Northern California – Days 2 & 3

Days 2 and 3 of the mother-daughter Western takeover were as wild as you’re probably imagining right now. Yesterday was our designated bike-the-city day, but when we were getting ready early in the morning I realized I accidentally left my athletic pants back home. This should not have been a problem since our hotel is supremely located between a Target, Ross, and Old Navy, but it was a while before I found something that I liked that was cheap enough for me to actually buy. Our plan was to rent some bikes near Golden Gate Park, so we rode the city bus about 4 miles, which translates to about 45 minutes across town, to get what we needed. Golden Gate Park was gorgeous – bigger than Central Park and very green. We rode all the way through it, stopping to check out some grazing buffalo and a giant windmill that looked straight from the fields of Holland. It was a blast, and everyone complimented our sweeeet matching Tennessee orange “comfort hybrid” bikes, so naturally we felt very chic and street smart (sarcasm).


We made it to the beach for lunch and locked up our bikes at a little place overlooking the water. We dined on some butternut squash soup, sourdough bread, and arugula salads with fresh avocado, strawberries, almonds, and feta. Not too shabby! I was pretty surprised to see how many people were out surfing – it was probably around 50 degrees but I guess you gotta go big or go home in the chilly Pacific.

The adventure really started when we headed back through GG park towards the bridge. The gradual downhill slope that was so leisurely on our way through was now a gradual uphill that got our heart rate going. It caused me to have post-traumatic flashbacks to the Creeper Trail incident of 2010, where Julia McAmis and I accidentally rode 30 miles in one afternoon on old bikes with no prior preparation (a whole other story in itself); an experience that still stands strong as the absolute most physically exhausting experience of my entire life. Anyways, we exited the park and rode through some pretty decent traffic, up past a giant Temple, and through some nice neighborhoods before hitting National Park land and encountering some INCREDIBLE viewpoints over the bay. We came around a corner and all of a sudden we saw Alcatraz surrounded by a dozen colorful sailboats, green mountains in the background, and houses stacked all over the place across the slopes beneath us. It was quite a sight! A strange little Chinese man reluctantly took our picture, then awkwardly chatted us up for a while before we could escape and continue our journey.

San Francisco is known for it’s hills, and our quads knew it too. We made it to the bridge vista and somehow our little strange Chinese friend beat us there although we’d left him behind at the last vista. After an awkward reunion, we rode another half mile down for some pictures at the base of the bridge.


Then it rained, and Mom said, “Aw heck no we ain’t ridin in the rain uh uh where the bus, we puttin these bikes on it.” (my paraphrase) I should point out that there was a 60% chance of rain but we failed to bring anything waterproof. So we did catch a bus to another bus to another bus, and I was completely soaked from loading the bikes onto the front of each said bus, but we made it back. The man at the bike shop even gave us an $8 discount for being pitiful (my assumption). We came back to our hotel and took some hot showers before heading out for dinner, where I learned for the third time this week that Uggs are not appropriate footwear for torrential downpours. The Japanese place that we found on Yelp actually turned out to be a really trendy sushi place that was blasting techno, didn’t offer forks, and maybe not sweatshirt-appropriate. This was not good news for Mom, as she does not prefer sushi and does, in fact, prefer eating with a fork. Still, we had a good time and Mom just stabbed her sushi instead of picking it up daintily. We were LOLing at our redneck ways and left after one roll each to which our waitress said, “Oh you eat so little!”

Day 3 consisted me waking up at 4:30 as sick as a dog, laying on the floor in the fetal position, and various other things I do when I’m feeling dramatic/miserable. After I finally slept for a few hours, Mom and I rented a car (Toyota Yaris) next door and headed across the Golden Gate bridge for some lunch at the farmer’s market in Sausalito. Everyone there may or may not have been a gypsy trying to steal all my money, but Mom and I were satisfied with the Middle Eastern combo plate and crepe we ate in the Yaris. Then it was on to Muir Woods (the mountains were calling and we had to go…) to see the Redwoods, but the parking was so far away that we just did a little drive by, saw a tall tree, and avoided the $7/person fee by saying “hola” and “adios” from the Yaris. Then it was to Tiburon, a gorgeous coastal town and on to Sonoma, Napa, and Yountville, which were all uneventful and beautiful.

It is always fun to make memories with Mom and explore new places, so this trip can’t really go wrong! We have a big day planned for Monday as well, our last full day. Much love from the West Coast!!

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