From Chicago we flew into Sacramento where Dave met us and took us over to pick our rental car -- the single crappiest mini-van I've ever seen with a car seat that looked like it had been in several accidents, mauled by dogs, and thrown up on by an entire nursery school full of kids. (Thanks again Enterprise!) After finding a suitable alternative (i.e. spending $55 on a new carseat at Target) we spent a couple days in Sacramento and got to see Dave's apartment (which made Josh want to be single again) and Dave's office. We also wandered around Old Town Sac (very cool) and the captial building area.
On our way from Sacramento to San Fran, we stopped by what probably amounted to more wineries than we needed to, including Silver Oak, Mondavi, Stags Leap, and my personal favorite, Cakebread.
The tour at Cakebread was super down to earth... plus, by that point, Josh had finished enough of my wine samples to announce to the entire tour group that he "had definitely married up." I knew at that point it was time to cut off the wine tastings and break out the picnic lunch. While we were eating, Josh snapped this very cute picture of our smiley daughter.
One of the first things we did in San Francisco was take the tour of Alcatraz. It was creepy... interesting... and, well, I can't really think of much else to say about it so I'll just move on.
That same day we stopped by Pier 39 where Anna got to watch the sea lions sunning themselves on the docks. (Ask her what noise a sea lion makes and she'll give you an enthusiastic arg arg). We also had our first round of chowder bread bowls while were were down by the docks. They were good, but of course, we're from New England, so there's really no impressing us when it comes to chowder.
We were lucky enough to find a great rental house to stay in while we were in San Fran which was a million times better than living out of hotel rooms. We had a bus stop right in front of our house and Alamo Square, home of the painted ladies pictured above, was just a block away. (Naturally, Josh sang the Full House theme song at the top of his lungs every time we walked by). We took a couple drives down Lombard Street (sorry again to those poor people who live on that tourist trap block) and logged about 18 hours on the cable cars.
Toward the end of our vacation we spent a day wandering around Golden Gate Park and ended up at the beach where Anna and I got to put our toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time ever. (I can't believe she beat me by 28 years!) Anna was literally on her tippy toes (as pictured) because the water was freezing. While we were in that same area, we visted the Sutro Bath ruins which might have been one of my favorite parts of the trip. Built in the late 19th century, they were opened to the public as the world's largest indoor swimming pool, with one fresh water pool, and six salt water pools. The site burned down in 1966. Very cool.
On our last full day in San Fran, we drove out to the Muir Woods (which I've always thought was just called the Redwood Forrest?). It was exactly what you'd expect... and very difficult to capture with a camera! So anyways, aside from our wild adventure catching a connecting flight with 1 minute to spare on the way home, that's pretty much where our California adventure ends. We miss you "Unca Dave"!