It's a Small World After All

Thanks to MLK, I had an extra day to play around with this weekend. It was going to be a road trip with a couple of friends, but when they both flaked out, I decided to just go on my own.

I actually like (and even love) traveling on my own. If I want to stop for a three hour run that may become a 1 hour run or a 5 hour run, I can. If I feel like taking photos of rocks, I can. If I am hungry, I eat. I never have to worry that I am putting someone else out or that they are not having fun or that I am making them wait.

Originally, I was going to go to South Lake Tahoe with two people. Person number one LOVES to gamble, loves to drink, but does not ski, doesn't really like to hike, does not run, does not love waiting for someone who is taking photos of flowers.

Person number two does not run, loves to hike and ski, does not love to gamble, likes to drink, and does not love waiting for someone who is taking photos of flowers. So, having the two people with me would have been interesting.

Why? Because I do not like to drink that much, am not a huge fan of gambling and would go to Tahoe mostly for activities (mainly skiing, hiking or running). But both people did not go. So, after a little consideration, I went alone. The main thing holding me back was the cost. A hotel room is a lot cheaper when you are sharing it with two other people! However, I threw away my frugal hat and decided to go for it, regardless of cost.

I left Oakland on Saturday morning around 7:30 am. My first stop was Starbucks (yes, it was) for a road trip coffee. You cannot have a road trip without coffee. It's just not possible. My second stop was an old favorite in one of the agricultural areas of California. It used to be a tiny fruit stand when I was a young child, and has now blown up to a fruit stand, snack stand, pit stop. They still have some of the cheapest and freshest fruit and veggies around! I got some dried fruit, some real fruit, and some nuts for the ride north. Again, a road trip would not be a road trip without SNACKS!

My plan was to stop somewhere for a run in the middle of my trip and then head north to Tahoe, where I would take photos of mountains and lakes and sunrises and then get some dinner.

So, first I stopped along the way near Auburn, where I ran on the same route as the Western States 100 mile race (WSER). I have to admit, I was not really in the mood to run, but it was a nice route all the same. The views of the American River are stunning.

ws sign
I went UP.

american river
Middle Fork American River

After the run, I ate most of my road trip snacks (dried strawberries anyone?) and headed up the road. I arrived at the lake about 20 minutes before sunrise and I checked into my hotel and took a shower at warp speed, so I could hustle back out to the lake to get some good shots while there was still light.

Afterwards, I was on a mission. As a lone traveler, I want a dinner place where I can eat at the bar so I don't have to sit at a table alone. However, I don't really want it to be ONLY a bar, or to have crappy bar food. I also wanted to find a brewery with local beers that I could try while also having fabulous food. I found 2 of my 3 requirements. I actually stumbled upon a nice pub where I found more than I could ever ask for.

First of all, I wanted to sit at the bar. When I got there, the bar looked full, but I said to the guy that I kind of wanted to sit at the bar and he not only made a place for me, but he introduced me to the guy I would be sitting next to. I ended up having not only a great conversation with my new friend, Dozer, but also getting a ton of great recommendations for hikes and food for the next day. In addition, it turns out he used to be contracted to the same company I used to work for, he grew up near where I live now and he has traveled to many of the same places as I have. Now, before you get the wrong idea, I would like to state that he is probably in his late 50s, so there was no romance there. However, I had a great time sitting at the bar chatting with him while having a great meal.

Speaking of a great meal, I got a hamburger that was ground in-house and was on a bun that was also made in-house. Not only was the hamburger delicious, but the bar staff was kind and the local flavor was top notch. Plus they had Pliny on tap. To top it all off, when I got the bill, I noticed that they had given me the local discount, which was 20 percent off my bill. Basically for under $20, I got a homemade hamburger, a couple of delicious beers and a great conversation. I call that a major win.

After that it was back to the hotel for some reading. Why is it that reading when you are traveling is so much better than reading at  home? All in all, it was a great first Road Trip day! 

Do you prefer traveling alone or with someone else? What kind of snacks/drinks do you like to have on your road trips? Do you go out to eat by yourself? If so, do you meet/talk to people or do you stick to yourself?


  1. It sounds like you know how to road trip! I completely agree about needing coffee and snacks. I really admire that you stopped in the middle of your drive for a run. I have traveled by myself a fair amount -- as my research involves trips to foreign archives and libraries. Depending on my mood, I will chat with others when I'm on my own. I had a pretty bad experience after chatting with someone on a transatlantic flight two summers ago and that has made me more wary of doing that since then.

  2. I loooooooove traveling alone. After you're married, it doesn't happen that often except for work, but it is really nice. Sounds like you had a really fun road trip!

  3. Sounds like a good trip! I love travelling by myself.

  4. I love that you went by yourself! What a great trip doing exactly what you want:)

  5. That sounds really lovely!! I enjoy traveling on my own from time to time but my favourite person ever to travel with is Eric. I actually LOVE traveling with Eric and we have so much fun when we go on little trips together. And we've been together so long and done so much traveling together that I don't really feel like we have to "cater" to the other persons needs anymore so it usually does work out that I can do whatever I want on our trips because it's often something we both want! I am definitely the planner when it comes to our trips though and do 99% of the planning myself with occasional consultations from him :)

  6. That sounds like a great start to a fun weekend. I am like you and am totally ok with traveling alone and actually would almost say I prefer it - mostly because the travel partners that I am compatible with live far away so traveling with them is expensive! So I go alone quite a bit. This weekend I did a weekend getaway to Charleston and met up with some run club friends from Minneapolis that I normally would not have traveled with. But it worked out. I will say there were some times when I was wishing I was alone, but c'est la vie... So all in all I would say I prefer traveling alone, with the caveat that there is a very short list of people that I do enjoy traveling with (you would make that list, I think we travel well together). For snacks, I have to get a coffee in the morning, preferably from Starbucks because I know what I am getting and know it will meet my expectations. For food, I like grapes, almonds, or dried fruit. And trail mix! I eat out by myself all the time, but if I am seated next to someone interesting, I will chat with them. I got seated next to the nicest couple when I was in Asheville last summer and we chatted through the entire meal and it was so fun.

  7. I haven't done too much traveling alone, but I think I would enjoy it. Once I got over the weirdness of being alone, ha! Typically, I travel with my mom and we get along SO well and travel so easily together that it's not all that hard. I also have a group of girlfriends who are basically exactly like me so traveling with them is fun. (Though can be exhausting on this introvert, sometimes!)

    Sounds like a wonderful start to your weekend! I love that you decided to go away, even when your other friends flaked on you. Awesome!

  8. Sounds wonderful. I haven't done that drive for many many years but I recall it is beautiful.

  9. I've been developing a love of traveling alone. I've done long drives by myself when I lived in Utah, but recently I've started traveling alone and I am finding out that I really enjoy it.

  10. I quite like travelling solo - there's so much freedom involved and it often feels really luxurious to me. Equally, I like travelling with friends or my love. For me it's always been about who wanted to go where when and how that aligned with me. Most of my solo trips have come about because I see something as a deal and book it. Your weekend sounds great - Tahoe is someone (one of very many places) I'd like to make it to in the USA when I return some day.

  11. Hi! I am henry thomas like your post thanks for sharing i hope you had a wonderful trip and yo did really enjoy a lot.

  12. Sounds like an unexpectedly fun trip - definitely not the kind of experience you would've had if your travel mates hadn't bailed. Other than for work, I haven't ever really traveled solo. But, now that I'm weighed down (in the best way possible) by a husband and son, I think traveling solo sounds divine. =D

  13. I can enjoy traveling solo, too... it doesn't happen often, maybe that's why I like it so much?!

  14. I've not traveled alone very often, but I have found a confidence as an adult in eating alone. It sounds like it was a great trip. The bar sounds awesome.


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