Day 1--SAT Oct 13, 2007
Up at o'dark thirty, or 3:30am 'cause the plane takes off at 5:53
Arrive SFO 10:05 -- being the white and uptight middle agers from middle America that Kelly and I are, we are alert for all forms of Cali weirdness. The weirdo parade begins as we exit the jetway and observe an airline person telling some woman squatting near the jetway that she cannot crouch there. WEIRD!
At the luggage carousel we observe that SFO has EXACTLY the same type of carousels that we have in Tulsa--we both recall recent news reports that the ones at Tulsa International are an embarrassment to our fair city. Apparently, San Francisco is not as easily embarrassed. The next notable occurrence in the luggage area was our observance of the fit being thrown by a lovely young lady wearing a button designating her as the "BRIDE," who was heard to say, "I can't believe this--the whole day is ruined now." The gentleman standing next to her wearing the "GROOM" button was staring off into space, we guessed he was trying to find his "happy place," which was NOT standing next to the nearly hysterical dame... cue Monty Python track Run away, Run Away, says Kelly--and we laugh.
Next stop Fisherman's Wharf. The weirdo hunt is no longer sporting and is promptly abandoned. After lunch at some Italian joint, the rest of our stay in San Francisco is foreshadowed by our choice to exit the touristy area in favor of a walk down a commercial pier. We see a whole cage FULL of crabs being lowered into a big vessel of boiling water, we overhear some young people talking to a guy who, although quite fragrant, has happily made his home with a million dollar view in a pile of junk at the end of the pier. Thereafter we walk ourselves silly this way and that, deftly avoiding the enticing pitch of a pretty young lady who attempted to persuade us to check into the latest time-share scheme. Eventually we ended up at Ghiradelli square for the obligatory ice cream sundae. As is my usual practice, I slopped all over my chest--the bright green bird shit that found its way to my hand was a San Francisco bonus. Seeing about 70 people waiting for a cable car ride, we determined to wait another day for that experience.
In Mill Valley (just north of Sausalito) where we stayed, we stopped in at Mt. Tam bikes to inquire about renting some for the week. We were met at the door of the shop by two bike-dudes who sort of blocked our way from entering the shop. They said they didn't have any more bikes for rent. I was tempted to tell them that our quest to rent bikes was a ruse and that actually we were from the EPA and there to make sure the nasty water in the pipe we observed on the workbench was disposed of in an eco-friendly way.
SUNDAY Oct. 14 finds us up early and on our way to Monterrey for a whale watching tour. We LIKE Monterrey. Breakfast for me was crab-avocado-eggs benedict. If nothing else good happened after that, the day would have been a resounding success. BUT, the whale watching was amazing--there were 8 individuals (that's what the cute marine biologist guy Martain, rhymes with rain called 'em) that we saw. We are told there are federal regs the boat operators have to follow that designate the distance the boat must stay away from the whales , but luckily the whales didn't read those regs and swam toward the boat, so we got a spectacular view. Unfortunately, I rejected Kelly's sissy-pants suggestion to take a jacket along, dumb hard-headed and now freezing cold Ann. After a delicious meal at THE FISHERMAN's GROTTO (clam chowder and a plate of fried artichoke hearts) we headed back along highway 1 into a snarly traffic jam headed toward San Francisco.
MONDAY Oct. 15 before sunrise (do you detect a theme here?) we head up a scary twisty turny road toward the Point Bonita lighthouse. We stop along the way to watch the sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge--Kelly stops where I tell him, but gets the creeps because there is a nasty van parked there too. It has the side door open and we can see candles burning in there--Kelly's weirdo radar reached red alert so he insists we move back down the road some. Just after we get out of the car again 6 cars speed by, 2 marked police units and 4 other cars unmarked police, I think--they come to a stop and surround the nasty van. I am forced to admit, AGAIN, that Kelly might have been right. ANYWAY, we do watch the sunrise--WoW.
A runner stops to watch the sun come up too. He tells us he comes up there a couple times a week and has never seen the show put on for us that day. After it gets light enough to satisfy our sunrise experience we drive past the cops and nasty van location. The cops are all out of their cars taking pictures of the bridge and sunrise with their phones--There is a rasta type standing near the van--we are sure he is a serial killer they sped up there to capture, after they get photos. We continue toward the lighthouse and stop to take pictures at abandoned gun battery locations. The lighthouse is not open until after noon and it's 7:30, so we hike as far as we can go . . . we were greeted by 6 deer who were also using the hiking trail--that's OK, we can share. More photo opportunities and we are off to hike on the beach, but it stinks and the flies drive us nuts. So, we go to have breakfast in Sausalito. We were told that Sausalito is just fabulous, but it has a real Aspen, Co. pretentious feel to us so, after a quick hike around there it's off to the Muir Woods and all that red wood forest has to offer. More WoW. LOTS of German-speaking tourists and a loooong hike in the rain (ok, probably 3-4 miles, but it IS raining). Although we are NOT playing the weirdo game, we are forced to admit that the lady with the geisha hairdo, get-up and silver metallic parasol is weird.
We walked behind her for at least a quarter of a mile--I wish I had recorded the reactions of the people encountering her on the trail--it was one candid camera moment after the other. Later Kelly makes reservations at the Buckeye Roadhouse, an old style steak and seafood place that was built in 1938, the year after the Golden Gate Bridge opened up. The fireplace tools are obviously forged out of cable from the bridge, as the waiter pointed out. The place was all dark wood, cordovan color leather chairs, and crystal--perfect! I'm glad I had fish and could enjoy the baked lemon pudding with huckleberry sauce. EVERY time I see huckleberries on the menu, that is my choice--I was NOT disappointed.
TUESDAY Oct. 16 it is raining, but that's ok, because today we go to Alcatraz. We get to the boarding area EARLY and are among the first in line for our appointed time. But oops, Kelly bought the tickets online and they were for YESTERDAY. So, we are ushered out of the line into the rain to stand behind a sign that says "standbys wait here." Ummmmmm, Ann is NOT happy and even less so when the passengers for our boat begin passing us to board and stop to look at the idiots standing in the rain---ARGHHHHH. But, we did get to board and Alcatraz was worth the wait, even in the rain.
We went to Chinatown and also visited the Greenwich yarn shop where I scored some great Mountain Colors sock yarn. (Mountain Colors is hand painted in Corvallis, Montana a very small town where my grandparents lived, my parents graduated from high school and where I have often visited, so I feel like it is MY yarn--silly!).
WEDNESDAY Oct. 17 we are on the road early--AGAIN. This time it is destination Napa Valley.
We stopped in Napa, CA. to visit an amazing yarn shop--Yarns On First-(1st Street, Napa, CA)-go there if you can. The shop is friendly and nicely arranged. All the yarns are sorted by color. I got some great locally hand-painted sock yarn called Rainbow Colors? (NOPE it's Chasing Rainbows--colorway Carolyn's Nosegay)
We visited a few wineries, but what we enjoyed most, aside from the yarn, was the olive oil tasting room in St. Helena. In addition to olive oil they had balsamic vinegar--one aged 18 years---Yummmm. Kelly keeps saying he wished we had gotten some--he should tell Santa.
Now we are back in Tulsa and back to work.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Day 1--SAT Oct 13, 2007