northern california road trip
Lifestyle,Teresa's Favorites,Travel & Adventure

A Holiday Road Trip to Northern California

This was such an interesting vacation we just took. I thought it sounded like so much work because we were driving. I can’t remember the last time I took a road trip as vacation but it was so awesome. It allowed us to see so much more, remain really flexible with our time and spend LOTS of quality time together! So if you’re interested in what a road trip looks a little bit like from San Diego to the Sonoma Coast, read on! It wasn’t the healthiest, and in fact, I’ve just decided to play my December Weight Loss game and do my December Fitness Challenge. Ha! But I think it’s part of balance. If you can’t cut the leash every once in a while, where’s the fun? The fine line of Happy and Healthy is always a delicate walk.

Why we decided to take this trip

Jimmy decided he wanted to be in a hotel room, on a cliff with and unobstructed view of the ocean for his birthday. So he and google went to work and came up with Timber Cove on the Sonoma Coast. I did very little question asking because it was his birthday and it was going to work out well because we could spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s family – win win! I don’t think I knew our final destination was a full 12 hours away, and I’m pretty sure there are few hotel rooms with cliff side, unobstructed views between here and there, but oh well. It’s done and it was quite the adventure!

Wednesday: San Diego to Paso Robles

  • 328 miles which took us under 7 hours with stops

We left bright and early, I think 8 am to be exact! I packed up Todd (my lovely white Fiat), grabbed my boyfriend and we were off! We took the 15 all the way up and cut over directly on the 46 which I didn’t even really know was an option. Not having to go right through the heart of LA was awesome! We stopped at Tobin James on the way in because I do believe it was the first winery we saw. Ha! To our surprise, they have quite the selection and all the tastings are free. I’m somehow now very accustom to paying ~$15 per winery for 4-5 tastes but that is not the case in the wineries we visited in Paso. Bonus! So between Tobin James, Grizzly Republic and Chateau Lattau, we stocked up 20+ bottles of wine…and some of them even made them all the way back to San Diego with us.

We  had the best pizza of my life at Marv’s Original Pizza Co and I think I’m still mad at Jimmy for eating all the leftovers while I was asleep. Ha! We stayed the night at the Paso Robles Inn which is quite nice. We upgraded our room and ended up with a Jacuzzi tub on our balcony and a fire place. So cozy!

paso robles

Thursday (Thanksgiving): Paso Robles to Santa Cruz

  • 131 miles which took us about 2 hours with no stops

The drive was easy peasy on Thanksgiving morning. I call it Santa Cruz, but I really grew up in Capitola. I love visiting home! We had the most wonderful Thanksgiving at my step-sister’s beautiful house. I’m kicking myself for not taking…well, any pictures! Ug! But everything was just perfect and we had plenty of wine. ha ha. We watch the Niners take a pretty brutal beating no fun at all. I did a little work, pet my dads cats, toured their most beautiful garden and really had a pretty perfect holiday. Marilyn made the most divine and clever pie for desert that I can’t wait to try and replicate for Christmas! It was so smart. It was pecan filling on the bottom, a row of apples along the outside of the pie and the center was filled with pumpkin pie. So clever and so delicious! Here’s the Apple-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie recipe if you’re also dying to try it out.  We slept at my dad’s house on the airbed which always feels so sophisticated.

Santa Cruz Collage

Friday (Jimmy’s Birthday): Santa Cruz to Timber Cove (Sonoma Coast)

  • 166 miles which took us about 5-6 hours because we stopped for awesome lunch!

This was Jimmy’s birthday so I let him sleep in I had the chance to hit my favorite bakery with one of my lifetime best gal pals (again, I can’t believe no pictures…I was really on vacation). We hit the road late morning and headed for our final destination! We were stopping in Botega Bay for crab sandwiches and to meet some San Diego friends who were also spending their long weekend up on the Sonoma Coast. So cool! This drive is unreal and so fun! Todd was the perfect fit for the windy roads and I drove the entire way. It’s some of the most divine coast I’ve ever seen. It started raining on us about half way, but that just added to the beauty really. We rolled into Timber Cove in the late afternoon…and it was remarkable.

We checked in, opened a bottle of wine and got ready to sit back and do nothing for the next 36 hours. We had dinner at the lodge and a lovely little molten chocolate cake with one candle to celebrate Jimmy’s birthday. It was perfect.

Sonoma Coast

Saturday: Timber Cove No Car….ahhhhhh

Timber Cove

Sunday: Timber Cove to San Jose to Santa Cruz

  • 142 miles 4 hours with stops and then another 45 to get from San Jose back to Capitola

So this was fantastic. We packed up to head out of Timber Cove and our trip home was designed to be nearly as much fun as our trip north! My dad plays small roles for the San Jose Opera (22 shows to be exact!) and they were closing out Rossini’s The Italian Girl Girl in Algiers so he as able to snag us some great tickets. As it turns out, this was quite frankly one of my most favorite performances ever! We were so tired that anything less than show-stopping would have put us to sleep and this was so fortunate that this show was divine! Captivating, entertaining, beautiful and quite goofy from start to finish. Then we ended the show with my folks taking us to a super nice dinner for Jimmy’s birthday. So sweet. We drove back to Santa Cruz and hit the sack on the airbed for our final night of vacation.

the hard thing about hard things

Monday: Santa Cruz to San Diego

  • 460 miles, took us 8 hours exactly with traffic and multiple stops.

We hit Gayle’s bakery again in the morning and left town around 10:40. Probably not the best idea as it put us in LA during rush hour. But with carpool, it really wasn’t that bad. We listened to the rest of “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz which was great. We could use my phone as a hotspot so both of us were able to get office work done while riding shot gun. We chowed down some of the finest road trip food you’ve seen and made it home before 7. Really, not that hard.

So it took us 6 days to get through all that I just typed it all up pretty quick! I had forgotten how fun road tripping can be when you really like your company…and well, our itinerary was pretty idea as well!

**What’s your favorite road trip memory or which trip is on your list?**

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