Most of Jeff's family lives in California, and we've been making noises for a couple of years about going out to see them (and in my case, meet them). Well, we finally booked the tickets and did it.
So, on Friday the 6th, we got up very early. Our flight was at 5:30 in the morning. My wonderful, amazing, awesomesauce cousin picked us up early early (well, late for him; he'd just stayed up) and took us to the airport. Security is easy at that hour at GSO (well, okay, at GSO, security is never really an issue), and soon we were parked at our gate.
The flight to Charlotte was short, of course, and I dozed through most of it.
In Charlotte, we got coffee and got to our gate and ate the breakfasts we'd brought with us. We got back on another plane and got settled in. I slept. Jeff mostly did not, though not for lack of trying. =/ We got poured out of our plane in San Francisco at about 10:30 local time. We picked up our rental car and made a beeline for Hobees (my first time), where we had awesome breakfasts (now I understand why Hobees is so popular), then headed up to Berkeley for the day.
Berkeley was wandering and caffeine and bookstores and the Berkeley Bowl (man, I want one here), then picking up rhiannonstone from the BART station. We went back to the Breadbox, Misty and rao's tiny but very cute apartment, and got the grand tour. Paul got home from work, and then there was Thai food at Cha Am and ice cream at Ici and bourbon and cider and conversation, and then sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
In the morning, there was Bette's Diner for breakfast, and the Berkeley Bowl again and the Berkeley Farmer's Market, and a drive by on a Pagan festival. It was a lovely time, all 16 hours of it, and we will be back for longer eventually. Misty's report is over here.
After the farmer's market, we had to pack up and head out, because we were due in Rough and Ready that afternoon.
Jeff's dad and step mom live up in the hills in R&R, and it is gorgeous. Quiet, peaceful, and they have resident deer. We spent Saturday hanging out and talking and catching up; Jeff's stepsister (who was really sweet) and her herd came over for dinner, and one of his brothers (B) and nephews was up for the night, too. We did taco salad for dinner.
Sunday was more catching up and hanging out and reading and napping. The herd was over again, and we did a Mother's Day cook-out for lunch.
Monday, Jeff's stepmom and he and I went to Nevada City and did some window shopping and poking around, then met up with his dad at their favorite Chinese buffet (which had a Mongolian BBQ in it, so, yay.) The rest of the day was more reading and napping and packing up.
Tuesday, we headed down to Placerville, where Jeff's other brother J lives. (B also lives there.) One the way, I got my In N Out Burger fix (they do lettuce wrapped) [not as good as I remembered, but tasty.] We spent a couple days hanging out with them and J's daughter was around on the second day. J turns out to be a good cook. The guys talked and looked at old photos and such. I tuned into the conversation some and read and got some work done. It was a good couple of days. J had two of the cutest cats in the world, which helped us get our fix, since we were desperately missing our babies by then.
Thursday, we got up and moving early, because we were due at the TWiT cottage in Petaluma that morning. Jeff was going to get to watch one of his heroes, Leo Laporte, record a show.
We got to Petaluma in plenty of time. Petaluma turns out to be a really nice smallish city. We found a parking deck near the cottage that had free parking for 10 hours (! We don't even have that here), and Jeff trundled off to the cottage and I wandered off and found the resident Starbucks, for I had work to get done. (We'd scheduled the trip between the uni spring semester ending and Hippie College's summer session starting, but the community college and another online class that I was doing were still finishing up spring semester. Yay for jobs that can go with you anywhere.) I had my coffee (yay caffeine) and got my work then, and then went walking around town, because when was I going to be back there again? (Though I hope I am, because Petaluma was pretty.) When Jeff was done, we got some lunch at Mi Pueblo, where I got an amazing chorizo tacos and a chicken tamale), and then we pointed the car south. Our next goal was the Felton hills, and to get there, we were taking 101 to highway 1 south.
Y'all, I've taken a lot of road trips, but coming around a bend south of San Francisco on the 1 and seeing the Pacific from the highway has to go into the list of top 5 views, ever.
So, the drive was gorgeous, and we only had one minor directional mishap. We got down to our Air BNB apartment in good time and got checked in without incident. (Seriously, if you need a place to stay in the area, TOTALLY recommended. Nice, beautiful, and quiet. It was $50 a nice when we stayed there; she must have gone up for the season. It was half of what we would have paid to stay in town, so we were happy to drive back and forth. Next time, we might stay in town so that we can more easily take afternoon breaks and then go back out in the evening, but that's no reflection on where we stayed. I felt like I was in Kinsey Millhone's studio, for anyone who's ever read the books.)
The rest of Thursday evening, we went into Felton proper, such as it was, and got Jeff his Round Table fix (at the scariest Round Table ever) (I got the salad bar), and hit up Safeway for some groceries. We came home, read, internetted, and fell over.
Friday we cooked breakfast and then went into Santa Cruz. We did the grand tour - ocean (including the surfer memorial), the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf (which you can drive out on and park on, and has shops and such, and sea lions!), Logo's, Bookshop Santa Cruz, and Cafe Pergolesi. We did more Mexican food for lunch. We did a lot of walking. It was a good day. We eventually retreated to home and did leftover pizza (Jeff) and rice chex (me) for dinner, read, internetted, and crashed. If you can't read an evening away, what good is a vacation? :)
Saturday, we did the Boardwalk. I don't do rides, for the most part, but we people watched and walked and did skeeball and air hockey, and it was much fun. (And crowded. Wow. I'd hate to see the place in July). Jeff did lunch on the boardwalk, and then after we left, we grabbed me a salad from TJs. We also stumbled across a random hippie music festival, as you did. We went to Cafe Pergolesi again, and read and coffeed. We checked out the view from UCSC, where you can see the ocean from campus (I kept up a probably annoying commentary all weekend, wondering what attendance is like when it starts to warm up) and then we went home to breakfast for dinner and repeat the reading/internetting/sleeping routine.
Sunday, we got packed up and checked out. Coffee that morning was at the Santa Cruz Roasting Company, which was awesome. They have a pour-over brew bar with something like 15 varieties of coffee. I ended up with something uber-dark and luscious.
We spent some more of Sunday morning just bumming around, and finally headed over the hill. Jeff wanted a Wienerschnitzel fix (thank you, Wienerschnitzel, for posting allergen information) (I had an Italian sausage, no bun, and fries that were probably cross-contaminated, but by this point in the trip, I'd been mildly contaminated off and on all trip, so.) And then we were ready to be home, but we had hours until our flight. We did some browsing in B&N, and then we saw Thor (lots of fun, can't wait for Captain America or The Avengers. I love what Marvel is doing in this world). And then we took the car back to the rental agency, got some dinner at the airport, and hung out at the gate reading until our flight. Security was annoying at SFO, because someone (ahem, not me) had wanted sand from the beach in Santa Cruz, and it'd ended up tucked in a pocket on my bag, so I got flagged for the explosives screening. :) For all that, though, security was efficient.
We were connecting through O'Hare, which is gorgeous, but we were both zombies by the time we got there. Between the two of us, we got to the right connecting gate and got some food and caffeine into our systems. We made our connecting flight to GSO, and got picked up by my dad. And thus ended our crazy California trip.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip, and it was great to meet Jeff's family. I didn't like being gone that long, though.
(Then we got home, I tried to nap and failed, got up, prepped for class, made dinner, and went and taught my first class of the summer session, which I got through by the grace of that great deity, Mountain Dew.)