Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Break

Boy howdy, this Spring Break turned out differently than we originally planned, but well worth the road trip!
Nora and I went south to California, originally with a trip planned to get spoiled rotten at my Aunt Kathy's for a few days, then going to San Francisco by ourselves (over my birthday), and then home...

But upon arrival (literally within a few minutes), my uncle, who had been sick for a while, got an initial diagnosis of something relatively contagious, and we decided that Nora especially would be best not seeing him, so we ended up checking into a hotel in Sacramento.

A few days of seeing the sights, and spending LOTS of time at my cousin Mark's house (his wife Cindy is just frankly, one of my FAVORITE people after this trip), Nora got LOTS of face time with Cindy & Mark's youngest kids...

...and we got an epic storm in Sacramento that all but blew the doors open on the hotel we were staying in!

When Brian arrived, we had one last afternoon touring the Sacramento museum of trains (It's the Colorado State Railroad Museum, WELL worth a few hours of your time if you're in the area).

Then it was off to San Francisco with us for the rest of our time off.

The floods were AMAZING, and when Brian flew in on Sunday after we'd been there a few days, he said the whole Sacramento Valley was flooded!

My mom-in-law had arranged for Nora and me to stay at a hotel in downtown San Fran, so we all got to stay literally a half block from the gate to San Fran's Chinatown at Bush & Grant streets!

Monday we drove in and got a lucky day at the zoo (more pictures may follow, but suffice to say, it was our "sunniest" day in SFO considering the spring climate) and Tuesday was my birthday, and we got to spend an entire day in the city, starting at Coit Tower.

We parked our car and took buses and street cars for all of our visit, and ended up touring an apartment on Telegraph Hill.

We walked around an apartment with an open house near Garfield Street, which let us in on a little factoid: For only $359,000, a 700 square foot apartment could be ours in a VERY desirable neighborhood! LOL
>...After that little reality check, we stopped at a Lombard Street deli for sandwiches and goodies, and walked the rest of the way to the Pier where we could see the sea lions and enjoy our lunch. We then went to Ghirardelli Square, and bought a little chocolate, and then took the street car "home".
We weren't done with our day yet though, as we walked through Chinatown and shopped enough to buy Miss Nora a Chinese umbrella, and find her a place to play at a local park.

aThen we went to a Pizza place (Uncle Vito's) near the hotel, where a TWIN set of women in their 80s came to eat in the window seat near us. They said they were from Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is where MY MOM is from. MOM remembered them! She said they used to walk in step together! When I showed her the picture, she recognized them!!

Our last day we checked out of the hotel and headed north. We meanedered across the Golden Gate Bridge, then had lunch in a wine town North of SFO, and headed towards the northern California Coast.

We stayed in a rather obscure little cabin not far from Arcata, CA. It was one of those strange little off-the-road combination cabin/gas station/mini-mart places with (in this case) great service and friendly staff.
And finally, last Thursday evening, we drove the rest of the way home.

I'll tell you, the difference between this year and last is Nora's travel aptitude -- I did SFO by myself with her last year and she was only 2.5 years old...this year, she REMEMBERED the playground in Chinatown and was VERY active in deciding where we went, and very excited about our plans.

She traveled very well!

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