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Bay Area Trip Report: Oh how I wanna be there in my city by the bay!

Bay Area Trip Report: Oh how I wanna be there in my city by the bay!

Sep 26th, 2009, 07:30 PM
  #1  
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Bay Area Trip Report: Oh how I wanna be there in my city by the bay!

It's not very difficult to understand why Journey missed the Bay Area while on tour. I don't think I could improve upon their lyrics.

The Bay Area is such a fantastic, beautiful place, a place of redwood forests and lush coastal mountains, rugged cliffs along the fierce and mighty Pacific, a place of vineyards amongst sunburnt hills, where rushing rivers meet coastal estauraries. A place of big city life and small coastal towns, where one area can be roasting in 100 degree heat, where families are flocking to the nearest swimming hole to cool off, to 55 degree misty fog along the coast, where unprepared tourists shiver in their shorts and t-shirts and locals have coats on and say it's a nice day. Wrap all that up, place everything within a couple hours driving distance, and you have the Bay Area...

I used to live in the area in the mid 90's but things have changed quite a bit since I was there. I went to places from my past, but nothing seemed the same. Life moves on, buildings are torn down and reconstructed, and the rose colored glasses of yester year's memories are never quite as good the second time around. However, just as places move on, people do too. When I lived in the Bay Area, I was in my mid-20's and single, living and partying it up as best I could. Now I'm a bit older (still young though), have gone through a 10 year marriage and divorce, and have a son. Also, I have a new girlfriend and she's from the Bay Area.

Oddly enough, however, some places were as clear as I remembered them in the past. The Golden Gate Bridge, the fog, the micro-climates, the Redwood forests, the Embarcadero, the cable car, my favorite dive bar in downtown San Jose that held on despite extreme gentrification, oh, and most of Santa Cruz, Capitola, and the coast. Something about the coast, you just don't want to change it and the locals would never have that anyway...

So, bottom line, this trip was more about building a new future with my new girlfriend than rehashing or recreating old memories. And how that's concerned, I think the goal was accomplished.

Some might say why include the above information. Well, I think it's important. There's a big difference between seeing something the first time and having lived in a place and then returning after a long time period. When I first moved out to the Bay Area, I was so amazed and awed at everything. When you've lived somewhere, sometimes just driving around and looking back at places with old memories is fun.

Let me know if you want the day by day details or if this high level summary of the trip was sufficient.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 07:40 PM
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More details of your trip with your new love ......

MY
MichelleY is online now  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:14 PM
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Ok Michelle, then just for you

Saturday: arrived SFO, drove down to San Jose. I met her father and her father's girlfriend. We would be staying the night there. I was a little groggy after a 6 AM flight (woke up around 4 and I'm not an early bird but gf insisted on this flight to get the whole extra day). This was the day of old memories. I showed her my old stomping grounds and she showed me hers... Oddly enough, at the time I was living in San Jose, she lived within miles of where I lived and frequented some of the same places. It's a small world indeed.

We ended up eating lunch at Santana Row. That didn't even exist when I lived there. The day was perfect, sunny and around 72 degrees. We walked around a bit first. I was just enjoying the weather mainly - it was 105 back in Austin. I just enjoyed being able to walk around without getting drenched in sweat. Settled on a Mexican Restaurant - decent food but a little pricey. Nice to eat outside though.

After that, we headed to downtown San Jose for the Tapestry Arts Festival. We got some wine, found a shady spot in the park, and then watched a band (from MS oddly enough) perform. It was a very nice way to unwind from the travel early in the day.

On the way to the car we found one of my old favorite dives, the Cinebar. I can't believe it still exists...

From there, we headed onto my gf's sister's house and we visited there for a while.

That night, gf's dad cooked a giant meal and invited a lot of the relatives. So we had a big reunion of sorts. It was a great time, although I had to excuse myself early because I was really tired.

We slept really well. We needed to because the next day was the hike at Pt. Reyes.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:19 PM
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I've been waiting for your report since we were doing our research at the same time! We've been back a week, so I need to get going on my report.

Eager to hear more!
4sharie is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:27 PM
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Hi bkluvsNola, I too would love to hear about the rest of your time here in N CA. I assume you didn't make it to the Sacramento Valley..as we had and are having triple digit heat.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:35 PM
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Love your report bkluv - in every aspect.

I know what you mean about revisting past stomping grounds.
zelphiacat is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:40 PM
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Wow, I'm not the only one with a boring social life and home on the computer on Sat. night! Glad others are out there keeping me company.

Looking forward to more of your report bk

MY
MichelleY is online now  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:45 PM
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Looking forward to more.
iamq is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:46 PM
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Sunday: Pt. Reyes Tomales Point hike

My gf's father is part of a hiking group that goes on weekly hikes. He invited us on this hike.

We got up early again and drove the 2 or so hour drive up to the trailhead. This is a 9.5 mile trail that took us around 6 hours with the group, but we did take a lot of breaks for elk viewing. Yes, I said elk viewing. This area is an elk preserve with a growing elk population due to strong protectionary measures.

When we first got there, the fog was very thick (think pea soup) and it was drizzling and quite cold as well. In that weather it was hard to see your hand in front of you, much less elk. However, by around noon, the sky cleared and it was nice and sunny. I ended up shedding layers until I was in a short sleeved shirt.

We had lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the edge of the trail, there were sea lions basking in the sun on the rocks there and it was quite beautiful.

On the way back, park rangers had setup tripods with binocular viewing stations of the elk herds, which were clearly visable due to the picture perfect weather.

From there, we went onto Bodega Bay to have some clam chowder for dinner and see where they filmed "Birds". It was foggy, cold, and extremely windy. Even with jeans, a jacket, etc... I was freezing in that town. I doubt it was above 50 degrees. However, that made the clam chowder taste mighty good. We did decide to sit indoors though

After dinner we drove to Santa Rosa where our hotel was.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Thanks for the comments everyone!

I'll keep you company Michelle Nothing going on tonight and I'll be out of town next weekend so this is the night that I have to write this trip report. Your comments help me keep going and finish it!
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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Next up: Sonoma County and Wine tasting.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:05 PM
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Ok, I need more encouragement. Anyone there?
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:06 PM
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Ah, so they were right about wearing layers for the hike!!
4sharie is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:12 PM
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4sharie,

Yes, I needed layers. Mornings and evenings were cold and afternoons were delightful.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:12 PM
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I'm in.
zelphiacat is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:16 PM
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LoveItaly,

We did make it out to Sacramento. It's coming up...
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:21 PM
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you're so easy, bkluv.
zelphiacat is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:38 PM
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Ok, onto Sonoma.

Temps in Sonoma were in mid 80's in the day, 60's at night. Very comfortable.

We stayed at the Hyatt in downtown Santa Rosa. That is a very nice hotel and I'll be putting in some good words in tripadvisor on that one. The room was gigantic, with a great jacuzzi tub and double wide shower (if ya know what I mean). Overall it is probably the best deal in Sonoma Valley in my opinion.

Breakfast was right near the hotel. An omelette place but I can't recall the name. It was unbelieveably good that we ate so much we ended up not needing lunch. I wish I could remember the name.

Now, my gf used to spend summers in Sonoma so we did a little touring first of some of her childhood haunts, then onto Healdsburg town center. From there, we toured the following vineyards/wineries:

Seghesio
Clos Du Bois
Bella
Hop Kiln
Gary Farrell

Bella was very interesting, it had an underground tasting room that was carved out of the hillside and the vineyard grows above.

Hop Kiln had a wide assortment of olive oils that you could dip pretzels into in addition to wine tasting, that was quite interesting.

Gary Farrell had a steep tasting fee ($15) but had the best view of the valley (hands down).

Dinner was at Syra. Atmosphere was nice and food was good, although my pork chop came out rare (and I ordered medium rare). In any case, I was so hungry from not having eaten lunch and after a day of wine I needed something of substance so I just kept eating... It came with a sweet potato "chutney" for lack of better words and that was quite good and complemented the natural sweetness of the pork chop. Wine was excellent as expected and dessert was good but notremarkable.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:47 PM
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Next up: finish up Sonoma and then onto Sacramento
bkluvsNola is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 10:03 PM
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I'm interested as well! Your descriptions are wonderful, and it's always fun to see how the real trip shakes out compared to the planning.
Kailani is offline  

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