The Toyota Life: The Long Road Home

“Let’s Go Places. Not just for the sake of getting there, but for the sake of going there.”

2019 toyota 4runner TRD Pro

I’m taking #letsgoplaces literally this summer with Toyota.

But this time, I’m getting there with extra space, more comfort, and in style.

As an avid traveler with an urge for adventure, I don’t usually care how I get there… as long as I get there. I’ve taken multiple red-eyes with only 30 minutes of shut-eye before a hiking excursion. I’ve crouched underneath the sedan’s passenger seat (yes, that space between the glove compartment and the floor mat) to make room for more people. I’ve backpacked through miles of wilderness and slept in freezing temperatures for the perfect photo. All in the adventure to see some of the most beautiful places. And hopefully, there will be more.

But it doesn’t have to be crazy. There is still a spark of adventure in taking a short weekend road trip. So after my most recent escapade through the volcanoes of Guatemala, I decided to take a more conservative approach and take Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) back to my hometown of Cupertino, California. Toyota handed me the keys to the new 2018 4-Runner TRD Pro and it was the perfect opportunity to opt for the scenic route. It took about ten hours including a few short stops, but we would have been ‘couped’ up (see what I did there?) if it weren’t for the extra space in this sport utility vehicle.

We woke up at 5:00 AM to head north and make it onto Pacific Coast Highway by dawn. It was a breezy trip with miles of winding roads and dense fog along the coast. A note to my fellow CA-1 road trippers: the road is now fully open with a few one-way spots in between. If you haven’t been before, check out my Central California Road Trip Guide. The central coast of California might just be the most beautiful coastlines in the US if you’re willing to make the journey.

We blazed through the winding roads with only a few short stops in between for breakfast and photos. The weather wasn’t aware that we were going on a coastal scenic tour to see views of the ocean, so it decided to block out the views with its fog. This is typical down this stretch of the coast, but we didn’t think it would affect us for hundreds of miles. Hours later, the skies cleared and we were able to enjoy the views with much more clarity. Some of the most beautiful coastlines are along this stretch in California, and our views did not disappoint.

It didn’t stop us from enjoying one another’s company while listening to some old school classics, football podcasts, and driving comfortably. Not to mention – tackling some of those rocky trails with that 4-wheel drive capability, thanks to Toyota! It had so much space, my boyfriend even built my dog her own ‘room’ in the trunk while she snoozed over every turn and speed bump during the rest of the trip.

I’m from a small Northern California town called Cupertino that fell fast for the real estate bubble caused by the burst of Silicon Valley technology. Once Apple established its headquarters there, it put the town on the map, on your iPhone weather, on your iMac locations, and on everyone’s radar. It used to be a much different town, but it surprised me how nostalgic I still get while visiting. My parent’s humble house is atop a small hill, with a one-way road up to the very last driveway. Tucked between the greens, we settled our shiny Barcelona red Toyota for the night.

I grew up blazing my own trails from my front yard to the neighbor’s lemon trees. My younger sister and I sat outdoors having staring contests with deer. I loved clearing my head by driving down the windy roads of Cupertino with hiking trails right off the path. My trips back home now are no different. With my pup in tow, it’s the perfect place to bring the family to enjoy the outdoors for a few hours.

With one full day to spend in the city, we took the family and the 4-Runner to San Francisco to be the ultimate tourists for a day. We visited the Golden Gate Bridge then spent the rest of the day by Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, and Ghirardelli Square. After indulging in San Francisco’s famous seafood and clam chowder paired with Ghirardelli chocolate malts, we had our fill of tourist attractions for the day. As much as we love to explore, it was refreshing to jump back into the 4-Runner before flopping belly first on the couch to enjoy some quality family time.

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to real life. We set up the dog room in the trunk, packed up all our things, laid down the backseats, and drove back to Orange County. Once again, Monday snuck up on us and work was to be done.

So what does “Let’s Go Places” mean to me?

It means having a slight sense of escape. It means taking full advantage of every weekend. It means that family is not that far away. That road trips are meant to be taken and adventure is meant to be had. Thank you, Toyota, for the weekend adventure to a short but sweet taste of home.

A little more about the Toyota 4Runner 4×4 TRD Pro:

  • 4×4 4.0L V6 5-Speed Automatic
  • MPG 18 city/highway
  • Horsepower 270 hp
  • Auto headlights
  • Backup camera
  • Windshield de-icer
  • Privacy glass on rear side and rear liftgate windows
  • Front and rear mudguards
  • Air conditioning in every row
  • Multi-informational display panel
  • Multi-terrain select
  • All-terrain tires
  • Star safety system
  • Tilt/telescopic steering wheel with cruise control
  • Towing capacity: 5,000 lbs.

Visit for even more stunning features on the 4-Runner TRD Pro.

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