I have just returned from taking the iconic Cali road trip from LA to SF on the Pacific Coast Highway with my incredible best friend...the one and only Melanie Johnson! She was traveling up to run the Golden Gate 1/2 marathon and I was the obligatory moral support friend who showed up hungover to the finish line to take proud snapchats! However, around hour 5 into our epic journey, I decided that I would make myself even more useful and write a little post to share my thoughts and advice with any of you youthful vagabonds out there thinking of making the trip too! Here goes:
1. Roadtrips are for besties NOT acquaintances. You will be in an enclosed space for multiple hours - make sure you do it with a person who is willing to hear you sing terrible music, cry, fart, eat copious snacks and analyze texts from your latest bedfellow until you lose all cell service and your aux cord breaks so they must listen to your breathing. The open road leads to the opening of the soul, people.
2. Refer to yourselves exclusively as Thelma and Louise. This is even more fun if you haven't seen the movie so have no clue what you're talking about. It's even better if you decide to reference it in your Instagram caption but spell Louise like this: Luis. That's a whole new movie, folks!
3. "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman is essential listening. I recommend it at least once every few hours. As Mel so accurately put it, "it's so good - it sounds different to me every time!" In my opinion, it's the song equivalent of the movie "Love, Actually"...every time you watch it you discover more hidden, hilarious gems.
4. Visit the Danish town of Solvang. Once there, make sure you walk around singing "Solvang, Solvang, Solvang Solvang Solvanggggg!" to the tune of "Heigh, Ho" from Snow White - the townsfolk will love you. You might also want to stop in at "The Wandering Dog" for a glass or flight of local vino. And, after said vino, you may want to promise the bartender you'll sign up for the "Wine Country Marathon" next year...
5. Make a stop in San Luis Obispo - it's the happiest place in America! While there you may want to visit the quaint little train museum OR make like Hermione Granger and get your priorities sorted. As much as we all like a good train, everyone knows this roadtrip is for taking pics and eating food. If you're there for dinner go to Cafe Roma and be sure to say hello to the owner Marco! You will have an amazing meal and likely meet a local man whose granddaughter is the little girl on The Ellen DeGeneres show who is obsessed with Adam Levine. This man will likely tell you that he is happy to meet two young people with their heads "screwed on right" and you will laugh at his preposterous notion that you have your life together and then gulp down the deliciously cheap cab you ordered! Cafe Del Monte is also great for brekkie (love the potatoes O'Brien) and Kreuzberg is a very hip Berlin inspired coffee place with the most beautiful baristas and overpriced merchandise you will ever see.
6. Proceed to cement the permanence of your friendship by staying in a Motel. Be sure to have a very intense chat about the complexities of life ranging from career goals to effective flirting techniques and then jump on your beds while belting out Adele afterwards. (Make sure you leave very early the next morning since the people in the neighboring rooms will hate you).
7. Big Sur is for PICS...and driving with the windows down, hair blowin' in ya face. Seriously, that shit is breathtaking. Make sure to stop whenever it's safe to veer across the narrow highway without taking out other enthusiastic motorists and snap a ton of selfies. Then ask other travelers to help you out by taking a regular shot. (We recommend a Brazilian woman with a zest for life or a Japanese man who loves the Bixby Creek Bridge more than we love being in photos!).
8. Stop for a coffee and cookie at Cafe Pergulosei in Santa Cruz. The very cool building and decor makes up for the rather cold attitude-y baristas. Also the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie was muy heavenly. I also suggest greeting anyone you meet in restaurants and cafe's on the trip with a "Hi, there!" - it makes you seem infinitely cool and is not at all loser-ish.
9. We all know Tracy Chapman is a powerhouse - but she can't run your sound system alone. Here is a random list of songs and/or artists that deserve some action as you wind and glide along the coast: P!nk, Try Me by Jason Derulo feat. JLO, Hula Hoop by OMI, The Soundtrack for the Movie "A Walk to Remember," (with an emphasis on Mandy Moore's rendition of "Only Hope,"), Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield, The Fix by Nelly feat. Jeremih, Ironic by Alanis Morissette, The Dixie Chicks (especially Wide Open Spaces), Missy Elliot, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Adele, Ne-Yo, The Backstreet Boys, N'SYNC, Kelsea Ballerini, Sledgehammer by Fifth Harmony, Run Away with Me by Carly Rae Jepson, Maroon 5, J-Biebs, Selena Gomez, The Civil Wars, Echosmith, most of the Spotify playlist "Songs to Sing in the Car", Banks, Avett Brothers, Kenny Chesney, Nikki Minaj, Rita Ora, Taylor Swift, Sir Elton John, American Girl by Bonnie McKee, Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes, and, of course, the incomparable Whitney Houston.
10. Mull over a big decision, talk your friend's ear off about it, agonize, and then finally make your choice on the way home two days later. This will forever be the portion of the trip known as "Izzy freaks out about new job opportunity" ...only you can insert your own name and decision and have fun, kids! This ties in well with tip 1 on this list and will help you realize the true magnitude of the love and trust between you and your amazing roadtrip bud.
11. When you are almost home again throw on Andrea Bocelli's and Sara Brightman's "Time to Say Goodbye" and BELT IT BABY. There's no need for chatter any more, just sit and let the magical blind man take you on an introspective journey. In the immortal words of Melanie Johnson, "SHHHHH, LISTEN. It's the man we all paid to see!"