June 28, 2014

2014 Summer Vacation - Golden Gate Bridge & Redwoods

We got up early Tuesday morning to begin heading up the coast from San Fran to Crescent City. We spent a lot of time at the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge was right up Ty's alley. He had to read every informational post and walk all around checking it out from every angle. It was the perfect mixture of fog, mist and overcast that morning. The bridge, I have to say, is pretty magical. It has a magnificent energy around it, both positive and dark. I dare say we even had a spiritual time there.
Did you know that someone jumps from this bridge on an average of every ten days?

I spent a lot of time through wine country laying down because I got car sick. The 101 is a gorgeous drive but it's not straight and not compatible with my stomach. Once we were nearing Humboldt county and the Redwoods I was able to sit up and enjoy the ride. We spent a lot of time in the Avenue of the Giants and got out of the car to climb all over the trees like overly excited elves. It is a majestic place. We had so much fun driving through the little tourist towns and stopping at the gift shops. I am sad to report we didn't spot Big Foot though.

We had the chance to meet up for dinner with our friend Gabe at this incredible restaurant where I had the most amazing lobster macaroni and cheese.

After a few more hours of driving we finally arrived in Crescent City where we stayed at the WORST motel ever. We were put right next to a meth head (not exaggerating) who was up all night smoking, coughing and having sex. Who am I to judge what others do on their vacation (or hideout from the cops) except that the door that connected our rooms was not locked and the walls were paper thin. Neither Tyrone and I could sleep. I think we both slept for maybe an hour each. I even turned my headphones up so that the gentle screams of little boys would drown out the coughing meth head, but it didn't help. It's a good thing the place is cheap. It had excellent ratings on booking.com too. The place wasn't dirty I'll give it that and the lady running the place was really nice. But it wasn't in the best place either. It was sort of near the ocean but not really.

That morning we got right up and left as soon as possible. After stopping for breakfast at Starbucks we headed for a park and sipped our coffee looking out over the ocean. Crescent City is pretty cool but our experience at the motel ruined it for us. Just as I said I wanted to look for lighthouses as we drove up the OR coast for the day there was one right to the left of us. Battery Point Light.

And that was the beginning of an awesome day up the OR coast.

June 25, 2014

2014 Summer Vacation - San Fran

Oakland-San Fran Bay Bridge
We woke up before the crack of dawn a few Sundays ago and headed straight to San Francisco. Our plan was to drive all of the way up the west coast to Seattle. I was an absolute nut about the planning of this trip. I had written up our entire schedule with all of hotel information, how long and how many miles it would take us to get everywhere. My dad had helped me out too and Tyrone and I spent almost an entire Sunday booking hotels. Sometimes I have to be super anal about planning things like this so that I don't vomit every day from the "unknown" it is pretty sad.

The first two days we spent in San Francisco. Technically, our hotel was in San Mateo because we couldn't afford to stay in San Fran. The first night we were there we met up with an ex-coworker of mine. Her name is Amisha and we bonded over two years worth of brutal working conditions. We met up with her and her husband over dessert and truly had a blast with them. Usually, well, most every time, when I have to meet someone I've never met before I'm an anxiety filled mess, but not this time. I was so relaxed. Her and I have had multiple conversations on the phone and we got along so well that I felt that I already knew her. I was just so relieved and excited to finally meeting her.

Monday we got up early and took the BART from San Mateo into downtown San Fran. It dropped us right off in Union Square. Immediately it was crazy once we stepped off of the train. You're bombarded with so much shit to look at. People and buildings and Starbucks on every corner.

We probably walked 20 miles the entire day. From Union Square we walked over to Pier 1 all of the way down to Pier 45. From there we walked over to Fort Mason and up by Ghirardelli Square to Chinatown back down to Union Square. It took all day long and we loved every minute of it.

As soon as we got in town we stopped and grabbed a hot dog to tie us over until dinner. It was the best polish dog I ever had. Some sweet lady vendor on a corner with the best wieners ever. There were a lot of places to shop in Union Square and I didn't stop at any shop. Not a single one. I really just enjoyed being there and seeing everything else. I think I do enough shopping at home that I wasn't interested in shopping here.

Walking the piers was really cool and stopping a looking out over to Alcatraz was pretty neat as well. It had been around 15 years since I had been there and it all looked completely different. I don't know how much had changed in that time or if it had to do with me being older, but it was completely new to me. I remember a lot more street performers back in the day. They were what left the biggest impression on me as a kid.

We had a basket of fried bay shrimp on one of the piers for an early dinner. I had to refuel from all of the calories my body wasn't used to burning.

At that point we thought about taking a tour of Alcatraz but then we were distracted by this museum full of the creepiest old games I've ever seen, so Alcatraz quickly became less interesting to us. I took probably 200 pictures in this place. I was so creeped out by all of the games - I was in heaven.
The fortune teller was my favorite but I couldn't get a good shot of her. There was just way too much glare going on.
She seemed so realistic I couldn't stop staring at her.
I could not have gotten a more perfect fortune.
for the record I did NOT put any money in this one

Later on we decided to catch the trolley and head up to Chinatown but then quickly found out it was an hour and a half wait just to get on the trolley and so we decided to start walking. After one quick stroll up a San Fran block the veins in my forehead exploded. It's like putting the treadmill on the steepest incline after already walking 10 miles under the sun. Dumbest idea ever. After another few blocks I began threatening Tyrone with violence to get a fucking cab. Suddenly there wasn't a cab in sight just when we needed one. So we continued walking in the wrong direction until we finally figured out what bus to take. Their bus is only $2. That is crazy cheap - screw taking the trolley!
The bus dropped us off on Grant Ave and we walked into the first pub we could find. Finally gaining some luck, we stepped into Columbus Cafe and it felt like walking into home. We hit the place during Happy Hour and were greeted by a friendly british bartender. I said I wanted anything that resembled a hefeweizen and Tyrone naturally ordered a Guinness. She didn't even ID us. They were playing straight up punk music and the a/c was on. I was in heaven. Don't get me wrong I was enjoying my vacation, but by 5:30pm I had burned the calories from the fried bay shrimp and was being forced to trek uphill in the wrong direction. I needed to chill at this point and this pub was perfection. It didn't take long for us get drunk just in time to head down Chinatown.

I have to say I am a little sad I was drunk walking through Chinatown because I didn't take very good pics and didn't once take out my "real" camera. Don't get me wrong, I was having a fucking blast. A lot of places were starting to close but I still enjoyed being there and looking at all of the STUFF. There is stuff everywhere!! You could spend an entire day there and still not see all of the stuff.

Nearing the end of the evening we ended up in a mediocre Thai place where I hated the noodle bowl that I got but LOVED what Tyrone got. At this point we were ready to kill each other. Neither of us were used to walking that much. Finally we got back to the Powell Street station back in Union Square. We were ready for bed. We knew we had to get up early to start up the coast and see the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning.
it was crowded on the BART that night back to our hotel. i think there was a Giants game going on