Sunday, September 6, 2015

California Highway 1 Road Trip

My husband Paulo and I during our California Highway 1 road trip
One of the many highlights of our one-month long U.S. vacation/honeymoon was our road trip from our home-base, Fontana, to San Francisco via Pacific Coast Highway.

California Highway 1
The view from the highway was always breathtaking. My husband and I were so happy we did the road trip. 
Beautiful California Highway 1 road and view
Paulo on the driver's seat of the Lexus NX 300H
We went on the road trip mid-March and the weather was generally nice. Although  late afternoons to early mornings were biting cold, so a thick jacket was essential. I also had a light hoodie, scarf and beanie in tow, which I was able to put in use since I am sensitive to the cold. 

Matching blue hoodies
Along California Highway 1
Our automobile for the road trip was the Lexus NX 300H. My considerations for an automobile were very simple--comfort and reliability. The NX 300H did not disappoint at all. Legroom was more than enough and more importantly, the chairs were adjustable and very comfortable. The seats also had a heater and cooler. Which I think was essential with how the weather fluctuates from hot to cold in the west coast. 

The Lexus NX 300H and I in Asilomar Beach, Monterey

The Lexus NX 300H and sunset in California Highway 1

The road trip started at 4:45am. We set Solvang as our first destination on Waze and was there around 7am-- just in time for breakfast.
Charming Solvang windmills

Solvang was very charming. It is the Danish capital of America. Breakfast was also good at Paula's Pancakes, which was recommended by a friend. 

Bacon, eggs and hash brown breakfast in Paula's Pancakes, Solvang

After Solvang we were officially on Highway 1. We followed the California Pacific Coast Highway via Waze. Waze will always want to use the best, shorter route-- most of the time it will choose the freeway. We set these destinations one after the other: Morro Bay, San Simeon, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel, San Franciso, to make sure that we were always on the Highway. In times where the internet connection was down, for as long as you we were beside the ocean, we knew we were on the right track. 

California Highway 1

The trip to San Francisco took us two days. We had to stop every now and then to enjoy the scenery. We really took our time. The Earth is really beautiful along Highway 1. 

Breathtaking view of land and water from California Highway 1 

Mother nature and I along California Highway 1
A cliff on California Highway 1
Elephant seals on California Highway 1
More of Earth's wonderful creatures seen on California Highway 1

Paulo on California Highway 1
Sunset on California Highway 1
Along California Highway 1

Railroad along California Highway 1
We spent a night in Monterey. There was a strip of mid-range hotels in Monterey and so the more practical thing to do. It would have been great to stay at Big Sur but rates were too expensive for us. Monterey's Days Inn rate was $60 per night with breakfast for two already; while Big Sur rates were $150++, no breakfast. 

Our plan was to drive via Highway 1 going to San Francisco only and use 
the freeway going home. But my husband enjoyed it too much that we also drove back via Highway 1

These were the things that made our trip easier and more fun: 

1) Reliable automobile

2) U.S. Phone line for easier coordination with family and friends and access to Internet, we got an AT&T sim
3) Waze on our smart phones
4) Snacks and water
5) Sunblock
6) Thick clothes for the cold
7) Shades
8) Money, credit card
9) Camera; there were lots of photo opportunities! Although my iPhone camera phone worked well for me already
10) Wonderful companion

Paulo and I on California Highway 1

Paulo and 1 on California Highway 1
I will always treasure our Highway 1 experience. The road trip was an event in itself. And more than anything, I was with a very cool, wonderful person-- my husband. 

As Leo diCaprio said in The Beach, "'s not where you go. It's how you feel for a moment in your life when you're a part of something, and if you find that moment... it lasts forever..."

Maximizing Small Spaces with Customized Cabinets and Shelves

I love cabinets and shelves. Even more now that I am forced to live efficiently, because my husband and I live in a one-bedroom 41 sqm condominium unit in the city. We have to maximize spaces. Which is why our couch has a storage compartment and bed has drawers and built in shelves. 

We recently had cabinets and shelves installed in our condominium unit and are really happy with them. 

The dining area

We transformed a free space into a cabinet for storing items we don't use on a daily basis. This also eliminates the clutter at home, because we can now hide them neatly inside the cabinets. 
The construction workers prepping the cabinet location

Preparing for the installation of cabinets

The cabinets were already pre-fabricated based on our agreed design.
The construction workers just need to install them.

New cabinets in our dining area. 

The living room 

My husband and I felt bad that we weren't able to take a photo of how our TV area used to look before the new rack and all. It would have been very nice to compare it with the new improved living room area. The before looked really messy--the cords were all over the floor, which ended up easily catching dust. Now there are shelves for the consoles, DVDs and even books that are attached on the wall, and it easier to sweep the floor. The place also looks bigger and more organized. 
Before the installation of the TV rack
TV Rack with shelves and mood lighting
Our new and improved living room

The installation only took around five hours, as everything was already pre-fabricated based on our agreed layout. The design, however, took us three meetings-- including agreeing on the design, measurements and color. 

Our contractor is Carlo Blanca of A'Quinto Personal Furniture. He is very professional, respectful and most of all, delivers quality service. You may reach him at (0917) 534-4946.