Thursday, August 11, 2016

Press junkets and stuff...adventures galore

Fog rolling in at Carmel Valley Ranch Lodge

This summer has had some fun press junket adventures.  I blog with integrity and include a disclaimer on the posts advising who sponsored me.  The words are always my own, in my own conversational tone, as if anyone can make me say something I didn't believe in the first place.  Its a fine line being diplomatic when there's something you don't care for yet not offend your hosts...after all you want to be invited back again for another event!

One of the best events ever that I have been on was host by Nissan as part of their #NissanAdventureDrive and #NissanYearoftheTruck campaign.  It was held in Big Sur country up on the northern end of the Central Coast.  Nissan hosted us at the Carmel Valley Ranch which has got to be one of the nicest, poshest resorts I've ever stayed at.

Fireplace in the guest suites at Carmel Valley Ranch Lodge

The event itself was a ton of fun.  Even with a wild fire in Big Sur that forced us to change the route and off-roading course for the Nissan Armada Platinum didn't really put a damper on things.  Smokey yes, but not a damper on the 3 days worth of activity.  

We had 3 vehicles, half day in each to test drive on and off road.  Each vehicle had a unique route so  you got to see tremendous cross sections of what the Monterey peninsula has to offer.  The off roading routes were fun as well. 
Nissan Armada Platinums at Laguna Seca off road course

With the aforementioned wild fire our course for the Armada was changed.  WE got to use a specifically designed course at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, yes that Laguna Seca that I've always wanted to visit got scratched off the old bucket list and added to my bucket of adventures!  Yes, it was fun putting their trucks through their paces in the mountains, but this was the icing on the cake for this adventure.
Formal dinner in the Organic Garden at Carmel Valley Ranch

Of course a good host, and Nissan excelled at this, made sure your meals were fun and memorable.  First night at the country club was a 13, yes thirteen course, tasting menu.  Very nice and really a tremendous meal.  The final night of the Adventure Drive was a sit down dinner in the Ranch's organic garden featuring farm to table fresh produce, herbs and meats from their.  Amazing meal, great company and so much fun to watch the sunset from atop a hill overlooking Carmel Valley then watching the stars fill the darkening sky.  This has got to be a memory I won't soon forget.

Carmel Valley Ranch is on my return destination list.  Their concierge services are top notch as are all the facilities and the staff is uber friendly making your stay oh so very pampered. I'm telling you I didn't want to go down the hill for the return trip to Los Angeles.

The return trip started out normal enough.  We got a notice our flight was delayed 45 minutes from Monterey airport.  No biggy right, still ample time to get to SFO and make our connections home.  We're sitting at the gate and we get another message...flight delayed as United couldn't find a plane.  This time I'd miss my connection, as would others sitting there with me from the event.

Nissan went out of its way to reroute and re-book tickets.  For those of us that wanted to, and I did, make the SFO connection they provided a driver to take us there (hour and a half drive) and we were rushed off to SFO.  What an interesting ride that was, great conversation with my fellow adventurers and we were at SFO in time for our connections.

I got to SFO and United struck again.  They were prepared to bounce me from my flight as the flight from Monterey was delayed past my flight to Burbank departure time.  They ignored the confirmation of the flight done by the good folks at Nissan and put me on stand by...why because they were oversold by 9 passengers for the SFO-BUR flight.  Grrr...long story short I was able to get on and got home in time for the Grand's first concert in the park with his pre-school!
some folks can sleep the carpet at SF

I'm working on my next adventure or two before summer is out.  A road trip to Las Vegas is part of the scenario.  If I can squeeze in a trip to Palm Springs yet I'll do that too...I have Hilton points to burn so that's a cheap trip if I can make it happen.

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