Monday, September 10, 2012

B & D Vacation to San Francisco and Yosemite

B & D Vacation!  (Barney & DeTemple)

Destination: Monterey CA, San Francisco CA, Yosemite National Park

It all started last year when my best friend Angie and I decided to make a special Christmas present for our husbands.  

We made them a YEAR of planned dates, one for each month.  We decided to make July a vacation (and of course at this time I was not pregnant yet). 

We each opened the July gift with our husbands and decided to get together and plan out all of the details.  Initially we thought we would go to CO but in the end decided on San Francisco. 

It all worked out perfectly!  Angie and Jeff recently bought a new Chevy Traverse with plenty of room for little Elsie and J and I, just perfect for a road trip!

It all started Friday night at 10pm.  Jeff was willing to drive us all night to LA (Thanks Jeff!!) where we stopped the next morning around 6am and ate breakfast at a great little café.  Then we continued up the Pacific Coast Hwy.  It was beautiful, what we could see of it anyway with the thick fog.  We stopped along the way at this roadside hut and bought a case full of amazing and beautiful strawberries that we snacked on for days.  We also stopped at a beautiful beach with a pier that we walked out on, I just love the ocean view and the sound of the waves, it was perfect!  Then we stopped at another beach with tons of sea lions lying around.  They almost looked dead, until they use their flippers to throw sand to cover their body.  There were also a few sea lions out a little ways in the water that appeared to be fighting.  It was very cool to see these animals covering the entire beach. There were hundreds.

Then we continued up to Monterey where we stopped at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Remember now that we had been in a car all night and had nowhere to re-apply makeup or get looking decent, so Angie and I changed in the car and we all went in.  I think that for driving all night we look great!

tiny tiny sea horses!

It was a neat aquarium.  I haven’t decided if it was completely worth the price, but it could also be that it was a Saturday so it was very busy and crowded and also my back just killed me throughout it.  J was great and he was constantly rubbing my back, but it was sad that I couldn’t fully appreciate it.  My favorite parts of the aquarium was the octopus, it was so neat to see it, and touching a sea cucumber (it was so so soft but it looks like it would be prickly), and seeing the variety of sea horses.  Did you KNOW that with sea horses it is the MALE that has the babies…yeah very interesting idea ;)

The next day, Sunday, we decided to go to the Santa Cruz boardwalk and do the Roaring Camp Railroads train ride that goes from the boardwalk up through the mountains to a fun little camp.  It was a beautiful ride and lots of fun.  Great scenery too.  At the camp we walked around for an hour or so and saw a steam locomotive, a linotype printing press, and a one room school house that had the funniest rules posted inside for the teacher and students.  One rule was that teachers could not be married or pregnant so I guess I would’ve been an awful teacher back then. 

the one room school house

steam locomotive

After the train ride we walked along the boardwalk a little which was fun.  It has carnival booths and rides and was just fun to see.  Then Jeff drove us around SF a little bit.  That was one of my favorite things, just being able to see SF and the beautiful architecture and old homes built on these crazy steep streets.  We are very grateful Jeff's car was an automatic!  Then at the top of one hill was “The Painted Ladies” or the houses from the intro of Full House the tv show.  I don’t know why they are famous other than that but they sure are beautiful!  The details on these homes are incredible! Angie also had this cool app on her phone that told her approx. how much some of the house on that block cost.  I think one was ONLY about 2.5 million. J

After the scenic drive we went to the SF Bridge.  We hadn’t really planned to go today so the boys didn’t have jackets and it was COLD!  I felt bad for them!  But the bridge was AMAZING.  It is gorgeous and we walked across some of it.  I loved reading about how they built the bridge too, of course the boys were freezing and we had little baby Elsie with us, but everyone was good sports and put up with me reading it all even if they maybe wished I had skipped that part.  We also saw the fog literally ROLL in.  It was beautiful too.  The bridge is pretty magnificent and I’m really glad we spent some time there. 

the cables are huge!  And isn't he the cutest!

Monday we went to Pier 39 and we did all the SF touristy stuff like Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz.  First we walked down and explored Pier 39 where there are all sorts of fun shops and street performers.  We ate lunch at a fancy restaurant that a friend of mine recommended since she was from the area, called Alioto’s Waterside Cafe. It was quite tasty and fun because we sat on the 2nd floor with a great view and the waiters had on tuxes…yep fancy shmancy I say!  I almost felt out of place.  J and I ordered a yummy pasta dish to share with scallops, I loved every bite! 

View of Alcatraz from the Pier

Nat's best fish face

I love this picture!  Elsie and her crab, next to the real deal!

Next we went to Ghirardelli square and went to a Ghirardelli chocolate shop where they gave out free samples; of course I loved that too!  But just walking along the road on the coast is fun because there are all of these little tourist shops and such.  Next it was finally time for ALCATRAZ!  We can thank Jeff for getting our night tour tickets MUCH in advance because they were sold out until the END OF JULY!   As we boarded the boat it was really rocking, probably from all of the people getting on so J and I went and sat on the top outside where it was getting pretty chilly.  The entire boat ride over to “The Rock” they give you interesting facts about the island.  I knew I was going to love it! 

Alcatraz was one of my very favorite parts of the entire trip.  I loved everything about it.  Going in the evening was especially creepy and cool!  I just wish we could’ve stayed longer because there was so much to see and learn.  We did the audio tour of course but ½ way through we had to stop the tour and run to the medical floor that they only open in the evenings from 8-8:30 and they don’t really advertise that they are doing this.  The medical floor was very cool to me and we learned some interesting facts from Park Rangers up there.  There was one famous inmate named “The Birdman” or Stroud (maybe Robert Stroud) who was a real trouble maker.  After 6 years on the floor in solitary confinement they finally moved him up to his own room on the medical floor for 11 whole years.  His room was huge.  But they say he caused so many problems with other inmates, even in solitary, that they decided to move him away from everyone.  It was fascinating.  We saw the mess hall where they ate, and we also got to hear them open and close the cell doors which is another thing I think they only do at night.  It was eerie!   When it was time to go they offered a tram down the island for people with medical conditions.  I felt pathetic but my back was killing me (we even called a medical supply store that morning to see if I could rent a wheelchair for a day – but they only rent them out by the week – darn it)  So we asked if we could ride it down, and I stuck out my medical condition (the baby belly) and I was embarrassed but my back hurt too much to care. 

The operating room


After Alcatraz our patient friends let us run into Boudin’s (a famous sourdough bread company) and get a sourdough bread bowl with clam chowder.  It was DELICIOUS especially on a chilly night. 

Tuesday we had hoped to go to the Oakland temple but it was closed, so instead we drove to the jelly Belly factory and did a tour there.  Sadly once again my back hurt so much that I didn’t really enjoy it like I think I would’ve but I did still have a great time.  With free samples and a fun tour, I thought it was great.  Then we drove back through Napa Valley and saw beautiful vineyards.  Next was the Oakland temple where we went to the visitor’s center and saw a great presentation on eternal families that really touched me, especially with us getting ready to have our first baby.  I was so glad that Angie cried to or I would’ve been really embarrassed.  I couldn’t even talk when it was over, stupid hormones! 

Then we went to the top of the temple, and there are plants and sidewalks all over up there with the best view ever! You can see so far!  It really is a beacon on top of this hill!  I loved it! 

Wednesday we packed up and headed out with a stop in Yosemite.  The drive up to the national park was going great until all of a sudden poor J got carsick.  REALLY carsick.  However after he…well anyway he felt better pretty quickly after!  Thank goodness.  So we went to the visitors center and walked around and then we braved out on a little hike with a baby and a pregnant woman and a car sick guy ;) …are we crazy?  We hiked to vernal falls.  It was BEAUTIFUL but we did have to stop for me to catch my breath a few times.  Some nice people on the way up called Angie and I wonder woman – me for hiking pregnant and Angie for pushing her baby in a stroller.  Yeah GO US!  We were awesome!  Who cares if most people passed us, we made it and the view was beautiful.  We also fed some chubby chipmunks and enjoyed the view of the falls while the boys hiked up farther.
We made it!  Go us!!
Off they go!

If you've got it, flaunt it!  Oh dear!!

After the hike Jeff was awesome and bought us all the best popsicle EVER and he also got J a much needed Gatorade.  Thanks SO much Jeff!  Don’t worry we will pay you back for that!  It was actually pretty warm in the park that day, it was in the mid 90’s I believe.   We also got up close and personal with Bambi as we were getting ready to leave.  The deer weren't afraid of the people at all so they came up close!  

I really loved spending time in Yosemite and loved seeing how much J loved it all to.  I love sharing things with him that HE is passionate about and J is definitely passionate about the outdoors.  I also have to give MAJOR props to my best friend Ang who doesn’t really care for hiking in any form but she was such a trooper, never complaining out loud J and she did it, WITH a baby!  You are awesome! 

After Yosemite we started driving back home.  We thought we would probably stop somewhere along the route home and get a hotel, but apparently Jeff doesn’t need to sleep and once again he drove straight through the night and got us home safely by 5am Thursday.  He even put on beautiful soft piano music while driving – which I could never do because it would put me right to sleep!  I also never slept so well pregnant as when I got home and into my own bed.  Oh it was wonderful, sadly it only lasted for the one night.

It was a much needed and amazing vacation with our best friends!  Elsie was AMAZING and a great back seat buddy!  She really is the best traveler and she has spoiled J and I to where we think all babies should be as perfect as her!   We are SO grateful to Jeff and Ang for using their new car to take us with them on our July date and what I like to call B & D vacation! (Barney and DeTemple)  Hopefully there will be more to come!  It was great memories and fun times!  

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