When my flight was on time, my seat on the plane included extra leg room, and there were great food and movie selections, I should have known something was bound to go wrong. Even when my luggage was first out on the conveyor belt, it still didn't hit me that my good luck was bound to run out. It was probably when there was no line up as I picked up my rental car that I should have really been nervous. Unfortunately, it happened the moment I hit the road, excited to begin my 6 day San Francisco to LA road trip: the rental car clicked, clacked, smoked...and then broke down. My road trip was not off to a good start.
The car breaking down isn't really what went wrong. As I mentioned earlier, the car literally broke down the moment I left the Hertz parking lot. What actually slowed me down was my (unsuccessful) attempt at negotiating a car upgrade due to this "major inconvenience." I guess Hertz is still in business for a reason.
Anyway, after getting on the road (again), I was headed to Mountain View. This little city is home to quaint streets, cute shops, restaurants, cafes and beautiful homes. What stood out to me more than anything though, was all of the technology I was seeing people around me using: little gizmos and gadgets, self-driving cars, Google glasses, drones in the parks and skateboarders were even controlling the board's direction through the movements of their heads. People were playing futuristic games everywhere I looked. What type of games, you ask? I have no idea. It was as if the locals of this city were all members of a secret club. I wanted in.
For dinner, we went to CasCal and shared some delicious pan-Latin tapas on a beautiful outdoor patio. Afterwards, we went to the Beirhaus for some tasty patio beers. There was a great selection of beer and they were served in giant mugs. Food and drinks were enjoyed by patrons on picnic tables in what felt like a neighbour's backyard patio....well, until I tried to talk to some people, that is. My attempt at conversation made me feel like I was actually a desperately unwanted and despised neighbour crashing another neighbour's backyard patio party.
The table to the left of us were playing cards, but the deck they were using was the size of an 8 1/2 by 11' sheet of paper. It appeared to be another one of those futuristic games! Desperate to learn about all of the fun I was missing out on, I asked them about this game they were playing. Unfortunately, there was no response; they all just looked around nervously at one another and then back at their cards. The continued playing the game in silence, as if I had never spoken. It made me wonder if they were forced to sign some sort of confidentiality agreement.
I decided that instead of staring at or asking about the activities strangers were engaged in, I would head over to the land of self-driving cars, Google Glass and probably giant cards too. At Mountain View's Googleplex campus, I was able to get an answers about technologies like a holodeck, and also learn why things like miniature swimming pools, volleyball courts, slides, a giant dinosaur eating flamingos, and a restaurant without bills were at a workplace. The experience may also have been the highlight of my life.
Upon the conclusion of my Google tour, I was a little embarrassed to get back into my car and actually drive it myself to Carmel. Feeling bummed out to be leaving the Silicon Valley suburb and The Future, I decided to pay $17 to access the 17-mile Drive to get there. The $17 includes a map of the drive and it outlines 21 points of interests with descriptions of each (My favourites listed were The Lone Cypress, The Ghost Tree and The Lodge at Pebble Beach).
The conclusion of the 17-Mile Drive ends right in Carmel by the Sea which is a stunning beach town. At sunset and sunrise, dolphins jump and play along the beach's shoreline. Aside from great beach walks and views, this town is full of great restaurants, pubs, shops and beautiful beach homes. My new plan in life is to invent something in Mountain View and buy a beach house in Carmel.
The locals were very friendly and keen to share the best places for food, drinks, music, apparel and even crazy hats (The latter reco came from the owner of The Carmel Hat Company). I was sad to leave this little town, but time was of the essence and the Bixby Bridge and Big Sur were waiting. Part 2 of this road trip covers the windy roads of Route 101, and Big Sur's hiking trails, terrifying mountain lions and friendly deer. In the meantime, feel free to leave your favourite things to do in Mountain View and Carmel in the comment section for others to see!
My name is Sara and I love finding new things to do in a new city. This website is an attempt to share the things that excite me in a new place through stories, photos, lists, travel tips and tricks.