Bay Before (and After) the Wedding

2 Jul

oaklandLast weekend’s trip to the Bay was our third California vacation together*. On the first we spent almost the whole time at Coachella. On the second we drove down the coast from San Fran to LA to San Diego, marveling at the Pacific Coast highway. On this trip, we tried to keep the traveling to a minimum. Fly into SFO. Take a BART to Oakland, Drive to Mountain View. Drive to Palo Alto. It may sound like a lot, but after the 40 minute BART ride and 50 minute drive to Mountain View, nothing was more than a few miles away. Well, of course a wallet got lost (not ours) and we ended up traveling more than we’d hoped, but we got lucky with the radio, made the most of our road trips, and had some great moments all over the Bay Area. In this post we’ll look at the 10 most memorable moments of the trip before we got to the wedding**.

*This is sort of unbelievable to me, as I still feel like I haven’t really been in California at all. I’d say our coastline trip earlier in the year down the 1 was the most California-feeling of all three, and Coachella was the least. This put us somewhere right in the middle.

**And on our way home.  

Top 10 Most Interesting Events Not at the Wedding

pushin el 1. Pushing Ellie around the grocery store in a car cart – After eating at a cute deli next door, Torrey suggested we duck into a grocery so she could pick up a few things and we could bond with Ellie by pushing her around the store and letting her steer the car. She was all about the steering, wildly turning the wheel side to side and we were happy to oblige, steering the actual cart wildly, narrowly avoiding knocking over end caps.  We probably annoyed some other patrons, but we definitely did not care.phoebs2. Meeting and holding squirmy baby cousin Phoebe June What an adorable, well behaved little kid, my new cousin is! Caitlin got on the floor to help Ellie line-up all her Cars and put them in Mack the Truck, while I held the two and a half month old. She’s very chill, smiley and loves watching her older sister play near her. While Ellie was far more hesitant to be picked up by strangers, Phoebe let a bearded guy she doesn’t know she’s related to pick her up and went with the flow. Was lovely to meet her. I definitely spent more of my time with El, helping her demolish and then recreate a puzzle map of the US (she’s WAY better at geography than I am currently), and helping her cast potions and 3-707317 3. Playing with Cars toys, looking at a Cars poster and to a lesser extent watching the Cars movie Cars pretty much dominates Ellie’s life. She only paused from playing with her Cars toys to look at her Cars poster and watch the movie for the umpteenth time. We had the movie on our to-watch list since it’s listed in Tom Hanks’ IMDB page. Turns out he only has two lines and both are after the credits. The movie itself is good, not great. Funny enough and a good message, but not a Pixar classic. Still, glad we got to watch it with the movie’s biggest fan. And play with some toys to connect with Lightning McQueen and friends. We have not yet decided if we’ll include Cars in our Tom Hanks Project, but we’re leaning no. Spoiler alert: We’re not including it.waffle 4. Waffle cones full of Hella Nutella at Scoop As much as we enjoyed the artesian pizza and drinks we had for dinner, the fresh made waffle cones full of “Hella Nutella” at Palo Alto’s microcreamy Scoop was the real winner. The ice cream was world class and there’s no smell and taste like a freshly made waffle cone. Caitlin wanted to go back before we left town. I sure did. Holy balls, was this ice cream delicious. We’d been chatting with our friends Brian and Allie all night, and this was the first thing that really shut us up. I had one scoop of Hella Nutella (best), and one of Bourbon Vanilla with Caramel (also best).BarRescuelogofinal 5. “Bar Rescue” in Palo Alto After dessert we met up with the wedding crew, who happened to be in Palo Alto. They went to a pretty lame spot that had a Sports bar meets cheap Nightclub vibe. What was especially odd was that they were making the transition from Sports Bar to Nightclub while we were there, with the help of 20 uniformed security guards subbing out all the sit-down tables for stand-up tables, removing plants and half ripping a TV off the wall. It was dumbfounding. Oh, well. I was happy to get a chance to buy the groom a drink, say hi and duck out of there. I still subscribe to Brian’s suggestion that this was actually a really lowball “Ocean’s Eleven” situation and they were actually stealing those giant plants for who knows what purpose. We couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the weekend.Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection-Front 6. Elton John vinyl and Conversations at Brian & Allie’s We walked back through Palo Alto, admiring the gigantic trees and headed back to Brian and Allie’s apartment for vinyl and conversation. Brian turned us on to Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection album and we ended the night with a side of McCartney’s Ram. It was nice to have a little more time to catch up and marvel at all the cool things in their apartment. The books organized by color, the hooks for mugs, (Caitlin help me remember more). Zack may have enjoyed some things in the apartment that are preventing him from remembering. Allie has an impressive collection of Charles Schultz/Peanuts memorabilia and comics, which I was definitely fond of, and even though the Bay area has little to no A/C inside its buildings, Allie and Brian were brilliant enough to buy fans for pretty much every room, so we were super comfortable on an unusually warm night. One conversation that lasted just about until we passed out was if anyone had ever thought to graph out where people land on the famous/crazy scale (we agreed, sadly, that Michael Jackson would probably be the end point on such a chart). Then I tried to throw myself into the adorable daybed and landed my ass swiftly on top of the wooden edge of the “day” part of this opened daybed. I still have an ugly bruise.bastille-pompeii 7. Bastille-filled radio road trips 15 months ago we were seeing Bastille in tiny venues at SXSW*. Now they’re playing them seven times in two days of driving around the Bay area. We didn’t have any CDs in my aunt’s car, and after she lost her wallet and we needed to drive back and forth to Oakland from Palo Alto, we had a lot of road trip radio shuffle to do. We somehow caught “Pompeii” five times and “Things We Lost in the Fire” twice. And we had to skip from station to station dozens of times, but we found a lot to sing along to. Where the hell is “Flaws,” California radio?! That’s the best one!!

*So tiny, in fact, they no longer exist! (RIP Club Deville). But long live Cheer-Up Charlies!sheraton-palo-alto-hotel 8. A dip in the pool at the hotel Somehow we haven’t been swimming together once yet this year, after swimming every weekend last year. It was nice to have about an hour to swim and relax in the pool before getting ready for the wedding. I swam back and forth underwater a few times and then we mostly just floated around. I knew it was time to get out when I watched a little boy wipe a bucket full (no exaggeration, sorry get ready to gag) of snot from his nose, look at it all on his hands like some disgusting, horrific spiderweb, and then just leap into the pool in an effort to rinse it off. TIME TO GET OUT AND THROW UP, APPARENTLY.rsz_crowded_bart__pride 9. The Pride BART We gave ourselves plenty of time to get to Oakland and on the BART to SFO. We didn’t factor in pride weekend. The first train came by and all we could do was wave it on along. It was packed to the gills and we had two backpacks and a stuffed large piece of luggage that was just not fitting. We waited 17 more minutes for the next train and decided we were getting on, come hell or high water. Well, it was hell. We were sardines for the next 25 minutes before it started clearing out. At least we had a smooth, direct flight ahead of us. WORST. I prefer NYC crowded subways any day.Singapore Airbus A380 10. Our plane’s mechanical issue I lied. Our flight was delayed for about 75 minutes with a mechanical failure and it was one of those fun delays where you’re already sitting on the runway when they find it, so we just sat there for a long ass time, being sweaty and wanting to be home with our Scooby. We did get a round of cranberry juice while we waited, but yeah it sucked. Plus, maybe it’s just me, but for me, when a captain is telling me that a computer that tells the plane what direction it should be steering in has broken, I’m pretty sure I’m not excited to continue to remain on that plane after they fix it in 10 minutes. GUUUUUURGGGHHH.

We did make it home safely and got a great reunion with our pup, so all in all it worked out. It was a fun weekend and we haven’t even gotten to the wedding yet, which we’ll dive into fully tomorrow. For all of my kvetsching, I had a really enjoyable time, and even the hurdles we had to jump were not at all bad. We arrived at the airport just in time, our captain on our flight really gave us a great play-by-play of the repair going on so we didn’t have to sit and wonder, and we spent some excellent time with friends and family. It was really a lovely trip.


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