West coast road trip, part one

Every once in a while there’s a time in your life when you feel like you need to leave it all behind and escape. Why? Work, family, friends, stress? For me, it was because I needed a break from technology. As much as I love – and need – my digital doodads, there comes a time when I need to unplug. This was my time.

But, where to go? And what to do? After coordinating with my friend/travel companion, it was decided that a road trip to California was in the cards. Being someone from the east coast who resides indoors for 6 months out of the year, a little time enjoying the outdoors on the west coast seemed like a good idea.

Wing of a plane

Waking up early to make it to the airport was agonizing, but the flight to Los Angeles was painless. Upon arriving at LAX, I arranged to pick up my car for the getaway. Instead of selecting the clichéd convertible, we got something that was a surprise: a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. Its sleek exterior was rugged without resorting to unnecessary styling cues (i.e. no bulging fenders and hood scoops). It had presence, and on California highways, you’d feel secure behind the wheel of one.

After being taught how to use the GPS on the massive 8-inch color screen, we were off. Slowly, but surely, we made our way out of LAX; the first few minutes are tentative. My friend might’ve been behind the wheel, but we trusted the GPS to tell us where we had to go. The worst case would be we’d use the Traverse’s OnStar; an omniscient voice who’d have an answer for everything.

Chevrolet Traverses parked in front of ELJ

Driving on the highway to La Jolla, I played around with the sound system and a/c on the dash. There were nooks and crannies all over, and more USB ports than I can count. “It still has that new car smell,” said my friend and we both laugh. It’s been a while since either of us has driven a car with barely any miles on the speedometer.

We take full advantage of the in-car 4G LTE Wi-Fi when possible. Seriously, every car should have Wi-Fi. I post a few Instagram Stories and check my email (I’m never far away from work) while occasionally touching the padded leather seats.

ELJ back of lobby

Almost two hours passed and we arrived at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. It’s a whole other world, quiet and peaceful. Coincidentally, we parked next to another Traverse before we handed off the key to the valet. Check-in was quick, and then we were off to our room. Every few feet I stop to take photos. We walked around the verdant grounds before reaching our room. A chilled bottle of white wine was waiting for us, which was a lovely gift. It was what we needed to relax as we unpacked; we clinked glasses before taking a well-deserved sip of wine.

A five minute shower and a change of clothes and we were off to dinner at ELJ’s The Olive Lawn. My friend and I grab a cocktail and chat, taking in the scenery. We sat underneath string lights for dinner (which my friend said she always wanted to do). The multi-course meal (I wish I had seconds of the spicy sweet prawn for a starter and the miso glaze salmon) with wine pairings (a Tawny Port with a flourless chocolate cake) were inspired.

ELJ courtyard

After a filling meal like that, I couldn’t eat any more. It was time to head off to our room and rest. The next day we were about to burn off some – if not all – of those calories from tonight.

About The Author

Steven Carver
International Editor

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