San Francisco Trip Report – Day 2 (Thanksgiving 2010)

Links to all of the trip reports from this trip:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Friday: I was up around 7:30, of course, would be nice if I could sleep in on vacation but the older I get the more that seems impossible. By the time I am Mom’s age I am sure I will be getting up at 5:30 a.m. like she does.

Before we got on the road to Muir Woods, Nick asked if anyone got carsick on twisty roads….I said I might but I would let them know how I was feeling. Well, this road was considerably worse than either the road between Hermosa and Custer where I used to get sick as a kid, or anything in the Black Hills for that matter. But I was OK as long as I had the window rolled down. When we got to the hiking area, to hike to see the redwoods, we knew it was a bad sign when the parking area was full. Then the overflow parking was full, then all along the road was full, then a mile down the road was full, so we decided we didn’t want to have to hike 2 miles for the start of the hike, and just continued on. Nick told us about the eucalyptus trees in the area, they are kind of an invasive plant, they were brought over from Australia to provide wood for building but their wood is terrible for that. But, they are really flammable, so they are good for brush fires!

Next we went to Rodeo Beach.  This beach is rocky instead of sandy, and you know how Petersons are with rocks.

So I was picking up good rocks and putting them in my pockets, of course. Found some tiny pieces of green sea glass. This beach is surrounded by bunkers and gun emplacements. I didn’t know about all the military installations in the area, but SF was considered such an important port in the late 1800s that all of these bunkers and buildings were built to guard and protect the coast, and there are still barracks, etc., where the soldiers stayed. After the advent of radar, these facilities were declared obsolete, but the ruins are still there, and are historic landmarks today. Ken really thought one was a great place to make a zombie movie.  I also discovered that while I am not typically bothered by heights, I am bothered a bit by heights that involve tall ocean cliffs with rocks below. Yikes.

We hiked up one hill to look at the bunker at the top and see the view (while we were at Rodeo beach.) Ken would not let me pick up any large pieces of sea weed to take home. Or, the dead seagull which I know Nick and April’s cats would have enjoyed.  We drove to the other bunkers/gun emplacements. While looking over one of the cliffs, I had the first seal sighting. The boys were too impatient to stick around and see him poke his head out of the water, but April confirmed for me it was a seal.

I wanted to dip my toe in the ocean, so I took off one shoe. April joined me. The ocean had its own ideas, and so both of us got both feet wet.

Speaking of the cats, it is really nice for us to stay somewhere that they have cats, because then we don’t miss ours so much. Nick and April are way more strict cat parents than we are, however, they don’t leave a light on for the cats when they know they are going to be gone all day and get home after dark. Also, no cats sleeping on the bed in their house. We are having fun playing with Newton and Zoe.

Then we headed to Golden Gate Bridge. There were a lot of people there, but we didn’t have to park too far away. There is a park area, and a walkway with historic information signs  (and more bunkers and gun emplacements) and we walked out to the overlook for the bridge. Lots of picture taking.

We decided it was about time for lunch and headed back to the car. April and I investigated the bathrooms and decided that we could hold it until we got somewhere far far away from there.

We drove over the Golden Gate to get to Ocean Beach, where we ate at Beach Chalet (well, really we ate at “Park Chalet” which is the part of the restaurant that faces the park rather than the beach.) All of the other three had local beers, I had my beloved diet coke. April had wild mushroom and goat cheese pizza, Nick had the crab roll, Kenny had a burger, and I had calamari and ceviche. Oh, good April quote to Ken, I don’t remember when – “I didn’t know that you were so picky!” Uh-huh, welcome to my world. Then we had to go walk on that beach, because if I am anywhere near a beach, I have to go investigate.

This beach was sandy, with some small shells and parts of sand dollars washed up. I always have to collect some shells to take home for our shell jar. Once again, I was not allowed to take the very interesting large pieces of kelp.

Part of the fun of this trip to SF is that I have a science fiction/fantasy book that I really like called “Earthquake Weather” that is partially set in SF. So there were some locations that I really wanted to go to, like the Sutro Baths and Cliff house. The Sutro Baths were a large indoor bath house built along the ocean in the early 1900s, and they are only a ruin now. You can walk around on the old foundations, and there is a tunnel you walk into that has two cave openings to the ocean where you can hear and see the water, and a spot at the end of the tunnel where you can see the waves on the rocks.

I got Ken’s attention when I stumbled a bit on the foundations and he was pretty sure I was going to fall in.

I decided that if I was going to fall into the murky green water in the ponds or the rocks on the ocean side, I would rather fall into the water.

This is April and I reflected in the water.

After we staggered back up the large steep hill to get back to the car, we watched the sun starting to go down over the ocean, and you could see the clouds rolling in from the cold front that was supposed to move in. Over and over during the day we heard what a great day this was, how flat the ocean was, and how this was NOT TYPICAL!

Then we drove around downtown for awhile, drove the Haight Ashbury area, and then to that crazy Lombard street, that has all the turns – we were going to drive it but the line was waaaaay long so we drove to the other side and watched other crazy people drive it. We headed to the house where we started the debate on where to have dinner. G’s rule on vacations is to not eat anywhere she could eat at home – so we are supposed to go somewhere local! We tried to go to Looney’s, a BBQ place Nick and April highly recommended, but they were closed, must have given their employees the day off after T-giving. So then on to T-Rex, another bbq place, somewhat inexplicably named, because there was NO dinosaur theme, much to my disappointment. Had excellent ribs there, Ken and April had the baby back ribs, actually that is what all of us were going to have, and then our waiter gave us a bad time and told us we weren’t challenging ourselves…so Nick had the Long Cut Beef Short rib, which was something like the piece of meat Fred Flintstone orders that knocks his car over, and I had the spare ribs, which came in an order of 6 and I only managed to eat 3. They came with potato salad (red skins, fress dill! YUM!) We also ordered the side of mac and cheese with bacon, which was deeeeelicious and a huge hit. I had a ginger beer which made me feel old-timey and nostalgic for the 1890s, but was quite tasty and I am sure good for me.  And then we went home and the girls pulled out the yarn and the boys pulled out the remotes, and we discussed the possibility of cards or a board game and just never got around to it. We did watch an episode of Diners Drive Ins and Dives that had a restaurant on it that is in Berkeley and very close to Nick and April here, not sure if we will get there or not….so many things to do, so little time……