Our trip to California (super long, with oodles of pics)
Long post ahead. Here's what we did on our trip to California, along with tons of pics (click the pic to view it larger). I tried to save you by not posting too many "scenic" pics, but mostly pics that had us in them. I honestly didn't take *that* many pics on this trip and didn't get artistic with any of them. It was hard not having my camera of choice with me. ;oP
(Also, a disclaimer to all my veggie readers... I figure some of you probably missed the post where I said that I'm no longer vegetarian so I wanted to say it again so it doesn't come as a shock to you all that I'm eating poultry and fish. I decided to follow what my body tells me I need with this pregnancy. I'm still cooking primarily vegetarian meals at home, but if I'm at a restaurant and I want chicken or fish, I order it.)
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
We caught our flight at 5:22 p.m. from Denver to San Jose. Ava did great on the plane. We sat next to a very nice, friendly woman who enjoyed talking with and entertaining Ava for a good part of the flight. The view as we flew over the Rockies was amazing.
We picked up our rental car but the agent had trouble finding the right size carseat for Ava. She finally tracked one down but it didn’t have all the parts and, because of this, we weren’t able to fully secure it in the car. Arg.
After some confusion with our room at the Hotel Avante in Mountain View, we got checked into the right room. By that time it was after 9 and we hadn’t yet eaten dinner so we headed out in search of something. I spotted a Baja Fresh (Mexican grill food) and remembered reading good things about it on Julie's blog, so we stopped for dinner. It was really good and reminded us a lot of Wahoo Fish Tacos (but better because they had fresh guacamole and avocado slices, mmmm).
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Jody got up early to go into work at Google for a few hours before they went out for a team building trip horseback riding, with a tour of a vineyard and dinner.
Ava and I got up and ready and went out to breakfast at Denny’s. After that, we went to Shoreline Park where we went for a walk, watched geese and Ava threw sticks and rocks into a lake.
Then we picked up some lunch and headed back to the hotel for a nap.
That evening, after Jody got home, we went out to dinner at Frankie, Johnny, and Luigi’s for some awesome pizza. We stopped at Baskin Robin’s for some shakes on the way back to the hotel.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Jody went into work again, while Ava and I slept in. Then we got up and ready for the day. I packed up our things and we checked out of the hotel. Then we drove up to the “Googleplex” to join Jody for lunch in the cafeteria. It was a bit overwhelming. There were so many foods to choose from. I ended up having a big salad (loaded with avocados) and some Indian food.
Then Jody took us on a little tour and introduced us to some of the people on his team and in the area he works while out in CA. The campus is so big, your first time there is kind of like being a freshman back at college. Ava wowed everybody with her cutiepie charm.
Jody went back to work for a little while, and Ava and I headed over to a Trader Joe’s to check it out since I’ve heard many good things about them. I don’t know it they are all pretty small, but the one we found was on the small side (IMO). It seemed like a great store though and definitely reasonably-priced. We bought some organic strawberries and ate a few in the car.
Then we picked up Jody and started our drive to San Francisco. Traffic was horrendous at 4:30 p.m. (go figure). Unfortunately, Ava was really tired at that point and was having a hard time falling asleep in the car. She did get to nap for a little while, but not as long as she (or we) would’ve liked.
Jody dropped us off at the Argent Hotel while he went to take back the rental car. Ava and I got checked in and went up to our room on the 26th floor. The room was very nice. We had a lovely view of the city and could see the Bay Bridge from our window, as well as a little bit of Alcatraz.
After chilling in our room for a bit, we walked over to Chinatown for dinner. At the recommendation of the hotel concierge, we went to the Great Eastern Restaurant. Our dinner consisted of egg rolls, vegetable fried rice, sweet and sour chicken and cashew chicken, with orange slices for dessert. It was all delicious. That brings us to the present, where we are back in our hotel room. Chinatown was bigger than I thought it would be, with lots of neat looking shops. I hope to stop back in there another time to browse a bit.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
What a busy day!
We started it off by heading to the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building. It’s definitely an impressive farmer’s market.
We walked out to the water and stopped for a peanut butter cookie before catching the trolley up to the Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39 area.
We stopped to look at the sea lions (which Ava originally called “dogs” – from all of the barking, of course - LOL).
Then we had lunch at a restaurant - Neptune's Palace - overlooking the sea lions and bay. I had a salad and bread bowl of clam chowder soup and Jody had fish and chips. We also split some crab cakes (which Ava devoured).
After lunch we decided to take a ferry ride that goes around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. By that point, Ava was getting sleepy, but she did ok on the boat.
There was a group of Asian women on the boat who were totally enamored with Ava. A couple of them gave us "treats" to give to her, but if I couldn't read the writing on the package (it was Korean I think), I wasn't going to give it to her. Still nice of them though. There was also an Asian man on the boat ride who was using his electric razor to shave his face while we were out on the water. Strange. I took his picture. ;)
After the boat ride, we had a heck of a time finding a bus that would get us back to our hotel, so we ended up waiting 45 minutes to catch the historic trolley.
Ava was so tired at that point that she actually fell asleep on the trolley, despite it being quite loud with the trolley car driver ringing the bell left and right.
We hung out for a bit in the hotel, then decided to head out for some “American fare” (we got some suggestions from the hotel concierge) for dinner. First we walked over to the Metreon, but none of the restaurants there appealed to us. We did, however, pass a new cream puff place on the way and figured we’d head back there for dessert after dinner.
After walking around way too much and still not finding anything that sounded good, we came across Tad’s Steakhouse. It was very reasonably priced at like $6 a meal, though seemed a little shady, but we decided to stop anyway. We ended up getting a tuna melt and a turkey melt, both came with a baked potato and salad, and it was all, surprisingly, quite good. It was nice to only spend $15 on a tasty dinner after dropping at least $40 on previous meals.
We tried going back to the cream puff place for dessert, but they had closed at 8. So we walked around some more (and saw another guy stick-shaving his face in the middle of the sidewalk - what's up with that?), finally stopping in a 7-11, which was just about the only thing open, for some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, which we took back to our room.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
We got up this morning and caught a bus over to the Haight-Ashbury area (known for it's huge hippie population in the '60s), where we had a late breakfast at a place called All You Knead (recommended to me by Amy). I got poached eggs covered with avocado slices and Hollandaise sauce on English muffins and Jody got an omelette. Both came with potatoes too. We split it all with Ava. The food was awesome.
After eating, we walked along Haight street for a bit and stopped in a few stores, before it started sprinkling rain on us. We had planned to go to Golden Gate Park, and walked in it for a little ways, because I really wanted to see the Japanese Tea Garden, but the rain kept coming down harder and harder so we decided to head back. By the time we left the park, it was a downpour and we were soaked. Ava had the umbrella over her stroller so she was kept partially dry, but Jody and I were drenched.
We caught a bus into the Mission district, then had to get off there and wait for another 20 minutes for another bus to get us back to our hotel. The wait outside was quite cold and it continued to rain.
On our walk back to the hotel, we stopped at that cream puff shop from yesterday (Beard Papa’s – it’s Japanese) and picked up some cream puffs to take back to the room. They were tasty.
We got changed into dry clothes and Ava and I took a nap while Jody went out and bought himself a Play Station Portable. (I guess I shouldn’t leave him alone when he’s within walking distance of a Sony store. Oy.)
After our naps, we caught another bus to Little Italy where we had dinner at Caffe DeLucci. Jody got ravioli and I got fettucine with seared Ahi Tuna. Yummy! We all split a cannoli for dessert.
Then we headed back outside to catch the bus back to our hotel, I would’ve liked to walk around a bit, but it was raining again. On our walk back to the bus stop, a car came within inches of hitting Ava’s stroller (that she was in) and my leg. They just kept on driving too like they didn't even see us. Thankfully, we were OK, but it was pretty scary.
Monday, May 22, 2006
(Ava playing in bed before getting up for the day.)
We got up and dressed and packed up our things before walking over to a little restaurant called Oh La La for some lunch (which we took back to our room). Jody got a chicken salad wrap and I got a falafel sandwich. We also got some of those "Naked" drinks. They are expensive but quite tasty and mine (which was a protein blend) had something like 37g of protein in it. Wow.
(One last pic in our hotel room.)
After eating our lunch and gathering up our things, we checked out of our hotel and caught a bus to the CalTrain station. We got our train tickets, and caught the train to Santa Clara where we then caught a bus over to the San Jose airport.
Once at the airport, we still had a good 2 1/2 hours before our flight so Ava played a bit in a kids' play area and we got some lunch and let Ava run around.
The flight back to Denver had a lot of turbulence over the Rocky Mountains, but Ava slept for the last half of the flight, which was good - she needed to get a nap in.
It's good to be home and getting back into our routine. :)
All in all it was a really nice trip. California is a beautiful state and I can definitely see the appeal of living there (avocados - wink, wink), but I still prefer Colorado. :) While having some humidity in the air was nice out there, I guess I've grown accustomed to the dryness here.
It would've been nice if the weather cooperated the whole time we were in SF, because we would've gotten to see more of the city, but c'est la vie. I am sure we could've spent several more days there and still not seen everything we wanted to. (And we would've gone broke trying! LOL)
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and help with things to do while in CA. I appreciate it! :)
As an aside, Jody and I were talking about how well-traveled our li'l kid is. Just on this trip alone she rode on a plane, boat, bus, trolley and train (the boat, bus, trolley and train were all a first for her). It took me 31 years to get to the western U.S. coast and Ava's been to both coasts before her 2nd birthday. I guess the world is a smaller place now than it used to be.