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California – Day 4

Day 4 started with a gorgeous sunrise.

Because it was Sunday, I had a reprieve from my 80 Day Obsession workout regimen.

Y’all, as much as I loved the treadmill thing and being able to put in miles away from the hot/cold weather, it was incredibly boring.

Don’t tell me that you don’t do this too, because you know that you do.

I listened to one of my favorite podcasts to help me pass the time.

Because I’d gotten up so early, I had time to put in some decent miles . . .

Go me!  Whoop whoop!

We had big plans for the day, so I got ready as quickly back at the apartment, and we headed out.

First on the agenda was a fairly short drive to Vallejo, which is a little north of San Francisco.

The kids told me that this is where parts of the series, 13 Reasons Why, was filmed.  Isn’t that cool?!

As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw an interesting sight . . .

One of those people is not like the other.  Here’s another clue . . .

Apparently, pirates have to pay to park in Vallejo, just like landlubbers.

What can I say, California’s got it all, people.

We crossed the street to buy tickets for this . . .

Yep.  We were getting ready to take the ferry!

That might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but for this southern gal who lives in Podunk, Florida, it was.

The Mr. bought all four of our tickets (return passage too).  We saw the ferry pulling up as we got in line.

I don’t know why, but I’d imagined something completely different.  I certainly didn’t picture a ferry with closed in seating, but that’s what we got, which was actually good since it was a little chilly.

We really wanted window seats, but they were already taken up by people who obviously had more knowledge than we did about such things.

Check out this group of ladies.  They were prepared for the hour we were about to spend crossing over to San Francisco.

Let’s talk about the ferry for a minute.  The seats reminded me of what you’d find on an airplane.  They had pull-down tables, and there was a snack bar in the back.  There was even a bathroom with HOT water available.

You could get up and down, walk around, etc., at your leisure.  There were television screens that projected safety tips.  It was very spacious and actually very comfortable.

I could get used to traveling like this!

I had taken my fancy camera with zoom lens with me and stood up to grab some photos as we neared our destination.

There’s a reflection because I didn’t realize that I could have gone to the top of the ferry and stepped outside.  I learned that lesson later in the day when we were on our way back.

Even though the morning was overcast (boy how it changed from Vallejo), the Golden Gate Bridge was more visible than when we’d visited it two days prior.

I snapped some other photos of the city as we approached . . .

I thought I’d spied a lighthouse when I took the next picture.  We later learned that it was some other building (I’ve forgotten the name of it now).

This was the port as we pulled in . . .

The hour on the ferry flew by – there was so much to look at.  Here’s what we saw when we stepped off . . .

Isn’t that pretty?

There was a ferry building with lots of shops – kind of like an indoor market.  I should have taken a few pictures of the inside.  Here’s one I grabbed . . .

The stores were unique.  Some, like the one above, sold fresh produce.  Others sold ice cream or local honey (the Mr. bought a jar later that afternoon).

We walked around a bit before heading out.  Before we left, though, I spied this . . .

Oh hello there, my little friends.

I decided to buy one – duh – and I guess I must have sounded either adorable (ha!) or pathetic (most likely) because the sweet girl helping me put an extra (i.e., free) doughnut in my bag!  Yum!  They (salted caramel and matcha) were delicious, let me tell you (I didn’t eat them in one day either!)!

The piers were all numbered; we were looking for Pier 39, which is a tourist attraction.

We walked at least a mile and a half, but it wasn’t bad.  The sidewalks were very wide, and I saw a LOT of joggers.  I was a little jealous.

The temperature was perfect, though, and we enjoyed seeing this part of San Francisco.

Pier 39 was easy to find and well-marked with flags.

Check out this mural . . .

As we entered the Pier, here’s what we saw . . .

It reminded me of what you see when you arrive at Universal Studios in Orlando.  There were restaurants and shops on both sides.  The further back you went, the closer to the water you got.

We were all hungry, so we stopped for lunch first.

The restaurant had large windows with a view of the marina.

There were a couple of vegan options on the menu.

I went with the Summer of Love Burger, minus the aioli, which was a little different but tasty.  I did not eat the bun – no need for those extra calories given the doughnut I’d eaten already!

We ate until we were full and headed out to shop.

N wanted to look in this store since she’s left-handed.

The Mr. and I picked up a couple of souvenirs at one of the shops, but honestly, we really didn’t buy much.

Then, we made our way to the water.  That’s where the fun was really happening.

First of all, the weather had cleared up; the sun came out, and it was absolutely glorious.  It was windy too, as evidenced by my hair.

We took some photos with Alcatraz in the background.

I’d really, really wanted to see Alcatraz, but by the time we looked into getting tickets, they were sold out!  We found out that you have to purchase these 90 days in advance.  Lesson learned.

I took quite a few pictures of it though – the zoom lens was so handy!

The Golden Gate Bridge was easy to spot.

It was the perfect day for sailing.

There were lots of boat tours going on . . .

I’m not sure what the ship in the next photo was being used for – probably transport.  The Mr. liked that I captured the bird in the picture.

The real attraction, though was the sea lions.

You should have seen the crowds of people lined up to watch them.

They were, quite honestly, some of the most adorable animals I’ve ever seen.

There was definitely a pecking order too.  This guy was holding court.

He had a LOT to say.

This one must have been the Grand Poomba.

He gave everyone the What for . . .

. . . before he knocked them all into the water . . .

Here’s a video I recorded . . .

After we got our fill of sea lions, we headed out.  Our legs were tired, so the Mr. found a taxi.  The driver was super sweet and agreed to drive us to Lombard Street, which is probably the most famous road in San Francisco.

To get there was a challenge.  Boy was I grateful for our driver’s knowledge.  Some of the roads were one-way.  ALL of them were hilly . . . as in you’ve-gotta-get-new-brakes-at-least-once-a-year kind of hilly.

He was able to navigate to the top of Lombard, which is one way (down).

Here was the view from the top – absolutely stunning.

Here’s a video as our driver made his way S-L-O-W-L-Y down the road.

Do you remember seeing this street in movies?

There are actually residential buildings on both sides, and security is provided each day because there are so many tourists who go down this road.

What surprised me was how short it was.

I also didn’t expect it to be so pretty.  The landscaping was top notch.

Here’s the view from the bottom . . .

Of course the Mr. and I took a selfie (isn’t he a trooper?).

I don’t know how people drive in San Francisco.  I’d be so stressed out every time!  You should have seen the parking too – weird angles and itsy bitsy spots.

No thank you!

Our driver took us back to our ferry pier where we hung out until our ferry came back for us.

We did a little more shopping, and I bought one more doughnut for the road.

Ahem.

The Mr. and I took a selfie with the Bay Bridge in the background.

Do you remember the earthquake that hit the Bay area in 1989?  The Bay Bridge had a section that got messed up.  I googled it because I thought I remembered it being damaged.

After we boarded the ferry, I made myself comfortable.  We got window seats this time.  Yay!

We made one stop to another pier, where I spotted these gentlemen entertaining the crowd . . .

I snapped a photo of that pier as well.  I think it might have been Pier 39.  I’m not sure.

Then the ferry was headed back to Vallejo,  I visited the top deck, stepping outside for better pictures.

This is a close up of Alcatraz . . .

I took a few pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge – so pretty against the fading sun.

I took a final picture of the San Francisco skyline . . .

That evening, we ate at Rock & Brews for dinner.  It was a really neat place, and the food was delicious!

After watching some TV and playing with Gus, we headed to bed.  We had one more day of adventuring ahead of us, and we wanted to be rested.

California – Day 2

Day 2 of our California vacation started with an early-morning workout and a trek on the treadmill.  I never tired of the view . . . talk about motivating!

When I returned to the apartment, everyone was still asleep, which gave me time to shower and dress without hogging the bathroom.

When N woke up and saw what I was wearing (a cute tank top and blue jeans with holes), she strongly urged me to change, explaining that I would be very cold when we got to our destination.

Y’all, can I just be real here?  I like to dress up when we are out and about.  Call me high maintenance.  Whatever.

With that said, Rooster’s girl is super smart, and I trust her judgment.  So, I changed into a long-sleeve shirt and non-holey pants.  I did leave on my Vionic flip flops.  Ha!

Even with the wardrobe change, it wasn’t long before we were out the door for another adventure.  I took my knitting along for the ride.

Our destination?

Take a look at the video below . . .

It was the Golden Gate Bridge!!!!

Y’all, I was so excited!!

The neat thing is that you’ll just be driving along, round the curve, and BAM, it’s just there.

It is so gorgeous; the color specifically chosen to stand out against the landscape (I read this on a billboard you’ll see a photo of in a bit.

You can hear, in the video above, the kids explaining that people actually walk the bridge.  I’d read on a website not to do that, but I think if I ever go back, I wouldn’t mind.  Wouldn’t that make for some great photos – looking up at the architecture?

Rooster found a free place to park, kind of amazing given the high price of everything in California, and as soon as he opened his car door, I was EXTREMELY glad that I’d heeded N’s advice.

The wind was blowing fiercely, which you’ll also notice with my messy hair in the pictures that follow.

It was also f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g.

I had not expected this.  I mean, it was the middle of June . . . in North America.  It had been in the high 70’s the day before.  If I had worn the sundress from the day before, I would have been done for.

We carefully made out way down the street, under a short tunnel, and to the buildings that surround the base of the bridge.

First, a pit stop at the restroom where the line to the ladies area was long.

The area felt a little dirty and very touristy, but hey, the bridge is a landmark that begs the adoration of the masses.

We’d packed leftovers from the day before to eat as a picnic lunch.  Our original intent had been to visit Crissy Field, another popular tourist spot; however, the weather was foggy, overcast, and cold, so we didn’t.  Instead, we headed toward the Roundhouse Cafe.

It reminded me of something you’d see in one of the lands of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  It was round and had tall windows with a bar and stools running around it.  There were no “tables” to speak of.  There was also a place to order food, which we didn’t need.

We set ourselves up and ate while enjoying the view.

Y’all, I was so giddy.  I couldn’t believe that I was sitting within throwing distance of the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE.

Isn’t that crazy?

I saw people from all walks of life walking up and then down the steps.  One gal was a runner . . . wearing a sports bra and capris.  Brrrrr!

I saw ladies wearing heels (heck to the no) and families with young children.

This place truly was a mecca, of sorts.

After we finished eating, we headed out and made our way down to a more scenic area  near the water where we could grab some pictures.

Of course, there was the selfie . . .

And then the selfie with the Mr.

After taking a group selfie, it was time for pictures with the Mr., which Rooster snapped for us.

I took a few pictures of the kids too.  They’re seriously precious, let me tell you.

It was so foggy that I couldn’t see too far out over the water.  Alcatraz was barely visible, but honestly, I wasn’t sure what to look for, so there was that.

I did manage to capture some pretty neat photos of the bridge, enshrouded by clouds.

Doesn’t this look like something you’d see in a movie?

The view was awe-inspiring.  It’s just amazing how much knowledge God has imparted to mankind to build such incredible structures like this bridge.

Before leaving, I wanted another photo.  I think this one will find its way into a frame.

The cold got to us, so we carefully made our way up the steep trail and visited the shop that sits at the base of the bridge.

We made a couple of small purchases.  My favorite was this puzzle, which I put together when we got home.

Look how tiny the pieces are!

I’m in the process of matting it.  I think I’ll mount it to a frame and place it alongside a picture of us as a way to remember that fun adventure.

We headed back “home” after our shopping excursion.

Gus was happy to see us.  I puppy sat while the kids and the Mr. headed to their regular gym to work out.

We took it easy until dinner time, when we headed out to Blaze Pizza, which was having its grand opening down the street from the kids’ apartment.  They were offering each patron a free small pizza.  We couldn’t turn that down!

The line was out the door, but the restaurant had its act together; all employees were on deck and served with a smile.

There was a mishap with my pizza, though.  It made it all the way through the line, but someone dropped it while placing it into the oven.  They had to start from scratch, and it took forever.  Ugh.  I tried to be understanding.  The pizza was worth it!  I love that this place has vegan options!

That pretty much took care of our day, with the exception of the guys watching some baseball and me knitting on the couch until bedtime.  Driving around California is exhausting; it takes a longggggggg time to get places because of the traffic.  I’m not complaining, mind you, because all I had to do was ride.  We were pacing ourselves because we still had several days left in our trip.

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