A Bride’s Last Ride (LA to San Fransisco)

My older sister, Malissa, got married on June 24, 2017!

However, before the big day, we went on a road trip along the Californian coast to not only celebrate her last days of being single but to spend time together before she entered a new and exciting chapter in her life! Malissa was indecisive in determining where she wanted to celebrate her bachelorette and suggested multiple places…so I eventually proposed the idea of a road trip. Exploration and adventure were the priority and so a road trip from Los Angeles to San Fransisco became the plan!

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Day 1: Los Angeles

We were joined by our younger sister, May, and friends, Tiffany and Kristine (“Tin”). We all arrived by plane to Los Angeles and met at the rental car company before driving to our first hotel. We stayed one night at the Baymount Inn Hotel where I accidentally reserved a smoking room. Not a great start to the trip…but the excitement of the upcoming road trip kept us in good spirits.

LA was just a starting point for us and we didn’t plan to explore it as a group. However, I was glad Malissa and Tin arrived a few days earlier to enjoy the numerous activities and sights LA had to offer. I was fortunate enough to visit LA a couple of times last year…you can read more about it here (Santa Monica/ Little Tokyo), here (Downtown LA), here (Staple Center/Lakers Game) and here (Adele Concert).

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Day 2: Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo

We began our road trip with some coffee and made an early start toward Santa Barbara on Highway 101 North. May May was our fearless driver for the trip!

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Since we ate breakfast at the hotel, we didn’t stop to eat and drove straight to the Santa Barbara Courthouse Tower which had an incredible panoramic view of the city!

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Santa Barabara is a beautiful small town. From the red-tile clay roofs to the street names, this town is heavily influenced by the Spanish. At the tower, we bumped into a couple who just got married. I have to admit, this place would be a gorgeous place to have a court wedding; there is a lot of great places to take photos inside and out.

We spent a little longer than planned at the tower, but we enjoyed our time exploring the halls of the Santa Barbara Courthouse – it’s definitely a must-see if you come to visit!

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After Santa Barbara, we continued on Highway 101 North to Highway 154 West toward the next town on our list, Solvang!

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Solvang is a quaint little Dutch-inspired town with a unique feel and cute architecture. It felt like Disney’s Snow White inspired village. We wondered the streets eating pastries, drinking wine and exploring antique shops!

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From a lovely Spanish town to a cute Dutch village, you won’t believe where we ended up next! As we drove to our next destination we passed by an Ostrich Farm which is also known as Ostrich Land! This spontaneous stop was definitely the highlight of the day for me!

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The farm had not only ostriches but emus as well! There was a $5 entry fee into the farm. May tried feeding the ostriches with her hands…which didn’t go so well. The ostrich ended up biting her fingers instead! Apparently, we weren’t supposed to feed them with our hands. Oopsies!

Tiffany also got a chance to pet an emu! But, it just so happened that touching the birds weren’t allowed too.  All our excitement led us to break all the rules, which we clearly didn’t read.

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The emus were making a certain noise that reminded me of dinosaurs…and for a second, I felt like I was in Jurassic Park. The experience was a bit surreal…it’s not every day you see massive birds like emus!

After all that fun at Ostrich Land, we continued north on Highway 101 North toward our next destination – San Luis Obispo!

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We booked a room at the most interesting and unique hotel resort in the area, the Madonna Inn. Each room had its own theme and we stayed in the China Flower room! We loved the whimsical decor!

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Before settling into our rooms, we made our way to Avila Beach to watch the sunset. From the sound of the crashing waves, the feeling of sand under our feet and the pastel colors that covered the sky…it was a perfect ending to our long adventurous day!

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After the beach, we ended the day with some drinks, cake, and food at the Madonna Inn.

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Day 3: San Luis Obispo to Big Sur

We got up early to catch a tour at the infamous Hearst Castle located in San Simeon. Unfortunately, the air in our tires was low and we had to take an unexpected pit stop. We arrived at the visitor center of Hearst Castle just as our bus left! It was sad that we missed our tour, but we continued our roadtrip toward Piers Blancas which had a beach full of Elephant Seals!

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With the northern section of Highway 1 closed due to damages from heavy rains and mud slides, we took a detour onto Highway 101. As we turned off Highway 1, we drove through a lush green valley – it was a very pretty sight.

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Along the way to Big Sur, we stopped by the quaint town near Monterey called Carmel By the Sea and ate dinner at Porta Bella, a Mediterranian restaurant. Delicious food and great service! They even gave us free dessert!

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Caramel By the Sea at sundown had a fairy tale vibe. It was very pretty and dreamlike. As we drove past the town on Highway 1 toward Big Sur, we were fortunate enough to drive along the coast right before sunset, which made for a gorgeous ride to Big Sur.

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We stayed in a nice cabin near the river. It had a full kitchen, one bathroom, and two bedrooms. It was a pretty spectacular cabin…and this campground is a great place for families to enjoy the wilderness and unplug.

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The first thing we did when we arrived at the cabin was light a fire…or at least attempted to light one. Our success was a bit spotty but May and Tin’s determination didn’t yield and they eventually made the cabin warmer. After a long day of driving, we spent the evening sipping wine and chatting the night away.

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Day 4: Big Sur to San Fransisco

We made an early start the next morning and drove up north toward San Fransisco. We made stops along the way to enjoy the sights including the Bixby Creek Bridge.

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We were welcomed by traffic as soon as we made it to the city.

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First things first…we were hungry and Tiffany had suggested a Filipino fusion food truck called Senor Sisig! It took longer than expected to find it, but we were able to find one just in the knick of time…we were their last customers for the day.

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The fusion burrito definitely hit the spot! So delicious. After eating we headed straight to the movie theater to watch Beauty and the Beast, which was awesome.

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After checking into our AirBnB apartment near the wharf,  we spent our first night at a karaoke bar! We reserved a small private room at the Playground where we ordered soju and Korean dishes! The food and drinks were even delivered to our room! It was an extremely fun night drunkenly singing popular 90’s music and eating delicious food. I wished it had last longer!

Day 5: San Fransisco to Napa Valley

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Being hungover from the night before, we made a late start to Napa Valley. However, before heading to Napa we stopped at our cousin Janette’s house and carpooled with her to Castello di Amarosa, a beautiful chateau tucked in the hills of Napa Valley.

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The castle was surrounded by a moat! How cool is that?!

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Janette definitely hooked it up with her membership discount…the place was gorgeous.

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After trying out the different wines at the wine tasting room, it was time to head back for the grand finale of the trip.

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That night we went clubbing at Temple. We had our own booth and danced the night away!

Day 6: The End of the Road Trip

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To help ease the hangovers, we went to a little ramen spot for some miso ramen!

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We spent the time we had left in the city sightseeing. We visited the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street and the house featured on the TV show, Full House.

Reflecting back it was a pretty epic trip and I’m so glad we were able to make it happen…and with good company! My sisters and I all live in different states and this type of trip was long over due. It was fun meeting and getting to know Tiffany and Tin…and this trip wouldn’t have been the same without them.

Until next time!

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