We are back from our long awaited California trip and it's taken me most of the week to download the 1500 pictures taken, in addition to editing and sorting them all. Brady was only two months old when my youngest brother, Chris, accepted to the University of California Berkeley (known to most as UC-Berkeley or simply Cal). We decided back then that when he graduated four years from then, we would travel out there and then head back to Hawaii. We had only one child and many less responsibilities at that time and that remained the plan for about two years or so into his four year education. After we bought our house and were expecting Izzie, we decided that maybe staying in California for the rest of our trip might be the way to go. We had expected our second child to be older when we went and figured that the children's parks in Southern California would be more fun for them (and less torture for us when you consider the extra six hours it takes to get from California to Hawaii on a plane).
We booked the plane tickets in January and over the following months, booked all the hotels, acquired park tickets, and secured a rental car. After the terrible winter we had, we were more than anxious to get out to (mostly) sunny California. The week leading up to our departure, the temps in all of California were breaking records. San Francisco was in the mid-80s which is unheard of, and Southern California was breaking 100 degrees. There were even wildfires in Carlsbad, which was one of our destinations. We got very lucky that the temperatures stabilized as we arrived and believe it or not, we didn't have a day over 75 degrees at any point, whether we were in NorCal or SoCal. It was 10 degrees warmer in Detroit when we arrived home than any day we experienced in California.
We took a 5:30PM flight out of Detroit, which was to take us to Atlanta, before we headed to San Francisco. That first flight was only two hours and the kids did well. Brady entertained himself and Izzie surprised us by not wanting to stand on the floor and use the seats as a play table, but instead wanted to be in our laps. We arrived in Atlanta around 7:25PM and saw that our flight to SFO was delayed, but didn't know how much. We headed to the gate and saw it was only by 20 minutes, so we went to get some food. We waited 30 minutes for a quick service Mexican place and eventually had to ask for our food to go, thinking we'd have to eat on the place and barely make boarding. We rushed down to the gate and found out it was delayed an additional 25 minutes, making it 45 min total. Our original departure time was 8:55PM and were pushed to 9:40PM and were surprised when they asked us to board at 9PM. We thought we might get out earlier than expected. Boy were we wrong.
We sat on the plane for two hours at the gate, and every 30 minutes or so, the flight attendants would announce that we were closing the doors and leaving. By the third time, we were doubtful. The door to the cockpit was still open and we figured until that closed, we weren't going anywhere. By the time we took off at 11PM Eastern time, we could've been halfway there and my kids had had enough. Brady fell asleep the moment the wheels left the ground, but Izzie was a harder sell. She screamed a good bit and slept fitfully when we could get her to. Andy and I were pretty exhausted by the time we got off of the plane at 1AM Pacific time (4AM Eastern time), having been up for 21 hours straight.
We picked up our two large checked bags and both car seats and headed for the hotel shuttle. While we were waiting out by the street, I noticed Izzie only had one shoe on. I asked Andy if he noticed her wearing it when we left the plane and he had seen both. I ran back inside and struck out looking at baggage claim. I figured at this point, she'd taken it off between the gate and security and it was gone. I got so lucky and found it in the elevator. We made it to the hotel by 2AM, where we met up with my parents and hung out for a while. Despite our lack of sleep, jet lag found us and we were all up by 6AM. Andy and I were running on 2-3 hours of sleep, but there was no time to lose in exploring San Francisco! My parents have been many times, but this was the first time for the four of us.
We decided a month or so out that we'd do a hop-on hop-off bus tour, since it would take us to all the major tourist sites and we wouldn't have to zig zag all over the place on the public transportation.
Dubby always works on vacation, so he had his blue tooth in and listening in on meetings while we started the tour. We joked with his hood up like that he looked either like a bum or the Uni-bomber.
Our first stop was the Golden Gate Bridge and this was our first sight of it.
At this point, I think we all started to realize we were actually going over it in the bus, which wasn't something we expected.
The tour guide told us that many people were skeptical of building the bridge as it has extremely strong currents beneath it and 60 mph winds above it. That's no joke. I couldn't take many pictures as we were going over because I was terrified the strong winds were going to blow my glasses off!
Family pic with the bridge in the background.
Nana and Dubby by the bridge.
We had Brady stand on the stone wall there and he was pretty nervous, but Dubby kept a tight hold on him.
A hazy view of San Francisco.
Pier 39 where we had lunch and did a little bit of souvenir shopping. Nana and Dubby took Brady to eat at Bubba Gump's and Andy, Izzie, and I went to the Hard Rock.
Nana and Dubby had promised Brady a ride on the carousel if he was good at lunch and I guess he must have been.
You can see Dubby waving below.
The seals that hang out on the pier.
Nana and Dubby like to eat at Scoma's when in San Fran.
A killer view of the Transamerica Building.
Ghirardelli Square where we got ice cream.
We got back to the hotel around 6PM, so put in a full day of sightseeing. We did a little bit of swimming at the hotel and then grabbed dinner at the hotel next door. By 8:30PM, we were all passed out and excited about Chris's graduation the next morning!