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4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: de Young Museum

Day 4, Thursday, March 29, 2018

After our lunch at The Hook, we headed back over to Golden Gate Park to go to the de Young Museum and met up with Lelani’s nephew Niko, who had passes that we could use!

outside of the de Young Museum

The de Young had a special exhibit on the Precisionist Movement; I hadn’t heard of it but it had a lot of art with Industrial Revolution themes.  It was interesting, and not an art movement I had ever heard of before.  They also had some everyday items on display; a car, and household items that were designed in similar styling.  I don’t know if the term Precisionist is used to describe those items – mid-century modern is more the term I have used.

I also checked out the Maori portraits painted by Gottfried Lindhauer.  They were on loan from a private collection and are stunning, but no photos were allowed inside the exhibit.  He painted some from photographs and others sat for him.  His style captures the historic Maori traditions alongside Western culture in his paintings.  At the time many Maori wore Western style clothing along with the traditional tattoos and facial ornamentation…  The pics below were taken from Wikipedia.

We also did something I have never done – we went up to the top of the tower of the de Young Museum.  The view from there is fantastic!  It was so awesome to see the whole city!

the view from the de Young tower

 

Me in the de Young tower

After the museum, we were going to hit traffic at 5 pm so we decided to make a stop at the Biergarten to wait out the rush hour.  I am not a big fan of German style beers, so I had a glass of Gruner Veltliner and a pretzel snack.  The place was packed!

Our beers and wine at Biergarten

We headed back to the apartment for a little while to relax and get ready, then drove over the bridge to Sausalito to go to Bar Bocce.  The view was amazing; it was right on the water and you could sit out by the beach while they were getting your table ready.  We split everything, and had a fabulous meal of meatballs, calamari with quinoa, and two pizzas.  I had a couple glasses of Chenin Blanc.  It was already dark when we got there, but it would have been really awesome to see the sunset there!

Bar Bocce Pizza

What a great day!

 

 

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4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: San Francisco Japanese Garden

Day 4, Thursday, March 29, 2018

On Thursday morning, we split up in the morning because Laura and Brenna wanted to try to get Alcatraz walkup tickets.  Lelani dropped them off at the Pier and came back to grab me; lucky for them they did manage to get walkup tickets and had a great time at Alcatraz!

Lelani and I went to Golden Gate Park, and while Lelani took Shaka on a walk, I went to the Japanese Garden.  I had been wanting to go to there for years, and I finally got the chance!  The San Francisco Japanese Garden is the oldest public Japanese Garden in the United States; it was originally created as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition.  The original garden was about an acre but has been expanded over time to about 5 acres.

It really is a beautiful garden.  I wandered around and looked at all the little ponds and water features, the pagodas, and the manicured shrubs.  They have a zen garden too.

There were cherry blossoms on the ornamental cherry trees that were beautiful, and the Koi in the ponds were relaxing to watch, as they swam over to see if you would feed them.  If you have a chance to go, it is absolutely worth the time.  It is a gorgeous garden!

After the Japanese Garden, we headed over to the waterfront to pick up Laura and Brenna, and then went to The Hook for fish and chips.  It was delicious – and the sun was getting hot!

Lelani wanted to try on some of the clothes we had seen the day before in Haight-Ashbury so we went back over there and found the shop again – Ambiance.  I ended up finding two cute cold-shouldered tops and was so happy with my purchases!

My new Ambiance top

What a fun day and it was only half over!

Circus Trip 2018: A Break

I’m in Michigan visiting my extended family.  Yesterday was my cousin’s wedding, so I got the chance to see quite a few of my aunts, uncles and cousins.  It is so nice to catch up and hear the old stories!

Today we had a lunch with the family who could make it, and ended up with a reunion of 19 of us at the Polish restaurant in town.  Good food and great conversation!

Tomorrow I’m off to visit my mom’s side of the family on the other side of Michigan.  I will be there for a few days, and then I will be getting back on the road.

It has been a nice respite, with good food, a real bed, and lots of hugs from the family.  I am blessed to have such a good family.

The photo is me in the dress I wore to the wedding.

I hope you are all having a great weekend!

 

Circus Road Trip 2018: Two Months In

 

Yesterday marked two months of being on the road.  I was having too much fun to write though!  I spent the last few days at a friend’s house just outside of Washington, D.C., and it was amazing!

Yesterday morning I went trail riding with a horse show friend from my childhood in Silver Spring, Maryland.  In the evening I had cocktails in historic downtown Alexandria, Virginia.

Today I visited the Antietam National Battlefield on the 156th anniversary of the battle.   Antietam has the distinction of having the single highest day of casualties for the United States in any battle; close to 23,000 men were killed, wounded or missing in one day of fighting, and approximately 4,000 men died.

Unfortunately, it was raining, and then pouring today, so it wasn’t a great day to see the battlefield.  So, I am zero for two on Antietam, since the last time I was there, there was a little bit of snow and the visitor’s center and the battlefield gates were closed.  I did drive the auto-route and walked a little bit, but it was brutally wet.

I am on my way to Michigan for a family wedding.  Afterwards, I will begin the trek back west.  I do need to cut out the Southeast, due to time constraints, and the hurricane aftermath, and the fact that I have traveled a lot more slowly than I thought I would.  We will see where the return trip takes me.  It has been a great trip so far!

Me relaxing in Alexandria

 

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: The Presidio & Coit Tower

Day 3, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

After we went to the Sutro Baths, we still had plenty left on the agenda.  We saw the Legion of Honor Museum when we drove by it, and one day I want to visit – but that will have to be a different trip.

We were ready for lunch, so we went over to the Magnolia Gastropub in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.  Oh wow, this place was good.  I had the Bombay Bubbles IPA (YUM!) and the Fried Chicken sandwich with a salad. It was soooo delicious!

My beer at Magnolia

 

My fried chicken sandwich

We did some window shopping and Lelani tried on some clothes at a cute little boutique.

I found a dinosaur!

After that we went to the Presidio at Fort Point. Fort Point was built between 1853 and 1861 to protect the San Francisco Bay at the height of the gold rush.  It was designed in the Army’s Third System style, a style adopted in the 1820s, and was the only Fort west of the Mississippi River to be built in this style.  It was in use as an active fort up through World War II, although it never fired a shot at an enemy.

When the Golden Gate Bridge was being constructed in the 1930s, there was discussion of tearing down the now obsolete fort, but fortunately the bridge’s Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss saw the historical significance of the fort and designed an arch that would allow the bridge to be built over the existing fort structure.  I am so glad it could be saved.  Unfortunately the fort is currently only open Fridays through Sundays, so we weren’t able to go inside.  The interior is certainly on my list of places to see!

We walked along the water and climbed the steps down and up from the parking area – that was quite a workout!  We considered walking across the bridge, and I definitely want to do it sometime, but we were worried that all the traffic and the people might be too much and too dangerous for a puppy.  Next time – another thing for my bucket list!

We headed to another area of the Presidio for a late afternoon glass of wine at Sessions restaurant.  I had their happy hour white (twice…); the Ressó 2017 Garnacha Blanc – it was delicious!  I also had two oysters on the half shell, because at happy hour prices of $1.50 each, who wouldn’t?!!  Well, someone who doesn’t like raw oysters, but…  They were amazing!

My wine at Sessions

We sat at their outdoor seating, and it was so nice to just sit outside on a glorious, sunny, hot, March San Francisco day.  Those adjectives don’t normally go with San Francisco, and certainly not in March, so we really soaked it in!  And the folks at Sessions allow dogs in their outdoor seating, you just have to take the dog in through the side door on the patio, so we could linger for a while.  Our server even brought Shaka dog biscuits and a bowl of water!

Our last sightseeing stop of the day was up at Coit Tower.  I had been twice before and loved it each time, and so had Lelani, but the girls had never been.  It was too late in the day to go up to the top (if you get the chance to you should), but we had enough time to do a circuit of the bottom part of the tower.  That’s where (most of) the murals are.

Coit Tower

The murals…  Coit Tower’s murals were painted in 1934 as a part of a Public Works of Art Project, the first of the New Deal employment projects for artists during the Great Depression.  They were painted in the Social Realism style, and depict commerce and industry subjects.  Interestingly, I learned while fact-checking for this blog post, that there are more murals on the second floor that are largely closed to the public.  However, you can see these murals, which depict recreation, if you take a tour (there are some free and some paid tours available).  How did I never know this?!  Yet another reason to visit Coit Tower!

A mural wine shop!

 

Coit Tower Industry

We headed back to our AirBnB for a bit of relaxing before we walked up the street to Zen Sushi for dinner.  This tiny, cramped restaurant had some excellent sushi!  It was a great end to a really good day.

 

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: Sutro Baths

Day 3, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Despite being up so late the night before, we got up at about 8 am the next day, and were all ready and out about 9 am.  I guess that’s the thing about getting old – there is no sleeping in!

We headed down to the Presidio, and although it took a bit of wandering, we found the Sutro Baths, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  I got my passport stamps at the Visitor’s Center and we headed down to check out the site.

Sutro Baths below

The Sutro Baths were built in the late 1800s along the cliffs of the Land’s End area of San Francisco, intended to be a European style bath house for the residents of San Francisco.  They were huge, 500 by 255 feet, with 6 saltwater pools and one freshwater pool, 7 slides, 30 swinging rings and a spring diving board.

At high tide, water would flow directly into the pool from the ocean, and at low tide, pumps would fill the water into the baths.

The complex also had a 2700 seat amphitheater and 517 private dressing rooms.  Ultimately, the high cost of operation drove the baths out of business, and it was converted into an ice skating rink, which closed in 1964.  In 1966, as it was being demolished for make way for a high rise apartment complex, it was destroyed by an arson fire.  It is unclear why the apartments weren’t built after that, but it has been a ruin ever since.

Rocks at the Sutro Baths

The cave near the baths

The site also has a path that goes above the ruins, leading to an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was so sunny and warm for March – the view was spectacular!

The Sutro Baths are ruins are free and open to the public.  It was so pretty there, being right on the ocean wandering among the ruins!

Circus Trip 2018: Boston

I had been wanting to see Boston. A lot. But I was so nervous about driving in the big city and I have heard it is a nightmare! But I wanted to see Boston!

Since today was Sunday, I figured I might have a chance. I got up early, I put my game face on and I did it. The first parking garage I had the GPS set for was full because there was some sort of running race. I saw lots of runners with numbers but thankfully didn’t run into any of the closed streets.

After circling the block twice I got my bearings better and found a better parking garage for my Boston Common destination. Winning at life!!

I did a tour of the Freedom Trail all day. In the morning on one of the guided walking tours, and in the afternoon with my new friend Clara, whom I met on the guided tour. I had so much fun!!

We ate lobster rolls for lunch, wandered to all the sites, climbed to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument, saw Faneuil Hall, toured Paul Revere’s house, toured the USS Constitution, and finished off the day with amazing cannoli, tiramisu and cheesecake from Mike’s Pastries.

I had to drive back to camp in the dark, but that meant that the traffic wasn’t bad at all! What an amazing day!!