The Trip!

 
I’m sure you’ve gathered by now that our trip to San Fransicso was amazing… It was the best trip I’ve ever been on (by far!) and I was lucky enough to share it with one of my best friends.
 
We left in the late morning of Dec 23rd.  Originally we had wanted to leave much earlier but the kitty cat sort of got in the way.  I messed up reading the check in times and found out the day before that check in isn’t until 1pm at the earliest… I called and asked them if there was any way he could go earlier and there was, but he would be in the far back corner no where near the natural light.  I called Sam and asked him what he wanted to do and he was fantastic and said he wouldn’t be comfortable having the kitty be tucked away in the back for the whole trip so we decided to just check him in the next day and leave when we could.  I was so thankful to him!  Mr. Fluffypants did so well at the cat hotel.  He usually yowls and howls and carries on like he’s being killed but this time he was quiet and content.  They said he did so well that they made him into ‘reception cat’ and he was allowed to hang out for long periods of time because he was so relaxed!  A huge departure from how he used to be.  Probably because he’s not being harrassed on a daily basis anymore!
 
Anyway, we left in beautiful clear blue skies and sunshine and headed out of town.  There wasn’t much to see or do for the first day of driving… we stopped at Trader Joe’s for snacks and water and then drove to Portland on the I5.  In Portland we crossed over through McMinnville and hit Lincoln City and then cruised in to Newport OR at around 8ish.  Sam really wanted us to wake up in Newport and since I had no knowledge of even where we were on a map, I was happy to agree along.  We had home made egg salad sandwiches for dinner in the hotel and then promptly fell asleep.
 
Waking up in Newport was a FANTASTIC idea and we got to see Nye Beach before the sun even rose.  It was gorgeous and absolutely took my breath away… the roar was unbelievable!
 
 
We decided to really go for it on the 24th and make our way from Newport to Santa Rosa.  That’s 531 miles and Google Map says it’s supposed to take 11 hours.  I think it ended up taking us 13 or so… we stopped a LOT on the Oregon coast… we found some beautiful trails that led right to cliffs over looking the water, gorgeous sand dunes, pristine beaches and HUGE waves!  We also had a Christmas Miracle when we got pulled over for speeding and all we got was a warning and a wish of Merry Christmas.  I also got to experience the refreshing ocean water when I got smacked by a big wave on the breakwater in Bandon Oregon.  Apparently it wasn’t a near death experience but it was somewhat terrifying and I was also soaking wet!  It was sort of my fault since I wasn’t paying attention because I dropped something important into a hole in the rocks and was trying to figure out how to get it without risking my life…
 
We think our GPS might have gotten a head injury somewhere along the way because trying to get to the hotel in Santa Rosa was an excersise in futility.  We named her Meryl… there was a lot of yelling at Meryl… she also saved our butts on a few occassions.
 
We have no real pictures of Santa Rosa because we got there at midnightish and left first thing in the morning to head out to Sonoma.  Sonoma was gorgeous!  There wasn’t a soul around and so we got to take amazing pictures.  We toodled around and then we noticed a man walking his dog carrying a Starbucks cup.  Off in search of Starbucks brought us to the only ONLY place open on Christmas Day.  We stood in line with a hundred of our closest friends for Egg Nog Mistos (I think I got Sam hooked) and made some calls on wifi to family and friends.  Then it was off to San Fransisco!  I got to see the Golden Gate bridge for the first time and Alcatraz off in the distance.
 
Since it was too early to check in to our hotel, we decided to go to Fisherman’s wharf to see if it was open.  Open indeed!  Every tourist in SF was there.  We wandered around, I bought us salt water taffy and then we had Spicy Seafood Chowder in breadbowls and sat at a table outside (it was SO NICE OUT!)
 
After we paid the GDP of a small country to get our car out of hock, we took Meryl and ourselves to the hotel.  We were upgraded because we originally asked for two queen beds and they had us down for a King. Even tho we got ‘married’ at a gas station in Washington, we still wanted our two queen beds.  So they sent us up to the 13th floor of a 17 floor building into a brand newly renovated room.  It was pretty swanky and the service reflected the actual retail price of the hotel, not the sheckles we paid for it.
 
We layed around the hotel for a few hours before deciding we should go out into the streets and find something to eat.  We found a lot of places online that seemed good but they were either closed or too far away to walk to… we didn’t want to drive while we were in SF.
 
After around an hour and a bit, we realized that there was nothing open so we went back and ordered burgers from room service and read our ipads until it was time for bed.  We’re real party animals!
 
We got up at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day and headed out for a two mile walk to get to the pier for our trip to Alcatraz.  It was beautiful out and again, not a soul around so it was a nice walk and we got there in plenty of time.
 
It was VERY cold on the boat and I was wishing that I had more clothes on, but we used the weather from the day before and figured that neither of us wanted to pack a coat around if it got up to 17 degrees like the weather forecast called for.  Big Mistake… Big… HUGE! (what movie is that from?  I know… do you?)
 
Alcatraz was amazing and it was very eyeopening to see how prison used to be… I’d never have wanted to be there, that’s for sure!  I didn’t listen to the audio tour because there were too many people in there who started their tour at the exact same time, so it was really difficult to see anything through the crowds… Sam and I took ourselves on our own tour and it must have been somewhat comprehensive because we spent three hours on the island.  I’m only sad that I didn’t get to hear the inmates recollections of some of the crazy events that went on there… I’ll look for it online…
 
After Alcatraz we went for some lunch and then hopped on a two hour bus tour to go see the city.  The plan was to get off on the SF side of the bridge, walk across and then get back on the bus on the other side and ride back… best laid plans and all!
After our six hour, freezing cold ‘tour’, we went back to the hotel for a rest and then out for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  I’m so glad that Sam indulged me because it was just as I expected and I only get to go every year or so!  We were almost scared away by the two hour wait, but in the end, we planned it well and it wasn’t too painful!
 
I was sad to check out of our SF hotel… it was so nice!  But we were on our way again and went over to the Castro to go to Imaginknit (I highly do NOT recommend that place!) and then we drove over the bridge (which I never need to see again!) and off to Petaluma.  What a cute little town!  We picked up some yarn, some lunch and some chocolates and caramels for our ride back and then headed for Crescent City.  Because it was dark when we saw it going down, we decided to sleep there and see it in the daylight.  Again, best laid plans. It was so windy and rainy that night that Sam couldn’t sleep and in the morning it was gray and overcast and pouring!  We drove out of town and braved 65m/hr winds all the way back to Newport.
 
It was still stormy and disgusting out so we headed for a seafood restaurant to have dinner and drinks.  Nothing like super fresh seafood!  It was amazing and made me want to eat oysters every day!
 
From Newport we headed up the coast to Cannon Beach, Astoria, Seaside and before all of that, Tillamook!  I was carsick on the hour ride to Tillamook but that was well solved with a scoop of peanut butter icecream and half a gravol!  After we loaded up on cheese products we headed to Seattle (getting caught in Seattle rush hour when you both have to pee is NOT fun!) and checked into our very swanky hotel! (thanks Hotwire!).  We walked a few blocks to a local pub/restaurant and had a very yummy dinner and then before we both knew it, we were asleep.
 
Before checkout at noon, we wandered down to the Pike Place Market for a peak and some breakfast.  I had a crumpet with butter and honey and two oyster shooters from Pike Place Fish Market.  Both items were divine and made me laugh at the ridiculousness of my chosen breakfast.  Sam had Starbucks gingerbread cake.  Probably a bit more normal!
 
We arrived home after shopping and dawdling at around 6:30pm and it was shower and bed for me!
 
The trip was amazing and was rounded out by an amazing dinner the next night (New Years Eve) at Sam and Luis’ house.  Sam made us the national Venezualan dish and we layed on the couch and watched Mary Poppins.  I was in bed by 11:15.  I hadn’t seen midnight all year and I saw no reason to start!
 
(all pictures copyright to Sam Mcleod)
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