2013 – California Dreaming – Epilogue

We’ve been home now for a couple of days, we’re back to work, and the kids are back to school.  But I’ve spent the past couple of days thinking about our trip while commuting to and from the office.

Here are a few conclusions that I’ve come to:

  • The central coast of California reminds a lot of Colorado.  Although Colorado has a lot more snow and California has a lot more wine, they seem to have about the same number of hippies.
  • Don’t be surprised that I’m in a foul mood if you make me fly 5 hours, put me in an unfamiliar car, ask me to drive 2 more hours through an unfamiliar city towards an uncertain destination, and then ask me to navigate at the same time.  I’m just saying.
  • California is a beautiful place, but 8 Billion people discovered that before I did (okay, I stole this one but it’s true).
  • The Pacific Coast Highway is probably very scenic.  I couldn’t really tell since the fog was so thick we couldn’t see 20 yards in front of us.
  • The total that I paid to park the car overnight in SF & LA would make a small house payment in the midwest.
  • There’s nothing cheap about renting a car in one city and turning it in at another.  Heck, you’d think I would have known that.
  • Just because you see amazing photos and videos of people driving down the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible with the top down doesn’t mean that you’ll be blessed with the weather, the temperatures, the tolerance, or the hair style to do the same.
  • A 40K mile Ford Mustang rides like a log wagon, but you can still get a couple of large duffels in the trunk with the top down.

In all seriousness, here’s the list of things that really stand out to me:

  • A hot air balloon ride over Napa should be on everyone’s bucket list.
  • If you can only go to 2 wineries while you’re in Napa, V Sattui and Castello di Amorosa have to be on your list.  They were awesome.
  • Carmel is a very cool town.  I’d definitely go back.
  • The Reagan Presidential Library was amazing.

Things I’d skip:

  • Spending a lot of money on hotels for a trip like this.  It WAS a special occasion, but if you’re going to spend a single night at each stop, go cheap.
  • If not for the Reagan Library, I’d skip LA altogether.
  • Muir Woods was cool, but don’t bother with the Pacific View trail.  It’s totally not worth the climb to get a view of a sliver of the Pacific Ocean.  Heck you’re only a few miles from the ocean, just drive over and have a look.
  • Rutherford Hill Winery.  This held a sentimental spot for us, but the tour was pricey and so not worth it.  Especially not compared to the aforementioned wineries.

I’ll wrap this up with a photo from our balloon pilot and link to the rest of the balloon photos and the other vacation pics at Flickr.

2012-01-09 16.56.14



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