California Dreamin' Road Trip

Potato Chip Rock , San Diego County.

Potato Chip Rock, San Diego County.

I am told the following three statements from people who don't live in California:
1. They love it and visit all of the time.
2. They weren't that big on it.  I also find those people spent a long weekend in either LA or San Fran and chose to have a car.
3. They have never been!

I fall into number one.  I have been to California almost a dozen times for a myriad of reasons and the travels have been very short (48 hour weddings in Pasadena and the Bay, hiking in Death Valley NP for a day via Las Vegas) to very long (15-16 day road trips.)
That being said for all the trips taken I still haven't seen all California has to offer, nor even close to it.  Which is part of what I believe makes it such a wonderfully unique place to visit again and again.  There is always something new to see or discover.

California is a place for dreamers, the outdoors, healthy food, and big ass trees.  It's not a place for plastic bags (YES GREAT BAN by the state!), car as your mode of transportation in the city, or quick trips to "see it all."
Today I give a rundown of my recent two week road trip in California.  You'll notice a lot of the "highlights" someone tells you to do aren't on this itinerary.  I have done a lot of these already and don't have a desire to do the others.
My hope to this itinerary is showing you that Adventure is Everywhere.  California Road Trips can be done dozens of ways and this is one of them. 
PS: Check out our resident Cali writer Jersey K and her PCH Road Trip Blog HERE.

Days 1-5: Ocean Beach San Diego!

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Highlights:
-AirBnB 100 feet from the beach.
-Indie Yoga: Great 12 noon hot "surf flow" class!
-Cowles Mountain (A fun and challenging day hike leading to the highest point in San Diego.)
-Kilowatt Brewing Company: Tasty suds and fun "games" to play while hanging out.
-Old Town: Fun place to wander, eat, and learn about the history of the city.
-Potato Chip Rock: Strenuous day hike with iconic photo opportunity at the top (link to trail details in picture at the top of the blog.

Tips:
-Don't just stay in La Jolla or go to the Zoo. Get out and explore the city!

Next Time:
-Catalina Island. Either a bike ride, hike, or other active excursions that look wonderful.
-Hiking in Torrey Pines. A beautiful place that we ran out of days to explore.

Day 5 Drive Stops: San Clemente

Surf's up in San Clemente for the diehards, I had to take a pass b/ of possible sewage flow!

Surf's up in San Clemente for the diehards, I had to take a pass b/ of possible sewage flow!

Highlights:
-My surfing class was cancelled due to sewage in the ocean. (BUMS!!!)
-We got to do a tour of the Surfing Heritage Center instead. (AWESOME!!!)
-I love the laid back nature of San Clemente, I'd enjoy living in this sleepy, gray, surfer town.

Day 6 thru 10: Pasadena.

Repping #Hashtag59 in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Repping #Hashtag59 in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Highlights:
-Family time hanging with my bro, sis in law, and nephew!
-Not letting my nephew get a concussion while babysitting him. That's always a plus!
-Echo Mountain Summit Hike.
-Mountain bikers rushing down El Priteo Canyon while I was hiking it with my bro and college buddy.
-Pasadena Hot Yoga: Bikram Yoga at its finest.
-Our favorite AirBnB hosts ever, Ben and Irma!
-Two hour marathon training run at the Rose Bowl, Alaska here i come!
-One of my fave Mexican restaurants in the country, Cacao!

Tips:
-Pick a spot in LA (like Hollywood, Malibu, Huntington Beach, Pasadena, etc) and explore that and the adjacent areas next to it. Don't try to traverse the city daily. You will be frustrated and traffic angry :).

Next time:
-Mt Baldy or Mt Jacinto summit climbs by my brother and I.  We are committed!
-We gotta get back to Malibu or Santa Monica and chill for a few days, I love the energy in those spots of LA!
-They have a nighttime running club that finds graffiti in the city and explores it. I am in!

Day 10 Drive Stops: Hearst Castle, Big Sur, San Simeon State Park, Elephant Seal Viewing, and The Lost Hills


-We ate some great Mexican food in the Lost Hills. Really the only restaurant you will pass in the town is where we ate!
-Big Sur is always a treat!  There were so many splendid views and walks.
-Hearst Castle is a mandatory tour in my opinion, it's an incredible place to tour and see into the past of a wild story of human history.

Days 11 and 12: Paso Robles:

The amazing Hearst Castle!

The amazing Hearst Castle!

Highlights:

-Dinner with our friends Candice and Paulo!
-Wine tasting at Cali Paso Winery.
-Beard trim and neck shave from Jose. No for real I didn't pack a razor and this barber Jose took care of me with an old school razor shave and beard trim.  It was on point!
-Paso Hot Yoga! Can you tell I like yoga?!?!
-More wine. Paso Robles had so many great options for wine.
-A bit more wine and tasty food! They also had so many great options for food.  Breakfast power food bowls from Twisted and Glazed.

Tips:
-The Courtyard by Marriott and some other places are great to stay and walk to downtown, which is a charming place.  I preferred this so that you could walk, roam, and explore the area!
-Take at least two days, it's not a pass through unless you choose to make it one.  There really is plenty to do.  Make sure you check out the company my friend works for: The Wine Alliance!

Next Time:
-A nighttime tour of Hearst Castle!

Days 13 and 14: Pinnacles National Park

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Highlights:
-My 37th (out of #Hashtag59) National Park Visited.
-Seeing California Condors up close and personal.  They have a large population in this park and it's helped them away from the threat of extinction.
-Outstanding hikes and hot/sunny weather!  The High Peaks Trail is a challenging and satisfying day hike.  The cave hikes are also family friendly and fun for all ages.  
-Constellation spotting!  The night skies were beautiful and the solitude was wonderful.

Tips:
-Stock up on water, gas, and snacks in Holister or King City on the East side of the park.
-Give tent camping a shot in this park!
-Save some time to watch the rock climbers, if you are one you already know this park is a rock climber's paradise.

Next Time:
-More hiking, specifically to the highest point of the park.
-Exploration on the West side of the park. (The park's two sides are divided by the "pinnacles" in the middle of the park and there is no thru roads.)

Day 15: Oakland/OAK International Airport!
-Couple of beers at the pool and food from the hotel restaurant.
-Two hour marathon training run in Oakland.
-Flight home!

Have you been to California? Any of these spots in particular?
What would you have added in the proximity of these places? Leave your comments below!
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Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,
Mike R and the Hashtag 59 Team
 

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