California Travel-Log

Although the rest of the world seemed to bypass Thanksgiving in anticipation for Christmas decor and greetings, I want to take a moment out of December to rewind back to Thanksgiving! We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend the holiday with my entire immediate family at my brother and sister-in-law’s new[ish] home in Tehachapi, California. The draw of a new locale and that little boy were enough to pull us all in, and the plans were set months ago.

We flew into Vegas and met my parents in baggage claim early on Thanksgiving morning. They had gotten there the day before and seemed to have had a great time in one of their favorite places, raving about the excellent room they got in the Wynn from their gambling points, and how much they were “up” on the nickel slots. We hopped into a rental car and journeyed across the Mojave Desert on a beautifully sunny morning.

We arrived in Tehachapi mid-day and from that point on could not take our eyes off my adorably squirelly little nephew! Gabe is a ball of energy and has changed SO much since I had last seen him, just back in June. He is such a loving little boy and does not shy away from anyone — it always makes a faraway auntie happy when she can instantly scoop up her only nephew and receive hugs right back.

Uncle Antho and Auntie Erin with Lil G

We had a blast with the family for a couple days, eating LOTS of good food (my sister-in-law is an excellent cook), decorating their home for Christmas, playing games, and just catching up. We said goodbye at the California must-stop, In-N-Out, over burgers and “Animal Style” fries, and Anthony and I hopped into our own rental car, headed for the coast.

Driving through CA

Our ultimate destination was San Francisco,  but we wanted to take the long way and drive on Highway 1 as long as possible — us landlocked folks need take in that ocean air as often as possible! And oh, how wonderful that ocean air was… After driving through wine country we got our first glimpse of the water in Cambria, and had to stop and get out to put our feet in the water. Cliché? Yes. Cold? Yes. Invigorating? Absolutely!

The rest of the drive was beautiful as well, as we watched the sun set over the rocky coast. By the time we reached our stopping point for the night, Monterey, it was already dark, but we enjoyed the little seaside town just the same. We checked into our hotel and quickly made our way down to the wharf for a delicious seafood dinner.

The next morning we got up early to finish the drive to San Francisco, and I could not be more excited. San Francisco is by far one of my favorite cities in the world, and I fell in love with it while interning there for a summer in 2005. The vibe, the people, the culture, the architecture, the lifestyle, the sights… it all makes me so happy.

We stayed in the Excelsior neighborhood with some of my good friends, Keith and Rich. They were wonderful enough to open their second bedroom to us and also show us a great time. Anthony and I spent the first day wandering around downtown, exploring the ferry building, and then making our way to one of my favorite neighborhoods — the Haight. We did some shopping and then hit up an excellent brewery called the Magnolia, where we snacked on delicious french fries with aioli and a cheese plate. After snacks, we headed back to Keith and Rich’s for a night out at a dive bar, the Broken Record, near their place. We got tons of different foods and enjoyed them all “family style” — we had lobster mac ‘n cheese, pork fries (oh, sinfully delicious), burgers, shrimp and grits, and some yummy desserts. It was so great to catch up with friends I don’t see nearly often enough!

The next day, our college friend Greg, who lives an hour or so north of San Francisco, met up with us and we all headed back to the pier to rent bikes for a journey across the Golden Gate Bridge. This was something I always wanted to do, but never had the chance. I’m so glad we finally did it! There is something exhilarating about this ride down through Crissy Field, through the Presidio and then over the bay on the bridge.
We racked up our bikes in Sausalito and headed to a little café on the water for drinks and lunch. Afterward, we rode the ferry bike to San Francisco, enjoying Irish Coffees and more beautiful views along the way.

Later that evening, we spent our last night of vacation with Keith and Rich, and another good friend, Claudia, at a local sushi place. After a few daytime drinks and rounds of saki, we definitely were enjoying ourselves by the end of the night! I do remember the sushi being delicious and the company being amazing…

The next day, we headed back to Denver and back to reality! Thanks for indulging me in a play-by-play of an excellent trip. I feel like this blog may selfishly become more of a forum for me to store these memorable life events for us to look back on for years to come.

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