That time again, Thursday 13

So this week should be a little easier to get thru, unless you don’t like family and travel stories.

After posting a pic of Half Dome yesterday, Melissa OOOOOh wanted to know more.  Well thanks for asking, here you go:

My brother, who had never been to California came to visit with his girlfriend.  Me, being the accomodating sister that I am, gave them shelter and wheels and a little direction.

We took one day in San Francisco where we:
1. Rode the BART train…not that exciting to us city folk, accustomed to mass transit, but still it can prove to be an adventure if you can’t read a map or have to push a stroller thru a turnstyle and up and down an escalator.

2. Took a MUNI bus to the Haight.  Met a lovely,who we assumed was an older, woman and offered her our seat.  She was pleased w/ the offer but not for our reason for offering.  We talked gardening in a city that is half covered with fog.

3. Amazingly enough we weren’t accosted by any high or homeless bodies while in the capital of the counterculture of the 60′s.  Usually I at least get an offer or request.  Darn, would have made this story more colorful. 

Speaking of color, we ate at a fave of mine and my hubs: Cha Cha Cha.  A caribbean/cuban tapas joint that usually is so colorful and loud that you can suffer from sensory overload.  I recommend the sangria… in mini-pitchers, perfect for a “working” lunch.  We got there before the lunch crowd and enjoyed a relatively quiet meal, until the toddler started to squirm.

4. Out we went to see where our feet would take us next, and we decided the beach, Ocean Beach that is.  A hike up a hill (to the site of a gorgeous church, Saint Ignatius) and down again on the Fulton 5.  A pitstop at the ever interesting Beach Chalet.  You gotta see the murals.  Go on, Google it.  We’ll be here when you get back.  Oh, and the back restaurant, Park Chalet, was were Hubs and I had our after wedding dinner for the wedding party.  Just another personal tidbit to keep this thing interesting….if you like that sort of thing.

Where were we?  Oh, Ocean Beach!  Gorgeous day for the beach.  Must have been upper 60′s or maybe even in the 70′s.  If you know northern California, you know how rare it is to have a Beach day!  We got our feet wet, my daughter chased doggies and sea gulls and we soaked in the sun.  For a minute or two.  Come on, gotta keep this list going you know.

5. Since this was a week long visit w/ the Bro, we better just get on out of the city and on to our other locales.  Quick wrap up of the city (though the day was barely half over)….long ride thru the Presidio, while Madpie slept on my lap, with a stopover at the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Another aside….this bridge, yes, iconic, still moves me.  Any time I catch a glimpse of it, whether during my commute, looking over pictures and momentos or even when its used in some company’s logo, I get all emo.  I love that darn thing and the feelings it evokes.

Oh yeah…so pics at the bridge and Crissy field, a quick stroll (and tumble, poor baby) at the Palace of Fine Arts, hustle thru the marina to catch the 22 back to a train home.

6. Let’s not forget to mention, since no trip to SF is complete without your encounter with a drunk dude.  Sitting on an already full bus, a traveler joined us at a stop, looking for a buck to keep his drunk on.  Thankfully he was fairly clean but unfortunately his zipper wasn’t up.  And he was tall.  Just picture it: he’s standing in front of you and you’re sitting….need any other details here?  Fun stuff, huh?  No, I should say we didn’t meet Mr. Willy….oh Thank you Lord!

7. So the next day, with Hubs and Mad in tow, we headed off to Muir Woods.  As in John Muir.  Any one see the recent series on PBS: America’s Best Idea with Ken Burns?  You must…and then come out for a visit.  We’ll show you around.  Oh, when you come, bring plenty of clean socks and REALLY comfortable walking shoes.  Hiking boots not required for most trips.  But the shoes, they gotta be comfortable.  Yeah, parking is bad at National parks and monuments over holidays, but SOOO worth it.

Oh, if you don’t like trees and nature and people (remember the parking thing, yeah.)…don’t bother coming! 

So here is where your kind host starts to get tired.  Yeah, I know, it’s only day two.  I need to work on this accomodating thing.  But come on, I KNOW it’s gorgeous and awesome and can leave you speechless, but do you have to take 150 pics?  We’ll just meet you back at the entrance, okay?

Did I mention my bro likes to shop?  Muir Woods has an AWESOME gift shop by the way so I can’t blame him.  But I still have to go home and put on a dog and pony show.  What I mean by dog and pony is I put on an apron and shove a turkey in the oven with all the fixins with a smile plastered on my face meanwhile cursing the damn folk that thought of this tradition.

Anyone still here?  I better shut up and get on with it, huh?

8. Next day, lazy morning, off to the Legion of Honor, Land’s End for more pics (I got to see dolphins playing and meet a gorgeous woman w/ a beautiful Irish brogue…she was pretty hot and Madpie like her dog) and on to Tommy’s for a margarita and some good mexican food to fill our tummies. 
After late lunch we ventured over THE Bridge to Sausalito for a little more shopping (shoot me now!) and my guest Chris got to meet and have her pic taken w/ Jared Padelecki.  Wow he’s a tall dude.  And Madpie got to come home with a new Elmo doll.  Aaaaah.

9. So for the leg of the trip we were all waiting for: Yosemite.  I was a bit of a drill sergeant and made sure we had had breakfast and out on the road by 7am.  All done without a whole lot of whining or dragging of feet.  And of course, w/o the REQUIRED bathroom visit.  Damn it, this is going to be a long drive!

The highway is flanked by rolling hills, some vineyards and orchards, a lake and few towns.  Quite a nice ride, if you’re not driving.
Oh, and if you just want to get to park and had enough of the rolling hills, look for Old Priest Rd.  Almost a straight shot up a very steep hill but it’ll save you over 30 minutes!  And have someone else drive if you’re scared of hairpin turns.

10. 3 hours later, we arrive in the park being greeted by a sign “chains required.”  Oops!  Fortunately the snow was only at the higher elevations and we would be visiting the valley for the next two days.  A few picture taking stops and we arrive at the Awahnee Hotel for a quick tour and potty stop.  A bite of lunch (PB&J, yum!) and we park our beast in a lot and head off into the woods…with a stroller, and cameras and water bottles and camera manuals and pocket knives and baby wipes and Toblerone (who doesn’t want chocolate while hiking in the woods?).  Did I mention the Bro likes to shop?  He also likes to pack and carry EVERY conceivable item that would fit in his damn backpack.

Anyway, since we had the stroller, we split up. Bro and Chris off to the Vernal falls hike and Hubs, Mad and I to Mirror Lake.  We stayed on the road or paved path and just enjoyed being out in the crisp fall day in the woods, occasionally catching a peek of the gorgeous granite walls of the valley.

11.  We met up 1.5 hours later and hiked back to our chariot for a few more cruises around the valley for more pics.  Time to stretch the legs again and out we were, taking a stroll to the falls in the 40-something degree weather.  Fortunately the falls aren’t running full force this time of the year, so we didn’t get soaked and were able to get some great pics.

So usually I like to go to the Lodge and have a drink at the bar after a day of hikes and picture taking.  It isn’t known for it’s service or its food but its warm, there are plenty of TVs for sports fans and the beer is pretty good.  Well, it lived up to our expectations but we just didn’t have the joie de vivre that a good beer can induce.  Mad did dance for us a bit before we had to tie her to a chair.

I know, you’re thinking, Good Lord, girl, this is a long trip!  I KNOW.  I’m exhausted just reliving it.  Now would be a good time for some pizza and maybe a hot tub.  Right?

12.  Out of the park to our hotel we go.  (Staying in the park this time of year is either very expensive or very cold….not on MY itinerary!).  Hubs and I have stayed at this hotel, about 30 minutes away, a few times.  Always like the pizza joint and while the hot tub is rarely hot, it’s always a novel experience when the weather is now in the 30s….sun went down, it gets cold!

Guess what?  Pizza joint closed for the season and no one but me brought their swim suit!  So dinner at the hotel’s restaurant stunk and we headed back to our rooms where we shared a bottle of wine and off to bed.

Is it over yet?  Just about…I’ll try to wrap this up.

13. Not wanting to risk another yucky expensive meal, we met in our room for a breakfast of oatmeal, bagels and cranberry seltzer.  Not as bad as it sounds, I promise.  And then we were off….back to the park for our last day of picture taking and hiking.

So Yosemite valley has a wonderful and colorful history. And it has a lovely little museum to display and tell all about it.  We usually stop in and can get thru it in about 20 minutes.  Not so w/ the Bro.  Did I mention there was a gift shop? Ugh. 

Yeah, by this time the hosts weren’t feeling so hospitable, must have been pizza deprivation.  Ah ha!  Curry village has the best pizza.  Maybe we can get a couple of slices over there….picture taking all the while.

And no, it too is closed.  Sunday afternoon, who is in the park?  No one who eats pizza apparently. 

But we found a deli, had some lunch and stopped by Tunnel view for some of the best panaramas of the massive and iconic granite rocks. 

Then finally, we made our way home.  (Don’t forget Old Priest Road…better have good brakes!) 

Anyone as tired as I am?

3 Responses to That time again, Thursday 13
  1. Blissed-Out Grandma
    December 3, 2009 | 5:40 pm

    Wow, it takes energy for a trip like that! Most of those spots will not be in our travel plans in this lifetime, so I'll enjoy your pix and stories instead!

  2. kellytirman
    December 3, 2009 | 6:14 pm

    Sounds like you had a great time.

  3. Melissa
    December 3, 2009 | 7:44 pm

    Sounds like fun! Don't you hate when no one brings their swimsuits but you? Boo on them!

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