March 27th, Rachel, Logan, and I started our drive from Davis to San Francisco. We were excited to see that the drive should only take two hours.Hilarious.California is full. That includes highways. After sitting in traffic and paying our toll, we crossed our first bridge: The Bay Bridge.And from the bridge we could see other pretty bridges, the city, and caught our first glimpse of The Golden Gate Bridge.
Rachel told us the thing to do in San Fransisco is to get clam chowder in sourdough bowls from Boudin Bakery. She wasn’t wrong. Logan went nuts and got a crab chowder, but all dishes were delicious. Waiting in line was painless with so many interesting things to look at. First of all, there are slow moving baskets of bread slowly making their way around the building on a track hanging from the ceiling. Along the wall are the seasonal bread sculptures including crabs, turtles, and pigs. Highly suggest!After enjoying our bread bowls on the patio, we meandered over to see the Pier 39 sea lions. We could hear them long before we could see them. Rachel, Logan, and I stood on the platform viewing area and watched them for half an hour. They were playing, fighting, swimming, scrambling over one another, and barking constantly. Totally worth the stop.We wanted to head over the San Francisco bridge to do a hike, but Rachel said we had to stop by Lombard Street. I thought she just meant the typical steep San Fransisco road you see in movies, but I soon found that the steep road I was picturing was actually most roads in the city. Do not drive a stick in this city… The road we finally came to was another today I recognized. Zig zags through beautiful gardens still at the steep angle expected. It’s a really fun quick stop.As we approached the bridge, we made another stop at the Palace of Fine Arts. This building is incredible. It was made to represent a fictional ruin and it is absolutely amazing. Surrounding the palace is a beautiful pond. We were able to take some pictures after waiting for a bride and groom to finish up. We also had time to walk inside the arch. Absolutely go visit this free attraction just at the edge of town.And bonus, it’s within walking distance of a little beach that overlooks the San Francisco bridge. We walked through a neighborhood and a tree tunnel and were spit out on a windy sunny beach. We were able to take some pictures and get our feet wet (unintentionally) and then it was time to continue on.We got back on the road and drove over the bridge. We intended to walk over it, but the park across the bridge was packed and it was going to be a long walk with little payout, so we snapped a photo and moved on.And it was a good choice because our next stop was another hour away even though it was pretty close as the bird flies. To get to Cataract Falls, we had to drive into the Marin Headlands. My goodness… What a fantastical place! Long before we got close, the roads became windy and narrow. Rachel was definitely on the edge of her seats. As we approached the Muir woods, the fog started to settle in. We got to the top of the mountains and the roads were eerie. There were suddenly no trees, but instead grassy knolls. Around some bends, there was a drop-off into the fog with no indication of how far down it went. Guardrails would have ruined the beauty, so we put our lives in Rachel’s nervous hands. At one point, a small hole opened in the fog and we could see all the way down to the ocean.Slowly the fog dissipated and we worked our way down into what felt like a rainforest. We cut over switchbacks and started to see waterfalls along the road as we approached the trailhead. We got out, donned our pathetic hiking gear, and started the trek.We passed a pretty mountain lake, poked at some slugs, crossed mossy bridges and staircases, climbed logs, photographed clovers, and passed numerous beautiful waterfalls. After an hour of hiking and lots of sweat, we turned around. Logan drove us back and with the fog gone, we finally saw the ocean.Our next stop was in San Juan to visit John, Marian, Zach, and Alex. Traffic wasn’t great, but we were distracted by an ever brightening rainbow that Rachel just adored.The next day, we drove back to San Fransisco with a stop at the Apple Spaceship on the way. The visitor’s center was mostly just an Apple store, but the augmented reality bird’s eye view of the spaceship was pretty interesting.The Google Plex was an interesting spot to drive by just because of how enormous it was. The Google buildings span countless blocks and all throughout you can see the colorful Google bicycles employees use to get around.
Dad had suggested going to China Town, so we stopped there for lunch. We had lunch at The House of Nanking where we were told to describe what type things we like and the chef would provide. The food was good, but my favorite part was the street art around every corner.We still had a bit of time to kill before our next engagement, so we walked down to the Vaillancourt Fountain. We explored in the fountain and got a bit wet. It was a bit of a bummer because the stairs to the top of the fountain were blocked off, but it was still a fun place.Our big plan for the day was Urban Putt in the Mission District of San Fransisco. We arrived right at opening and waited in line with many other people. Some went to the bar to get drinks to carry hole to hole. We opted to skip the additional line and go straight to the golf. The course is really unique. Every hole has a different theme. Here are some of my favorites.After taking a beating from both Logan and Rachel, we headed back to San Jose. We ate another meal with the Putzigs then headed down the street to Red Branch Cidery and Brewing Company. This cider was probably the best I’ve had and there were so many different flavors and combinations. Some of our favorites were the raspberry mead, blackberry cider, apricot cider, and more that I just can’t remember. They even put together really interesting mashups of cider, stouts, and syrups. Very good!
We finished off the night with board games, too many attempts at Hanabi, and hours of talking between Rachel and me before we had to part ways the next morning.