San Francisco (Winter Vacation Part 3 of 3)

SF: tech mecca of the world! Although I didn’t do anything remotely related to the tech/startup scene, I did enjoy California’s great outdoors with some city on the side.

We took a red-eye from the islands to SF, arriving bright and early the following morning. We were greeted in the drought-racked state with RAIN. Although it was annoying to trek through the rain to get our rental car/get to the hotel (operating on ~3 hours of on-and-off sleep), I was happy to see CA finally get some water.

After settling into our hotel, I went out in search of breakfast! In the afternoon, we walked from our hotel down to the shore near Pier 1. From there, we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. Because of the steady rain, Michelle and I decided to head back to Pier 15 to the Exploratorium. What a neat museum! They have six sections, each focused on a broad field of science. Every single exhibit is interactive and allows kids (ahem, adults too) to read, see, and experience the concept behind the exhibit. Really cool stuff. Only downside: there are so many kids. I wanted to try a lot of the stations, but I didn’t want to be that guy who takes up time at an exhibit where there are a ton of kids waiting to try too. Nobody wants to rob a child of a learning experience. (Ehh, unless they’re brats.) Michelle and I explored the Ferry Building Marketplace and said a quick hi to Jessica and Kiki. Also, Humphry Slocombe.

The following day, we were greeted by sunshine! We went out to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center and walked about half way across the bridge before turning around. We drove out to Sausalito, ate a good lunch, and wandered the streets. Next stop: Point Reyes National Seashore. I loved this park. We drove out to the Point Reyes lighthouse. It was extremely windy, but invigorating. Surprisingly, the air didn’t smell salty. I looked for gray whales, but couldn’t find any. A park ranger said the El Nino season and concomitant warmer waters may have influenced their migration timing. We went out to the Elephant Seal Lookout and saw these rather ugly blobs of blubber. In the parking lot, we stopped to pet two GORGEOUS standard size poodles. I’m not normally one for poodles, but these two were just too cute. Their owner said she’s been on the road since September. She’s originally from NYC, but she got tired of the city so is driving around the entire USA with her two poodles. Really interesting lady and I wish I could’ve talked to her longer.

On Christmas Eve, we went to Lombard street and assumed the role of “annoying tourist.” We walked down the crooked street and admired the buildings. Then we went out to Lands End. Another beautiful park with great views of the Golden Gate! I love all the parks surrounding the city. It reminds me of Switzerland: wonderful nature at the city’s doorstep. Biggest difference is that you need a car to access it. In the evening, went to Dad’s college friend’s house for dinner.

Christmas Day we drove to Muir Woods. Thankfully we left relatively early in the morning because by the time we left, the parking lot was full. Redwood forests are full of beauty. These trees (the tallest trees on Earth) grow quietly, steadily. Long before we were here and long after we’re gone, they’ll continue. The rush and clink of the stream as sunlight seeps through the leaves is peace. I love how new redwoods can sprout from dormant seeds surrounding another redwood. Along the main path, there is a redwood trunk completely surrounded by other redwoods that sprouted after the first one was damaged in a fire. The encircled structure of the original tree makes it look like they grow in families. On the evening of Christmas Day, we made our way to the airport for a red-eye home. All in all, a great trip with tons of time outdoors. Couldn’t have asked for more.

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