This is a sponsored post

If you’ve been reading my blog for at least the past 6 months, you will know that there’s been a major change in my life: I am now a fully independent driving beast. About time… I know, I know. Suddenly, road trips aren’t something I gingerly tag along for, but something I initiate. Heck, I can actually drive away at any time, like a spontaneous, crazy adventurer. And well… I did just that a week or so ago and hopped on a flight to Mendocino County for a bit of sightseeing.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past travelling on my own to bring you back interesting tales, but until last week I’d never properly hit the road by myself. So, let me tell you about “My Great Mendocino Road Trip for One”… It has three protagonists: a subcompact SUV, Allstate’s Good Hands Rescue® service and moi. The plot includes sequoias that touch the sky, foggy windy roads, remote countryside inns and a cancelled flight home. Are you hooked already?

I left Los Angeles on a Tuesday morning, headed to LAX clutching my itinerary, the local area map downloaded to Google to prepare for patchy cell service and the all important Allstate Good Hands Rescue® app on my phone. After landing in Santa Rosa, I promptly took possession of the little car that would soon become my second home for the week and was on my way to my first stop, a quaint little town at the edge of Sonoma County. I stopped there for a delicious lunch break in the sunshine while studying the rest of the day’s schedule. Now this is where the first mishap happens… My car was one of those “press a button to start the engine” kind of machine, so I didn’t have to reach for the keys to turn the ignition off, which means that there was a higher chance I’d forget them in the car… And of course, on my first stop I did. The panic didn’t last long as I remembered that Allstate’s Good Hands Rescue® service has an option for lockouts, which means that whatever happens, help is only a few finger dances away and because the car hadn’t auto-locked yet, I was able to open the door. Phew! The rest of the first day was pretty smooth sailing and I checked into my hotel with enough time to barricade myself in my room and sleep with the lights on like a big city-dwelling baby.

In the morning, I woke up to find my car covered in frost – something you definitely don’t expect in California! Memories of my mum trying to start her frozen car in Paris when I was little resurfaced and yet again things got a little sweaty. Would I have to use the magic Allstate app? Fortunately, not this time. After scrubbing all the glass surfaces on the car with a Muji gift card (don’t ask), I pressed the ignition button and the engine started purring gently and I started driving to my next destination: the town of Fort Bragg on the coast of Mendocino County. To get there, I had to drive west through the Jackson Demonstration Forest, which is basically all fog and hairpin turns. In other words, a great combination for a fairly new driver. I must admit I had moments of intense doubt while driving on that road. Also, there were no rest stops, which means nowhere to pee. But at least somewhere in my mind I knew that if something was to happen on the road, my guardian angels from Allstate Good Hands Rescue® were only a button press away. Seriously even if you don’t use it, I suggest you download the app as it will give you peace of mind, and that is priceless, especially when your mind is busy concentrating on navigating those foggy hairpin turns just right. After approximately two hours of extreme squeaky bum time, I arrived at my destination and enjoyed a wonderful horse ride on the beach… before getting back in the car to Mendocino.

The coastal drive was very uneventful, but also pleasant. The PCH is a lovely highway to be on when the sun is shining and the Pacific Ocean takes on its most intense aquamarine colour. After lunch in Mendocino I decided to explore the area a little more before checking into my hotel for the night. Both the car and I needed the rest after those adventures!

My last day is when it gets REAL good. After a day spent exploring Boonville and Santa Rosa, I headed back to the airport only to find that my flight back to LAX was cancelled!!! Ever the quick thinker, I asked them to rebook me on a flight out of SFO and explained I would just drive there. And just like that it was me and the little SUV back on the road again. By this point any angry feeling was dissipated by the sheer pride I felt as a new driver sorting myself out in all those stupid (sometimes self-inflicted) situations.

The morale of this story? If I can do it, you can do it… With a little help from your friends at Allstate!

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.