When I started my 26-year-plan to see the world alphabetically, I had only two rules: Never go back to a place you’ve been before and the trip has to be outside the 48 contiguous United States. “S” is for Sip, Savor and Sightsee broke both.
I blame COVID-19.
International travel is nearly impossible in this worldwide pandemic, so we threw-out the rule book and came up with a two week road trip plan instead. Most of the places we went were new to me, but Greg had been to nearly every one.
Over the coming weeks, my blogs will mostly focus on where we went and what we did in depth. For today, allow me to share some overall thoughts about the trip as a whole.
The route: From home we headed to Palm Springs, then up to Harris Ranch in California’s Central Valley on the way to Napa and Sonoma for some wine tasting. We built in a weird little weekend break in the middle to fly east to visit my daughter and her three kids, spend time with a few friends (albeit VERY briefly), and take care of some personal business. Back in California, we headed down the coast to Ragged Point (just south of Big Sur), then on to Paso Robles for more wine tasting, then home with another short stop-over in Palm Springs. In both directions we were able to sneak in a couple of minutes with Greg’s mom, who lives in an assisted care facility and is in lockdown due to the virus.
Two weeks away from home in a two-seat roadster is a packing challenge. Thank goodness for the heat of summer. We didn’t need anything bulky or heavy (although we did take a sweater for cool evenings). We even managed to squeeze in some items we delivered as a care package to Greg’s mom.
Google said the entire route should be 1406 miles. In the end, with all our diversions and wandering, we put 2303 miles on our car’s odometer. In two weeks, we did not have a single day of rain and spent MOST of our time in the car with the top down and the wind in our hair.
We experienced stunning views, foggy mornings and sun-filled afternoons, astonishingly good meals, a wide variety of comfortable beds, friendly people, surprises, challenges and, as expected,a plethora of delicious California wines.
A few lessons learned:
Planning is EVERYTHING! We knew our route. We made reservations (which are essential for most places during the pandemic). The planning allowed us to make changes easily and enjoy where we were without worrying about what was next or what would happen if something went wrong.
Patience and smiles go a lot further than you expect when a challenge arises. We were able to change hotel rooms (twice!), get a great recommendation for a hot air balloon ride when we got home (ours was cancelled due to heavy morning fog) and receive discounts and free extras just by being nice to staff members.
When you notice you’re ready to go home before the trip is supposed to end, road trips make it possible. We ended up shortening our vacation by a day and a half.
Conversation and relaxation are lost arts that we managed to find by taking our time and going with the flow.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Grab a map, plan a trip and hit the road!
© The World A to Z, LLC 2020 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.