For months we contemplated having a vacation before the Speck arrives--a "babymoon", if you prefer the jargon--but never decided on anything. Then towards the end of March Drew's boss suggested he come out to California to finally visit the office (he works remotely, you may recall). To which I said "Vacation!!!" and that was that. So, not only did we get vacation, we got part of it paid for, since Drew was doing work stuff for a few days. Partly paid for trips are really the best kind of trips.
We went a lot of places and saw a lot of things, and by golly, if I can boil a Mediterranean cruise down to one post, I can surely do the same for this trip! But as usual, Drew has covered it in greater detail, if you are looking for detail. Let's take it place by place:
1) Sacramento: home of the airport and our arrival after an uneventful flight. We picked up our rental car and headed to...
2) Rancho Cordova: our nearby destination and home of Drew's office. We checked into our hotel, and tried without success to find a Hmong restaurant in the area. In the end we went to the recommended Adalberto's for Mexican.
It turns out their menu is almost identical to the places here, but the food was a lot less greasy, came with free salsa and chips and didn't require a Tums later. Win-win-win! From RC, we went a ways up the road to...
3) El Dorado Hills! We lived here for several years when I was a lass--it's the place and house I remember best from my childhood and it's where we moved from when we went to Missouri. It was strange and fun to visit, where some things looked so much the same and so many things looked totally different. It would have been fun to be there with my family, who remember so much more than me, but I did all right on my own. It was much greener and prettier (scenically speaking) than I remembered. In some ways it reminded me very much of Missouri, which I did not expect.
My old house! My room was upstairs in the far right corner. I wonder if the Strawberry Shortcake wallpaper is still up...
My beloved elementary school. Go Badgers! Who are now, apparently, bears.
At the end of our EDH exploring, we went back to Rancho and picked up a (pricey) pizza from Round Table Pizza, just because I remembered it. It was very good, and Drew is so nice not to complain when I want a vegetable pizza.
The next three days we stayed in Rancho, and Drew went to work while I sat by the pool in the morning and did little projects at the hotel in the afternoon. The weather was perfect the entire trip, though the locals apologized many times that it wasn't "better."
Drewbles went into more detail about this, but I will mention it too. He's been listening to this particular Survivor podcast for a number of years now, and the people who do it live near Rancho. So on Wednesday night we watched Survivor with them and then featured on the recap podcast after! We are like celebrities or at least celebrity adjacent. Anyway, they were extremely nice and very conscientious hosts and never let my water glass run out. We stayed up very, very late, but it was really fun and Drew was beside himself with glee. The next morning we checked out and headed off to...
4) The Jelly Belly Factory: It is exactly what it sounds like--a factory for making jelly bellies. It also includes this soaring jelly belly man and a lot of Ronald Reagan art made from jelly bellies.
We bought a bag of Belly Flops, had some samples, wore our hats on the tour and then got back on the road for...
5) The Walt Disney Family Museum: This was our first stop in San Francisco, and it is also much what it sounds like (though it is not owned or run by the Disney company). We had some navigational issues getting there, but still had plenty of time to see it all. Highlights include a model of Disneyland and the frequent benches that I took advantage of.
After a few hours here, it was evening time and we headed into...
6) San Francisco (proper): We started our first night there by sitting down on the bed and...didn't get up again. We ordered some Thai and watched a lot of Wife Swap while waiting for Project Runway, which didn't come on until 9 and was TWO HOURS and I fell asleep at the end. It was good to take it easy because the next day started early with...
6a) Fisherman's Wharf/Aquarium of the Bay/Pier 39: I very much enjoy the sight and smell of fresh seafood, even though I am sometimes grossed out by seeing their glassy eyeballs. The aquarium was a bit on the small side, but I enjoyed their multiple tunnels and baby rays that would pop their little faces out of the water--has anyone ever seen full-grown rays do that? I never have seen the like! Anyway, the chowder from Boudin's made a very excellent lunch.
We also saw Hugh Jackman.
6b) Alcatraz: there are so many places I never thought I would actually see in my life, and this is one of them. One of the good things about Drew is that he DOES stuff instead of wishing to do stuff or talking about doing stuff. I am less of a doer so he is good for me that way. Anyhoo, Alcatraz! It was a very interesting place to visit and kind of spooky too, being an old prison and all. What a horrible place to live! Then again, the people who lived there were pretty horrible themselves so...
One tourist lady in particular was taking these super excited photos throughout. I decided to try her method in the solitary confinement area. No light or human contact, woot!
6c) Lombard Street: It's...curvy...? We spent the rest of the night watching Wife Swap (again) and waiting for the new episode of Grimm to come on, only to get a repeat in the end. Thwarted!
6d) Muir Woods: When I was girl in EDH, we learned about Redwoods in school and all got a tiny sapling to plant. I remember having ideas about planting it under a trampoline and the tree growing up through it. This was a silly idea, not least because we didn't even HAVE a trampoline. Anyway, it was been a lifelong goal of mine to see the Redwoods, and we did it! (Also, I have to give Rise of the Planet of the Apes credit for my knowing there were Redwoods near San Francisco.)
Sometimes when I see something like this that I've always wanted to see, it feels kind of anticlimactic when it actually happens. I don't know what I expect--that there will be streamers or fireworks or people congratulating me? I am learning to just be impressed and glad on my own. And the trees were SO tall and lovely and it smelled so nice. Muir Woods itself is a very nice place to visit, with wide, smooth paths to walk on and numerous options for trails of various lengths. I would love to go back one day and do a longer one, with Drew carrying the Speck around instead of me. We left there with a little tree model carved from--what else--a Redwood and a nifty pair of earrings made of tiny Redwood pinecones.
6e) The Golden Gate Bridge: We drove over it four times and took lots of pictures. It is, um, a good, sturdy bridge.
(For all our awkward-on-purpose picture taking, sometimes we look kind of awkward on accident. It keeps us humble?)
6f) Ocean Beach: Neither of us knew SF housed such a great, sandy beach! I could have sat there all day, and I would be happy to live in earshot of waves. Alas, I know from House Hunters that that can be a very expensive place to live. We did some sand writing, I found some more shells for my collection and we were grossed out by the many partial bodies of crabs in the sand.
6g) Ghiradelli Square: We wound up going here for dinner at a fancy schmancy restaurant and I had more chowder (not as good as Boudin's!). True fact: I couldn't eat all my bread bowl but since I cannot let a bread bowl go to waste, I brought it all the way back home.
And that, essentially, was the end of our trip! The next morning we packed, I wore my dress as a skirt (awesome), I maybe cried about not being able to pack a suitcase right (um), we went back to Sacramento and a short flight and drive later we were back at home.
It was the perfect length of trip, and it was fun to see a new place and so many new things. I was a little nervous beforehand about my ability to do stuff, and while I wasn't as fast as usual, I was quite pleased with how well I kept up and how not-hard it was. Go me! I suppose the Speck deserves a little credit there too. *high fives tummy* Thanks for the trip, Husb and Husb's work!
(Final side note: people in California were much more prone to stare at my stomach than Utahers. Also much more prone to say things like "When are you due!?!? *googly eyes*" Newbs.)