roadtrip from san francisco to Los Angeles

My road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles

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Last time in California was during my exchange year as a high school student in 2004. My parents visited me from Germany and we made a big road trip from Las Vegas via San Francisco to Los Angeles. With the age of sixteen, it was a great adventure. After finishing my flight school in Germany I always wanted to go back to do that road trip again. Now thirteen years later I finally managed to drive down from San Francisco to Los Angeles on Highway 1. Read about my exciting drive along on of the most beautiful routes in the US and learn from my recommendations.

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Pacific coastline of Malibu

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Planning of my road trip

Before booking my flight connections I wanted to make sure that I do not have to drive back and forth. So I booked a flight into San Francisco (read about my flight here) and a connection out of Los Angeles. I am using Sixt rental cars a lot in Germany so I got one in California as.

I can really recommend booking with them. Especially their premium convertibles are fantastic for a road trip. In case you spend some days in San Francisco you can pick it up at Fishermans wharf and start your road trip from there. I drove a BMW 6 series convertible of Sixt and the trunk fitted easily to big suitcases even with the top down.If you drive highway one I recommend to drive it southbound this way you have the ocean always to your right. UUnfortunatelyI received some bad news bevor starting my drive down to Los Angeles.

If you take highway one I recommend to drive it southbound this way you have the ocean always to your right. UnfortunatelyI received some bad news bevor starting my drive down to Los Angeles.

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BMW 6 Series rental car of Sixt

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Route

The idea was to drive along highway one all the way to Los Angeles. This is one of the most scenic roads in the United States. Unfortunately, I had to find out that a road closure around to Big Sur forced me to drive a big detour away from the coastline. Due to heavy rain at the beginning of the year, a bridge was flooded and destroyed. I heard about this before but I figured it will be fixed when arriving in May. I was really disappointed when I found out that the bridge is still blocked. The road between Monterey and Cambria is the most beautiful part.

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Road trip route from San Francisco to Los Angeles

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Fantastic views from Point Dume in Malibu

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Stops

Along the way, I did several stops for a break and to overnight. Best is to drive without pressure and to stop whenever you see a beautiful spot. In my opinion, I forced myself a little bit to get to LA fast. At the end, I only did two overnights along the route.

Day 1

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz was my first stop after San Francisco. I had a healthy lunch at Cafe Gratitude. To find vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafés near me I use the app called "Happy Cow". After a delicious meal, my happy mood was ruined by a parking ticket of 38 USD because I the meter was expired by five minutes. After a short walk on Santa Cruz pier, which gives you have a nice view of the shoreline I hit the road again.

Monterey

The city of Monterey is situated in a beautiful bay area. My plan was to overnight there, but since I booked my rooms spontaneously the rates were really high that night. That is why I already continued my drive in the evening. Make sure you stop at the Lover's point park. The best and cheapest food during my whole trip I had in Julia's Vegetarian Restaurant close to Monterey.

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Lovers point park in Monterey

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Carmel-by-the-Sea

This time I did not stop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is a small beach city. But I remember from my road trip thirteen years ago that is worth visiting. It is known for its fairytale cottages and village-like center. Do the seventeen-mile drive from Monterey Peninsula to Pebble Beach. It is a stunning stretch of roadway along the Pacific coastline.

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Delicious food at Julia's Vegetarian Restaurant

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Cambria

From Monterey, I had to take the US101 to drive further south due to the blockage of Highway 1. Online I found a really nice boutique hotel in Cambria called El Colibri. It was the hotel with the best quality price ratio during my entire vacation. My cozy room featured a hot tub and a fireplace.

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Hotel El Colibri in Cambria

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Seals at the beach close to Cambria

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Day 2

Next day it was a little bit chilly and cloudy. So I did an excursion to Hearst Castle. This private property situated on top of a hill. The property is spectacular and is a must see once the Neptune Pool is fully repaired again. Not far from Hearse Castle you can watch seals from a parking spot.

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Main building of the Hearst Castle

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Hearst Castle indoor pool / Outfit by Michalsky

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Santa Barbara

My second overnight I spend in Santa Barabara the "American Riviera". It is an easy going city and the atmosphere is quite relaxed. Hotel prices are over the top. I booked a room last minute via the app "hotel tonight" so I saved a little. The beach is with hundreds of palm trees is really beautiful. After a quick breakfast, I started off for my last part of my drive to Los Angeles.

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Beach of Santa Barbara

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Day 3

Malibu

Only 30 Minutes from Santa Monica (LA) lies the famous city of Malibu. You definitely need to know where to go otherwise you drive through and realize later that you have missed Malibu. The prices for food and drinks are insane. I had a healthy green smoothie and I paid 14€ for it. The best view you get from Point Dumes State Park.

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Point Dume State Beach

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Driving along the famous beach houses I found a spot where I could access the beach and have a stroll. While searching for Charly Sheen's house, I noticed that most houses look abandoned. But as I found out later people usually come here only for the weekend.

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Searching for Charlie Harper's house in Malibu ;)

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Taking a stroll along the famous houses in Malibu

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Resume

It was definitely the right decision to drive down to Los Angeles instead of flying. Of course, I was disappointed that I had to drive a big detour and I hope they will fix the road soon since hotels and other touristic attractions struggle. In My opinion, I rushed a little bit to get to Los Angeles. I suggest you spend three nights on the road and get a convertible to enjoy the beautiful landscape, even more, when driving.

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Where would you like to do a road trip?

Your Pilot Patrick

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how to deal with jet lag

How to deal with jet lag + my travel essentials

I am back in cold and rainy Germany after six wonderful days of vacation in the Caribbean. The time difference between my hometown and the Dominican Republic was five hours. My return flight was during the night and landed early in the morning in Berlin Tegel. The the next night I was already working again. Many of you wondered how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post, I want to share my experiences over the years and give you a list of travel essentials to fly more comfortable.

Thumbs up - next trip you will deal better with a jetlag

How to deal with jet lag

One of the best ways to mitigate the effects a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. Most operators offer seats which fully convert into a flat bed to have a good rest arriving refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge.

Lie flat bed in Lufthansa Business Class, Seat 3A A340-600

Besides a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of a jet lag. When booking your ticket reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed up in the middle seat. The website seat guru helps to find good seats. Via the flight search function, the system will show the cabin layout of your aircraft. I generally can recommend booking a seat at the window, so you do not need to stand up for everyone, the traffic of the aisle does not bother you and you are in control of the window blind.

Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml still water or juice. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine during the meal helps to fall asleep easier.

It is really important that you move enough during the flight. Do exercises on the way to the lavatory or even in your seat which eliminate the risk of thrombosis as well. The inflight entertainment of most airlines show exercises you can do during the flight.

travel essential amenity kit long range flight
My travel essentials for a long range flight

My travel essentials:

  • Take hand disinfection gel. Airplanes are dirty, after using the lavatory I clean my hands with hand disinfection. You can buy them at convenience stores or online here.
  • Wear thick socks. So you can take off your shoes and your feet stay warm
  • Take your own small pillow. I think the innovative pillow of POCKINDO® could be an awesome travel gadget.
  • Use noise canceling headphones. This is a must for every frequent traveler. They make traveling a lot more comfortable. You feel like in your own little word without hearing the outside noise. I use the in ear Bose Noise Cancelling headphones.
  • Use ear plugs by OHROPAX are the best. Due to the waxy material, they adjust perfectly to your ear shape.
  • Take a sleeping mask which is comfortable to wear
  • Wear sweatpants during the flight. I have them in my hand luggage and I change after take off.
  • Take your toothbrush. It can feel so refreshing to brush the teeth prior approach.
  • Use a lavera lip balm to work against the dry air in the airplane.
  • A power bar in case you do not have a power outlet on your seat. I use an Anker product which is great.

What's in my suitcase?

What to do when the jet lag hits you?

Flying eastbound can be quite challenging since the flight usually takes place during the night and you land at your destination in the morning. Maybe you did not sleep a single bit and now the whole day lays in front of you. If your schedule permits I would go to bed now and sleep for a couple of hours. Set an alarm to wake up around lunch time. Have something to eat and motivate yourself to be active. A short body exercise can help to wake up.

pilot patrick running in a gym
Exercising helps to wake up mentally and physically

In general, if you get really tired during the day I can recommend taking a NASA power nap of 26 mins. A study of NASA in 1995 found about that a “26-minute nap improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.” A great tool that not only works at home but also on a journey. Set your timer to 26 minutes find a comfortable place, turn on non-disturb on your phone and close your eyes. Restricting the nap to 26 mins I feel more alert and energetic over the next few hours.  Try it out and let me know how you felt after a power nap. Napping longer might have the effect that you feel more tired afterward.

Jet lag - behavioral recommendations

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination, so you can mentally adjust to the new time
  • Participate in the daily life of your destination
  • Spend time outside at your destination
  • Try to get enough sleep during the first night of your arrival
  • Try to avoid exhausting activities the first two days
  • No alcohol or sleeping pills
  • Drink enough water (still water or juices 230 ml per flight hour)
  • Keep a light and healthy diet (this is not proven but it will not hurt)
  • During short trips remain in the time of departure so you do not have a double jetlag.
pilot patrick travel style
Outfit as passenger

Visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric to find out details of my style and the brands I am wearing. 

The body adjust approximately 1,5 hours every day. This means it takes about six days to adjust to the new time when the spread between departure and destination is nine hours.

A lot of times travelers suffer from respiratory ailments: cold and fever like symptoms after a long flight. During my research for this blog post I visited the website "Zentrum der Gesundheit" (unfortunately only in german) and I found an interesting article about colds after flight journeys. A study of the Griffith`s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)  found out that taking elder (capsules or syrup) is a preventive measure to stay healthy after the flight! I have found myself being sick for a day or having fever like symptoms after a long flight. For my next long range trip, I will definitely test this out.

What was your longest non-stop flight you have been on so far?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Airbus A300 type rating

My Airbus A300 type rating

In my last blog post, I revealed my new aircraft type I will be flying in the near future. Currently, I am getting trained on a flight simulator of Lufthansa Aviation Training in Berlin. But what does the A300 type rating actually mean? In this blog post, I want to give a more detailed explanation and an insight view of my training.

My career as a first officer started six years ago on the Citation XLS+ business jet. During this period I gained a lot of experiences of operating a jet engine aircraft, I flew to many challenging airports and transported thousands of VIP passengers. In total, I have flown over 2000 hours on this private jet. As I informed you in my blog post "Big changes in 2017" I recently switched my employer. Since the new airline operates a different type of aircraft it was mandatory to undergo a so-called type rating to be able to fly the Airbus A300-600.

Welcome to my new Airbus office (simulator)

My A300 type rating

The theoretical phase of the type rating ended with a skill test about the systems of the aircraft. The entire December I read the manuals of the aircraft and studied with computer-based training (CBT). Do you know what the alpha floor protection means? This protection sets automatically maximum power when reaching a high angle of attack. The angle of attack is the angle between the relative wind direction and the wing chord line. Lift varies with angle of attack. Increasing angle of attack increases the lift coefficient up to the maximum, after which lift coefficient decreases again, leading to a stall condition.

I also had to attend ground courses about the performance of the aircraft. As a pilot, I am required to determine e.g. the take off performance to find out whether the runway is long enough for a certain take off weight and under certain meteorological conditions. Before the simulator training started, I was trained with a mock-up cockpit. This helps to familiarize with the location of the buttons and the operating procedures.

Mock-up cockpit to learn the location of the buttons

Full flight Simulator

I remember playing the Windows flight simulator when I was a kid and now I am flying the most realistic simulator I could imagine. Those full flight simulators (FFS) are built to exactly replicate the respective aircraft type with its performance. All the checking and training take place in those big boxes. This extends the life of the real aircraft and saves fuel, thus protects the environment.

Full flight simulators with motion systems

From the inside, the simulator looks like the real aircraft cockpit with one additional seat in the back. From this position, the instructor can control the setup of the simulator. The whole simulator is built on a platform which can be moved by a motion system to any realistic attitude. When flying the simulator it is fascinating how real everything feels. From the vision, motion, up the acoustics, everything is build to imitate a real flight.

I was nervous and I was looking forward to my first simulator flight at the same time. The first three sessions consisted of normal operating procedures, after that we were introduced to abnormal procedures. All kinds of scenarios can be trained, which could not be replicated in real flight conditions. In modern flight simulators, up to 500 malfunctions can be programmed in the system, for every malfunction, there is a checklist with a special procedure to cope with the situation.

My training highlights so far:

  • Reverser unlock: flight with one engine and asymmetric drag
  • Both engine flame: Cockpit becomes dark and only standby instruments work
  • Emergency descent: After a decompression of the cabin quick descent wearing oxygen masks
  • Dual hydraulic failure: coping only with one hydraulic system remaining
  • Slats and Flaps stuck: Landing without high lift devices the approach speed needs to be increased by over 110 km/h
  • multiple engine failures: making a safe landing and handling of asymmetric thrust

A300 simulator cockpit wearing the quick donning oxygen mask (practicing procedures)

Most of the malfunctions are not independent, which means the cause secondary failures. For example, a problem with the hydraulic system causes the flaps not to be operational and for the approach, the landing gear needs to be extended by gravity with a hand crank.

I have completed session eight and there are five more to come. Every session is basically a check flight, from which I learn. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be successful and not to make any mistakes. But this is almost impossible since you do most of the procedures and abnormals for the very first time. The Airbus is a complex aircraft and I am really impressed how advanced the system are, keeping in mind that the design is from the 1960s. I am not used to flying an aircraft with an auto throttle and an auto flight system with extensive modes. This gave me a hard time at the beginning of the training.

Full flight Simulator A300 (in Schönefeld since 1990)

Practice makes perfect

Flight simulators are the best possible device to train pilots well in a most efficient way. The costs for an A380 simulator are about 1,8 Mio €. That is why the price for a type rating is in a range from 15,000 to 50,000€ depending on the aircraft type. The full flight simulator I am currently training at is almost as old as I am (check my FAQs for my age) and also quite historic. It used to belong to the DDR airline Interflug when Germany was separated between east and west.

I am looking forward to flying the real aircraft soon and I am already excited to let you know how it feels like to control a jet with a maximum takeoff weight of 170,5 tons. Check out my Instagram stories, where I give you an insight view of my training.

What is your favorite Airbus airplane?

Your Pilot Patrick

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