We had breakfast at the hotel, the kids got some new books at Powell’s, we packed up the car and got back to a very smoky Seattle at 3pm.
11 days, 8 cities/towns/hotels/houses, 1,679 miles and 36.7 hours of driving.
It wasn’t much of a relaxing trip. We didn’t get a lot of down time between driving, moving in/out of lodging, getting meals, etc. I got practically zero reading done and spent most of my free time planning the next drive. But we saw a lot and spent the entire time with the kids, which was kinda the point.
The Discovery is a nice comfortable car to drive, the kids barely even complained about the long drives although no one wanted to sit in the 3rd row since the luggage limited their space, the Adaptive Cruise Control is suddenly a must-have feature for me and makes even bumper-to-bumper traffic pleasant, the kids got way too used to having WiFi in the car, the navigation system is the best I’ve used but the InControl entertainment system can be cumbersome at times.
The Discovery is better in almost every way than my previously most-loved car, our 2008 Lexus LS 460. I’m surprised that 10 years later few cars have all the bells and whistles of that Lexus; it was ahead of its time. The Lexus handled curves at high speed better due to its lower center of gravity, but was not good off-road. The Lexus got a bit better gas mileage. The Lexus had soft-close doors, but not massaging seats. The Lexus had stop-and-go traffic assistance, but not Adaptive Cruise Control. And the Lexus cannot carry 7 people (although I bet you could fit 3 people in its trunk!), tow anything or carry a roof rack.
Next, I have to get a brake controller for the car so we can tow our Basecamp! And I have to figure out where to store the Basecamp so the Discovery can go in the garage.
After Gay and Havana made crab eggs benedict for breakfast, we packed up and left for Portland.
In Portland, we had lunch at Pizza Jerk (Eva had 3 slices!) and then stopped in for what I thought would be a quick sampling of beers at Modern Times PDX. I’m not as big a fan as Gay is of Modern Times and I’ve had a disappointing string of beers on this trip, especially hazy IPAs, so I wasn’t prepared for all the beers that aren’t available in Seattle. Wow! I loved their hazy IPAs and loved their imperial stouts even more. We ended up buying what we could in cans/bottles to take back home to share with Optimism peeps.
Next, we tried to make reservations at Tasty ‘n Alder, which we missed out on last time we were here. That didn’t seem promising. Then we checked into Hotel Lucia, including giving them 2 cases of beer to store in a fridge for us.
We tried again at the restaurant at 6pm, were told they’d call us in an hour to get a table, we walked around and stopped at Clyde Common for a cocktail and sodas and by 7:30pm we were back at the restaurant and seated. Good dinner, the kids even tried some unusual (for them) food.
We got a house on Airbnb in Seaside for 3 nights and met the Carders there. But on the way we first had dinner at Pelican Brewing Co.
We spent Saturday on the beach, then walked into downtown Seaside along the Promenade by the house, drove the bumper cars, rode the tilt-a-whirl – Eva hated it, Havana loved it, Hudson refused to ride it – Hudson and Bowie played miniature golf, played games in the arcade, got salt water taffy, had dinner and walked back.
We went to the beach again Sunday morning and then to Cannon Beach for a late lunch at Public Coast Brewing.
After dinner, we went to the beach, started a fire, made S’mores and played Mafia/Guardian Angel, a morbid game the kids know.
We stopped at Crater Lake on the way from Klamath Falls to Seaside. It was smokey from the California wildfires so it wasn’t clear but was still amazing.
Before driving to Klamath Falls, we went to Tahoe Mountain Lodge so the kids could swim for a couple hours. We left at 2pm and drove for 5.5 hours to Klamath Falls, had dinner at Klamath Basin Brewing Co – Gay remembers stopping there 10 years ago; I don’t.
Hudson was feeling car sick, something he sometimes complains about when driving. We picked up some Dramamine and after 10 minutes was feeling better and was back to normal. I think we’ll be buying lots of it in the years to come as we take long road trips.
I’m loving the car. I felt fine sitting in it for over 5 straight hours without even using cruise control (because of the two-lane roads most of the way)! I turned on Lane Keep Assist for the first time. It’s a little disconcerting to have the car steer back into the lane when I get too close to a line, not sure if I like it or not. We hit 1000 miles on the car on this leg of the trip.
It was a 3-hour drive to Tahoe. We packed only hot weather clothes not realizing how cold it gets in the evening in California. So on the way to Tahoe we stopped at an outlet mall in Vacaville and bought some warmer clothes at The North Face store. 50% off North Face gear is a great deal!
We were last here 8 years ago — Havana and Hudson were 3 and 1.5 years old and Eva didn’t yet exist.
All we did each day was go to the pool, enjoy the scenery, listen to Yacht Rock (Gay’s new favorite SiriusXM station) and barbecue dinners on our deck. I also read the entire Owner’s Manual for the Discovery.
I cracked the screen on my Apple Watch at the pool when it fell off a table and onto the concrete – 4 years without a scratch until now. Since the next version of watchOS doesn’t support the original watch, I have to get a new one anyway. Plus, Apple is (supposedly) coming out with a new model in the next several weeks. So assuming this one survives a little longer, it works out fine.
After a short driving tour of San Francisco – the kids were not impressed, with Lombard Street being a possible exception – we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge in a deep fog and north to Napa, stopped for lunch at the very cool Oxbow Public Market, and then to our house at Carneros Resort and Spa.
The kids, especially Havana, loved the place. We went to the pool for a couple hours, I ran to a nearby grocery store for dinner and we had a nice dinner outside in the house’s courtyard. It was very chilly.
We stayed here 10 years ago when we only had Havana and Gay was pregnant with Hudson.
We had a long drive ahead of us. We got really good doughnuts for breakfast at Surfside Doughnuts and ate them on the pier, then a short walk on the beach before checking out of the hotel.
We took the longer but more scenic drive up Highway 1, aka the Pacific Coast Highway. Somewhere along the Pacific Coast Highway:
The very foggy 6-hour drive was an 8-hour drive due to traffic into Carmel. We got to our hotel in San Francisco at 8:30pm.
We wanted a quick dinner and there is an In-N-Out Burger 3 blocks away. Perfect. That was my first experience with In-N-Out: good burger, bad fries. Oct 23 2018 Update: I came across an article about In-n-Out Burger; the company is owned by a drug-addled and dysfunctional family and hypocritically uses the business as a Christian propaganda machine. Never again!
We left the dealer around 3pm and headed north to Pismo Beach. Our route took us through Santa Barbara where our friends Jim and Andrew live. We made a quick stop at their lovely home, chatted while enjoying their amazing view of Leadbetter Beach and the kids ate most of a plate of lemon buttermilk cookies that Jim made and then we were back on our way.
The first drive in the car was fun. It floats down the road, although it’s big it doesn’t feel it, the seats are super comfortable, the stereo sounds great and the kids were comfortable even sitting three-across in the middle row. The Adaptive Cruise Control is like magic. I’m glad I didn’t give up on that option in my search for a car!
We arrived at The Inn at the Pier at 7pm. I don’t know how Gay finds and books great hotels so quickly — I have a great travel agent.
While the kids got situated in their room, Gay and I went down to the bar for a Manhattan:
The kids came downstairs and we went out for dinner at The Board Room.
After weeks of scouring the country for a Land Rover Discovery with the options and colors we wanted, and running into roadblock after roadblock, I got one in LA yesterday. Instead of shipping it back we decided to drive it back and make a trip out of it. It works out well because we don’t have childcare while Maddie is vacationing with her family in, of all places, Germany; we can’t get much work done while also keeping the kids active.
Our flight to LA was scheduled for 6am so we woke up at 4am, got the already-packed kids up and dressed and were in an Uber by 4:35am and on our way to the airport. Then we got a message from JetBlue that our flight was delayed 2 hours. That extra 2 hours would’ve been appreciated for sleeping!
While waiting at the gate, I was sitting next to a guy who was also flying to LA to pick up a car that he bought.
On board, we had free WiFi and I could watch the second half of the Steelers/Eagles preseason game via DirecTV:
We landed at Long Beach Airport (hot!) and took another Uber to Land Rover Encino. LA traffic is insane. We met our super nice sales guy and 18-year Land Rover sales veteran, Bill, who I had been phoning/emailing/texting with for a couple weeks. He showed us the car, let us drive it and handed me off to the finance guy (Shaquille O’Neal look-a-like) while Gay took the hungry kids to lunch next door, then Bill gave us a tour of the car and helped us get it connected to the iPhone apps and to the internet. Our car is on the internet and even has a phone number.
I didn’t have good experiences with most of the salespeople at Seattle Land Rover dealers but I liked Land Rover Encino (the largest Land Rover dealer in the west?). When we upgrade to the Range Rover I’ll come back here and do this trip again.