In the past couple of months (since July), I have traveled more than I think I ever have in my life. I remember making a status of all that I had to come and couldn't believe all the places I was getting to go. Tanner and I sat down one night and decided that we wanted to take every trip we possibly could make work with the amount of PTO that he had, and we started scheduling. One of the places that I had been dying to go was California. I had been in touch with North Face about the possibility of running the 50K, and so I knew that this was a viable option.
With all of the places that we have been, I have not been on the plane on our way with butterflies. California had the same kind of allure to me that New York City once did (and still does but I've just been lots of times). It's a place where you hear so much about but it has just never felt tangible. So, needless to say, I was excited. We landed in LA first, and just had a short lay over to San Fran. I will say that I wish I had got to stop in LA at least for a few hours because I feel that might be more of the Cali that I was dreaming of (not that San Fran wasn't a-mazing lol). We didn't arrive until 1am on Friday morning which with the time change was 4am our time so we were TIRED. We slept until 7am (which would have been 10am) and we felt refreshed for the day on Friday.
As I said yesterday, we were staying with a friend that I met at the Boston Marathon, and she is an absolute gem. She had her entire living room area set up for us with a nice queen air mattress. I wish I knew this brand of air mattress because it's certainly the best I've ever slept on and has never deflated. haha! I feel like I always wake up in a taco with air mattresses. Just me? lol.
On Friday, Tanner and I started exploring. One of the things that I had told Tanner the night before is that I HAD to have an acai bowl while I was here. Ironically, Meredith told us "You have to go to this place called Basik" and that's exactly what they are known for. We LOVE some coffee so we first stopped into a coffee shop called Saint Franks and then moved onto those acai bowls. Immediately we realized how expensive San Fran was and even more expensive than NYC (although I think we just learned tips and tricks with living there). We always find it super interesting that the day before we were in a different spot on a map having a coffee for $1.50 then we fly on a plane and then it costs $3.50 for a small. Ha!
After acai bowls, we headed to Lombard street which is the curviest street in America and we were close by. They have turned it into a garden area as well so it was super pretty. If you don't know this about San Fran, the temperature is ALWAYS moderate. It never really goes below 40, but never really above 80. I haven't decided if I love that, but I love some snow so that would make me sad to live here (but let's be real Shelby gets no snow either). We could see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background and all of the houses look like the set of Full House. I felt like I was in a dream in this place I've dreamed about for so long. Isn't life funny like that? Why haven't I just come here sooner? Who knows!
Another thing about San Fran-THE HILLS! I didn't know about it, and I'm not exaggerating that it's the steepest hills I've ever seen on streets. I feel as if they go straight into the air, and when I saw that, I was like "Ohhhhh boy" thinking about how I was supposed to be running a race on Saturday. Tanner and I wandered around and ended up at the Ferry Building for lunch. Most all of the places at the Ferry Building were very heavily meat focused, but we were able to find a place that had some options for us that was overlooking the water. It was absolutely beautiful. We came back to the house at that point to meet up with Meredith before we went to the Cliffhouse to watch the sunset. With daylight savings time as we all know, it's like super duper early and that's where my best friend Brandy met us. We had talked earlier in the year and decided that we were going to plan a trip out here, so she was staying with a different friend but we spent a good amount of time together.
We went to a place called Cliffhouse but the beach was right beside of it, so we laid out a blanket, and a bottle of wine, and just enjoyed it. It was breath taking to be honest, and the prettiest sunset I think I've ever seen. We could NOT stop taking pictures!!
From there, we got dinner at an amazing stop in place called Blue Barn that Meredith took us to and headed back as we knew we had an early morning with the race (4am to be exact). Read all about Saturday HERE.
After the race shenanigans, we showered and went down to Fisherman's Dwarf for some drinks. It was a super cool area that is one of the touristy spots so I would definitely recommend it. I thought when we came, we would need to rent a car and Brandy did because she was staying an hour outside of San Fran proper, however Meredith lives right in the heart and with the parking situations, you definitely don't need a car. We took ubers or walked to most places and found that to be the easiest. Renting a car wasn't that expensive for this week, but I'm glad that we didn't for ease of travel.
After having drinks we met up with Brandy and her friend for dinner, and as usual, we headed back early. We knew we were planning on going to wine country on Sunday so we thought we'd go to bed early. Truth is: we had jet lag the entire time and went to bed at 8pm and got up at 4am every day but we figured we would keep doing it and then we could adjust easily going back.
Sunday morning, we got up and went to brunch at a little hole in the wall and then headed on our way. I knew that west coast was much more "liberal" for lack of a better word so I was challenging myself to stay vegan the entire trip and I totally was able to easily. It's been no problem at all, and I've really enjoyed it to be honest! :)
After that, we headed off to wine country. There are a couple of different areas that you can choose for wine country but we chose to go to Sonoma. It's a little more chill than Napa. We went to three different vineyards and tried about 10 different wines none of which were Pino so then we got a bottle of Pino at the last place and split it between all three of us. Of course, we had to stop and take beautiful pictures in the vineyard as well. We had a REALLY great day at the vineyard and all kept talking about how blessed we felt to be getting to do these things and how much we love life.
We stopped at a restaurant called Soul Food on the way back, and again, AMAZING vegan food. It's so cool to be in an area of the country that values this lifestyle soyou are able to try the most amazing dishes that are all plant based. There are so many combinations and it makes me appreciate food more now that I live this lifestyle. I won't complain but I do wish Shelby had just a fewwww more vegetarian options as it basically is nonexistent.
We got back at about 6pm and no lie watched Netflix until we fell asleep at 8pm. HA!! We are party animals clearly! Monday morning we woke up somewhat wishing that we had flown out on Monday but our flight was on Tuesday so we had an entire extra day. We really didn't know what to do yesterday so we basically meandered around doing nothing pretty much all day. LOLLLL! On Monday morning however, I went to a run group called Back on My Feet. It's meant to help the homeless. They have a point system for when you come to the run club and if you come a certain amount of times then you are able to get certain benefits from that that helps them lead into independence. The program is brand new in San Fran so there weren't that many people there, but it's an amazing thing they are starting. I laughed because I've never done a huddle where we didn't pray but we did this huddle and they like started encouraging everyone, and I bowed my head and then popped back up like "Oh, we aren't praying!" hahahaha! It was hilarious in my head, but makes sense because it is San Fran after all! ;)
We have LOVED San Fran and will definitely be back sometime. We are so lucky that we were able to stay with a friend, and I definitely want a little redemption on that 50K course at some point! ;) We honestly however are REALLY excited to get back to our puppies, decorate our home for the holidays as I'm having family at my house for the first time on Christmas day, and we have big plans for fun things we want to do in our area! :) We have left the season of travel but are really looking forward to some time at the house. Our next trip is Feb 1-8 when we go to Colorado for visiting friends in Boulder and a ski trip! The beautiful thing about travel is that it's beautiful, it's exhausting and when you get a little tired of it, home is always waiting with open arms.
Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!