Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 17 - San Francisco, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz

Okay, so I finally wrote up another installment of our trip log. Good thing I took a few notes while we were on the road, or I would have forgotten everything by now!

Day 17

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We awoke and drove through Vallejo, where I noticed the swooping roller coasters of what I think was Six Flags. I love roller coasters and amusement parks, but I haven’t been to one in ages. And that makes me wonder, do I *still* love roller coasters and amusement parks. I hear that once you get “older” the rides start to make you sick. I hope that’s not true for me…I still want to ride a few more roller coasters.

We drove into Berkeley and took a look around the UC Berkeley campus, then drove over the Oakland Bay Bridge into San Francisco. My mom took me to San Francisco 12 years ago for my high school graduation present. (Right now I’m shuddering at the fact that I graduated from high school 12 YEARS ago, ugh!) I was so excited to visit the city again. Unfortunately I knew we wouldn’t be able to see or do much in the city, since it had already become clear from the first part of our adventure that our method of traveling and sleeping (in our truck for no $) was not easy in big cities. Still, I was excited for Tyson to see a little bit of SF, as I had bragged on it for quite some time.

The first thing we learned after we got off the bridge was that San Francisco streets confused the heck out of our Garmin GPS. We were in the downtown/Financial District area, and the streets are so close together, and crossing diagonally all over each other. Garmin could never tell us where we really were, and then it kept directing us to turn the wrong way down one way streets. Thanks a lot Garmin! We sure didn’t get much love when we turned part way into a one-way street, and I’m sure our Utah license plate didn’t help! We got a little off course before I pulled out the paper atlas and got us back on track.

We were headed toward Embarcadero Plaza to meet up with Rick and Corene Bingham for lunch. Most who will read this will know who Rick is, but for those who don’t know, several years ago Rick and I dated for what was, by Mormon standards, an excessively long time. And maybe even by other standards it was an excessively long time for a relationship that didn’t really go anywhere. You’re probably thinking, what, like 10 months? Well, it was a little longer than that. Let’s just say Rick and I dated for ten times as long as I even knew Tyson before he and I got married. Let’s just say Tyson and I have only just NOW known each other for as long as Rick and I dated. Let’s just say Tyson won’t look at my scrapbook because a zillion pages of it are things I did with or places I went with or Halloweens I dressed up with Rick, but if I had left those things out, there wouldn’t even BE any pages in my scrapbook for the first half of my 20s. (Okay, let’s be honest and admit that Tyson would never care about looking at my scrapbook no matter who did or didn’t appear in it. He could not be any LESS interested no matter what the situation.)

Anyway, the point is that Rick and I stayed in a go-nowhere relationship for a very long time, but if we hadn’t, maybe the timing wouldn’t have been right for us to find the better partners we eventually found, years down the road. We remained great friends and stayed in touch pretty well over the years, though our contact dropped off quite a bit once Rick moved to San Francisco, and especially so once he met his future wife, Corene. Rick and Corene got married last winter, and their Utah reception happened to be the same day/evening that Tyson’s dear friend Adam got married. We missed the Binghams’ reception to attend Adam’s, so now that we were going to be in San Francisco, I was glad I could get a chance to meet Corene and catch up with Rick. And, perhaps more importantly, eat some Thai sea bass with both red curry and green curry poured on top, and some divine pumpkin curry. Thanks again for lunch, Rick; that was so kind of you.

I should really stop talking about this now, because stupid me again forgot to take any pictures, but I will just say that Corene was so lovely, Rick was as funny as ever, Tyson was a good sport, and we were the only table on the plaza that had a baby crawling on top and throwing rice to the pigeons. I certainly felt more homeless than usual comparing myself to all the fancy workers in their fancy clothes, on lunch from their fancy high-rise workplaces (and I include Rick and Corene in this description), but I also felt luckier than ever to be on such a great trip with my great husband and my wonderful baby. The rest of those people at the rest of those tables probably never got to do anything like this! Oh, for those who are interested, Rick and Corene (or probably mostly Corene, if it’s anything like the division of blog-labor in most households) have a blog at I just checked and it looks like it hasn’t been updated in about a month, but you can see some of the awesome adventures these two have been on. They are a great match and it was good to see Rick so settled and happy! Cuz geez, he is OLD, isn’t it about time he settled down?!?!

After lunch, we took a little walk down the pier while we still had some time on our parking meter. We were blessed with lovely, nearly-cloudless weather. Thanks for showing us your best, San Francisco!

Tyson taking a rest on the pier, with famous SF landmark the TransAmerica pyramid in the background.

Sawyer, PLEASE don't put your mouth on that bench!

That's better!

They call me Squints.

If you look real close, you can see our little truck in the big city.

After our little walk, we drove around some of the neighborhoods of the city, including Chinatown, North Beach, and the area near the Presidio, admiring the architecture and the use of space in the city. We had a good view of fog rolling in on the Golden Gate bridge before we turned to head south toward Palo Alto. Our main reason for visiting Palo Alto was to take a look at the campus of Stanford University. Certainly it is a “reach” school for Tyson as far as law programs are concerned, but while we were in the area we wanted to take a look. I’ve never seen a campus quite like it. It was like being on a country estate or something – the grounds are huge, with lots of open space and stately buildings. Then there are the expansive equestrian facilities, and of course, the students who keep their horses at the fancy equestrian facilities. It seemed…prestigious, rarified, insular. I’m not sure whether I liked it or not.

The above pictures of Sawyer are in reverse order. Tyson wanted to get a picture of Sawyer's hand reaching out to grab the camera.

Leaving Palo Alto, we headed west to get back to the coast. Our route was yet another incredibly windy road, this one populated by not just cars, but cyclists. I would be terrified to ride a bike on such a road – riding up the steep hills, I would be terrified that I would die of a heart attack; coming down, I would be terrified that a car would hit me. If I have to face death, I don’t want to be on a bicycle seat. Count me out for THAT little hobby. Still, this was one of the prettiest drives we had seen so far.

The next major city we arrived at was Santa Cruz, after nightfall. Even though it was just a Thursday, the streets of this surfer/college town were as busy as a Friday night. We didn’t stick around to see it on a Friday, because after a little research into the town’s ordinances, we learned it is illegal to sleep in your car in Santa Cruz, for any length of time (minutes or hours). We had to drive a little inland again to the safe haven of the Gilroy Walmart.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a fun trip -Thank goodness for the Gilroy Walmart! It's nice to see that Tyson was a good sport about hanging with Rick. He's a bigger man that I!