Well, we said goodbye to our beloved Bertie and traded her in for a little Hyundai Sonata named Sylvia for Part 2 of our California road trip. She was much faster and more comfortable than Bertie but she lacked some of the charm. Once we were back on the road we started toward Napa Valley, land of the winos… I mean wine. But first, one more care trouble to round out the trip and to give it a little extra excitement, in the form of rapidly drop tire pressure. As soon as we could find a gas station we pulled off and headed straight for the air pump and filled her up, only to notice a highly audible “shhhhhhhh” coming from the tire as the back right side of the vehicle sunk once again toward the pavement. A kind gentlemen pulled up and asked us if we needed help (I think the beads of sweat on my forehead as I struggled to loosen the lug nuts gave it away). He advised that our spare tire is junk and wouldn’t get us anywhere and he pointed us up the road to a vehicle service shop. The guys at the auto shop advised it would be $15 and take 10 minutes to fix our tire (whereas Hertz was trying to charge us $80 for a pickup and who knows when it would have been there). Man… I love small towns!

Day 5: Napa Valley

California Road Trip Napa Valley

After a quick detour to repair our defective tire, we were FINALLY, and truly on our way to sippin’ some sweet summertime! First stop was Mumm Napa where we drank sparkling wine and were divided 2:2 between preferring the sweet Cuvée and the not as sweet Rosé. This was the perfect first stop as their outside seating area had a beautiful view of the sun-warmed vineyards and was nestled among beautiful greenery.

Next up was Castello di Amorosa which was an absolute JOY to explore! Owner Dario Sattui purchased the property nearly 20 years ago he was already an avid admirer of medieval architecture so it was fitting that he would pour his heart and soul into constructing this Gothic beast of a winery. Using only authentic medieval building techniques and ancient handmade bricks, Sattui (along with 3 different master builders and a crew of 64 ) built this authentic castle over the span of 12 years. I highly urge you to read the full story on how this place came to be because it is fascinating!

California Road Trip Napa Valley

We tasted some delicious wine down in the tasting room, roamed the second level stopping to take pictures and to just take it all in and then as the sun began to set, we made our way out to the vineyards to walk among the life source of our favorite beverage! It was heaven! And after the frigid temperatures of Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, the sun-warmed atmosphere was like a comforting hug to my frozen tropical bones. (In case you just showed up to the party, I live in Hawaii)

We made our way into San Francisco for the night and stayed at a cheap hotel in Mission (we were scrounging for accommodations since we lost our car/camper) and got a good night sleep so that we could tackle the city bright and early.

Day 6: San Francisco

The first day in San Francisco was rainy so Erica and I spent the morning in the laundromat across the street which was an adventure in itself. As we sat and talked about our upcoming Manini trip to Puerto Rico and other exciting plans for our business, we saw many questionable characters, including a set of male genitalia that had us shoving our clothes into our bags and dashing out the door! Luckily Kelley was off at a workout with her friend and Caitlin was having a leisurely morning in the hotel room so they were both spared that experience.

That afternoon we went to go check out Fisherman’s Wharf which we had heard was overrated but seeing as how two of us had never been to San Francisco we figured it was an iconic ‘must’ of the city. As a lover of shitty souvenir stands, people watching, and seafood on a roll, I actually enjoyed walking around the place. We went to the Musée Mécanique and played with some antique arcade machines and musical instruments before we headed to catch our ferry over to Alcatraz Island.

California Road Trip San Francisco

Alcatraz Island, home of the famous “inescapable” federal penitentiary did not disappoint. As lovers of history and all things creepy (well…some of us), this historic landmark did not disappoint. Its ominous and sinister presence overlooking the city perfectly foreshadows the tales heard and sights seen on a tour of this island. Exploring the cellblocks and common areas was fascinating and it is not hard to suspend your reality and really sink into how life would have been like in this cold, hard, damp (it was raining) corner of the world. When it was time to head back, it wasn’t hard for us to settle on having the critically acclaimed “mission burritos” for dinner. However, we were tired, wet and cold so we had them delivered to our hotel room so we could stay cozy while we ate.

California Road Trip Alcatraz

Day 7: San Francisco

Day 2 of San Francisco brought us to the beautiful Painted Ladies (and on Candice Cameron Bure’s birthday which was a cool coincidence). I know, I know, this isn’t the real Full House house which is several blocks away but they are just so gorgeous we didn’t care! Unfortunately the park was actually fenced off for renovations so we were stuck in a small observation area away from the best views. However, the views of the Golden Gate bridge as we later made our way down Baker Beach were stunning! It was perfectly misty and the beach wasn’t very busy. We went all the way down where it becomes a nude beach because of course we had to get our naked picture in front of the bridge. Hey… it’s tradition!

California Road Trip San Francisco

Day 8: Muir Woods

We headed out to Muir Woods to get some hiking and outdoor time in! It was incredible and we found some giant redwoods big enough to walk into. I am always floored by things that are giant and these were amazing. We of course had to stop for an outfit change and photoshoot (including another nudie) and met some new friends along the way. We ended our day in Sausalito, but only after we made our way to the top of Marin Headlands to catch the sunset! Of course we couldn’t leave until Erica worked her magic and got us some marvelous shots of the city. We spent our night eating ice cream and snacks in our hotel room since we were getting up early to drive to Big Sur the next day.

California Road Trip Muir Woods

Ahhhh Big Sur… the moment we have been waiting for! To be continued….. 😉

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California Road Trip Part 2

About Sam

Manini girl Sam is our travel curator and sustainable travel expert. When she isn't busy with Manini stuff, she's enjoying the mermaid life in Hawaii, taking long walks on the beach with her pup and boyfriend, scrubbing teeth, or improving her skills in graphic design.

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Sabrina says:

    Great read! I’ve always wanted to travel in California and the Napa Valley! It definitely looks like a lot of fun – esp the wine tasting.

  • RJ says:

    It’s always hit-or-miss with San Francisco weather. Although, foggy San Fran is beautiful in it’s own right. Did you do the audio tour of Alcatraz? It’s so amazing!

  • Erika says:

    Big cities seem to always deliver the unwanted genital surprises. Big eye roll lol As a certified wine geek loved the Napa shout out. Great pics too!

  • kareemah says:

    Oooh I love your entire website! So chic and captivating. Wonderful post on California. Can you believe this American girl hasn’t been to the west coast nor NYC. Definitely adding your post to my bucket list 🙂

  • Janie says:

    Wow, sounds like you had an awesome road trip! I’ve always wanted to go to Napa Valley, I’ll definitely check out that winery when I can finally make it out. Thanks for sharing your experience, and also love your pictures!!

  • Lauren says:

    Wow! San Fran looks incredible. As someone based in Mexico, I’ve been thinking that I should cross the border and explore it soon (I totally recommend popping to Baja California if you love wine btw!). Your photos are incredible, and I think I’d be totally into the whole Alcatraz visit too. Loved the comment about shitty souvenirs and people watching, just cos it sounds like my kind of afternoon hahaaha

  • Delaine says:

    My eyes went straight to Napa Valley & your wine adventures! Can you blame me? I am like literally dying to explore the West Coast!

  • Veronika says:

    I am a sucker for road trips and this is exactly the road trip I want to take this year! Thank you for your article and beautiful pictures. And I am sorry about Bertie, such a love car!

  • Melissa bitz says:

    Y’all packed in a lot on your road trip! Glad you had a good time. I live near SF so I’m familiar with everywhere you mentioned. Really interesting to hear about it from a non-local point of view.

  • Yvette says:

    I love California! I didn’t visit Napa Valley but I did go to San Francisco- Alcatraz was awesome! I watched a really convincing doco a while back on the 2 guys who supposedly escaped. It sounds like they actually did reach land and then hitched a ride to Mexico. I wish I could remember what it was called…

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