Puttin’ It Down For Cal-i-for-ni-ay

Ten Days in Northern California: Days 1-4

Day 1: The flight and aftermath.  Arrive in SF at 4:30 a.m., take most terrifying cab ride of our entire lives (swinging across three lanes while checking a blind spot: scary), and check into our really funky B&B in Haight Ashbury.  We realize we’re cold!  We haven’t been cold in months!  Whee!  We start by taking the MUNI downtown and then picking up a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf.  We eat lots of chocolate at Ghiradelli, sourdough bread bowl soup for lunch, and then the old-time penny arcade.  For 25 cents you can see a representation of a French guillotining.  Awesome.  From there we walk to Lombard Street, take the bus back to the museum district, shop a little, and lie around in the park (holiday–nothing open).  Walk down to Transamerica Building, then to the Stinking Rose (garlic their specialty!) for dinner.  Consume approx. 50 thousand garlic cloves, stink on off to a poetry bar for a drink, and home early to sleep.  A pack of drunks sing the Imperial March from Star Wars and wake us up around 4am.  Happy 4th of July!
Day 2: Old college roommate picks us up.  Whitney is great!  We walk through the Mission, go down to the Ferry Building for the farmer’s market, and then to the SF-MoMA for lunch and the Frieda Kahlo exhibit.  SF Cameraworks after that, then over to Whitney’s apartment where her cat attacks my toe.  Whit drops us off in Japantown where we pick up a good sushi set, have sushi for dinner, and then off to a beer garden near Castro.  From there we walk around Haight Ashbury and people-watch.
Day 3: San Francisco broke my hip.  Minimal walking today.  Off to the Chihuly exhibit at the DeYoung museum via the Golden Gate Park, then take the bus down to the beach and hit a microbrewery called The Beach Chalet.  Bus and walk through the park back to the hotel for a nap, then more walking around Haight Ashbury.  Sausages for dinner, then drunk-watching outside.  Lots of those in Haight.
Day 4: Tom picks up the rental car in Oakland, then we pack up and drive off to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Photos, then cross the bridge into Marin County.  We attempt to go to Muir Woods but the parking situation is terrible.  We agree that not stopping for lunch until we are halfway to Bodega is a good call: California Rt. 1 is TWISTY.  We stop at Pt. Reyes lighthouse and Tom gets to save a girl who was stung by a bee!  Yay Eagle Scouts.  We set up at the campground by Bodega Bay, stock up on provisions, and then drive around the Russian River Valley.  Dinner is overpriced pasta and pre-frozen calzones at an Italian restaurant, then back to the campground to sip red wine and enjoy s’mores.  A skunk is lurking around the campsite across from us and the ensuing yuppie-by-way-of-REI hysteria is AWESOME.  “It could have BITTEN ME.”  “No, it couldn’t have.  Be quiet, babe.”  Our policy is to ignore the skunk–doesn’t appear to be rabid–and abandon the site at the first whiff of trouble.  Fortunately the faux-athletic couple simmer down and no skunks were enraged that night.  

Home Again!!

We’ve been back from California for about a week, and wouldn’t you know it that once I’m finally done editing our photos that our Smugmug site is down for maintenance.  *Shakes fist*  Anyway, we had a wonderful time; as Tupac and Dr. Dre once observed, “California knows how to party.”  

Trip Highlights:
Drunks in Haight-Ashbury singing the Imperial March from Star Wars at 3am on July 4th
Reunion with my college roommate, Whitney, who rocks socks
Multiple champagne tastings
The grass at Crissy Field in San Francisco: this grass is MAGICAL, people.  Sleeping on that grass with my mattress pad was more comfortable than my actual bed. (In other news, we are debating buying a new mattress.)
Trip Lowlights:
100+ degree heat–in the EVENING–in Napa and Sonoma
Mild sunburns
Running into my boss at the baggage claim at Honolulu Airport.  So much for my plan to go in late.

I read my hometown paper rather religiously; Seacoast Online has lots of local news that I find interesting related to construction ordinances, school news (particularly the consolidation kerfuffle with a neighboring district–our administrative district is full enough with two towns, thank you, no need to add a third town), and the best part: the Portsmouth, NH police blotter.  Mostly I like to read it because every three months or so someone I knew in high school will turn up and well, schadenfreude.  And once in a while, they will post an item like the one below:

June 28, 2008, 11:58 p.m. — Officers were asked to check on a disorderly male on Congress Street and found him to be sober and just dancing.