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Celebrating D in San Francisco!

D invited all of us to San Francisco to celebrate her upcoming marriage (11 more days!). There were 9 of us and we had a blast. Playing tourist downtown, wine tour, visiting Muir Woods, and just enjoying each other in laughter and fun times. I’ll take you through our events:

Do you like sea lions? Ever been to Pier 39? You should! The sea lions were so much fun to watch. It’s like they were fighting for king of the mountain, or in this case, king of the floating dock. Two would fight, one in the water, one on the dock, then the one in the water would swim around, and jump onto the dock from a different direction, and knock off the original one. Then a third one would join in on the fun. Sometimes, a sleeping sea lion would be stepped on and would wake up growling. I assume that’s where the lion part of their name originated? The best part were the three that were sunning themselves, lifting their faces and chests to the sky. It looked exactly like Cobra pose in yoga. Oblivious to everyone around them, even when they would get bumped. Just enjoying the sun and their peace.

The Pizza Place! Our VBRO owner recommended The Pizza Place which was walking distance from our house. It was so delicious, we ordered it for dinner twice. Did I mention we were only there for three dinners? But what can we do, the bride loves pizza! Correction: we allll love pizza but did have to tell her no on the third night! :)

We booked a last minute winery tour to Napa and Sonoma. Luckily, we had the bus mainly to ourselves, so it felt like a private tour. Recommendation: visit Deepak at Nicholson Ranch winery in Sonoma. He was amazing (and the wine was delish as well!). Deepak was the owner and winemaker and spent 30+ minutes with us, explaining how he makes his wine, his history, his favorites and ensuring we had a wonderful time visiting his winery.

Monday morning arrived and the eight of us happened to visit Muir Woods National Monument on the same morning that the solar eclipse was to occur at 10:15am (California time zone). So, I asked the park ranger if there were any spots to view the eclipse. After looking at me like I was a numbskull (we’re in a forest…tree cover…you won’t be able to see anything), she said I’d have better luck on Ocean View Trail. Terrific. Great. I looked at the others, told them I would meet them in 2 hours at the gift shop and took off. My goal was to make it to an opening where I could see sky.

So, I started climbing, well aware I had an hour before I lost my eclipse window. I made it to the end of the trail where it split into three other trails. Still under the trees, I decided the Panoramic Trail would be best (if the name fit the view). I finally made it above the tree lines and spotted a boulder that looked like the perfect viewing spot for the eclipse. I looked at my watch. Still 20 minutes. Maybe there’s a better view on the trail to the right? I walked around the bend. Nope. Nothing. I walked back to my rock. Still 12 minutes. I walked to the left. The trail led me out of the park, onto a paved road, where a posted sign warned me (paraphrasing), “Beware mountain lions. They are not known to attack, but it has happened before. If you happen to get aggressively attacked by a mountain lion, please report it to a park ranger.” I laughed out loud. Not sure my first priority would be to report the attack if I’ve just been mauled “aggressively” by a mountain lion.

Eclipse go time was approaching, so I turned around and walked back to my boulder. The sky started turning a tad darker grey, the temperature dropped (or was that my sweat drying?), and I kept glancing at my phone in anticipation for when 10:15am arrived. Four more minutes. Three minutes. Finally, it was 10:15am. I had my phone in hand, set to photo “time-lapse” the eclipse, when all of a sudden…nothing. My phone died. Sigh. I continued to sit on my boulder, letting the peace of my beautiful view surround me and tried to experience the eclipse with my naked eye. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy (or maybe that drop in temperature and slight darkening was all I was going to experience). Conclusion: excellent hike, the trees were magnificent, but unfortunately, not the best place to view a solar eclipse!

After Muir Woods, we drove to Chinatown for some dim sum. Ate at this back alley (literally) place called Hang Ah Dim Sum Tea House. It was delicious! More memorable than the food was the waitress, who was the sweetest. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

Last SF event to note: we had to ready everything in preparation of our Tuesday departure, so I took the trash down to the garage. I lifted the large bin lid, tilted the can to dump in the trash, when a >rat!< jumped onto my arm that was extended into the bin. I quickly backed up, shaking my arm, so the rat dropped to the floor. I apparently screamed (just a little mind you), as everyone upstairs yelled to see if I was okay. Oh! That was gross! It scurried under the bin and I hightailed it back upstairs!

Overall, it was great to finally mark San Francisco off my travel list, but it’s definitely not my stopping place.

Next adventure: flying to Phoenix to road trip the five Arizona/Utah National Parks (plus who knows what other adventures!)!



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