On Monday, October 1st, the Bloggers and I were paired up and were allowed to select a Toyota vehicle to drive up the coast of California. Once we selected a vehicle, we were given a list of set destinations to stop at along the way to the El Capitan camping grounds in Santa Barbara. Our first stop was at the largest Target Store that I have ever been to in my life located at 2850 N Oxnard Blvd Oxnard, CA 93036. Toyota handed each of the Bloggers $25 gift cards and a list of items to purchase and donate to the Santa Barbara Food Bank. A lot of the Bloggers (including myself) agreed to match dollar for dollar what Toyota donated. Additionally, Target took $10 off each of our purchases towards the donations. Together, we were able to donate over 634lbs of food and supplies.
Our next stop was The Harbor Restaurant at the Santa Barbara Pier. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for this restaurant. My disappointing food experience had nothing to do with Toyota, so I will save my honest feelings on canned soup and microwaved fish sticks for Yelp, loll.
After we reached all of our initial stops, we set off to El Capitan for what would be an experience of a lifetime. El Capitan is a Camping Lodge located 20 miles outside of Santa Barbara. It is located on 300 acres, and was created to “Unwind, relax, and commune with nature”. All of the Bloggers had private log cabins scattered throughout the property. One thing I must say is that the staff was completely friendly, and personable. Although, we were out doors…. the staff made me feel as if I were staying at a 5 star hotel. From housekeeping to the meals… the service at the El Capitan was superb! I cannot thank them enough for being so hospitable and accommodating. Now on the flip side, I know without a doubt that I am not an outdoors type of person. I FAILed to read the memos that Toyota sent us prior to the trip, and packed all wrong for our adventures, loll. I went to sleep each night scared of what might be lurking out my window… lack of technology, loll. I look back now and laugh about my experience. Sleeping in the forest, I learned that the sounds of nature at night are in 3D. I was as unfamiliar to the family of deer that roamed the property as they were to me. Maybe all of those Michael Myers movies ruined me or it could have been the episodes of Nip/Tuck when Dr. Sean McNamara took his new bride (played by Rose McGowan) on a camping trip, and, well…. Loll.
Another highlight of our trip was visiting the Sanford Winery. It was the most serene experience I had in a long time. This was the first time I have had the pleasure of visiting a winery. We sampled a number of their wines, toured their facility, and ate dinner. The food was so amazing!!!!! I would definitely have like to have shared the moment with a special someone of the male persuasion, loll. The whole trip in general would have been perfect for romantic get-away.
The following Wednesday we drove back to the Lowes Hotel, and waited for our planes to arrive. Thank you again to Team Toyota for allowing the Bloggers this opportunity to come together. This combination of experiences I have had with Toyota is the perfect example of Work/Life Balance. I respect the brand for creating this awesome experience; I am both humbled and appreciative.