California “Greening” – A Very Eclectic & Eco-Friendly Road Trip Adventure for the Books
So if you’ve been following me and my blog, there are some things you already know about me. 1. I love to travel. 2. I love a good adventure story. 3. I’m a little “light green”- meaning, I care about things like the earth and environment and am all for eco-friendly living if I can find a way to make it both fun and convenient.
Last month, I had the opportunity to enjoy each of those things in a very unique way. My partners at Kia Motors America invited me to “Create my own adventure” in the all new 2018 Kia Niro Plug In Hybrid (PHEV) and of course, I accepted the challenge! That challenge involved me flying out to Orange County California, taking a visit to the Kia Headquarters in Irvine, CA, then driving my first Electric Vehicle (The Kia Niro PHEV) up the coast of California along with my awesome riding partner, Clarissa of Clarissa Explains It All to our final destination of San Francisco. Along the way, we were tasked with simply exploring some of the most unique stops in California, while taking advantage of the eco-friendly efficiency offered by this new crossover vehicle and getting a brief introduction to the EV lifestyle. Read on to learn more about the adventure we created….
The Eco-Friendly Road Trip Ride
As you guys know, I’ve had the opportunity to drive the 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid for several months and have had many, MANY travel adventures in this car. The 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) offers the same crossover utility, fun-driving and design of the Niro hybrid, but with an estimated 26-miles of All-Electric Range. We learned that while this is Kia’s 3rd plug-in vehicle model, it’s actually an exciting next step in Kia’s progression toward offering many more alternative fuel vehicles by 2020. If you’ve ever considered driving an electric vehicle, here are some more cool facts about the new Kia Niro Plug In Hybrid:
- Flexibility to recharge the vehicle for everyday travel and fill gas tank for long range road trips
- 26 miles of electric range and 105 miles per gallon combined (gas and electric)
- The car charges in full in under 2.5 hours
- Charging station locator apps such as Chargepoint help you find the nearest stations all across the country
California has always been at the forefront when it comes to environmental sustainability, with so much rich farmlife, organic farm to table restaurants, etc. So as we’re driving around in our “green” vehicle, Clarissa and I decided to spend at least part of our journey exploring just some of the most uniquely sustainable destinations along the coast of California. Here are some eco-friendly road trip stops we discovered:
We stopped at this awesome mural in LA, but what we found behind the mural was fascinating. We spent some time meeting and talking to Randy, the artist and creator of Phantasma Gloria, the world’s first massive mosaic made of many large lenses suspended in air with open spaces in between. This is an incredible hommage to to the beauty of the earth and it was amazing to see how the mosaic literally changes in appearance depending on the time of day and particular angles you are looking from. Here’s one of the coolest of Randy’s creations – if you look really closely to the glass, you can see the sky (shrunken & upside down)!
The Los Angeles Zoo
Home to The Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel, which highlights some of the many animals which the Los Angeles Zoo is working to save from extinction.
We were fortunate enough to spend the night at this beautiful resort in Pismo Beach reminding us that as we care for the earth and care for others, self care is equally as important! Here you’ll find some beautiful scenery, calming views and a world class spa!
But, speaking of sustainability….we were especially pleased to find a charging station available right at the resort! Just what you need for any eco-friendly road trip!
Artichoke Land / AKA Home of the Giant Artichoke
No description needed, right?
More “Green” Adventures…
Lastly, we were greeted back our hotel in San Francisco with a delivery of fresh, organic fruit from Golden Gate Organics. Prior to my eco-friendly road trip, I had the chance chat with the owner of this company to learn all about the state’s various organic farms and businesses. While I didn’t get a chance to stop at any of these, I look forward to another trip to further explore!
By the way, if you live in the Bay Area or visiting, be sure to try a box for yourself or gift to someone else. Learn more at www.GoldenGateOrganics.com.
Addicted to Americana – Charles Phoenix
America’s first McDonald’s, Caveman themed motel rooms, and a Giant Donut Hole…
These were some of the wacky and unique places we were encouraged to find along our journey. We got a special presentation by Charles Phoenix who is the master of all things kitschy and Americana, as well as the author of Addicted to Americana. Because of time constraints, we were bummed that we didn’t get to stop at more of them, but we did find some pretty fun road trip stops and best of all, we made it to the Giant Donut Hole…
Oh, and another really cool stop. Can you identify this home from a famous “vacation” movie?
Random Acts of Kindness
While our guidelines for the #NiroRoadTrip included finding some unique road trip stops from Orange County to San Francisco and fully taking advantage of the functionality and efficiency of the new Niro Plug In Hybrid, we were also encouraged to perform some random acts of kindness along the way. To be completely honest, this became one of the biggest highlights of the trip for me and my riding partner, Clarissa. While dining at the Diners Drive Ins and Dives restaurant, we ended up finding a fun looking group of ladies who we learned were not only doing their annual holiday gift swap, but also preparing care packages for the homeless. We asked to join them and they welcomed us! 35 bags and lots of laughs later, we are thankful for another incredible experience and some new friends from our journey!
So, once again, so many stops, beautiful sights, stories to tell, and one big adventure – I’ve learned to expect nothing less from these Kia Road Trips! 🙂