Friday, July 02, 2004

Details III

What, even my vacation summaries are turning into trilogies!?!?

Anyway. After we left Annie's house, we drove south to San Francisco. Oakland, actually. We stayed with one of Jay's meteorology contacts at his fabulous house (complete with a deck view of the downtown SF and the Bay). Thanks, John!

The first day in town, we just drove across the Bay Bridge and walked around Union Square and China Town, enjoying the sunshine and people-watching. Jay made stir-fry and we washed it down with one of John's numerous bottles of wine. (John does weather forecast consulting for several wineries, and receives multiple cases of wine each season.) After that, we headed into the neighborhood's "main street" to walk around, grab coffee (for me) and fruit smoothie (for Jay), and see the movie Super Size Me. Gah. Grossness. Granted, the movie is definitely biased and with only one person doing the experiment, it's impossible to call it scientific. Nonetheless, I don't think I could ever set foot in a McDonald's or any other fast food chain after seeing the film.

Day two in the Bay Area, we drove back into town to go to the Exploratorium. That's one of the most jam-packed science centers I have been to, and I've been to my fair share. They actually make exhibits in-house to be sent to other science centers, so some of the things looked familiar. After watching the movie, I noticed how many people were choosing the less-healthy options at the snack bar. (Jay and I packed our own lunches.) After 4 hours, even we were burnt out on the place, and we headed out to be touristy and get pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Drove not-so-aimlessly until we finally stumbled upon Baker Beach. Definitely could tell we were in San Francisco... Upon walking down to the beach we saw kids, tourists, a few surfers/swimmers. A little further on we ran into a trio of fishermen casting into the surf. Continuing down to the far end where the big rocks close to the Bridge were, where we wanted to take pictures, we ran into the nudist section. There must have been about a dozen naked people sunbathing, most of them men, several of them quite large. And for all you pervs, I mean that they were overweight. I tried not to notice the rest. Now nudity is all well and good, but it's just startling to glace over and see, as Jay so eloquently puts it, a "sac shot". Pink and shiny. Definitely the salon-going type, because it was waxed cleaner than... nevermind. This is going straight to the gutter. (Where my mind usually resides, of course.)

John treated the two of us to dinner at à côte, a trendy little Pyrenees tapas-style restaurant. Great food, dim-lighting. Would have almost felt guilty about letting him pay, except the next morning he had a 3 hour consulting session with some lawyers, and he makes $275/hour doing that stuff, so...

Next day we went back across the Bridge while John was fleecing the lawyers and walked from the Ferry Building down to Fisherman's Wharf. I happen to think Fisherman's wharf is entertaining, just for the people-watching possibilities, if not for the kitsch-value. Jay, evidently, didn't feel the same and was bitchy about the whole enterprise. And frankly, the boy has major sulking talents. He's lucky I didn't feed him to the sea lions. We also slipped into the Ferry Building and bought some more fresh fruit at the Organic Farmer's Market. I miss California produce already. Sigh.

We left the Bay Area that afternoon and drove up to Tahoe in horrendous stop-and-go traffic that didn't let up until we were on rte 50. I-80 sucks until you get east of Salt Lake City. I've always suspected it, and now I know for sure. I've driven most of it, so I feel like I can say that with authority. We did manage to find a nice campsite, at the Fallen Leaf Campground near Emerald Bay, despite getting in about 2 hours later than we expected.

Had a nice, lazy morning. Well, I did. Jay got up early and went for a 5 mile run by the Fallen Leaf lake. But he is clearly a masochist, so what can I say? Together we went for a much nicer, more civilized hike up to Eagle Lake. Tahoe's a beautiful area, but there are so many freaking PEOPLE there, I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed a longer stay.

But then again, anything would have been better than the miserable drive across Nevada. I-80 sucks. Wait, I said that already. But it's true. I-80 really really really sucks. It was hot and windy and my allergies were kaing my eyes tear up constantly. We were shooting for the Roby Mountains, but decided around Winnemucca that we would get in too late to set up camp and that my allergies weren't going to allow it to be a happy experience for me.

So we found a nice little motel in Elko, Nevada and crashed for the night. We enjoyed the novelty of cable TV and I enjoyed the respite granted by air-conditioning. Jay tracked down real* beer and some Benedryl, and I think we were a lot happier than we would have been if we'd pushed the camping issue.

*real beer, as in, not the 3.2% stuff we can get here in Utah.

Morning is a bit of a blur, but it involved bad hotel coffee, several bananas, and the first half of Sleepless in Seattle, before we packed everything up and drove off into the sunrise. Jay let me sleep through most of the drive. (So, okay, he's good for something besides sulking.) I didn't wake up until the stench of the Great Salt Lake hit my nostrils.

And that brings us back up to date, I think.

It was a wonderful trip, and if I had the chance to do it all again, I'd jump on it. Honestly, probably the best vacation either of us has had in a long time, and except for gas prices, was undoubtedly one of the cheapest.

One other positive result: I see gas for $1.95/gal here and I go "Sweet, under $2!" instead of "ohmigawd, what happened to $1.59/gal? Sigh."

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