Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Perfect Sunday

So far, our day was great but it turned out it was about to get even better. We heard from some other friends of ours as well. We had hoped to meet up with them while we were here as well but did not think it was going to work out.

After lots of phone tag and texting, we had a plan. We decided to meet up and wander through the Haight street festival. Apparently each of the neighborhoods hosts a street festival during the summer. There was one in both the North Beach and Haight neighborhoods today. Sounded like a great San Francisco experience. The streets were crowded and quite and interesting crowd it was. We wandered around for a bit and then decided to rest in the park.

Turns out we sat in the park for most of the day and just hung out. At first the Traveling Hillbilly was thinking, “we could be doing this, or that, we should go somewhere, do something.” Then I stopped for a moment and thought to myself, when was the last time you just hung out? I realized it had been a very long time. Here I was in San Francisco, hanging out with some really good friends and just enjoying a Sunday afternoon. The six of us just sat in the park, caught up with each other for the whole afternoon. The Traveling Hillbilly could not think of a better way to spend the final day in San Fran!

Not So Early To Rise

As I mentioned in my last post, we met up with some friends for a night out. What a night we had. We started at the hotel with a quick drink before heading out for a late dinner. There are so many great restaurants in this town. The Traveling Hillbilly has yet to have a bad meal here.

We just hung out until late into the night, drinking, sharing stories and laughing until our sides hurt. It truly was a fun evening. It made me realize how much I miss my friends. I miss having them in Los Angeles and being able to see them often.

After the late night last night, neither of us was eager to jump up and start the day right away. The Traveling Hillbilly even slept until 9am! We got a bit of a late start but it turned out to be one great day.

We headed down to the Ferry Building to grab some coffee from the Blue Bottle. They have a great New Orleans iced coffee our friends had told us about the night before. They were right the Traveling Hillbilly enjoyed the brew!

We got a text from our friends (who also got a late start) and decided we’d all meet up for a late breakfast. We wandered around the ferry building for a bit while waiting for them to join us and decided to have a drink at the Slanted Door while we waited. Jon had a very spicy but delicious Bloody Mary, while I had some champagne. Having a drink early in the day without feeling guilty is just one more reason the Traveling Hillbilly loves to travel!

Our friends met us at the Slanted Door and then we headed over to the Market Street Café for breakfast. We were a little disappointed in the breakfast there, but it was such a beautiful day we couldn’t help but enjoy ourselves. Sitting outside, on the water, when it’s sunny and just under 70 degrees, you can’t help but enjoy yourself.

Running into an Ex - Awkward

First, the Traveling Hillbilly has to give a shout out to Le Meridien, San Francisco. As always, they truly deliver on service. The Traveling Hillbilly has stayed at Le Meridien’s around the world and they always have great locations (except in Hong Kong) and provide truly great service.

We pleased to discover that despite our last minute notice, our friends are available to hang out. We are in the elevator going down to meet them in the hotel bar for a drink when the elevator stops, the doors open and in steps in a couple. One of who looks amazingly familiar. Sure enough, it turns out to an ex of the Traveling Hillbilly. Now I won’t bore you all with all the details, suffice it to say this is the one person, the Traveling Hillbilly has always felt was owed an apology. One I planned to give if we ever ran into each other. We both live in Los Angeles and have never run into each other, so I have never had the opportunity. Now suddenly we come face to face in an elevator in San Francisco. Awkward and not really an appropriate situation to apologize. Wow. It really is a small world.

After a few moments of awkward chit chat, we meet our friends and start our evening. Let’s just say a fun time was had by all.

Day 2 - This Is Living

We hit the road before 8am. We make a quick stop for coffee, at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, of course. We’re on our way. What a truly beautiful drive. Now a lot of you know the Traveling Hillbilly did this drive just under a year ago but I have to say, it’s still just as awe inspiring the second time around. It’s amazing we have such beauty so close to us.

Of course, like typical Californian’s we’re dressed like we’re in the middle of winter in Chicago, with our heated seats on and the top down!

We stop for some fresh strawberries along the way at this little stand that just has a box for you to drop your money in. It’s nice to know there are places where you can still be on the “honor” system. After a few hours in the car, we decide to stop for breakfast. We went to a fabulous place called the Big Sky Café in San Luis Obispo. It’s at 1121 Broad Street and the Traveling Hillbilly highly recommends it!

We stopped at several vista points to take some photos. One of which, had a hundred squirrels running around. I guess people have been feeding them so the moment we stepped out of the car, they came running up to us begging for food. One guy was letting them crawl all over him. It was a almost creepy, like a scene from a horror movie, Squirrels Gone Wild. But they were cute and there were a bunch of little baby squirrels running around and so close to the beach.

We decided to hike in Big Sur and go see the waterfall at Julia Pfieffer State Park. Jon had found a great site, and it listed it as a must see. I wouldn’t really call it a hike though. It was more of a walk, but well worth the time. Add one more to the list of amazing things to see along this most scenic drive.

Day 2 - Early To Rise

Before crashing last night, we decided we wanted to get an early start and agreed to rise at 7am. After finishing a bottle of wine on the beach, the Traveling Hillbilly was not sure how realistic that was. However, here it is 6am and I’m already wide awake and ready for the day.

For the first time in weeks, I actually slept through the night. I got a whole six hours of sleep! Maybe by the end of this trip, I’ll actually be able to sleep for eight whole hours in a row vs. 2-3 hour increments.

I’m ready to hit the road, if only my friend were as eager to get going. The alarm should be going off very soon.

Let the Road Trip Begin

It’s been way too long since the Traveling Hillbilly has actually been traveling. It was time to get the heck out of Dodge. My friend felt the same way. So we decided to take a road trip.

Why not, load up the Jeep and hit Highway 1 for the scenic drive up the coast? We could say hi to some friends in San Francisco, stop for a hike in Big Sur or Monterey and maybe even do a little wine tasting in Sonoma. Who knows where our adventure might take it us.

Knowing we had a long drive up the coast and wanted to do it at a leisurely pace, with some stops along the way, we decided to knock a couple hours of the drive and hit the road Friday night, after traffic of course. Traffic was surprising light, as we headed up the 101 to Santa Barbara. We arrived at cute little place called the Hotel Marmonte, and checked in for the night. Our adventure has begun.

We grabbed a bottle of wine, headed down to the beach and listened to the waves crash. Now as a lot of you know, the Traveling Hillbilly is somewhat frightened by the ocean. We all know what an angry beast she can be, so I must admit sitting on the beach late at night is not exactly the Traveling Hillbilly’s idea of relaxation. I kept a close eye on the water as the tide rolled in, my fear rising as each crashing wave grew just a little bit closer. Did the tide pull way back suddenly? Was a wave going to suddenly come crashing over us and pull us in? The wine helped in keeping these random thoughts at bay.

We sat, we talked and we sipped our wine, feeling so far away from the hectic pace of, what has been our life for the last several weeks. Despite the constant fear of being sucked into the deep dark ocean at any moment, the Traveling Hillbilly was having a good time.

It was time to head back to the hotel and get some rest. We know we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.