California: Road Trip!

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around here lately. This is because I decided to do something crazy: take a vacation from the blog.

California: Road Trip!

For someone who travels quite a bit, I’ve never actually left the blog entirely behind while I’ve been on vacation. I’m totally that annoying travel companion who is forever asking for WiFi passwords and waking up at the crack of dawn to respond to blog comments and edit photos in the hotel room.

This time, I left my laptop at home. AND I didn’t even schedule posts to go out while I was gone, which was extremely difficult for me. I’m a bit obsessed with making sure I never miss post dates, but I didn’t want to have to worry about sharing the new recipes on social media while I was out of town, so I decided to just skip it.

It was pretty scary, but it was also very freeing!

I guess I can’t even really say that I “took a vacation from the blog,” because my trip to California was to attend a blogging conference outside of the Los Angeles area, followed by a road trip up to San Francisco to enjoy the foodie scene and catch up with my friends over at Wente Vineyards.

The fabulous Becky Hardin, of The Cookie Rookie, was my partner in crime for the trip!

California: Road Trip!

We had an amazing time swapping stories, pigging out, and blasting Taylor Swift on Highway 101 (please don’t judge me).

The universe decided to test our patience in about a hundred different ways on my first day of the trip.

WARNING: What follows is a long sob story. Proceed at your own risk. 

Picture this:

I wake up at 6:00am to prepare for my 9:30am flight. I receive an alert on my phone that my flight has been cancelled, and that I’ve been re-routed on another flight which doesn’t land until late night in LAX.

After a little freaking out with Becky over Facebook chat, we decide that I’ll rearrange my flight to land in Orange County earlier in the day, so Becky can meet me near the car rental location. We decide to pick up the car when I land, then embark on the several hour drive to the blog conference.

Oh, and did I mention that the conference was held at a camp… with bunk beds? I had to pack my own sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight, etc. <– This will become relevant in a minute. I swear.

Okay, so the new flight I’m booked on has a 40 minute layover in Salt Lake City before I head on towards Orange County. My flight out of Portland to SLC leaves 25 minutes late, which leaves me with a 15 minute window to land, get off the plane, sprint across four terminals, and make my connection.

I made it, but my luggage didn’t.

So, now I’ve landed in Orange County with NO LUGGAGE, meaning I’m looking at staying in a camp for two days with no bedding and no toiletries.

After a bit more freaking out with Becky over Facebook chat, we decide that we’ll get the rental car and hit up Target to pick up a sleeping bag.

We make the 45 minute drive from the airport to the rental car location, only to find that they closed about 30 minutes before we got there.

Now, we have to drive BACK to the airport to get a rental car, by which time my luggage will be arriving in a little over an hour. We didn’t actually leave the airport (with luggage in tow, YAY!) until 9:45pm, and we didn’t make it to camp until after midnight. We had a great time trying to sneak into a cabin and make our beds without waking anyone up!

Needless to say, the first day of our trip was a bit trying, but we made it through and persevered!


The rest of the trip was completely amazing.

Our road trip up to San Francisco was incredibly beautiful and relaxing.

California: Road Trip!

By far, my favorite part of the trip was visiting Wente Vineyards and enjoying a wine tasting, garden tour, and incredible dinner.

California: Road Trip!

I’m 80% sure I’m going to just go ahead and build myself a vacation home on their property. I don’t think they’d really mind.

California: Road Trip!

The day started with a visit to the Vineyard Tasting Room, where Becky and I had the opportunity to try some of the wonderful wines produced by Wente Vineyards. I’ve been a huge fan of Wente’s entwine label (which I wrote about here!) for quite some time, so I loved having a chance to get to know more about the estate.

California: Road Trip!

Next we toured the incredible garden, where we got to meet Master Gardener Diane Dovholuk. I was entirely inspired to start gardening at home, even though I have a black thumb of sorts.

California: Road Trip!

Diane grows about 50% of the produce needed in the property’s restaurant right next door in the garden.

California: Road Trip!

She has an eye for beauty; the gardens looked like something out of an impressionistic painting!

California: Road Trip!

Becky and I also had a chance to tour the caves and cellars on the property. Wouldn’t this be an amazing place to host a party?

California: Road Trip!

I’m kind of desperate for an excuse to head back down to the Wente Winery, but in the meantime I shipped some wine back to myself and am (im)patiently waiting its arrival.

I’ll be heading down to San Diego next week, then on the BIG TRIP (Paris – Nairobi – London) at the end of the month. I can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you!


About the Author


Hi, I'm Anetta! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel stories from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. I believe that food brings us together as much as it sets us apart. Be brave, try something new!

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  1. HOW did I not see this gorgeous post! Your photos make me want to get back in the car and do the trip all over again. So fun, thanks for being my partner in crime!!!

  2. Good for you for the ‘vacation’. Your photos did the trip at making me want to go. Really gave me a sense of place. Smiles—-