Thursday, February 26, 2015

Running and SF

Kip and I did a fun run last weekend, south to Cupertino to see some park trails and pedestrian overpasses and a House of Bagels I hadn't been to yet.

We had one accidental minor detour, happily it led us here:

California quail and a California Kip:

Kip's quest to walk over this beautiful bridge was finally complete:

It's a nice one!

The next day we took John to San Francisco for a set of belated birthday treats, including weekend raclette at the Ferry Building Marketplace, IRN BRU from the Scottish store, and a chance encounter with HIS street.  Another vote in favor of "leaning against it" as the correct pose when finding your name on a sign pole:

Don't end, John!

An excellent "feet":

We stopped in at the cable car museum just to see what was there - loved it!  Free entry to see the giant wheels spinning the cables, the actual cables that were at that moment moving cable cars around the streets.  Really neat to view in person, plus lots of great info and history about the SF cable cars.  Highly recommend it as a quick stop for anyone visiting the city:

The highlight of our afternoon was a Beach Blanket Babylon show - too hilarious!  Musical, talented, hysterically funny, amazing costumes.  Thank you to Kelly for suggesting it, an A+ recommendation.  Plus a quick stop at Rogue Ales around the corner for a drink (thank you Ryan!):

We're greatly enjoying our winter in California  :)

Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge

We weren't quite ready to head home on Monday - more to see along the way!  It was just a slight detour to the cute town of Tiburon where we caught a ferry over to Angel Island.  There's a fabulous trail that winds around and climbs to the top.  We were ready for a nice hike:

Looking back over at Tiburon:

Taking in the views, with San Francisco in the distance:

Admiring the straight streets of San Francisco that were apparently built without considering the steep hills in the way:

Beautiful little hummingbird:

Surprisingly well-executed "timer" shot (no cropping needed, even):

Looking over toward our next destination:

Only Kip had been on the bridge on foot, so the rest of us were interested in following his footsteps, as it were.  The fog was rolling in from the Pacific, but it was still sunny on the Bay side, quite an interesting phenomenon:

Kip demonstrating where he slept during his "Around the Bay" loop run last winter (waiting until they would let him run across, as apparently you can't walk across the bridge overnight, although you can bike across, and they would have given him a ride in the cart, but he declined):

A bit of a wind tunnel effect right next to the hills:

Mists over the tower:

Hard to see, but there was a shadow effect in the fog, creating a line all the way to the top of the photo:

It was so great having you visit us, Mom!  We had a wonderful time  :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Point Reyes National Seashore

Mom chose an excellent destination for a weekend trip - Point Reyes National Seashore, not far north of San Francisco.  Kip had a long weekend and happily was able to join us.

Heading north in the sunshine:

We started out on the Earthquake Trail next to the visitor center, but I neglected to get a photo of the fence (or replica of the fence) that became offset by 16-something feet during the earthquake of 1906.

Next up - a hike to the top of Mount Wittenberg.  A super nice hike but no views at the top.  Except of us in the trees:

And a second pose for good measure (that's what you get when there's no scenery to be had):

Look ma, scenery!  The seashore in the distance as we descended via a different trail:

Lovely day for a walk in the woods:

We were pretty amazed at the number of cars parked by the beach, but the masses were spread out over enough distance that it didn't seem crowded:

Pretty surf, coming in slowly:

An impromptu Valentine's "gift" for Mom:

Very sweet:

Happy V-Day!

The next morning we started at the Patrick Visitor Center where we would pick up a shuttle out to the lighthouse.  We were quite surprised to see elephant seals hanging out on the beach next to the visitor center, very cool to have a close-up look:

This one apparently was ready for a change from sand all the time:

The pretty lighthouse at Point Reyes:

It's possible there is a peregrine falcon somewhere on the rocks in the background, but I think John was more concerned about getting a decent picture of us:

West side seashore along the Pacific Ocean:

The 2nd stop on the shuttle bus route was at the Elephant Seal Overlook, which was fascinating.  We could hear the seals from a ways away as they made the funniest noises (I think that was mostly the young ones).  There were spotting scopes set up so everyone could get a good look:

Masses of elephant seals lying around on the beach, occasionally exhibiting short bursts of energy before resting again.  We spent a while watching them:

One last walk, to Abbotts Lagoon where we saw several kinds of birds.  Including the state bird, a bevy of California quail, awesome!  They were so pretty in the binoculars, although too far away for a good photo.

Here's the marsh instead:

What a wonderful weekend at Point Reyes!

Monday, February 23, 2015

San Francisco with Mom

We took Mom on a tour of San Francisco and enjoyed walking around to see many sights.  It was nice being early at Pier 39 so we could gawk at the sea lions - lots of sea lions, not many people.  We even had a personal "mini ranger talk" with a lady from the upstairs Sea Lion Center.  Very cool.

A lovely clear day with a good view of Alcatraz:

We found something that someone had left:

Entertainment at the Musee Mechanique:

One of the highlights was our cable ride up the steep streets:

The experience was even better than bargained for, because at one point the trolley stopped on a steep uphill and the brakeman looked out and yelled, "We're not gonna make it!" - what??

Turns out a van was jutting out in our lane, the driver was off delivering something, and we had to back down into the previous intersection to wait until the trolley men could find the guy so the van could be moved out of the way.  A cable car going the other direction while we were waiting:

Next up - a walk through the busy streets of Chinatown to the gate on Grant Street:

We popped into the Ferry Building Marketplace for lunch at Frog Hollow (delicious), then took a tram along Embarcadero to the base of Coit Tower.  As we were starting up, a woman coming down told us "God speed" (!) and suggested we stop to smell the flowers along the way.  An excellent suggestion, there were lots of great flowers to admire:

Fun stairs to follow up the hill:

It was worth it for the views, and the day was so clear that we decided to take the elevator all the way to the top of the tower.

Alcatraz and Angel Islands:

For a less-urban experience, we drove over to Land's End and enjoyed watching the surf and the sunset:

To finish the day we stopped at Philz Coffee (most excellent) and then drove up to Twin Peaks to admire the city lights (beautiful!).

And finally, a local Mountain View "attraction" that John recently found:

A nice start to some fun times with Mom!