central, keep along the coast. I mean, there’s so much more like from Monterey down into Southern California than a coast of Southern California is a whole other journey.
[00:54:20.680] – Kim Tate
But this gives you guys an idea of just that, you know, a little bit of portion. So I would say, you know, it would definitely be about an eight to nine day trip. So because like we said, we had 14 days, but we stayed five days with our friends. So that gives you gives you an idea.
[00:54:38.710] – Tamara Gruber
Well, we will link to your post in our show notes. And I do have an old post about our, like, Carmel to Cambria section. So I’ll link to that as well, because that goes into some of the more detailed stops. But I think definitely just keep in mind that people do need to pay attention to the the road closures and conditions because there have been numerous times that I know and I’m on the East Coast, so I don’t hear the news as much where that section by Big Sur is closed because of, you know, mudslides or, you know, rockslides or something.
[00:55:08.770] – Tamara Gruber
So, yeah, it can really ruin a vacation if that’s the if that’s where you’re staying or if that’s I remember there was one time where it’s closed for quite a while. And like the resort there, I do like helicopter people in.
[00:55:20.620] – Kim Tate
Yes, yeah, yeah. They try and reroute. So the businesses that are, you know, affected by it aren’t that affected, but there’s just no way around it if it closes down. And yeah, it’s normally like if it closes down it’s like for a year normally when it, when it happens. So I think it just reopened. So it wasn’t open for us when we went at the end of March, beginning of April. But it I heard it just reopened.
[00:55:44.050] – Kim Tate
So if anyone has any questions. Yeah. We had a great time. It was it’s so amazing to just I love my kids and being with them like really made me appreciate them even more. And I think it’s amazing just how much we bonded and talked and laughed. And there was just the other thing that’s nice about not being in a hurry and planning really slow days is that you can say yes more often. You can be you know, if they’re interested in something or if you’re it’s just nice.
[00:56:11.710] – Kim Tate
It’s great. And they learned so many skills along the way, you know, about I would have Mia she sat up front with me because she gets motion sickness. That’s another thing. If you are motion sickness, you need to be driving or you need to be in the front and you have to take motion sickness meds like she it’s very rough for a motion car, sick people. So just a heads up on that. But she was my little navigator and we’d be, you know, we’d start getting hungry.
[00:56:36.800] – Kim Tate
And I’m like, OK, we’re getting ready to come into this town, you know, start looking like, what would we want to eat around here, you guys? What, you know, find a place. And she kind of took control of figuring that out. And so it’s cool how they learned some travel planning and kind of how it works on a road trip.
[00:56:54.670] – Tamara Gruber
Life Skills. And it’s kind of nice just to do with you and your girls, too, because, you know, maybe that role would have been taken by you or Paul, you know. You know, then suddenly they’re in the copilot seat.
[00:57:07.090] – Kim Tate
Yeah, like, she loved helping me. I mean, she had a lot of fun with it and she was just talk to me and. You know, normally should be on her phone or watching something and with her up in the front with me, she would just talk a lot and see stuff and it was awesome.
[00:57:20.730] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, it makes a big difference, if you like, in the back. It’s easy for them, just like pop in their earbuds, their headphones and just tune out. And then when you’re trying to ask something, I don’t know how many times we’re like Hannah, Hannah.
[00:57:33.960] – Kim Tate
Yeah, that was me. I’m like Lizzy. And then me, I would turn around, like, waving at her. Right.
[00:57:39.510] – Tamara Gruber
But when they’re in the front seat, they at least feel a little bit more guilty to do that. And and you can have the conversation more. And yeah, it’s just it is really nice. And you think about all the time that you’ve been in the same house together in the last year. But there’s something still special about having those family trips together. So it really is. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just I’ve always said it. I always will say it’s, you know, whether it’s family or even just anyone like that, change of scenery makes a huge difference.
[00:58:07.720] – Kim Tate
Absolutely agree. Yeah. So that’s all I have. So like you, this episode went long and I rambled a lot, but it was a lot of fun to share all about.
[00:58:14.790] – Tamara Gruber
Well, at least now we know that, you know, our listeners like it, so it’s good. Yeah, exactly. And you have some good tips because I know that many people will be, you know, the one to visit these places and plan, you know, that kind of road trip, if they haven’t already and there are so many options know there’s so many different ways to do that. Itinerary, different places or priorities you want to stop at.
[00:58:33.690] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So it’s you know, it’s been nice that you’ve gotten to do it so many times that you’ve been able to pick and choose, you know, the things that you either return to or the new ones that you want to discover.
[00:58:43.240] – Kim Tate
Yeah, yeah. It’s always fun. And I find that it seems good with your kids, like there’s a little bit of like the legacy they like kind of doing some of the same stuff again. But it’s fun to discover something new on a trip that they feel really comfortable with. And having a blend of that is is fun. It was fun. .
[00:58:58.890] – Tamara Gruber
So yeah, I could see that for sure. You know, it’s not doing the same trip. You know, this is going to you know, I think of like, you know, my sister’s family, like they just always went to the same beach every year. That was their vacation, you know. Yeah. And there’s, you know, there’s nice there’s comfort in it. Look, my nephew ended up proposing to his wife on that, you know, like, yeah, there’s a real there’s something that, you know, is wonderful about that.
[00:59:21.450] – Tamara Gruber
But I do I agree with you. I like being able to blend that mix of, you know, the things that you love with. Still getting to see something new is like kind of nice, especially for a family where maybe some somebody likes, you know, not doing new things and someone else is doing maybe. Yeah, definitely. Cool. Well, I think next time we’re all a little bit I have some road trips of my own coming up or some little trips coming up and going to be doing a lot more exploring in the next month or so of our home region here in New England, especially now that things are, you know, opened up and, you know, at least, you know, if you’re vaccinated and or if you’re from this area.
[00:59:59.460] – Tamara Gruber
So it’s exciting for me where, you know, we’ve talked about many times, like just kind of felt a little trapped. And so now it’s like I can go to Vermont, I can go to Maine. Yeah. Yeah. We’re so excited about, you know, sharing some of those trips coming up. So sound excited.
[01:00:15.690] – Kim Tate
And don’t forget, everyone, send us a note about your travel. You know, if you’re looking for some travel advice, send us a note.
[01:00:22.630] – Tamara Gruber
Talk to you next time.