The first full day of our Cali-cation kicked off waaaayyyy too early, as the boys' circadian rhythms were all out of whack from the time-zone-hopping, and somehow signaled them to wake up at the charming hour of (duh duh duh DAH) 6 a.m. Ughhhhhh. That's a good (or very, very BAD, as it were) hour-and-a-half before I normally get up, so picture my joy at being roused at this gosh-darn-awful-uncivilized time. I mean, c'mon, the free hotel breakfast wasn't even set up yet, so you know it was too soon for rational human beings to be functioning! But, intrepid travelers that we are, we soldiered on (by counting the precious minutes until the coffee would be available...tick tick tick...ding! Yessss!)
However, as it turned out, this whole situation actually worked to our significant advantage. You see, we were able to hit the highway toward San Francisco earlier than anticipated, thereby securing a parking spot--in a high-tourist area that would fill to capacity later in the day--with no fuss whatsoever. (Okay, except the 20 bucks it cost to leave our car with the nice men minding the lot...) We then had Pier 39 almost entirely to ourselves for quite a while, allowing us to wander freely, pop into souvenir stores, laugh at the antics of the sea lions, admire Alcatraz from a distance, scout promising lunchtime locations...and in the meantime, obtain a nice, toasty drink to warm our hands... (In contrast, just a few hours further into the day, the entire neighborhood would be clogged with teeming humanity, making sightseeing a much more challenging endeavor. So in hindsight, yay us for getting such a jump on things? Yeah, that's it, we totally planned it that way...) And incidentally, speaking of those memento-stores, guess what I picked out, to remember the City by the Bay? A fleece jacket, yes sirree. Somehow, when reading the weather forecasts and packing for this trip, I still didn't really believe the temperature could possibly be brisk enough...in August...to require a wintery layer. (I know: silly, silly me. But on the bright side, I'll obviously wear my new apparel a lot at home in the upcoming nippy months, and it will always remind me of Summertime...when I was chilly...in California...oh, whatever...)
Next we kept up our brisk pace (increasing circulation to maintain body heat) and made a beeline for Ghirardelli Square. Strangely enough, we didn't actually end up purchasing chocolate there (GASP!), but we did take the opportunity to gape and gawk at the ridiculous San Francisco hills as we trudged up and down them. Suddenly, all that trotting around caught up with us, however, and we found ourselves needing to heed the call of the stomach. Funny enough, a place known as Fisherman's Wharf proved extraordinarily stingy on the...vegetarian options. (Hmmm, go figure...) Luckily, the Boudin Bakery--home of sourdough loaves aplenty--rescued us. We were able to take a load off the weary feet (aaahhhh) and savor some delectable bread, (of course) soup, and sandwich fare. Mmmmm....
Thus fortified...and realizing just how tired we were feeling all of a sudden...we made the group decision to save the rest of our S.F. To-Do List for when we return on the tail end of our journey. The moment had come to retrieve our ride and set our sight north, to Sonoma County and our base of operations for the next week: Santa Rosa. And let me just say that I can sum up the remainder of our evening in a succinct (and somewhat pithy, I apologize in advance) fashion: Highway 101...from H-A-D-E-S. Traffic, construction--all-around sucky, sucky, sucky. Therefore after we puttered into our hotel, we voted for a simple evening consisting of a dip in the pool (well, for the boys, anyway. I chose to decompress by viewing some mindless TV in the room)...and food acquired from the local Whole Foods market.
Tomorrow, Navigation Gods willing, we shall meander our way to the downtown historic section and be all touristy and whatnot once more. I've already let it be known in no uncertain terms--free cups 'o joe or not--that there will be absolutely no disturbing of Mom's sacred slumber until a reasonable hour...denoted in PACIFIC time. Speaking of which, the clock tells me it's my bedtime...in California...so off I go to dreamland...regardless of which coast, goodnight, all!