While looking for photos for another blog post, I stumbled upon a few photos that I had forgotten about. They were taken from Jeff’s back porch in Siskyou County, California, the morning that I drove home after we visited Lassen National Park in July. I was sad about having to head home, and we sat outside for a little while drinking coffee in the morning sun before I had to get on the road. This guy has clearly been through some hard times, judging by that tear in his ear, but he was such a treat to see! My first wild Jackrabbit photos!
Sadly, this cold is still wiping me out. I was hoping to be feeling better by now, and I was, but my cold took a turn for the worse again with more sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. Not to mention all the pretty colors I’ve been coughing up. Fun!
I did go for on a short hike a couple days ago, with beautiful views of Mount Shasta. The 3 miles of the Spring Hill Trail, with only a 650 foot elevation gain, wore me out. It was good to be out on a beautiful, warm day and get some fresh air though! The temperature was in the mid-70s, in November!
Besides the hike, I’ve been laying low and sleeping quite a bit, and thankfully, I have the ability to do that. I want to be on the mend soon though!
So it happened. Only not specifically to me. After 13,000 miles on the road with no incidents, I am sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.
Only it isn’t my car; I am waiting with my friend and a blown out tire.
Into every life, I guess a few metal brackets that you don’t see lying in the road must fall.
I have wanted to go to Bodie State Historic Park for such a long time. It is in mid-eastern California, northeast of Yosemite National Park. It is pretty remote, and the road closes in winter, so it has been a long time coming. But, finally, I got to go!!!
Here’s a sneak peak, as a nod to my mom, who celebrated her birthday last week. She loves historic toilets!
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!
We did some window shopping and Lelani tried on some clothes at a cute little boutique.
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!
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.
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!
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.
After we left the Mission San Diego de Alcala we headed downtown to Old Town San Diego, located adjacent to Presidio Hill, underneath the bluff. For the first several decades, residents preferred to live within the Presidio walls or just outside, for protection from other Europeans or hostile Native Americans. By 1820, the threats had decreased, and San Diego residents were choosing to live at the base of the bluff in what is now Old Town San Diego.
The problem with the site of Old Town San Diego was that its location was several miles from navigable water, so supplies had to be brought overland from Point Loma several miles away. In the 1860s, residents began abandoning Old Town in favor of New Town (where the current downtown is now) because of its proximity to shipping ports.
We were hungry when we arrived after touring the mission, so we found a Latin American restaurant called Berta’s which offered cuisine from several Latin American countries. Renée had a wonderful Mango Avocado salad, a Chilean empanada and a glass of sangria, and I had Chilean Pastel de Choclo with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The sun was shining and it was warm – we enjoyed just sitting outside and having our meal.
After lunch, we walked across the street to the San Diego State Historic Park – a collection of historic buildings built between 1820 and 1872, when New Town took over in dominance. The park contains five original adobes, a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and a stable, among dozens of other buildings. Some are reconstructions. We enjoyed wandering around in a rock shop that was originally the Assayer’s Office, and toured some of the different displays in one of the adobe homes and other buildings. We even sat on a wooden donkey! The real donkeys didn’t want to come over and talk to us… The entire park is free to visitors, and there are living history demonstrations too.
Nearby, there are other historic sites that are not part of the San Diego State Historic Park too. I could have spent a couple of days just wandering around Old Town San Diego, checking it all out. I wish I had more time! It is nice that Renée has a similar appreciation for historic sites, so I didn’t feel like I needed to rush. I would have loved to have seen the Whaley House Museum that is nearby. I will certainly have to return…
Renée had to be back at the hotel before 2:30 that afternoon for a meeting for her conference, so we left Old Town San Diego and headed back to the resort. I took the opportunity to get in some pool time. Angela and Allysa had to head out to the airport to fly home, while I was staying one more day. I enjoyed some time just laying by the pool with my book and my travel journal. And then I spent some time walking along the beach and collecting some shells.
That evening Renée and I went out to dinner at the Pacific Beach Fish Shop with a coworker of hers (my former coworker) who had also flown in for the conference. We had lobster lumpia, fish tacos, and beer. I swear I would be there all the time if I lived there… It was all so delicious!
Some posts are difficult to write. A few make the tears come to my eyes as the words come to my fingers. But in every dark day, there are moments of joy, and I choose to hang on to those.
My father and I visited the Santa Monica Pier in August. It was the first time that I had ever been. We had been down in California visiting my Uncle Richard, and one evening, Richard declared that I wasn’t having enough fun on the trip. He in no uncertain terms told us that we should do some sightseeing that evening – I guess when you are the older brother, you get to make demands like that, even when your younger brother is old enough to have grandchildren.
Richard sent us on our way with vague instructions about a burger joint on the Santa Monica Pier that had the best burgers in the area. We will never know if we found the right one, but we each had a fabulous burger at PierBurger, with a homemade beef patty, fries and delicious iced tea. My dad had a yummy chocolate ice cream cone as a dessert treat.
After dinner, we strolled along the pier, seeing the sights. Carnival rides, neon lights, souvenir shops, and tons of people, both tourists and locals. We were lucky enough to be there on a beautiful night when there was a concert, and we were able to stop and listen to the music for a little while. I purchased a few Route 66 postcards for my collection. We watched a beautiful sunset, and shook off the stress of the last several days.
The rest of the trip was more somber. My uncle’s cancer had progressed significantly. We interacted with a seemingly endless parade of doctors, nurses, social workers, and home health care coordinators. We checked off the many details of hospice, home health care, home medical equipment and power of attorney. There were still some opportunities to talk quietly, and we treasured those. We collapsed into bed each evening, spent.
My uncle died a week after I flew home, with other family members by his side. I will always be grateful that I had the chance to visit and say my goodbyes, and hopefully make things a little easier for him at the end. And I will always fondly remember that evening I spent with my dad at the Pier – the most simple of respites when it was desperately needed. Rest in Peace Richard – you are missed.