Posts Tagged ‘Road Trip’

Exploring California: The New Tesla Supercharger in Kettleman City


The exterior of the new Tesla Supercharger in Kettleman City

With the holidays upon us, more people will be hitting the road. For Tesla owners, this can mean long wait times at Supercharger stations. For those traveling on the I-5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco, there is good news. A 40 stall Supercharger station just opened in Kettleman City.


Panorama of the Kettleman City Tesla Supercharger

I visited the spanking new supercharger on Saturday and was wildly impressed. It looks like something straight out of the Jetsons. In addition to the well designed and shaded layout and of the solar charging stalls, the Kettleman City Supercharger offers amenities for Tesla owners. There are bathrooms and a guest lounge where you can order a craft beverage from a Tesla barista while enjoying free wifi. There is even Tesla merchandise for sale.


Kettleman City Supercharger Entrance 

The Kettleman City supercharger should help relieve the burden at the Bakersfield and Harris Ranch Superchargers during heavy traffic times, as well as when the Tesla Model 3s start to add additional traffic.  Access to the facilities is gained by an access code sent directly to guest’s Tesla touchscreen.


Solar covered charging stalls at the Kettleman City Supercharger

There are quite a few dining options near the Kettleman City supercharger, including California favorites In-N-Out Burger, Bravo Farms and Baja Fresh.


Pretty Tesla Chargers all in a row

The astroturf lawn is perfect for walking your pets.


Kettleman City Supercharger

Another 40 stall Tesla Supercharger is set to open this week in Baker, for those driving between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

My Tesla did not list the Kettleman City supercharger as an option last Thursday (a day after it opened) so be sure to ask your Tesla navigation system for specific directions.

Kettleman City Supercharger

27675 Bernard Drive

Kettleman City, CA 93239

Roadside Assistance (877) 798-3752

40 Superchargers, available 24/7, up to 120kW



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Super Flytographer Experience in Portland, Oregon


Flytographer Whitney shooting Katie in Portland’s Pearl District (Photo by Jen Pollack Bianco)

EDITOR’S NOTE: all other photos in this post are by Whitney in Portland for Flytographer

Trips with my BFFs don’t happen in my life nearly as much as they should. I am incredibly lucky to have great girlfriends with adventurous spirits who agreed to meet me for a Pacific Northwest girlfriend getaway. Since I live in Seattle, that was a logical place to start. We wanted a “road trip” segment so we headed to Portland for 36 hours in the Rose City.


Just hanging out in the Pearl District

Katie has been my BFF since the first day of Fourth grade in Indianapolis. She was my college roommate and my bridesmaid. When Zan showed up in middle school, we became a power trio. The three of us have had many adventures and a few misadventures together. Now we live in three different cities and don’t get together nearly enough. When planning our PNW girls trip, I realized I didn’t want to be the one behind the lens the entire time. So many of the photos of the three of us have been taken at weddings and reunions. We just did not have enough photos of the three of us simply goofing around and enjoying each other’s company. Enter… Flytographer.


Our Flytographer experience was Yo, Awesome and Rad

We rocked these Sisters of Los Angeles Baja jackets for part of our shoot

Flytographer is a destination photography company whose motto is “some trips deserve more than selfies.” This was one of those trips. I’ve been wanting to try out Flytographer since some of my fellow travel blogger friends have used the destination photography service. Flytographer offers short photo sessions in most major cities and vacation destinations on six continents. The company works by pairing clients with local photographers. Flytographer shoots are a no-brainer for major life events like proposals and babymoons. I went with Whitney in Portland because I liked her photographic sensibility and thought her love of travel made her the right choice for our girlfriends getaway.


The yellow VW Microbus we stumbled upon was a great shoot location

After filling out Flytographer’s request form with relevant info, I got a quick response from a Flytographer Concierge who kept me looped in during the whole process and let me know she was checking Whitney’s availability. Then I read Flytographer’s Style Guide. While we definitely wanted candid photos, I did want us to look like our we had our act together. Zan and I recently bought jumpsuits we love at Bleu Clothing, so we convinced Katie to jump on the jumpsuit bandwagon. We drew our fashion inspiration from fashion icons like Charlie’s Angels and The Pointer Sisters. Sex and the City came up as a style reference as well. But there were four main characters in SATC, and no one in my girl squad is the Miranda.

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Chillaxing in Tanner Springs Park

Props to Katie for finding a red jumpsuit online and rocking it like a young Diane Von Furstenberg! Have I mentioned my friend Katie is crazy resourceful?

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Exploring Powell’s City of Books

My Flytographer, Whitney, was great about suggesting locations for the shoot. We decided to star with Tanner Springs Park and then head to downtown Portland. The Flytographer Concierge put all the details together so we knew where and when to meet Whitney. We had a great time during this shoot. Not only did we have an excuse to dress up and act silly, but we got to explore the Pearl District with a Portland native, which was fun. We wound up in Powell’s City of Books, one of my favorite bookstores on the planet. This was perfect because all three of us girls are still book nerds.

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Obligatory Charlie’s Angels homage

As you can see, the inner child in each of us is alive and well.

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Another classic Charlie’s Angels pose

We did a mix of posed and candid shots with Whitney, who was great at given us direction. Going in, my goal was to get three good shots out of the Flytographer session. I think we wound up with a lot more than that, and we had a lot of fun during our shoot. We finished with a round of Cosmopolitans at Pepe le Moko, a funky subterranean bar that felt like a bomb shelter.


We finished our session with a round of cosmos at Pepe Le Moko

I really enjoyed shooting with Whitney and found myself relaxing in front of the camera for once. The fun continued when I got a preview postcard from Flytographer two days later which included a great teaser shot from our shoot. The link to the final images arrived in my email a few days later.



 We even got a few quick single shots during our Flytographer session

Flytographer sessions start at $250. You can check out their packages here.

I am so grateful to have such lifelong girlfriends who were game for this. We had an amazing Flytographer experience, and it was worth every penny. These photos will make me happy for many years to come, and I think my BFFs feel the same way. Katie is even thinking about booking a Flytographer session for her holiday cards.


Love this shot from Tanner Springs Park

I never regret making time to get together with my girlfriends. We laughed non-stop and agreed we need to do trips like this more often. Flytographer’s mini-photo sessions are a great way to get memorable souvenirs from your next holiday or vacation. Since Flytographer also offers prints, I’m pretty sure Katie and Zan know what they are getting for Christmas this year. I’ve had such a great Flytographer experience I am officially a fan of the brand.


Address: 330 – 517 Fort Street, Victoria BC Canada V8W 1E7
Office hours: 9am-5pm Pacific Time
Phone:  1 (888) 211-7178





Our Portland photographer was Whitney.


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Classic California PCH Road Trip: A Mobile Photo Essay

Processed with VSCOcam with f3 preset

PCH Panorama shot on my iPhone 6

I recently spent a day driving down the PCH from Big Sur to Los Angeles with both my dogs for company. It’s one of my favorite drives and I try to do it once every year or so. Here are some of my favorite images from that trip.


Moody blue coastline

I started my trip in the morning, which is not really the best way to do it. The coast is notoriously foggy and often doesn’t burn off until later in the day. Fortunately, I liked the moody morning and the cool way it made the coast look.


Rocky Creek Bridge

I stopped at several scenic points along to way to take photographs with my iPhone 6. The scenic overlooks near the bridges are my favorites.  The bridges are so impressive and I like to imagine what the building process must have been like back in 1932.


Left: A Seagull who knows location is everything Right: Flowers at Limekiln State Park

Mobile phone service is very spotting along parts of the coast and I forget this every time I do the drive. If you want to visit a specific beach or park, I’d advise bringing a paper map or printed directions with distances between landmarks. I missed the turn off to Pfeiffer Beach, often considered the crown jewel of dog-friendly Big Sur beaches.


Foggy tree line above Limekiln State Park

Instead I stopped at Limekiln State Park, which has a dog-friendly beach area. Parking was an issue at Limekiln because of the number of campers, but I lucked out and got the last space.


Zeppelin and Scarlet exploring the beach

I don’t have a ton of photos because it’s tough to get great photos when your handling two dogs who are curiously exploring the beach.


Left: a stream flowing into the pacific at the Limekiln beach  Right: Zeppelin in Profile

This was the first time I’ve had a chance to take both my labs to the beach in California. They have previously enjoyed the Washington Coastline and San Juan Islands.


Scarlet on the sand

I always stop for a bite to eat in the town of Big Sur. I like the Big Sur River Inn because it has a wide expanse of lawn near the river where I can walk the dogs. There is also free wifi, which is rare in these parts.


An old school omelette at the Big Sur River Inn

The Big Sur River Inn is a total time warp. The soft 70s musical stylings of Al Stewart and Jim Croce play in heavy rotation and the menu doesn’t feel likes it’s been updated since 1977. There is something fabulous about how non-ironically retro this place is that brings me back time and again.


Spring has sprung south of Hearst Castle

Foodies might prefer grabbing a bite at the Big Sur Bakery, or popping into the restaurant at the Ventana Inn & Spa for a meal.

*All images in this post were shot on my iPhone 6. I used the ShakeItPhoto App for the groovy, 70s inspired Polaroid effect inspired by the music at the Big Sur River Inn.

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New Mexico’s Chimayo Chiles and Where to Eat Them

Red hot chile powder for sale in Chimayo, New Mexico

In Northern New Mexico, chiles have been growing since settlers brought them from Mexico in 1598. It’s difficult to find a porch devoid of a hanging bunch of chile peppers between Taos and the airport in Albuquerque. The Chimayó heirloom is thought to to be the best of the bunch.

Bunches of Chimayo chiles outside Potrero Trading Post

It is native to the small, quirky town of Chimayó, located 26 miles from Santa Fe on the High Road to Taos, which happened to be my first road trip of summer 2014.

El Santuario de Chimayo

Chimayo is best known is best known for it’s adobe holy church, El Santuario de Chimayo, which is said to have holy dirt with healing properties.[Note: Stay tuned to the blog for a future post on the El Santuario de Chimayo.]  It’s a trippy little place, and happened to be one of my pit stops on this summer’s first road trip.

Chiles & shadows

If you’re going to be visiting Northern New Mexico, you’ll no doubt be tasting Chimayó heirlooms and other types of chile in the food.

Pork sliders with a kick. Tasting Chimayo chile in Taos

If you happen to be in Taos, try checking out Lambert’s for lunch or dinner.  The atmosphere and service were top notch, and they serve a simple and delicious tree house margarita ($8)  which pairs nicely with the high desert weather. You can order chile cheese fries with your choice of chile or get a cup of New Mexican Green Chile stew for $5.

Lambert’s of Taos
123 Bent Street
Taos, New Mexico

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Posh & Pet Friendly: A Stay at the Four Season Biltmore Santa Barbara

Gorgeous Santa Barbara Architecture at the Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara

At least once a year, I like to take a good old, fashioned road trip with my dog, Scarlet. The Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara is as pet-friendly as it is gorgeous. Four Seasons excels at customer service– and the Biltmore’s began prior to arrival. I got a call the day before I was scheduled to arrive letting me know that the hotel was rather full and it was unlikely my room would be ready before the official 4pm check in time.

Scarlet could get used to this Four Seasons Thing

Since Santa Barbara is an easy two hour drive from our home in Los Angeles, this information was very much appreciated and helpful and pretty much shows how they roll at the Four Seasons– thoughtfully.  The Biltmore has wide swaths of green, lush lawn that makes it easy place to stay with a pet. Upon check in, we were shown to room 820, located on the ground floor in one of the low slung cottage buildings.

Left: Orchids in the Lobby Right: The Sunny Lobby and Bella Vista Restaurant

The room had dog bowls, treats, and a dog bed for Scarlet. All the staff was very pet-friendly too (the valet even asked if he could give Scarlet a treat). Even better, the hotel had a VIP (very important pet) brochure which had a lot of useful info for guests with dogs. There were listings for local vet as well as a menu of pet items from room service and offerings for in-room pet massage.

One of the gorgeous seating areas in the Biltmore lobby

Human guests were also taken into consideration and given a lovely fruit basket welcome amenity. The Biltmore also provided hang tags for the door that said “Pet in Room” so Scarlet wouldn’t startle any of the housekeeping staff. I was impressed! The Four Seasons Biltmore really thought of everything pet owners need for a stress-free stay.

Left: A fireplace in Bella Vista Restaurant Right: An Arched Hallway

Once Scarlet was comfortably settled in the comfy room, I headed to Bella Vista, one of the hotel’s restaurants, for lunch. Bella Vista serves fantastic foccacia bread and their funghi pizza (with crispy brussel sprouts) was the standout dish.

Scarlet doing an inspection of our dog friendly Cottage room

Paying for wifi is my #1 hotel pet peeve. But I appreciated that the hotel offers guests complimentary wifi at a lower speed. While I chose to pay $20 to upgrade to the higher speed option so I could download faster, I thought $20 was fair since it allowed up to 4 devices (and there was a free option).

Left: Rain Shower Right: Blue tiles in the bathroom

I was impressed with the quality of the finishes in the hotel. The Spanish tiled bathroom had a powerful rain shower and side-by-side sinks. The amenities were from L’Occitane. There was also a separate bath tub. The room also had a spacious walk-in closet with plenty of room for suitcases and storage.

Four Seasons has insanely comfortable beds

The room’s vibe is very serene and overall pretty quiet. The hotel even provides ear plugs for guests, should they be light sleepers and easily disturbed by the train that passes nearby every few hours. I didn’t think it was an issue at all.

A fruit basket welcome amenity

My biggest problem with my one night stay is that it wasn’t long enough to enjoy all of the hotel’s facilities, like the gym and the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club.

Belle Vista Restaurant is light and bright with impressive service

I’m just going to use that as an excuse for a future return visit. My dog, Scarlet, made it pretty clear she could get used to this Four Seasons thing.

Organic chicken with olives and slaw and saffron aioli at Bella Vista

The Biltmore has a fantastic location across from Butterfly Beach, which is both dog-friendly and a great place to watch the sunset.

Left: Yummy foccacia Right: seasonal roasted vegetables

The Funghi pizza with roasted Wild Mushrooms, crispy brussel sprouts, and truffled pecorino was exceptional

Pet owners will find the hotel user friendly and luxurious.

A buddha statue on the grounds at the Biltmore

Driveway to the Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore

Sunset on Butterfly Beach in Santa Barbara

Four Seasons Santa Barbara

1260 Channel Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93108, United States

+1 805-969-2261

Rates starting from $545

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