This year has brought so many surprises and many firsts and it's only been two months into the year 2017! Not only was it my first time attending a dad conference, but it was also our first time in California. To top this off, we drove the sporty and edgy Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD through the beautiful streets along the Pacific Coast. This was all made possible by receiving the Miller Grant to the 6th Annual Dad 2.0 Summit held in La Jolla, San Diego. In case you missed it, we started off the year away from home and ever since,  have taken more random and spontaneous trips than ever before. There's a long list of places on our bucket list we're looking forward to scratch off and were excited to scratch off visiting the Pacific Coast in California! 

Both Ashley and I, were pretty nervous about Camila flying on a plane for the first time. To our surprise, she was the best and decided to fall asleep the last 10 minutes of the flight haha. We landed in San Diego close to midnight and went straight to the parking garage where we had a Mazda CX-5 waiting for us thanks to DriveShop and Mazda. The next order of business was getting to our hotel and prepare for the next 5 days. Even though it was late, we were pretty excited to be in a new place together as a family.

Mountain top view
We ended up on top of Mount Soledad by accident and the views were very rewarding
Dad 2.0 check in was not until mid-afternoon, so we had half the day to go exploring and get a feel for the city. On our way to breakfast, we took a wrong turn but somehow ended up on top of Mount Soledad. We don't mind getting lost even if we have an itinerary for the whole day, the views were breathtaking and very rewarding for us. We ran into a local who pointed out all the good spots in town and where to get some good breakfast. This trip was off to a great start! Old Town was where we found Café Coyote. We are used to Tex-Mex and homemade Mexican food, but the Mexican food there is as close to authentic as it can be. Seriously, the food was amazing! Camila enjoyed the food too, all the while she was admiring all the colorful decorations around us. There really isn't a greater feeling than experiencing and enjoying things together for the first time. 

Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD overlooking the foggy area of La Jolla

Taking in every moment together
Before going to San Diego, I did research on all the things that we could do there and one of them caught my attention in particular. The area of La Jolla had a population of Seals and California Sea Lions and we were drawn to that. We made that our mission and as you can see in the vlog below, we had a chance to see the sea lions very closely. The seals were in pup season, so we couldn't get too close since some of the seals had newborn pups and human disturbances could lead to the abandonment of the pup. We really enjoyed seeing the locals care for the wildlife and conservation efforts.The weather there was foggy but we still managed to make our way down to the beach below the cliffs. The waves were crashing a little strong and I think Camila was a bit frightened, but she distracted herself by digging in the sand. It was getting close to the conference kick off, so we took off to the hotel so I could get ready to head out. Since this was a conference for dads, Ashley and Camila were going to stay alone at the hotel, but The Lafayette Hotel was really nice and there were many things to do there.

Sea Lions in San Diego
A California Sea Lion posing as I was approaching

Dad 2.017
The stage of  Dad 2.017 in La Jolla, San Diego

Boutique Hotel In San Diego
The 7ft heated pool of The LaFayette Hotel
The Dad Conference was a real eye opener for me, not only because it was my first dad conference, but it was my first real understanding of the dad influencer industry. I only know 3 other dad influencers here in Houston, and I'm a newbie compared to them. So I didn't really understand where dad influencers stood in the marketing world. I was able to catch up with my YouTuber friend, Jorge Narvaez from Reality Changers and also got to meet other Millenial dad youtubers; Manny Rodriguez from The Way I Dad, Andrew Tiu from The Tiu Review, Glen from BeleafInFatherhood, and ThatDadMat who is a CPST and CBWS Babywearing Educator! Three of these guys are also from Texas! 

The three days of dad 2.0 were full of networking, talking with brand representatives, car test drives, interviews, facebook live sessions with Facebook, listening to great panels, partaking in interesting conversations, and enjoying the whole experience. The 2 last days of the conference were all day events so Ashley and Camila enjoyed the heated pool and explored around while I was away. I was drained once it was all over but I was eager to go out and explore what San Diego had to offer. What really drained me was having to get up early and drive to the Hotel where the conference was being held at but I was able to know the Mazda CX-5 in a daily real world scenario and I didn't mind the heated seats in the cool and rainy mornings!

Mazda CX-5 on one of the cool rainy days in La Jolla
The weather of the first two days was pretty bleak but the following days were perfect. The sun was out and we were able to see the beauty of the southern California coast. I love driving, and was eager to drive the streets of La Jolla along the Pacific Coast with my family in the CX-5. The AWD system was perfect for the steep and windy roads there and came in handy on 30 degree slopes. We enjoy roads like these and by far have been some of the best we've ever been on and we are glad to say we experienced this with Mazda.

One of the best things to have in a vehicle are options, and one of my all time favorites is having a driver mode selection. The options in the Mazda were straight and simple; either normal or sport mode. Sport mode brings out the #zoomzoom out of the 184  hp 4 cyclinder engine and makes for a lovely driving experience. Driving on the southern California highways was a breeze and I think it's just right for singles or a small family. Ashley and I are the ones in the front seats all the time so we like to have a nice view of our surroundings and inside the cabin. It's very streamlined, simple and functional. You also have dual control A/C, which is perfect since I don't like to be cold and she does, and there's also heated seats in the front. We both loved the Crystal White Pearl Exterior as well as the Parchment leather interior, however, having a toddler and light color interiors can be a nightmare but if you can find a way around that, then go for it! I think the light colors made the compact SUV seem a lot more spacious and we loved it. #DriveMazda !

The back seat space in the CX-5 is a lot roomier than it appears on the outside

I'm actually glad we traveled to San Diego on our first trip to California instead of Los Angeles! And I want to go back during the summer and maybe get a chance at getting in the water to get some underwater footage ( the water was 54 degrees Fahrenheit - too cold to swim without a wet suit). 
Besides all the driving we did, we were able to see the many other cool things San Diego had to offer, like Mission Bay, Balboa Park, Seaport Village, Gaslamp Quarter, and all the beautiful scenic roads. There's so much that happened on this 6-day trip and you can see more of it all on our travel vlog! I personally think it's one of our better ones we've made so far. You can read the Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD's specification below and enjoy the pictures along the coast in La Jolla.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD

  • SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine
  • SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6 Speed Sport Mode AT
  • 184 Horsepower - 185 LB-FT Torque
  • Electric Power Assisted Steering
  • Independent Front/Rear Suspension
  • Front & Rear Stabilizer Bars
  • 19" Alloy Wheels P225/19 All Season Tires
  • Variable Rain-Sensing Wipers
  • Heated Power Mirrors W/ Turn Lamps
  • Auto On/Off Halogen Headlights
  • Fog Lamps/Daytime Running Lights
  • Power Moonroof
  • Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column
  • Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel W/ Audio, Cruise, Bluetooth Controls
  • Power Automatic Door Locks
  • Power Windows W/ Driver One-Touch
  • Leather Trimmed Sport Seats
  • 8-way Power Driver's Seat W/ Lumbar
  • Push Button Engine Start
  • Dual Zone Auto Climate Control
  • BOSE® AM/FM/CD/MP3/SAT 9 Speaker
  • HD Radio/AUX Jack/2 USB Inputs
  • Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone/Audio
  • 7" Color Touch Screen Display
  • Multi-Function Commander Control
  • Rearview Camera
  • Mazda Navigation System
  • Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • ABS With EBD & Brake Assist
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Hill Launch Assist
  • Advanced Dual Front Airbags
  • Front Side-Impact Air Bags
  • Front and Rear Side Air Curtains
  • Retractable Cargo Cover
  • Roof Rack Side Rails
Grand Touring Tech Package
  • LED Headlights
  • Adaptive Front Lighting
  • LED Daytime Running Lights
  • LED Foglights
  • LED Combination Taillights
  • Smart City Brake Support
  • Auto-Dim Mirror W/ Homelink
MSRP: $29,870
As Tested: $32,885

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