5.15.2017

San Francisco

Since my parents were already coming into town for my sisters graduation, Michael and I decided to take advantage of the free babysitting. When my parents called to see if they could stay with us while they were here AND happened to have only booked a flight out and not home . . . it was perfect. We talked with them and planned it all out. They flew into town on May 6th, Lindsey's graduation was May 9th, and that night, Michael and I took the red eye out of town on a vacation to San Francisco! Just the two of us.


Michael and I had both never been, and its been on Michael's list of places to go . . . so we booked it and planned it all out. We had 4 full days of adventuring to plan and we were going to make the most of it.

As I said above, we flew out of Atlanta on Tuesday night. The original plan was to get into Oakland around midnight . . . but that did not happen. We got onto the airplane and into the air in Atlanta according to plan, but shortly after taking off, the flight attendants came on the intercom to tell us that we were going to go around a storm near Denver, where we were supposed to switch planes, and that it would add a little bit of time to our flight time, but not to worry.

Our flight was supposed to be a little over 3 hours . . . but after our little "detour", by the time we got off the plane it had been over 4 and a half hours! Needless to say, we missed our connecting flight onto Oakland:( I would go into deal about our horrible night spent in the Denver airport, but somethings are best forgotten. Haha. All we want to remember is our buddy, Scott, who saved the day and personally found our bags for us and re-tagged them so that we would have them in San Francisco the next day. He is the man!




After a LOOOOONG night in the airport, around 6:30AM we boarded the plane and made it to San Francisco! We went straight from the airport to the Airbnb we rented on the beach in Pacifico. We both were pretty tired and needed some good sleep!

When our short nap was over, we showered, freshened up, and got on our way. Our first stop . . . Alcatraz!

We took an Uber to Pier 3 (or something like that) to get some lunch. We shared a delicious burger, picked up some Sees Chocolate, then walked our way to Pier 33 to catch the ferry to Alcatraz. The ferry ride out to the island was extremely windy. We had been warned, but it was way worse then I imagined. Its pretty crazy how much wind you get off that water! Fun times:)






Michael and I really enjoyed our self-guided tour of the island. It was fascinating to learn about the facility and many of the prisoners who were kept there. It was actually not as bad as I envisioned. I feel like compared to all the prison TV shows I have seen . . . it seemed pretty tame. They talked about a few of the attempted escapes and such, but I was actually quite impressed by the lack of violence they talked about. Maybe they left out a lot of the really intense stuff, I don't know, but while there were a few scary stories, the majority of them made it sound like the prisoners were pretty well behaved.

While it's not necessarily something I would do again (mostly because its just one of those one time things) I would highly recommend visiting if you are ever in the area and haven't been. Its pretty cool. I loved hearing their stories and walking the halls. I've never been inside any prison before so everything about the experience was new and informative for me.





















After spending a few hours on the island and making our way back on the ferry, we decided to check out Pier 39 since we were so close. We spent the evening walking around the pier, looking in shops, and trying to fine some surprises for the kids.

The best part was watching the sea lions. They were quite entertaining, barking at each other, and some of them trying to keep the dock all to themselves.








For dinner we headed over to a highly rated Mexican joint called El Farolito. It's this hole-in-the-wall place that was pretty hoppin'. They had great food and we loved it. After dinner, we headed over to Bi-Rite ice cream, another "can't miss" of San Francisco. I got this amazing mango-orange sorbet that was the bomb. Yum!



By the time the ice cream was eaten, we were both ready to call it quits. We headed back to Pacifico and called it a night. On our Uber ride back, we met the sweetest and funniest lady. She called herself our "San Francisco Mama" and gave us all the inside scoop on what to do and what not to do. She was great. She told us exactly what we needed to do the make the most of our time. I am so glad we were lucky enough to catch a ride from her!

On Thursday morning, we got up and headed into town. Today's plans started off with a drive past Lombard Street and then a bike tour of the San Francisco bridge. We rented bicycles and took our time enjoying the ride and view. It was so fun to bike around together. San Francisco is so beautiful! And it was so wonderful to be together, just the two of us.

We biked over the bridge and then down into Sausalito. By the time we got there, we checked the ferry times and realized we had to get right on to the ferry in order to make it back in time to make our next appointment. Lunch would have to wait. So, we got right on the ferry and headed back. We returned our bicycles and headed over to Japantown.















On our way, we made a quick pit stop to get a little lunch. Michael tried out some fish and chips at Codmothers, while I got myself a delicious margarita pizza from Carmel Pizza. I think mine was a much better choice:)

(Watching our bikes while I ate my fresh wood stove cooked pizza)

In Japantown, Michael scheduled us an awesome couples massage and facial. It was a very interested experience. I have had a number of massages and a few facials in my day and every one is a little different. This one was one for the books. We got "slapped in the face" and then had it all end with a huge ice cube getting patted on our faces. Haha. Really it wasn't that bad, it was great, but I had to document the fun parts. The owner kept asking Michael and I if we wanted some champagne. After turning it down a number of times, we told her we didn't drink and she couldn't believe it. She kept saying how young we look, and how it must be because we don't drink. Towards the end of our visit she asked, "So what bad things do you do?!" Michael and I wanted to laugh, but kept a straight face. We didn't really know what to say. All I could think of is "Well, I drink Dr. Pepper". It was a really weird question to be asked.


When we finished our massage and were all ready to continue on, we walked around Japantown for a bit, then made our way to see the Painted Ladies. It was fun to see the famous Full House scene. I was a big fan back when I was younger. While hanging out in the park and trying to figure out which house was "the one" I realized for the first time that it wasn't any of them! I never knew! This realization led us on another trip. Luckily the house they used for the outside view was only a few blocks away. But visiting that house made me realized something else . . . there is no way the house they used for the outside could have been the same house they used for the inside. I don't know why I always just assumed it was, but it obviously couldn't be. It turned out to be quite an eye opening day! :)






After the Painted Ladies, we headed on over to Chinatown for some light shopping. We found the most beautiful almost black pearls and then some unique mustard colored pearls! They were amazing! This is probably my only regret from the trip. I didn't buy them. Well, we bought my mom the black pearls, but I didn't want to spend that much on myself. I should have just done it. They really were like nothing I have ever seen. So pretty! Michael even tried to surprise me with them and ran back on our last morning there before we had to leave to catch our flight . . . but unfortunately they weren't open and he didn't get them. Sad day. But thanks for the effort babe! You are the best!



When we finished up in Chinatown, we headed over to Fisherman's Wharf to see what they had to offer. We didn't do much besides walk around, but we did stop at Boudin's Bakery. We had dinner plans so we didn't eat there, but we took home a sour dough bread loaf to snack on later. They had so many amazingly designed bread loaves. It was pretty cool to see. And the bread was delicious!

We also managed to relax a little on a bench and enjoyed watching the sunset over the water.






Around 8:30, we requested an Uber and made our way to meet Michael's little brother, Kurt and his girlfriend, Ana, for dinner. We ate at this little Italian restaurant. I think besides our party, there were only 2 other tables being used. So maybe five other guests. About 30 minutes into our arrival, we were pretty much it. I am sure they weren't loving the fact that we were happily chatting and keeping them there, but it was so great to meet Ana and to see Kurt!

Of course in all the talking and laughing, we failed to get any pictures of us all together. :( Sigh. But, I did take a picture of our dessert! Which was super good. I know, where are my priorities! Sorry Ana, next time I'll do better!


The following morning, we said goodbye to our fun little Airbnb on the beach in Pacifico, and made our way into the city to pick up our rental car for the next chapter of our trip. A TESLA and YOSEMITE!





I couldn't get over how cool the Pacifico "sand" was. I have never seen anything like it. You could literally see all the little tiny rocks that made up the beach and "sand" it was SO COOL!

After we got the Tesla, we decided to take a little detour to Sausalito on our way to Yosemite. I was sad that we didn't get to spend more time there the day before, so we made up for it. We checked out the downtown area, and stopped for Breakfast at this awesome little place, The Lighthouse Cafe. It was so fun and yummy! Just a tiny little place, but oh so friendly, and good! I was so glad we decided to come back. It was worth it.







When we were full and satisfied, we got back in the car and made our journey to Yosemite. We had to stop once, about halfway, to charge her. That was a new experience for us! Luckily Michael had already done his research and had mapped out all the "super charge" stations so that we didn't have to waste much time.

I won't lie, the Tesla was a whole new experience. Not buying gas was awesome, but the charging thing was, well, different. It was cool, but kind of annoying to have to stop and just chill for 1-1.5 hours while the car charged. It definitely makes you change the way you plan trips. Luckily we weren't going too far, so stopping for a single charge wasn't too bad. Next time we just need to time it a little better and have that stop be our lunch stop or something. Kill two birds with one stone. Lesson learned.

Charging aside, the Tesla was the bomb. It took a little bit of practice to perfect the gas/brakes, but it was pretty smooth sailing. Literally. It kind of drives like a go-cart in that when you let up off the gas, it automatically starts to slow down. So you don't really need the break most of the time if you are paying attention and don't have to stop all of the sudden. It is a little dangerous though! Not in a life threatening way, but in a, you-better-be-careful-or-you-will-get-a-speeding-ticket kind of way:) It goes so fast so quickly and smoothly that if you aren't watching your speed all of the time, you are most likely going too fast.

Anyways, back to the trip. We made our charging stop and then finished our ride into Yosemite. We stayed at a nice resort inside the park that had a super charging station there too! Which worked out perfectly.

We checked in, got some dinner, checked out the gift shop, then headed to our cabin where we spent the rest of the evening and night. We were both pretty tired so we went to bed earlier than usual. But it was perfect. It was nice to get some good sleep!


We woke up early, got ready, and headed out. We had so much to see and so little time! We spend the morning and afternoon trying to see as much of Yosemite as we possibly cool. It really was amazingly beautiful! I couldn't believe it. While driving into the park the day before I was really worried that it was going to be like the Utah mountains, which I had already seen a number of times. There was lots of desert type terrain driving in and not that spectacular of sites. But, as soon as we started on our drive on Saturday morning the spectacular views just kept on coming. It was just amazing. I wanted to stop (and we did most of the time) like every 5 minutes to take more pictures. Michael was seriously the best sport ever. He not only let me stop as often as I wanted, but encouraged me to when I tried to be like "ah, it's ok. I can skip one. We just got out". He is the best! It was a glorious 6+ hours!

To top it off we got lots of fun looks from everyone eyeing the Tesla. Many photos taken and "I love your car" comments. It was fun:) I felt like I wasn't being honest by just saying "thank you", but after trying to explain it a few times I decided it really didn't matter. I didn't need to tell everyone that we were just renting it, how we found it, the deal we got, how she runs, etc.

***And now for a bunch of the photos I took. These are only a small portion, and the black and white versions are awesome too. But for ease I decided just to stick with the colored photos. Now, in no particular order:


























































After grabbing snacks for lunch, visiting the Ansel Adams Museum, and taking 1000s of pictures, we said our goodbyes and made our way back to San Francisco. Once again, we had to stop to charge. This time we went a different way and stopped in a quiet little town. While we waited for the car to charge, we got us some dinner at a little Mexican restaurant. Michael thought it was pretty awesome that we were the only ones in the place. Good times. Heading back also meant saying goodbye to the Tesla. It was fun while it lasted!




We took all our luggage to The Palace Hotel, then took the car and dropped her off. From there we walked around Fisherman's Dwarf once again, did a little shopping, then headed over the Ghirardelli Square to try "another SF must", the Ghirardelli sundae. Yum!







We finished off the night with a fun concert by "Saved by the 90s". While the bar/club scene is not really our scene, Michael and I still had a fun evening staying out late, and rocking out to lots of our favorite throw back songs:)


The following morning, Mother's Day, was our last one in San Francisco. We freshened up, packed up, said goodbye to the Palace, and headed to the airport. The flight home was much more relaxing and enjoyable. No layovers, no switching planes, just one flight. Thank heavens.



It was the perfect trip! It was so wonderful to be able to spend time together, kid free. We loved exploring San Francisco, seeing Kurt, meeting Ana, and just being together. We were excited to come home and see our cute kiddos, but I can't wait until we can do it again!