Tuesday, May 7, 2013

California (Not Disneyland) Babymoon, Part the Second: Open Your Golden Gate

(For those wondering, the title of this portion, though of course a lyric from a fairly well-known standard, was actually in reference to Martin Short's memorable performance of it in Clifford, which I sang many times leading up to this trip, and which can be seen here.  You're welcome.)

Then after we finished our work activities and such, we were on our way to San Francisco!  We had a great time (Julie's first visit, my first in over a decade), and it was a just right vacation for us and The Speck.  We were able to find a nice old hotel for a pretty good deal right in the heart of the city and spend the day walking around (Pier 39 was basically a ten-minute walk away), and then wear ourselves out just in time to come back to our room and spend the evening watching TV and ordering Thai delivery and planning for the next day.  We had asked for suggestions from San Fran-savvy friends and family in case there were any gems that we couldn't miss while we were here, so we had a nice little itinerary planned, with a few alternates in case anything fell through or we didn't feel up to things at the time.
Julie and the Great Glass Elevator
See how great it is?!?
Only the fanciest of hotels for us.
What the heck, it's a (fairly) comfy bed in a (fairly) safe place.

And not a bad view!

And now I shall outline our activities in bulleted and photographic fashion:
  • The Jelly Belly Factory!  Of course our first stop was a family favorite (which I had never until now visited) right on the way from Sacramento to San Francisco.  We took the tour and had lots of samples and bought some Belly Flops and everyone loved Julie's shirt, which made its debut today.
The lobby!  They don't allow photos on the tour, so these would have to do.
Giant Jelly Bellies suspended in mid-air!  Wacky!
Just happy to be here!
Thanks, Poor Unsuspecting Soul/Volunteer!  It's always nice to be in pictures together.
I wasn't sure if I was in this shot or not.  Turns out I was!

Care Bear Stare!!!  And check out that stylish bathroom decor!
  • Then we drove to the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio (we managed to have a Disney vacation after all!!!).  I've been hearing about this museum and its many merits for a long time, so when we were going to be so close, I would have been truly remiss not to go there.  Not as many people know about this museum, but it's really nice and thorough and a great tribute.  It's run by his family, NOT the company, so it has a lot of information and displays about his youth and upbringing, as well as a great deal, of course, about his career and films and parks.  I admit that it did make me pretty happy to finally see that giant scale model of Disneyland, since we weren't able to make it there this time.  How would it be to just grow up in some midwestern town and then move to LA with basically nothing and then become this humongous film and TV success?  Crazy.  What if there were a theme park one day named Grahamland?  That sounds so weird.  I wonder if Disneyland sounded weird to him or his family ever.
(As a side note, if you're using GPS to go here, take note that there's a Montgomery Street in the actual city that is NOT the same as Montgomery Street in the Presidio... Yes, the museum was not THERE, were Vicki first led us... No.)
After hearing about it on so many podcasts, I'm actually here!


:x (More like :> )

What would I give to sit at this desk all the day long?

The view from the backside of the museum.  Pretty nice.

There was a bench... of... some significance.  Probably from Walt's hometown or summat.

Julie said to be napping for a picture like a hobo.  The sun was VERY bright on my eyes.

I don't know anyone who loves a diorama more than this girl, and this one is a DOOZIE.

The Skyway!!!  I miss it so.

This is us "at Disneyland" (hey, we do what we need to do).

It's almost like being there!

They had a stop-motion animation exhibit happening, and Wife found one of her favorite friends (though he's looking a bit underdressed).

This is the actual model they used in the movie!  But it's so itty!

  •  The next morning we went to the Aquarium of the Bay on Fisherman's Wharf (after a minor detour involving confusion about local transportation).  It was pretty neat, but also pretty small and expensive for the size and amount of creatures it has.  You would think an aquarium ON THE BAY would have more to offer, like a window into the bay or something.  We still had a good time, and we liked petting the little baby rays, though the handler was pretty sassy to the lady who was there with her little girls.
Tiny Alcatraz.

We initially planned to only get this close to the Ghirardelli factory.
Eat WHAT now?!?

Oooewwwhhh i c.

!!!!!  (The sharks inside weren't this big, but STILL.)

I'm always kind of fascinated by jellyfish (as you may recall from our visit to the Vegas aquarium).

She loves a diorama, but she also REALLY loves an aquarium tunnel.


So big!  She knows her fish from her Animal Crossing fishing experience.

Peek-a-boo again.  I had to not take too much notice of the fishes swimming like two inches from my face so I wouldn't be like, eep.

TWO tunnels?!?  Deluxe!!!


How can she love them??

The noblest (and most still) turtle in San Francisco.


They were so cute, they kept coming up and bobbing around on the surface like puppies.

So kewt.
Always on the lookout for a smart chapeau.

They did NOT have whales.  Harrumph.

  • We had an appointment to go to the Rock a couple hours later, so we spent a while walking around the Wharf and Pier 39.  There's lots of shopping and touristy stuff, which was fun, and lots of food, which was AWESOME, and a school choir performing (like my choir tour days of yore, though these ones were much younger), which was, well, bless their hearts.  I'm sure they had a great trip and enjoyed being in a choir, ha ha.
How long had we been talking about getting chowder in a bread bowl before this trip?  A LONG time.  It met and exceeded our every expectation.  Well done, Boudin.

I can't believe these dudes are still hanging out here.  I wonder if they're the same ones I saw when I was in high school.


This one was VERY territorial of its platform.
See?  It knocked off several audacious others just in the few minutes we were watching.

  • Thence to Alcatraz!!!  When I mentioned this as a possibility for this trip, Julie was preeeetty excited, and it turned out to live up to her expectations (and my memories).  It's interesting that a prison where people were so miserable (not that they didn't deserve it) is such a major tourist attraction, but it's still a neat place to visit.
A very nice view of the city from the ferry.

They are very welcoming.

We decided this bird was fake, but we still haven't decided exactly why.


It felt weird being all smiley and posey for pictures in such a miserable location, but you know, tourists do as tourists should.

This was mostly making fun of people who were posing all cute and totally happy in solitary.  Julie was like, whaaa?  So she tried it out.

One must respect the library!

Recreation yard... yikes.

There were so many birds and they were not shy.

Seriously, what a view!  It's not tempting to desperate-to-escape inmates at all.

"Just like Julia Child's kitchen!" - Wife  "Yes, but for very different reasons." - Me

She likes these California poppies a lot from her days of youthness.

On the ferry back.  'Twas rather windy.

  • Then we caught some more foods and caught the cable car (after a long wait and listening to a pesky busker) back up to the top of Lombard Street, where we observed and acknowledged its famousness and uniqueness and then walked down the other side back to get some rest.

Seafooooood ysplz.

She likes her fish and chips.  Alas, no mushy peas this time.  *sigh*  Windermere.

Grumpy waiting (like 40 minutes) for the cable car.

Jay kay i happee.

We thought it best not to hang on to the outside.  After a minute someone offered Pregnant Wife a seat.

It's so windy.  (Like, it winds a lot, not that there's a lot of wind... Oh, you know what I mean.)

Some people were driving down soooo fast.

But most took it nice and slow, as one should.  The HouseHunters fans in us wondered how expensive it was to live on this street.
  • The next morning we drove about until we found some Redwoods, which turned out to be at Muir Woods.  They were tall and big and Julie was so glad to finally see some like she always wanted to, and was completely satisfied with her experience visiting them.  It was nice to take a walk on the paved roads (though parking was a nightmare) for as long as The Speck would allow, and we talked about how nice it was to walk in nature and fresh air and sunshine and that we could both find enjoyment in things the other might mostly be interested in.
It's not really golden, it's not really a gate, but it IS really a bridge.

So big around!

Thanks again, Poor Unsuspecting Soul (Volunteer).

Wife has long wanted to see these big tall trees.

She liked them a lot.

I really wanted to climb over and take a picture INSIDE one of the bit hollow trunks.

Then we found this!

It went all the way through.

I was scared because some kids followed me trapped me in and I couldn't get back down.

And then we found THIS, which is even better.  The ranger lady passing by took the picture because she said "it's [her] job."

It's always a good time for a Senior Picture photo shoot.

I was getting creative with our Disney Princess fruit snacks.  After this a giant purple glass slipper was squooshed up against her chin.  Also, eurgh, I need to clip my fingernails in this.

  • This visit to and from the woods facilitated nicely a crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge, which crossing we ended up doing four times in all, trying to find a place where we could park and look around and take pictures.  But at least we definitely had a chance to drive across!
Back across we go!  I don't remember which time this was.

Pretty neat view of the bridge and the city.

First this side...

... and now this side!

She's here too!

Who or what is photobombing who or what?

That guy in the back totally walked RIGHT into this picture as we were getting ready to take it.  Notice your surroundings, people!

Then we tried again without him.

She likes this town.

Stoic fellows we.

  • Then, on a recommendation of a few people at work for a nearby beach, we drove just a few minutes down to Ocean Beach.  It was windy and a tiny bit cold, and the water was definitely freezing, as expected, but we looooooooved being there anyway.  I'm pretty sure it was our favorite part of the whole trip, even though we only spent an hour or two there and only waded in the water (that was quite enough, br).  I was surprised there was such a nice beach so close to the city!  It was the perfect way to spend our last afternoon there.
Yes, I'm one of those people who take these kinds of beach pictures.  It was just so nice.  And to think I used to even hate getting sand stuck on my feet and between my toes!

At the beach!


A twist on a classic.

But not without a small instance of the classic itself.

...plus this.  (Note that he's in the photo twice.)
Come, waves.

Time for some jumping pictures!!!  I was determined to get a great one and I did!

This was an in-between pose for the next one, but I thought it was funny anyway.

Leapfrog!  Never play it with unicorns.

Up, up and away!

Wife avec Speck even did some!  She had some air too!

Jumping Bump.

Oh I like the beach.


:D :D

Many a Poor Unsuspecting Soul was on hand, but for some reason it sometimes takes a while to find one anyway.

Sometimes I just do.

  • We couldn't decide what to do for dinner that night so we ended up at a fancy restaurant at Ghirardelli Square that I can never remember the name of, but it was fun and delicious and Julie had her second chowder-in-a-bread-bowl for the trip.
A bit Prom-ish, but oh well.

It was just as good as we could have hoped or wished (again, never as good as at *sigh* Windermere).
And then, after just the right amount of days and style of vacation for my trouper of a pregnant wife (seriously, I'm pretty sure she never complained or fussed or anything and was as great a traveling companion as ever, even with The Speck in tow), we drove back up to Sacramento earlyish the next day, turned in the car and flew home by the afternoon, so we could recoup and be ready to go back to work the next morning.  It was a very fun work/play babymoon, and we're so glad it just happened to work out, and that it was just a few weeks before the recommended/required date not to travel pregnant.  We didn't get to do exactly EVERRRRYthing on our list (Pixar, Fentons, more of [actual] Chinatown, some kind of Hmong food, which I couldn't find anywhere), but we did check off a lot of things in just a few days, and then that will give us things to do on our next trip there!  Now, work, when are you going to send us to London??  Julie's work did!!!  Ha ha ha.

And now the final stretch until The Speck at last makes his big debut!


  1. I was making internal comments the whole time I was reading this and now I have forgotten them so I will read it again:

    o It was a fairrrrrly comfy bed...a bit hard for some of us to get out of.

    o My emoticon should be more like :> Or even UvU

    o Is that an intentional borrowing of Little Mermaid phraseology?

    o Dioramaaaa! I want to play with it.

    o Hee hee, fwoggies.

    o I can't believe you didn't post a picture of their cute baby ray puppy faces!

    o Mmm, chowder.

    o I like how that first picture of that territorial seal is like *flop*

    o We just "drove about until we found some redwoods" eh?? Hahahah, like we didn't have an address.

    o That picture of you on the bridge was the first time going back across. Neither of us knew then that we would have two more opportunities to take that picture...

    o "Never play it with unicorns." lolololol

    o Technically there was that one time I cried because I couldn't pack the suitcase right. Ummmm but OTHerwise I was awesome...*fistpump*

    1. o Comfyish anyway! Not the most uncomfy.

      o Oh yes, that is a better emoticon. It took me a while to figure something out, and even then I wasn't very satisfied with it.

      o No, that wasn't an intentional LM reference! I even had to go back and see what you could be talking about. Now when I read that caption all I can hear is it sung to that tune.


      o !!! Good call, I wondered about that last night when I was uploading but I was in no mood to go through and add more. I'll do it now!


      o Well, we did drive about until we found them! The address wasn't exactly exact.

      o HA, right.


      o I don't even hardly remember that, so it must not have been a terribly traumatic issue, just a little hiccup. You were great!

  2. Aw, Ocean Beach. The best place in San Francisco to look for sand dollars.

    You two are adorable together! Glad you had a good time before the upcoming Speck-tacular!

    1. It IS a great place for that! In fact, we did actually find a couple there.

      And thank you! We totally are. :)

      Also: "Speck-tacular"?!? How has this brilliant thing never occurred to me?? I must work it into my conversation regarding this imminent boychild!!!