Thursday, August 16, 2007


One last thing . . .

As you may already know, I am a big believer in location based information. For example it's one thing to tell you we bought some sourdough at Fisherman's Wharf, it's another to show you where at Fisherman's Wharf is down to the building the store was in. Too much information? Maybe, but I find it fascinating. Click on this link to see a simple map I created in Google Maps.

Vacation Map

You can zoom in and out and if you click "Hybrid" or "Satellite" you can see cars on the street . . . and the building where we bought bread. I also outlined (more or less) the exact routes we took and embedded a few pictures along the way right at the spot where they were taken. Click on the little icons. You can also click on the description on the left and it will jump to that place on the map. Check it out and see if you still think it's too much information.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Vacation - the rest of the story

Since I got such an overwhelming response to continue (thanks Patty) I will finish the vacation narrative with highlights from the rest of the trip.

From San Francisco we went to Sonoma and I tell you, we were glad we were not headed on the opposite direction. It was Sunday and there was almost a continuous line of cars heading from wine country down to SF. People returning from a weekend in the vineyards. Speaking of vineyards, they were everywhere sometimes they looked the size of a gas station on an acre of land and it would be St. Bob Winery. We drove over a narrow twisty mountain road (the sign said trucks not recommended) that separated Sonoma valley and Nappa valley. We stocked up on more bread and cheese and hit the wine trail. We stopped at Robert Mondavi and the Franciscan where we took a tour. After the tour we had a delicious picnic lunch on their grounds.

Then it was back through San Francisco and down the coast. One of the things that always amazes me on this drive is how FARMS go right up to the cliffs on the ocean. I would expect multimillion dollar homes not cabbage and cows. We Passed through miles and miles of uninhabited coastline then down to Santa Cruz. We continued on until we hit Monetrey. There was a lot of fog so it wasn't as stunning as it can be but still it was very beautiful. That night we had a fun dinner in an English Pub.

The next day we drove through Big Sur. Although that is the name of a town it's more of an area. It's pretty remote and there are a string of state parks. We stopped at one to see the redwoods and climb a trail to a waterfall. After such strenuous activities, more bread wine and cheese was required. We finally ended up in a little town on the coast called Cambria and checked into the Fog Catcher Inn for a few days.

The next highlight was Hearst Castle. It was just a few miles up the road in San Simeon. It was a fabulous place, I highly recommend a visit. They don't make em like that anymore at least in this country. The Neptune Pool is truly impressive, it uses some kind of mind control and forces you to take pictures of it. I think I got about 20 before the pushy tour guide forced me to rejoin the group.

Later we traveled south to Pismo Beach a little beach city that reminded me of Wildwood NJ. They have some kind of Sand Dunes State Park which we tried to visit but you really can't see the dunes without a 4wheel drive vehicle, our Kia mini van was not up to it. So we did the next best thing - we road Segways! Yep, Katie and I jumped on the gyro balanced 2 wheel transport and leaned, tilted and swerved our way around the rental building. We even went off road on in the weeds and ruts. Linda and Sarah were the film crew. There was only one accident when our Segways got to close to each other and tried to mate. No harm, no foul, we were back in the saddle in no time 2wheeling over giant 2x4s laying in the gravel (ok so maybe they were just 2 inches by 4 inces).

The final leg of our journey lead us to Anaheim Ca. home of Disneyland. We had been there many years before so we knew what to expect. We were FastPass professionals (FastPass is Disney's version of ride reservations). We road all the E-ticket rides several times, drank the $5 sodas and bought the mouse ear hat. A good time was had by all.

So that's our story. Thanks for reading and may the road always rise up to meet you.

For all the gory details play the slide show below

Friday, August 03, 2007


Summer Vacation part 6

While hurdling down the two lane car path I see my family pulled over behind a parked car. They were hoping I would show up. They wave me through knowing a stop and start could cause my temperamental chain to go AWOL. Also we are entering the town of Saucalito and no one knows where we are going. I am in charge, I pick . . . down.

The cars start going slower, there are people everywhere. Shops and cute little . . . buildings swhoosh by. We are looking for the bike rental place so we can ditch these Satan cycles. We are running out of down hill, it looks like the center of town. No bike rental place but there is a line about 200 yards long and about half of them are pushing bikes alone with them. Some people look like they are enjoying a relaxing Sunday. Others look like they were just released from a concentration camp. Heads are bowed, there are limps there is hair that looks like it was styled with a jet engine. These are the people pushing the bikes with the logo "BlazingSaddles" on their bikes. We recognize our fate and fall into line.

With feeble disbelief Linda calls the phone number on the map in our bike pouches and asks about the drop off location. The very friendly attendants tell her that we have to bring them back where we got them. We shuffle through the line. I am expecting a number to be written on my arm at any moment. We make it on the ferry but there are so many people with bikes we have to wedge our bikes between seats. Slumped in our seats some of us realize that our skin is on fire. In our haste to go on our Golden Gate Bridge adventure we neglected to apply sun screen. It's almost over.

As we get closer to San Francisco I have a horrifying realization. The ferry is not going to Fisherman's Wharf. I can not say anything to my disheveled group, they might through themselves overboard. The Ferry puts us off around the Bay Bridge down wind of our destination. This was almost a crippling blow, we had to ride into the wind (and traffic) to get back. Remember that bike stand we first stopped at? The one we thought was too far from the bridge? We came to that one first. They wouldn't take our bikes either.

When we finally got back to our own friendly attendants Katie and I arrived first. They asked how it was. If I could have lifted my hand above my shoulder I would have slapped him. I said "not that good" then our eyes met and he quickly took my Satan cycle and positioned it to ambush the next tourist. Just then Linda and Sarah came hobbling up. I told the friendly attendant not to talk to them but he couldn't help himself. We are basically from Texas so there was a limit to the vitriol but displeasure was expressed with the original expectations. After settling up it only cost us $187.56 for this odyssey. I think it was worth every penny.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Summer Vacation part 5

The traffic was bumper to bumper. Plenty of people were able to look into our eyes and were glad they could afford a car. But we made it! Sure it was uphill as we crossed but we had beaten the incline, the 1/2 mile vertical snake, "going to Europe with Ralf and Earl in a Buick", and the humiliation of walking our bikes while 6yr olds and their grandparents whizzed past us.

It was foggy but you could still see how far we had come and tiny boats skimming along beneath us. This was not our fist time out on "the bridge" the last time we vacationed in San Francisco, Katie was 5 and Sarah was 7. It was at the end of our stay and we had not been on the bridge yet so we headed over, it was about 8:30pm and foggy. We walked to the middle. Sarah was petty scared, she was always afraid of heights. It started to drizzle, by the time we got half way it was full on rain. Did I mention it was windy? It all left quite an impression on them for years. Now we were making new memories.

Once on the other side of the bridge you are dumped into a parking lot. There we all posed for triumphant pictures with he bridge in the background. There are 3 ways out of the parking lot, back the way we came, a path that wend down under the bridge (which looked like no one could ever return) or up to the end of the parking lot and up the street beyond that. There were no signs but the little bags attached to our handlebars emblazoned with the "Blazing Saddles" logo marked us as clueless tourists. A fellow cycler (without the badge of shame) saw our bewildered sun burned faces and said "Sausalito is that way" pointing up the hill. So much for the "downhill all the way to Sausalito"!

The bike path was a distant memory what we had now was a foot and a half of macadam then weeds, rocks and precipitous drop offs. And those people who were bumper to bumper on the bridge? They will really anxious to get moving, they flew by us. There was no taking in the sites, we were in survival mode. Just as our decent picked up serious speed and errant shift caused my chain to come off. Disabled on the side of the road I waved the rest of our coterie on without me - "save yourself"

After wrestling mightily with the greasy serpent a good Samaritan stopped to give me a hand. The same thing had happened to his wife a mile back. After trying to clean my hands with dirt (how ridiculous is that?) and weeds I hop on and continue the plummet down to the quaint berg.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?