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2012-366 Day 208 – Road Trip Wrap Up

So, over the past week I’ve done two posts on the food we ate on our vacation, and two posts on one of the hotels we stayed at. In them and in between, I’ve related some stories, both here and on Facebook, but I think it is now time to wrap everything up with a nice little bow.

This was planned as our “unplanned” trip. Jess, myself, Brian, and Dennis all piled into Brian’s Explorer and threw in six days worth of stuff on a Sunday morning and headed “North.” My personal goal was to get up to Oregon, but, other than that, didn’t have much specific planned. We did decide we wanted to take a coastal route, so we took the 118 out to the 101 and then over to Pacific Coast Highway.

We made our first stop in Cambria, as Dennis and Brian had been in the town on a previous trip, and we had a request from on of the people in our lifegroup for a jar of pie filling you can get there. After eating at Linn’s (I won’t recount the food here, that’s in the food blogs), we wandered the immediate area for about half an hour, checking out a market there (which was nice but kind of sparse) and the most labyrinthine antique shop you will ever see. The building had three floors, and probably almost 20 rooms crammed full of stuff of all sorts.

We ended Sunday arriving in Monterey, and, after finding the Otter Inn which Brian had stayed at before and checking in, wandered around while proceeding to find that most of town had closed up on a late Sunday night. After some snackage at the Cannery Row Brewing Co, we turned in for the night, while seagulls re-enacted all of Shakespeare’s plays outside our windows for the entire night (hey, can you prove they were doing something else?). I tuned it out pretty well, and Jess had earplugs, but Brian and Dennis suffered a bit.

Not ones to let a Monday in Monterey go to waste, we wandered around the coast a bit after enjoying our crepes and then proceeded to the main event, a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You may or may not know that Jess is just a little(!) obsessed with otters, and this place has them in spades. We toured the aquarium a bit up until otter feeding time, and made our way to the tanks to watch the show. The otters were very cute and didn’t disappoint, and we could even see some later out in the actual bay (they had viewers on the deck) lounging around in the ocean. Eventually we had to move on, as our car could only stay at the hotel until four, so we got back and headed out.

Our next destination was San Francisco, and on the way up we stopped at several coastal spots to take pictures and hang out (we actually did this both days, but I’m just getting to it now). At one of the stops, Brian’s camera fell out of the car and he later realized that the lens had become broken, the exposure was stuck on full. We found a Best Buy on the way into San Francisco and he was able to rustle up some replacements, but at this point it was fairly late and we needed some food. This lead to the unscheduled stop at the Boulevard Cafe (“We are eating there.” “Are you sure? What about . ..” “No. There.”), and then the entirety of the events surrounding the Hillside Lodge, already covered in detail.

Our early flight from the Hillside Lodge put us in San Francisco proper for our doughnut breakfast, but a wrong address in the app where we found it listed initially gave us a nice tour of San Fran’s underbelly. It also gave us a tour of some of the great hills, and I was extremely glad we weren’t in a manual transmission car when a red light stuck us at a 45 degree angle at the top of one of the biggest hills I’ve been on. After doughnuts we made our way across the peninsula to Pier 39 (without a map, which led to this exchange upon getting to the East side of the peninsula and Pier 28 – Brian: “I found it, I’m good.” Me: “Yeah, you’re only off by 11.” Brian, turning right instead of left and proceeding to the next pier. Me: “12 now”), and, by the way, does anyone have any idea how those piers are numbered? We saw all the touristy stuff walking around the pier and then walked towards Fisherman’s Wharf and lunch, and it was all fun and games until I got pooped on by one of the dang birds around there. After walking to the edge of Ghiradelli Square, I was done and wanted to change, so we hiked back to the car where I changed in a parking garage and exiled my jeans and sweater into a large Ziploc bag (which are great for travel, by the way).

We headed out of San Francisco and across the Golden Gate bridge, stopping at Johnny Garlic’s in Santa Rosa for dinner, and finally tracking down a place to sleep in Ukiah. Pretty much all of Ukiah was full (we found out towards the end of the night that the Nor Cal baseball tournament was going on in town and they had filled three of the hotels, but we wound up finding a hotel that had a “suite” (by Ukiah standards) of three double beds. We all slept well that night.

Jess washed my sweater at a local laundromat the next morning (Thanks again sweetie!) while everyone was getting ready, and we headed north again. The heavy travel and different cities we kept going through definitely threw of my sense of time, it was hard to remember that it was Wednesday. We made our way through the Redwoods and Sequioas in probably what was my favorite part of the trip. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but the mountain environment is truly where I am at my most serene. We stopped at several places of note among the trees, including a drive through tree (I looked at the map we acquired from the gift shop there and asked everyone if they had had their fill of drive through trees, as there were two to three more on the route up. Everyone agreed one was enough), the Big Tree, stopping for lunch in the town of Miranda, driving the Avenue of the Giants, and getting out to walk along the river while looking for river otters. I love it up there and hadn’t been in the area for a long time (probably over a decade), though I think I will be going back much sooner.

The only drawback was that we ended up heading out of there and ending up in Arcata/Humboldt for dinner. I’ve made my feelings clear on the area, so we’ll move on. We wound up heading out of town and about seven miles off the path to an Indian casino named Blue River, which, since it was built within the past couple years, was quite nice. I ended up making 300% of my money back gambling before the smoke forced me back upstairs to our room (I started with two dollars, you can do the math), and Jess and I enjoyed ice cream sandwiches from the local gas station mini mart before going to bed.

Thursday was our last day of stopping places before heading back Friday as Dennis had to be back home for an event Saturday morning. We still had not made it into Oregon, so we booked our way up to Grant’s Pass for our northern most point, on the way stopping for gas station sandwiches. We turned south and made it to the town of Ashland, were they have a Shakespeare Festival during the summer. We visited the theater and the gift shop, but would not be able to stay for a performance. We wandered around the town a little bit, did some shopping, then ate dinner and headed out.

We dropped back into California and stopped in Yreka, which was Brian’s old stomping grounds when he was a teen. We actually stayed at his mom’s house that night, Brian trying to troubleshoot her internet connection the entire time we were there (although we were all correct as to the cause of the problem – 3 IT guys know there stuff – we couldn’t fix it because it was a hardware issue with the modem which had to be replaced after we left). Brian’s brother came over with his family and we visited for a while, then we went out that night for some stargazing, which was amazing.

Finally we piled into the car on Friday morning and began the long trek down the 5 freeway to home. We stopped for lunch in Sacramento and ate so much we were actually pretty full for the rest of the drive. We made fairly good time and definitely did not enjoy the same caliber of scenery (or smells) as the trip up, but the higher speed limit made up for it.

In all it was a great vacation, although we’re already discussing which parts we might turn into planned visits in the future. I wouldn’t do all my trips of the unplanned variety, but it certainly was an experience to do at least one. One funny aspect was the time warp due to the travel and the differing sleep schedule, as I never was quite sure what day it was and hours would sometimes just disappear. I find it hard to believe it’s already Thursday and I’ve been back to work for almost a week now, but I guess that’s the advantage of vacation. We’ll see where the next one takes us.

Weight: 229 Loss: 11 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 218.1 miles (+3.5 miles)
Volleyball Match Record: 4-2 (10-8 Game Record)
Fitocracy Level: 23 ID: disciplev1

Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , , .

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