West coast road trip, part two

Although we had a great night sleep, our day start would start early as we were going on a hike at Torrey Pines Gliderport + La Jolla Trail. Very early, as in we were out by 8:30 a.m. Lucky for me, I survived on a hot cup of coffee (milk and sugar) for a few hours.

The valet retrieved our Chevrolet Traverse and we tapped in the data into the GPS. Who knew it’d be about two minutes away? When we arrived, the skies were still a little overcast but the views were beyond. “Even the air smells different here,” I told my friend after taking a deep inhale on our hike.

Torrey Pines Gliderport trail

After taking enough photos and seeing some adventurous people pose perilously close to the edge of the rocks to take a selfie, we drove to La Jolla Shores Beach. My friend was going on a guided kayaking lesson, but I passed (i.e. shoulder injury). When the instructor said we’d be sore for a couple of days, I knew that equated to two months of physiotherapy. Instead I took a leisurely walk along the coastline, snapping photos and getting a dose of vitamin D.

Once my friend was back from her kayaking lesson, we headed back to ELJ to freshen up. No one wanted to go to lunch while covered in sand; a beachy look only looks good while at the beach. Getting the courage to drive, I tell her I’ll take us back to the resort. The key fob has a remote start and the engine turned over. The Traverse was powerful; the SUV’s 3.6L V6 has 310 hp and could burn rubber if needed.

La Jolla Shores Beach

While I sat behind the wheel, we joked it’d be funny if we could change the voices of the GPS to a different accent. I think a celebrity one would be a blast. Imagine hearing Morgan Freeman tell you to turn right at the next stop?

We showered and changed at ELJ then were off to George’s at the Cove. The views there were… wow. No wonder it’s a popular spot. After finishing our light lunches, we took a few photos of the miles of coastline and the deep blue waters.

I drove back to ELJ because we have massages scheduled in an hour. “I can’t believe how smooth the ride is,” I tell my friend as she sits in the passenger seat. The 9-speed automatic shifted imperceptibly and although it was a large vehicle, it didn’t feel like it (I tested the suspension settings and the StabiliTrak on the road’s twisty curves).

Georges at the Cove view

The massage at ELJ’s spa was desperately kneaded. The knots in my shoulders and back were loosened enough for me to later slip into the spa’s Jacuzzi and relax for 40 minutes. After the month I was having, any tension bubbled away.

Another shower and change, and it was time to head off to dinner. Instead of driving, we carpooled (it was the responsible thing to do since we were going to have a drink, or two) and headed off to Juniper & Ivy. From one of the finalists of Top Chef, it was located in the Little Italy district of San Diego. Every once in a while, we’d hear the woosh of an airplane; no idea we were that close to the airport.

With pre-dinner cocktails and canapés enjoyed, we sat outside at a communal table, away from the other diners. There was a lot of talk between bites of salad, steak (I was craving one for weeks), more drinks and desert. We didn’t want the night to end, but we knew that wasn’t possible. The next morning, we’d have to wake up – unbearably – early for our drive to the airport.

Although we wished we stayed longer, we were up, packed, and out of our room by 6 a.m. I took a moment of solace to take it all in before sliding in the passenger seat of the Traverse; it was going to be at least two hours to the airport. To keep ourselves entertained, we searched on the SiriusXM satellite radio (connected to a Bose 10-speaker system) for a decent station. As it turned out, songs of 1990s were now considered to be retro. Lovely.

Chevrolet Traverse in front of ELJ

During a long stretch on the highway, I glance at the spacious back seat(s). Unfortunately, I never got to sit in any of them. We didn’t try out the Apple CarPlay (our cell phones are Androids) or the effectiveness of the safety features (like the Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert). Guess we’d have to save it for another road trip.

By the time we arrived at the spot to drop-off the Traverse, we were tired. Chalk that up to the early wake-up coupled with the lack of a proper breakfast. We checked in, went through customs (always a pleasure) and waited for our plane to take us back home. It wasn’t every day I could take a mini-vacation, but if/when the opportunity arose, I’d take advantage of it. Why? Because even I deserved a break once in a while.

Until next time, west coast!

About The Author

Steven Carver
International Editor

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