Sights and Eats from California to Georgia
The road trip from California to Georgia was filled with a mix of emotions. Sadness for saying goodbye to the Pacific Coast, excitement for our new beginning back east, fear of how Coco would handle the stress of the move. I didn’t know whether to smile, cry, or rip my hair out.
We decided to take the long way out, along Highway One, to see the magic of Big Sur one last time. The weather was perfect that day; brisk with warm sunlight and not a cloud in the sky. Just cool enough for a warm bowl of soup and a crusty piece of sourdough from Big Sur Bakery.
A few minutes down the road is McWay Falls. Although we had seen it the last time we were in Big Sur, we decided to stop one more time to take in it’s beauty. Definitely worth it, considering it’s less than a 5-minute walk from the road.
The last stop along Highway One was in San Simeon to watch the elephant seals on the beach. They looked so peaceful snoozing in the sand!
We spent the first night in San Luis Obispo, a charming beachside college town full of great places to eat. That was how I decided what cities we would stay in, based on how good the restaurants looked. Are you surprised? ;)
I also had to look for dog-friendly patio seating considering we had Coco with us in a stroller. Yes, we were those people and I have zero shame.
Both meals we had in SLO were amazing. Dinner was a tempeh/kale bowl at Bliss Cafe and breakfast was at Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe. The waffle and smoothie knocked my socks off and Brandon gave the coffee two thumbs up.
The next stop was in Las Vegas which is a little less than 7 hours from SLO. We grabbed a late dinner from Violette’s Vegan Eatery and ate it at the hotel.
For breakfast I found an awesome little cafe (Sunrise Coffee House) about a mile away from where we were staying. It was a nice day so we decided to get some exercise and walk instead of drive. As we paced along with Coco in her stroller, an angry man rode up to us on a bicycle and started yelling obscenities at us. He was belligerent, clearly on some kind of drugs, and I thought for sure he was going to attack my husband in the middle of the road while I stood by guarding our elderly dog in a stroller. Thankfully Brandon kept his cool, told the guy to back off and eventually he snapped out of it and rode off.
So I can’t recommend walking there but the coffee shop itself was outstanding and completely safe. I had a pumpkin spice latte with soy milk and it blew Starbucks out of the water. Also, the vanilla cardamom muffins are to die for.
From Vegas we drove to the Hoover Dam and then to the Grand Canyon. I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of food options in the dessert so we stopped at a local Whole Foods and packed some goodies in the cooler to take with us. That was definitely a good idea. There’s nothing like a tofu banh mi wrap and a cold ‘buch with a sunset view of the Grand Canyon!
We spent that night in Flagstaff which is about an hour drive from the Grand Canyon. As we drove along the pitch-black road we passed what seemed like 20-miles of controlled fires in the woods. It was crazy to see so much of the wilderness burning in the dark.
The next morning we took (a much safer!) stroll to Macy’s Coffee House. This place was super busy with locals, everything was tasty and the steel cut oatmeal hit the spot.
From Flagstaff we drove to Moab, a city that’s been on my list to visit for a while now. We had dinner at Desert Bistro which turned out to be a great choice. The smoked tofu gyozas are a must. Also, be prepared to restrain yourself from eating several loaves of their fresh homemade whole wheat bread. Mmm…
The following morning we breakfasted at Peach Tree Juice Cafe and I had the Kodiak Pancakes. They were good but make sure you request them without the powdered sugar. There was way too much for my liking. Bleh.
We bought a pass to Arches National Park and spent a couple of hours taking in the awesome views. I would have loved to do a few hikes but it just wasn’t in the cards this trip. Thankfully there is still plenty that you can see from within driving or short walking distance like Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch. Hopefully one day we can go back to hike and see the arch up close!
Our next stopover was in Denver and I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures but the drive was absolutely gorgeous. There were a few yellow trees left but most had lost their leaves at that point. I can imagine it’s even more stunning in October when fall colors are at their best.
I found a healthy grab-n-go cafe called Green Elephant Juicery a couple of hours outside of Denver in Avon. We had smoothies, wraps and chili, all of which was delicious.
There were so many incredible places to choose from in Denver that it made my head spin. Ultimately I decided to check out Watercourse Foods and it did not disappoint. Actually, it was my favorite meal of the entire trip!
I want to recreate EVERYTHING, from the biscuits and gravy to the almond flour pancakes and the lavender latte. It was ridiculous. If you live in Denver you are SO lucky to have restaurants that good!
After Denver we stopped in Kansas City, Springfield (to catch up with friends), and Nashville. I didn’t document anything from that point on because my number one focus was keeping Coco comfortable until we got to Athens. Like I said, it was a rollercoaster of emotions but still a great trip overall.
Thank you again for all of your kind words and support through my ups and downs. It means so much to me.
I hope I was able to offer some inspiration on where to eat if you ever find yourself driving across the country. Also, if you have any recommendations to add to the list, please share them in the comments below!
I’ve been looking forward to this post! It was fun to follow along via Snapchat/Instagram stories. I’m going to Nashville for New Years to visit my best friend! Any recommendations from what you did on your stop?
It sounds like you are going to have an awesome New Years!! :)
We ate at Sunflower Cafe and Fido in Nashville and they were both delicious. A friend of mine also said The Wild Cow is really good but they didn’t have a dog friendly patio so we didn’t get to try that one. I’m sure there are a ton of great options to choose from. I would love to go back one day!
I want to go with you on your next trip! All of the places you stopped to eat sound amazing. You are definitely my kind of traveler – someone who picks your stops based on food! How do you generally search for restaurants in new cities?
Haha! You can totally come along next time. ;)
I usually Google vegan/organic restaurants in whatever city I am looking to stay in. HappyCow and Yelp are both super helpful. Traveling in Europe, however, is another animal. Their restaurants rarely have websites so I’ve had to be a little more spontaneous during those trips!
I’ve never driven cross-country, but I would love to check out all of those places you visited! And poor Coco in her stroller :-(. Makes me so sad, but also so happy that she had you as her mama and she got to travel to so many awesome places with you guys.
I would have loved to push her around for longer in that stroller. We only used a couple of times but she seemed happy when we did.
Wow you guys ate SERIOUSLY well on your trip – everything looks amazing too! Basing my stops on food is totally how I travel too haha.
That’s the best way to do it! ;)
Your pictures were, as usual spectacular. I loved seeing Coco in her stroller, absolutely no shame involved in making your beloved pet comfortable! When I saw your Grand Canyon photos it reminded me of treking that “hill” 7 miles down on one day on one trail, and 11 miles up the next day on another trail. I was in my early 20’s when I did it…that was many many moons ago. Anyway, you always capture the essence of the geography of each location and the photos were truly wonderful. Thanks for sharing your journey with your readers. :)
Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment, Jerilyn! I can imagine that was an unforgettable couple of days for you. Such a beautiful place to do a hike too. I’ve always wanted to hike to Havasu Falls. Have you heard of it? It looks stunningly beautiful.
I feel so fortunate to be able to share my travels with you. Thank you for reading! :)
If you ever get the chance, the Grand Canyon hike was amazing. I did it in March and at the top there was snow. When we got to the bottom it was 83 degrees, such a contrast. When we went back up the “hill” at about mile 6, I got somewhat jealous of those going up riding the donkeys. But, when I made it all by my own legs in 2 days, the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming.
Havasu Falls looks amazing, another majestic destination to put on our bucket lists!
If I ever go back I will certainly keep it in mind! And I’m sure the donkeys were grateful that you didn’t ride them. ;)
Just loved all your pics!!!! Now I can’t wait to go on a road trip ;-)
I love road trips, and I can imagine that this one was full of emotions. But all of your eats look AWESOME – especially your breakfasts! Isn’t Big Sur and the ride along Hwy 1 in general so gorgeous?? I’m sure that you’re going to miss those views, but I’m also excited for you in this next chapter of your life back on the east coast!
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LOved reading this! How long did it take to get to your destination?
Thanks Savannah! We took about 7 days for the whole trip. If it was up to me I would have added on a few days to give us time to hike but we had our older pup with us so it wouldn’t have been feasible for us.
I’m so glad I found your post. We are planning a trip from LA to Atlanta. Hopefully one day make the move. I’m going to save your stop spots. Thank you!
I’m overjoyed to have found your post. Los Angeles to Atlanta is where we intend to go. Hopefully, one day make the change. I’ll remember where you stopped. I appreciate it.