Billy and Alison are long-time friends of Steve. They moved to Sunnyvale, California from Ottawa last year, soon after their little guy was born. We got to see their baby, Theodore, in the first weeks of his life but hadn’t seen him since.
Looking back through my pictures of Sunnyvale to write this post, I realized that all of my photos, almost exclusively, are of Teddy. What a little cutie!
We were quite spoiled here. Alison made us a yummy meal of stir-fried veggies on quinoa. We have been hearing a lot about quinoa, since Steve is a vegetarian and people always have lots of suggestions about good protein-packed things to eat for vegetarians. But we have no clue how to prepare it or what to eat it with. So it was great to have a home-cooked meal including this protein-packed grain-like food. We will have to incorporate it into our diet once we get back home.
Also, Billy and Alison are a little nerdy, like us, and like board games. Alison taught us a new board game, similar to one of our favourites, Settlers of Catan, called Dominion. We didn’t realize how much we missed playing board games until we got to play one again!
Alison and Billy are great hosts, despite the fact that they have a newborn – Billy’s sister was also visiting but they didn’t flinch when we showed up on their doorstep as well.
Billy’s sister, Diana, is a fellow wanderer. Her work sends her all over the globe and so she has no permanent address. She was visiting Billy and Alison in Sunnyvale and then was off to Hawaii for a wedding, and after that all over the place, including Dubai, I think.
We slept in the living room and so woke up when Teddy arose in the morning and got some play-time in. I enjoyed watching Steve fumble his way through early-morning cranky-child playtime.
Awwww…I want one!
Steve had a super-important-meeting to attend to in the morning:
So I went off to the Farmer’s Market with Billy and Diana:
I bought some scrumptious strawberries and Billy lulled Teddy to sleep with the walk in the outdoors. On our lulling walk we came across a garage sale, where I couldn’t help but buy an adorable vintage suitcase….I don’t think I ever mentioned it, but I’m kind of enamoured with antiques…
Especially cute turquoise items that say “I heart Grandma” on them. At $2 I couldn’t pass this by. Steve is currently grumbling about the space it takes up in our trunk (tailgate), but trust me, it was worth the $2 ….I mean….look at it! It’s turquoise and adorable!!!
We went for lunch with the gang + a friend at a sushi place – can you tell we love sushi? – then we were headed for San Francisco. Again it was a short and sweet visit.
San Francisco is hilly. I didn’t really know anything about San Francisco but this was the main feature that we encountered straight away. It is very hilly. Kudos to you if you own a stick-shift in San Francisco!
We tried to park on a street off of Haight-Ashbury and then thought the better and found a parking lot. Parking a VW bus with bikes on the back, at least when I’m driving, is not so easy on a steep street with limited space between vehicles!
Haight-Ashbury is a neighbourhood that was big in the 1960s hippy movement – we had to check it out 🙂 I was hoping to get some funky clothing from one of the many funky clothing stores in the area, but apparently funky clothing at the moment is 80s style and that’s just not me.
Still, it was a fun neighbourhood to walk around in. Lots of cute shops, colourful graffiti, and interestingly-dressed people.
Next we headed to Lombard street, which is super steep. The famous section of it has sharp hairpin turns and there was a long line of cars waiting to experience them first hand.
We opted to come at it from the other direction and not drive through the famous section. When we parked to get a closer look and some pictures, we heard noisy birds squawking in the tree above us and looked up to find a tree full of parrots!
Now I mentioned that I knew nothing about San Francisco before getting there, but if you’d told me that there were parrots flying around the city, I wouldn’t have believed you. Don’t parrots live in tropical areas?? What do these guys do in the Winter? Fly South? I’ve never seen a parrot in the wild in all of my travels and I certainly wasn’t expecting to see one in the middle of a big city like San Francisco! I’m still flabbergasted about it. And amused. Very amused. I could have watched these guys for hours. But this guy wanted to see Lombard St:
The top of Lombard St is near the water so we walked closer to see what we could see. We could see Alcatraz off in the distance. It was pretty hazy so my picture is pretty weak, but here it is anyway:
It’s not at all like I pictured it. I thought it’d be all dark and foreboding.
Next we headed for the Golden Gate bridge.
It was exactly how I’d pictured it.
Oh yeah, I did buy something that day – a new bandana/hair wrap – you can see it in that photo. It’s yellow. Steve picked it out. I don’t usually buy yellow things but I happened to be wearing a yellowish sweater and so he thought it worked – and it does!
I’d been complaining for miles, cities, and states about how dirty Amelia was and how we should take her to a car wash. Finally we did! I hadn’t been through a car wash since I was a kid – it was kinda fun!
We all breathed a sigh of relief after that – me and Amelia because Amelia was clean, Steve because he wouldn’t have to listen to me complain about it for at least a few more states.
Next we headed into the forest and Amelia’s front end got covered in bug guts all over again. We wanted to see the giant redwoods at the Muir Woods National Monument. We drove the winding pretty drive up into the hills and watched the sun set over the city.
Then we went to several parks and discovered them to be full or walk-in sites only. Our luck with campgrounds was bound to run dry eventually! We did find one campground where we could park for the night in the parking lot but we’d have to be out first thing in the morning. When we have a choice of staying up late and getting to sleep in, or going to bed early and getting up early, we always choose staying up late. So we decided to drive for another couple hours inland towards the small town where we were going to meet up with some more kindred spirits. We knew we could see the redwoods further up the coast later on.
We ended up spending the night in Sacramento at this nice little rv park in the wilderness beside a river (after first trying another rv park that was full!). It was nearing midnight when we finally settled in, but we got a site tucked away from the big rvs, right on the water, so we were pleased. More so in the morning when we could actually see our surroundings. The park was quiet, with not many people, so the person at the office let us stay as long as we wanted. And we did, not leaving until the afternoon after we had relaxed and got caught up on internet-y things.
Our next destination was Amador county, a county of quaint old mining towns and an up-and-coming wine district.