While planning our family's summer trip, my mom and I decided that it would be fun to do something new and exciting. Instead of doing our standard "fly to San Diego and drive to Oceanside to see our family" trip, we came up with the idea of driving from San Francisco to Oceanside. The catalyst for this idea came when we decided to help our Europe-going neighbors get their dog to family for dogsitting in San Francisco, California. My mom thought, "What the heck? Why not?" and suggested the idea to me. It immediately had me jumping and screaming because, for some odd reason, I thought I liked road trips. Boy, did that trip change my perspective.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
My mom and I planned out the whole trip by ourselves since my dad was busy with work and my brother didn't really care. We came up with a solid plan of driving straight from San Francisco to Monterey, where we would stay the night at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel. We would then proceed to Valencia, where we would stay at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, by taking the longer– but more scenic– route along the coast, followed by trekking to Oceanside the following day. Of course, we also planned on doing tourist things such as browsing the galleries in Carmel and going to Six Flags in between stops. Exploring local attractions at lightning speed didn't make sense, and missing the coast of California definitely did not make sense, which was why we chose the stops and routes that we did.
Everything sounded pretty great until my dad became the designated driver for some nonexistent and crazy reason. Not only did we experience terror with his Road Rage-esque driving, but we missed most of the coast between Carmel and Santa Barbara and nearly ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Now that brought many tears and contention. My survival instinct kicked in and I pretended to be asleep. But things cleared up the day after we stayed at Valencia, and feelings smoothed out between my family–particularly between the parental unit. The trip was a blast when we finally got to Oceanside and spent time with my nephews and niece.
Despite it starting out like a descent into Hell, the trip was pretty good. To others looking to do the same kind of road trip, I would recommend not staying at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel. If we had wanted to stay at a motel, we would have looked at one, not a Hyatt. Who knew they could be buddies? There was no air conditioning, there was no door on the shower, and there was barely any parking space. Other than that, the places we stayed were great, and the activities we did were fun. We saw the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the 17-Mile Drive, Carmel, Six Flags, some of the coast, Oceanside, and Disneyland.
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