Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
San Francisco is one of those cities that you grow up seeing on tv and in movies. You build up expectations of what may be there and then as you get older you form opinions on how you may or may not like the city very much if you actually went there. For me- I didn’t expect to fall in love with San Fran. I though it was super cool in Mrs. Doubtfire and Full House, but with it’s reputation is uber-liberal and hippie-dippy…I was anticipating liking it fine, but not seeing it as somewhere that I really fit. I was wrong. I love San Francisco.
We arrived on a Friday morning with shows Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. On Friday we hit the ground running! (I should say walking, in this case….up MANY, MANY steep hills!!) One of the icons of the city are it’s famous cable cars, the only operating cable cars IN THE WORLD! I had read that there was a great Cable Car Museum that was free so we headed there and were so pleased to find an old building through which all the cable lines operate. I had no idea how these machines work and it was really fascinating to get a close look at the motors that keep the cable lines running through pulley systems under the street all over the city at a consistent 9.5 mph. Then we got to look at the cable cars and the grips that are manually controlled by a driver. They grab onto the cables to carry them up and down those infamous hills and all over the city.
The following day I was so excited to get to Alcatraz! We took a cab down to the wharf where Tavis, Jess, Kim, and I caught a ferry out to the island. Approaching the legendary “Rock” was unreal and we were really blown away by how beautiful the whole place was. We wandered around for quite a bit before heading up to the main cell block building. The audio tour took us through the life of a prisoner on the island and what it could have been like to inhabit these cells. Hearing tales of escape attempts, and life on the Rock was a fascinating way to start the day. We headed back and had lunch on Pier 39 before going back to the hotel where I met up with my sister, Shannon, and her husband, Gavin! They drove a few hours from the home to come for a day to see the show in San Fran and I was THRILLED to get to see some family while on the road.
The following day I had breakfast with Shan and Gavin at their hotel before having to say goodbye. It was such a fun visit and a real treat to see them. It doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but when I do get to spend time with them it is always so encouraging and rejuvenating. The show was really fun that day and we were spoiled by having such great facilities at the JCC. After a quick stop at the hotel, Tavis and I decided to take a cable car ride to meet the rest of the cast. It was so fun to see the city from this view and enjoy a ride on one of these iconic cars. We ended up meeting all of Katie Reid’s family at a restaurant called Pier 23 where we took in some great seafood right on the water. Then we climbed into cars and headed to Ghirardelli Square where we indulged in some ridiculous chocolate creations. When we finished bingeing we started to walk back toward the cable car to get to the hotel when a limo pulled up and asked if we wanted a ride! It was pretty amazing and we couldn’t help but laugh as we jammed out to Bruno Mars the whole ride and reflected back on a perfect visit to the Golden Gate city!
San Fran- I’ll be back!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
To celebrate our day off we were in Arroyo Grande, CA and we made sure to make the most of it! Arroyo Grande sits right by Pismo Beach so we figured we better take advantage of it and spend some quality time with sand between our toes! Tavis and I headed down to workout on the beach, but instead of walking, the manager of our Holiday Inn volunteered to drive us! Heading to the water he realized that we were so close to a great spot that he wanted to show us so we turned down and headed to a small grove of trees. There on Pismo Beach were dozens of cars pulled over to see the miracle of the monarch butterfly migration!
From late November to early February over 100,000 monarch butterflies come to this acre of land from all over and live there. What was also amazing is that they only fly and are visible if it is dry, sunny, and over 60 degrees outside. Conditions were perfect and we were absolutely in awe. God is so big and so good. Even if I had planned a trip to see this natural phenomenon it couldn’t have worked out so well. After a nice workout on the beach the rest of the cast came down and we walked around, going to see the butterflies and watching the sun set on the Pacific! It was exciting to be there because I had never been in the Pacific Ocean on all my travels!
From there we walked down the beach to a town area where we scoped out a Mexican place for dinner. Mmmm- I can taste the lobster enchiladas now! After that we had another lucky twist of fate when we stopped into Alley Cat’s jazz club. It was a cute little restaurant with a tiny stage where a trio was playing. We soon met the owners, a young couple who basically had this place fall into their laps and had reopened it only 10 days earlier!!! They were so nice and their son was adorable, running around and keeping us all entertained. We couldn’t resist jumping up and singing, though, and the band was thrilled to find out we knew so much of the music they were playing. The mic was ours for quite a while as we shut the restaurant down!!!
When Alley Cat’s closed down we went around the corner to top off the night at Harry’s. It was quite a dive, with a singer performing everything from techno to Tony Bennett. Bizzarre. We had fun and were quite impressed with Katie R and Kim’s impeccable balance and Katie M’s ability to make great friends so fast! I love my cast so much. A quick cab ride home finished up the night. The next day we had lunch at Orcutt Burger and my burger was topped with avocado and bacon. Yup. Then I got my hair cut at a champion barbershop! My barber was hilarious, giving me advice on how to get my medicinal marijuana card in Cali and telling me about her adventures at Woodstock! Ohhhh, California. We had a great time in Arroyo Grande and our show went really well. It was great to have the owners of Alley Cat show up to see us, also! They are so sweet. I miss you all so much. I hope you are digging yourself out of the snow!