Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Short Vacation to Northern California

Well, I've seen all there is to see
And I've heard all they have to say
I've done everything I wanted to do . . .
I've done that too
And it ain't that pretty at all
Ain't that pretty at all
So I'm going to hurl myself against the wall
'Cause I'd rather feel bad than not feel anything at all

You know, I just had a short vacation, Roy
Spent it getting a root canal
"Oh, how'd you like it?"
Well, it ain't that pretty at all
So I'm going to hurl myself against the wall
'Cause I'd rather feel bad than not feel anything at all
- Warren Zevon, It Ain't Pretty At All

Actually, it was pretty. Much better than a root canal. We ate some world class food, and we drank as we generally do, also world class. Stayed in Berkeley, but spent a day or two across the bay in San Francisco.

We did the usual stuff. Drove past Fisherman's Wharf (you don't want to stop there.) You can see our car reflected in the window of the store selling fake crap, priced like the real thing.

We drove up and down hills. Between us, I worried about an earthquake and all the live electrical wires falling on me. One of the reasons for the world class drinking was to assuage my fears.

We drive by the Alcoa Building, which hasn't been called the Alcoa Building since before the end of the last century, but it's hard enough to remember old stuff without having to re-learn it.

We went to Magnolia brewpub, despite the dramatic foreshadowing of the politics we'd encounter there.

The place is pretty shabby and tarnished. I got some awesome socks that look like a shark, complete with a tiny fin. So when you wear them, it looks like your feet have been swallowed by a shark, albeit one with a very orthopedic shape.

Why anyone would want to live in such close proximity to so many other people escapes me. Sure, there's a great food and drink scene and lots of pretty places to see, but the earthquake, people!

And does your laundry really smell fresh when you dry it outdoors this way? Maybe it's hip to smell like car and bus exhaust, and I'm just showing how out of touch I am. Still.

After driving up the inland route, we decided to take the coast (more or less) home. At first it was pretty foggy and only the seagulls knew which way the ocean was.

After driving north through the inland valley of California, breathing delightful dust from freshly fertilized fields and passing cattle feed lots, the ocean was a lovely sight, even in fog.Our return trip coincided with Earth Day, and we had good reason to enjoy the earth.
The further south we got, the more sun peeked through. We were travelling east as much as we were travelling south because of the way CA curves. Or maybe like a shark sock on a foot.

We drove past fields of artichokes ready to harvest and through Castro CA, the "artichoke capital of the world". One of the few remaining sights along a road blighted by rich piles of McMansions and vanity vineyards was the giant artichoke. Or should I say, the GIANT ARTICHOKE. A bit anticlimac after the signs, but still.

Stopped at twilight for dinner in Santa Barbara, unoficially at the southern border of NorCal. Next stop, SoCal and the not-so-scenic megalopolis of Los Angeles. By then, we hopped on the 405 to the Five and home by 10:30 in time for a nightcap and glorious return to our own bed.

With apologies to Warren Zevon, no need to hurl ourselves against a wall this trip. We had a wonderful vacation and visit, and most of all we had lots to celebrate. Thanks to our hosts, the Doctors K for a great time.


chaiselongue said...

It looks and sounds like a great trip... always nice to get home, though. I'm fascinated by the idea of an artichoke capital of the world. Wish you hadn't mentioned the earthquake because my daughter is there at the moment and I was already worrying a bit about that!

Martha in Michigan said...

Loved all the scenic photos but missed the one I want most: those socks. I am having difficulty picturing them. You may have to employ a stunt double to get the shot, but your fans demand it!