this is a 250 foot tall giant redwood tree in the forests of California

my name is Eric Conover and this is what to do when traveling to California

I am here in the beautiful state of California in partnership with visit

California on a two-week long road trip with my good friend Mike shepherd my

mission in this three-part video series is simple show you the top destinations

to experience on the ultimate road trip through the great state California

starting here in the north the first stop of my list is Safari West Safari

West is a renowned reservation consisting of 400 acres of private

wildlife sanctuary located in Sonoma County California the park is pretty

unique because it combines top wild animal care with eco-friendly vacation

style lodging and in authentic Safari tents that have been imported from

Botswana the tensor really will make this place unique each tent has a

private viewing deck which are just a few feet from the actual wildlife

enclosures at sunset you can walk out of your tent onto the viewing deck and you

are ilvl with giraffe feeding in the fields and catching those fading

California rays and I have to say I actually like this there's no cell phone

service here the only spot that there's Wi-Fi is at the guest check-in in the

lobby and I think there's something very unique to that especially in today's age

where everyone's so connected everyone's always on their phone the fact that you

can disconnect and enjoy nature to this level it's something pretty special and

that night you're sleeping to the sounds of the Sonoma Serengeti surprisingly it

got pretty cold the temperature at night can dip down into the low 40s high 30s

this time of year but luckily each tent comes with a space heater and the open

screen windows can be sealed up nice and cozy with Velcro covers at night to keep

the heat in I recommend waking up at dawn at the

next morning coffee in hand and head to the top of the ridge for sunrise and to

get a view of the entire park then take a cruise through all 400 acres in a

classic night 250 to dodge Power Wagon and 37 safari

truck where you might see herds of wildebeest grazing on hilltops you'll

get up close with rhinos exotic birds and tons of zebra I highly recommend

waking up at sunrise getting a sunrise Safari here as the Far West

driving south next on my list is Sonoma Valley wine country what would it to

northern california be without some vino and with over 425 wineries ranging from

rustic to regal there is no shortage in Sonoma Valley California there are so

many wineries here it can be a bit overwhelming the one that I can highly

recommend is vjb cellars vjb is a small family-owned winery that has the perfect

blend of old-world Italian winemaking and the California approach combined

together now if you're looking for something a bit more luxurious this is

hands-down the spot welcome to lead s'en winery the 16,000 square-foot French

Normandy winery is known around the world as the castle for good reason like

I've seen some crazy properties in my life but this place was overwhelmingly

luxurious welcome to the grand entrance to the castle my words are kind of like

do this any justice take a look the entrance is something out of the

Great Gatsby with all that exposed wood and massive chandeliers at the top of

the staircase in the back there's a private wine tasting area overlooking

the back of the property these grapes right here grew out of the

ground out of this rich soil in Sylva Valley and produce some of the finest

wine in the entire world that is then bottled and shipped out to millions of

people around the world and I think there's something profound about that

Sonoma Valley is magical and definitely a place that you need to experience in

Northern California from wine country we made our way down south passing through

San Francisco Oh the Golden Gate Bridge stopping in the

next destination on my list Santa Cruz on California's Central Coast now Santa

Cruz is a small beach town with attractions such as the classic beach

boardwalk which has been operating continuously since 1907 it's known for

the breathtaking rugged coastline that just outside the city and the region is

also known for consistent world-class surf at breaks such as steamer Lane and

Pleasure Point one of the best ways to see Santa Cruz is by electric skateboard

so the hotel that we stayed at had in boards in the lobby for guests to ride

which might actually be one of the coolest things I've ever seen in a hotel

so of course we grabbed two boards and cruised down to the beach all the way

down to the very end of the shop and restaurant lined at Santa Cruz Wharf fun

fact it's also the longest pier on the west coast of the United States

continuing on the road trip next you're gonna want to leave Santa Cruz leave the

beach drive up way up into the mountains above the town next up and definitely

most unique on my list is Big Basin Redwoods State Park oh it is brisk Oh

Maya but the air is so fresh oh my goodness that it smells delicious Big

Basin was declared a state park in 1902 and we're not just saying this for a

video yeah the coolest place I've ever seen it's it's you feel how old this

place is to like these trees they didn't just pop up overnight and now coastal

redwoods are experts at survival with the oldest tree in the park estimated to

be eighteen hundred years old for comparison that dates back to the Roman

Empire this is the highlight I think of the trail so far this is the 250 foot

Beast the father of the forest baris fires are part of life in

California but there are massive benefits to the health of a forest see

the established trees have to compete with undergrowth for nutrients in space

but fires fires clear the weaker trees out and returns health to the forest

even allowing gaps in the canopy for precious light to penetrate down to the

forest floor and generate new life this guy behind me is called the chimney tree

I'm going in for the first time filming the reaction coming coming Mike's in

here now I love attractive now this is the coolest thing I've ever seen

look up come in here and look up no way what the chimney tree is a testimonial

to the durability of the coastal redwoods this living growing a redwood

tree is entirely hollow from top to bottom the reason for this is that

several fires over the years ignited the trees heartwood the inside the meat of

the tree and this burning created a perfect chimney effect all the way up

the trunk so this sign right here actually references the Statue of

Liberty being shorter than the tree no yeah look at this there's no reference

point there's no oh this is X amount of yeah it's hard to tell if these actually

are taller than the buildings were used to seeing or if it's just our perception

but like just for a little bit of comparison I'm six and a half foot tall

do you see that behind me you know there's one thing seeing it in a photo

or in video right now but to be here and Ted to put your arms around a redwood

tree I recommend spending a whole day in the redwood forest

it's truly a one-of-a-kind experience leaving Big Basin that we continued

south along the iconic California State Route 1 and that brings us to the end of

the first episode of the California roadtrip behind me is the world-famous

Bixby bridge or about the crossover keep heading down south to Big Sur make sure

to subscribe to see the rest of the California roadtrip series and with that

I'll see you from Big Sur