When I was young I'd go on many road trips. I love being on the road, there's just something so free about driving yourself to everywhere and not have to be stuck in a plane with all those strangers. Now that Miss V is older, I feel better at taking her on some long road trips, but most were 2-3 hours max of driving time. So when this year's Summer vacation started, I decided to drive up to Portland, OR. to bid farewell to my friend, Joke, and her family whom are moving to Shanghai.
When I first started to plan the road trip I did worry if Miss V would miserably cry "Are we there yet?" during those long hours of car ride, so I made sure to make many stops along the way. Our round trip, from Los Angeles to Portland, took about 11 days. If I get to do it again I'd make it a 14-day trip, which would be a lot less rush and more time to explore.
We finished packing and loaded the car with all kinds of snacks and kids activities by 9am. Originally, I planned to leave at 6am (I like to start early, so I can do more), but as most parents know this - traveling with kids means you need to be as flexible as possible. I made a point not to take it so seriously if I couldn't stick to the itinerary and spending time with Miss V was my priority.
First stop, breakfast. We went for "homey" Chinese breakfast at Yi Mei Deli - egg pancakes and sweet soy milk. After that, we drove to Solvang. It took us longer time to get there as I forgot about the weekday morning traffic. Oops.
In Solvang, we went to Paula's Pancake House for their famous Danish Pancake. The pancake was very thin and HUGE, but I finished the whole thing, it was so good. The weather was so nice, so we walked around a bit and visited some cute shops. Miss V had so much fun, she loved the cute Danish town. We got on the road again after an hour or so of sightseeing and by late afternoon we would arrive to San Francisco to spend the night.
In San Francisco, we spent the night at Omni Hotel, which was provided by Hotels.com. I usually prefer boutique hotel that's young and hip, but I must say that the decision to stay at Omni couldn't be more better, especially after a five-hour long drive. As soon as we arrived we were in total comfort; the staff was friendly (I love it when hotel staffs are genuinely friendly to the kids), our room was very clean and bed was comfy. Miss V was happy and surprised when she saw the kids explorer backpack that the hotel had prepared for her. We ended the evening with hot bath and room service - Butternut Squash Ravioli and kid's Mac-n-Cheese. Sigh... that was nice.
Yi Mei Deli 18414 Colima Rd Rowland Heights, CA 91748 (626) 854-9246
Paula's Pancake House 1531 Mission Dr Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 688-2867
Danish Mill Bakery 1682 Copenhagen Dr Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 688-5805
Mortensens Danish Bakery 1588 Mission Dr Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 688-8373
Solvang Theaterfest 420 2nd St Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 686-1789
Jule Hus 1580 Mission Dr Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 688-6601
The Book Loft 1680 Mission Dr Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 688-6010
Omni Hotel 500 California St San Francisco, CA 94104 (415) 677-9494
Stay tuned for Day 2 tomorrow!
*Major thanks to Hotels.com for providing the lovely room at Omni Hotel for Miss V and I! I booked the night before we were leaving (must admit, I'm a very last minute person) and Hotels.com managed to confirm the room for us before we arrived, which was a very helpful booking feature. Although the hotel room was provided by Hotels.com, please note that all opinions are strictly mine and I wouldn't rave about anything that I don't enjoy.
**All images photographed by Bonnie Tsang with Canon 5D and iPhone