It's only fitting that we finish our second part of this great California road trip on the day we're leaving the state. Alas, our time in this beautiful state has been brief, but we are planning a return trip as soon as possible. There were so many wonderful things that we missed out on. I know, I know....it doesn't seem possible for us to have missed out on so many great things when all we have is time on our hands. But, as much as we don't have a schedule while we travel in our RV, we do still have places to be and commitments we've made.
So, where did I leave off in Part I....ahh, yes Mexico.
Turns out, you don't need a passport to drive in and out of Mexico. You just need a large vehicle and four rather courageous friends. Truth be told, I was a bit nervous driving in. After seeing the movie Sicario alone in a dark theater in Austin last year, I have to admit, my idea of Mexico may have changed slightly compared to my other experiences involving Cozumel and Cancun. But, we did have some friends with us who were very safe and knowledgeable tour guides, so we thought...okay, why the heck not?
First off, Mexico was super inexpensive. The currency exchange was around 16-17 pesos per U.S. dollar. So when you hear $16 for a beer, it was really ONE DOLLAR. Crazy, right? Yes, it was. We first happened upon a coffee shop that our friend Mari had visited many times. It was a neat little place that featured some delicious in-house brews. It was here that our friend Sahar began talking to a woman sitting at the counter who told us about a few food choices in the area. In our experience, trusting locals is normally a good idea. They know the best spots, and usually don't have any commercial/touristy bias in their recommendations.
After finding a little food truck village around the corner, Vanessa and I had a feast for under $20. A VEGETARIAN FEAST.
The only low point to the trip was sitting in about 4 hours of traffic heading back into the states. Probably wouldn't be doing that again. But watching Vanessa ride a mechanical bull while drinking $1 Coronas in Tijuana was worth the whole trip.
San Diego did offer a beautiful final day, as we made our way up to Torrey Pines for a cliff-side picnic. First and foremost, if you're heading to Torrey Pines in an RV, be prepared to pay $30 to park in the north entrance, OR get denied in the south entrance. They do not allow RVs to park...even for the day. We found that out the hard way.
But, if you head up the street to the little town of Camino Del Mar, you'll be in the thick of things as far as views are concerned and pay about $1.50 an hour. It worked out well for us, because it was here we found a great spot to play board games, eat hummus and Sahar's killer layer dip, and drink kombucha all while sitting ocean-side. Vanessa and I even caught a whale frolicking in the surf at sunset.
From San Diego, we headed north toward Los Angeles. I have never been to L.A., and since I'm secretly a pop-culture connoisseur, I was in for a treat. Not to mention we have friends and family in the city that we both were very excited to see.
We ended up having a pre-birthday meal at Gracias Madre, the very delicious plant-based Mexican restaurant where my brother bartends. It was probably one of my favorite meals in our entire journey. Not only was the outdoor ambiance simply stunning, in a boho-patio kind of way, but the food was delicious. We had some fantastic mescal cocktails, a slew of different foods, the best table in the house (in front of the fireplace) and even a round of drinks from the bar manager. I cannot thank my brother enough for this wonderful meal and the amazing company all weekend.
So yes, Gracias Madre is the place to eat when you're in L.A., I assure you, you won't be disappointed. For drinks? I'd recommend Good Times at Davey Wayne's. You have to walk through a refrigerator door just to get inside. Then, you're greeted by a DJ spinning nothing but 70s music in a setting reminiscent to your neighbors very hip basement. It's a comfy, casual place with drinks and dancing. Grab a drink here and stay for the uninhibited 70s vibe.
Unfortunately for us, Runyon Canyon was closed. We wanted to hike and after driving Maude up the steep slopes of Muholland Dr., we found out it was closed for repairs for the entire summer. That was a huge bummer. BUT, we got to hike around Griffith Observatory instead, which was beautiful.
Going through our pictures and our itinerary from our LA trip, I just decided that there was way too much good food to limit it to a few short sentences. So, next blog post will feature our Vegetarian Culinary Tour of Los Angeles. Get psyched, because Los Angeles probably had collectively some of the best eats we've experienced yet. As you can tell by Gracias Madre above. (Those Brussels sprouts, my goodness).
Until next time...
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