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Cruising the California Coast in Our Sweet Red Ride – the Toyota Venza

Posted by on August 26, 2013

Press Trip

Now I’m not going to say that we were impressed with Toyota after attending the Toyota Elevated Event in Santa Monica.


As soon as we got home, we bought this.

Our brand new FJ Cruiser.

Our brand new FJ Cruiser.

So, in reality, we were impressed. We were DAMNED impressed. Not only was the event incredibly well-organized and a joy to participate in, every single person we met couldn’t rave enough about Toyota. And I’m not talking about the Toyota employees or their press people; these were all the people at the event who actually owned Toyota vehicles and loved them with a degree of fanaticism which caused us to take a second look at Toyota.

We have never owned a Toyota. Really didn’t know anything about them. We had just always bought Ford/Chevy/whatever. But what really made us consider actually purchasing a Toyota was not only the fact that everyone kept telling us what great vehicles they were, but the fact that we actually got to spend a few days in California really driving one.

When we realized we were just going to be in Santa Monica for a few days, we decided that was a long way to fly for just a few days and was it possible we could stay a little longer and not fly home with all the other press people? The Toyota PR people said no problem. Then we realized we were going to need a car for the few days so we thought hmmm why not ask? And they said no problem.

And that is precisely how we ended up picking up a beautiful red Venza at the Santa Monica airport parking lot. We had never heard of a Venza, never seen a Venza, never driven a Venza, but we loved our Venza. We probably would have bought a Venza…let me rephrase that…I would have bought a Venza but Tom saw the FJ Cruiser and fell in love. And when you fall in love, there is not much you can do.

Except own a vehicle that, as the salesperson assured us, will scale any mountain we want to climb.

Like that happens all the time.

We didn’t get to spend much time in our parked Venza during the event but, as soon as it was over, we embarked in her and headed down the coast to Carlsbad, where we had arranged a press visit with the friendly folks in this lovely coastal town. We were both a little intimidated to drive in California traffic and we had to immediately get used to the fact that the roads were always full of cars, not matter what time of day it might be.

Yes, we are not freaking out.

Yes, we are now freaking out.

Luckily, Carlsbad is only about an hour and a half from Santa Monica and part of the drive runs along the gorgeous California coast. Although I have to admit we were expecting mountains and rocks but soon realized that is the coast in the other direction. That’s OK. This was beautiful also. I spent a good part of the trip hanging out the window trying to get some good shots of the beach.

The beach!

The beach!


Driving the coast of California in our Venza.

Driving the coast of California in our Venza.

 Finally we got smart, stopped and got some pictures when we arrived in Carlsbad.

Quite the view.

A beach in Carlsbad.

Then we realized we should probably have some pictures of the car we were driving in order to review it so we took pictures of the Venza and people stared and thought we were total goofballs to be taking pictures of our car.

Venza enjoying the beach.

Venza enjoying the beach.


Front of the Venza at the beach.

Front of the Venza at the beach.

 After myriad shots, we realized we should probably have one of us in the shot, so I reluctantly posed. Oh, you know that’s a lie. I love to pose.

The requisite model with car shot.

The requisite model with car shot.


We really loved everything about the Venza from the sweet red color to the roomy interior where we had plenty of room for our luggage, to the fact that it had Bluetooth capability. Although, in all honesty, because we are newbie car reviewers, we didn’t realize that she had Bluetooth capability until later in the week when we then proceeded to call each other on our individual phones in the car just because we could. And because we are dorks.

We spent several days in Carlsbad in several different locations and I’ll be telling you all about each and every one because they were truly unique and each one was wonderful. Carlsbad is an absolutely lovely little town, located only about half an hour from San Diego where we took the train one day – yes, I promise I’ll tell you all about it.

One of the coolest and most unique things about Carlsbad, though, is the fact that it has three beautiful lagoons which cover over 1,000 acres. We spent one day visiting the Batiquitos Lagoon which is a game sanctuary and bird estuary and is really a beautiful place.

And we didn’t forget to take a picture of our sweet ride at the lagoon.

Venza with the beautiful Jacaranda trees in the area.

Venza with the beautiful Jacaranda trees in the area.

Our fabulous red vehicle transported us all down the coast and all over Carlsbad and was supremely comfortable, reliable and quite the eye candy. In the process of spending a week with her, we fell in love with Toyota.

The rest is history.

Thanks, Toyota.

Full disclosure: Toyota provided us with our lovely Venza,  but as always, I will share my honest opinion about any travel experiences I have.


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