I recently had the opportunity to travel around the beautiful Northern California Bay Area to try out MileIQ and track my reimbursable business miles as a part-time blogger. Here’s my story.
Hitting the Road
It was looking to be a fantastic day. The sun was shining brightly on this San Francisco morning as I sipped my double-dose of caffeine in preparation for a full day of travel.
The goal of my trip was to visit both obscure and iconic destinations within about a 50-mile radius, record my adventures with words and pictures, soak up some unusually warm Northern California sun, and use my MileIQ app to track my business miles for reimbursement.
My first stop was at the very southern end of San Francisco Bay called Alviso Marina County Park. This recreational space, built above the wetlands and ponds, is a quiet, out-of-the-way area ideal for biking, hiking, picnicking, and bird watching along the pathways.
On this day the sun was red hot and the air was still, making for a toasty visit well before the afternoon blaze. Small animals, including squirrels, coots, and ducks, are seen everywhere. The rich history of this wildlife refuge, along with the old cannery across from the main entrance, makes for a fascinating visit.
Though I wanted to stay longer, it was time to move on.
The next stop on my adventure was Mori Point, a vast 110-acre park located in Pacifica, California that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Mori Point itself is a bluff next to the Ocean providing incredible views of the coastline. The area is an ideal location to enjoy a sunset or do a little whale watching if the season is right.
The Journey Continues
For my next destination, I chose Lands End, an area located at the western edge of San Francisco, and less than 20 miles from Pacifica.
Here at Lands End, you get a real sense of the history of Old San Francisco, where it contains the ruins of the Sutro Baths. This historic place–once a large, privately owned public saltwater swimming pool complex built in the late 1800s–was constructed on the western side of San Francisco by wealthy entrepreneur and former mayor of San Francisco (1894–1896) Adolph Sutro.
The facility burned down in 1966 and is now in ruins. Other historic sites include numerous shipwrecks, which are visible at low tides from the trails surrounding the area.
Seal Rock Inn
The area also hosts the Seal Rock Inn, described in Lonely Planet travel magazine as “a vintage 1950s ocean-side motel” that boasts a literary history with the fact that the late “Gonzo” journalist/novelist Hunter S. Thompson holed up in one of the rooms here to get away from the City and work on his books and articles.
The hotel has a coffee shop that caters to both tourists and locals. Inside, with its quaint decor of glass artwork, is where I ate lunch with the hotel manager. He is an old friend of mine who’s been running the place for nearly twenty years.
Checking in With MileIQ
It’s so easy to forget that my MileIQ app was doing all the heavy lifting by tracking my mileage. The app requires absolutely no human interaction while working in the background. In fact, the only reason why it crossed my mind while I was having lunch was that I wanted to make a mental note that the journey from Pacifica to Lands End would be classified as a Personal Drive since it was for the specific purpose of meeting up with my pal to eat.
The beauty of having all driving trips tracked automatically is that you don’t have to remember to set anything up or turn anything on. With barely a thought about recording my trips, it was time for me to move on to my next couple of destinations.
Japanese Tea Garden
Now it was time to get to the heart and soul of San Francisco. I chose for my next two destinations a couple of iconic locations that help define this beautiful city.
It was time for me to don my virtual tourist hat as I checked out the Japanese Tea Garden, located at the center of Golden Gate Park. The beautiful landscaping, featuring pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds, and a one-of-a-kind Zen garden.
Next up was Pier 39, generally known as Fisherman’s Wharf, where I found dozens of shops, pop-up souvenir stands, boat rides heading to Alcatraz, and plenty of restaurants to satisfy anyone’s palette.
There was one more San Francisco place I wanted to go, which was Coit Tower, just a couple miles up a few harrowing hills from Fisherman’s Wharf in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. The art deco tower was built in 1933 as a gift to the city’s storied Fire Department and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
End of the Journey
It was starting to get late, and I was due back to the MileIQ offices to classify my Drives and file my report. Using the MileIQ Dashboard on my laptop, I took the opportunity to provide more detail for my Drives by using the Custom Purpose feature, which assured that each Drive has a stated purpose. If I ever need to justify any of my Drives, I’d have the information right in front me.
Using MileIQ as my source of truth, I discovered that my potential reimbursement amount for the day’s business travel was $66.32! That’s a fantastic calculation, given that I spent the entire day on the road, not even thinking about reimbursements since I knew MileIQ had my back.
I now know that every time I blog, I will have the MileIQ app to track the miles I travel to do my work. I don’t need to set anything up or turn anything on. It’s honestly a gift for anyone who does any driving for any business reason.
MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.