Thursday, April 30, 2015

Disneyland (for Free!) on my Birthday

I woke up around 6:30, took a short shower, and packed.  Miraculously, I managed to fit everything in four bags (all five bottles of wine fit in my new bag bought for that purpose - win!).  I looked over the room one last time and went downstairs to check out.  Car loaded, I headed round the block to get back on Wilshire going west.  And hit my first LA traffic fustercluck.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Beaches and 'Farragut North'


I had the day planned out, as usual, but at a more leisurely pace.  I got up when I felt like it (around 9:30, mercifully still waking up on East Coast time despite going to bed at West Coast times).  I got my things together and headed off for the beach.  After managing to turn around on Wilshire Blvd by doing a loop on some residential streets to the north, I drove west toward Santa Monica. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Driving around L.A.


I set my alarm for 7:00, wanting to be sure I'd wake up in time to call Hertz to arrange for them to pick me up from the hotel (they'd been closed when I'd called the day before).  I woke up earlier and lay in bed, waiting for the alarm.  Eventually I got up - the alarm never worked anyway.  I called Hertz, and they told me I'd have to take a cab, but that they'd take it off my rental.  So I did, and got to the Hertz place, like, half an hour early.  The couple in front of me was returning their car for a smaller one, which had me nervous, but when it came my turn, I got a cute light blue Hyundai Accent.  It was small and had wonderfully responsive gas and breaks, which was great for city driving.  I made sure I knew where the hazard lights were, went over my route one more time and headed out for Pasadena.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Coast Starlight


Becky came in to wake me up at 7:00, but I'd been awake since 5:30, wondering how I was going to fit everything in my bags.  Miraculously, I managed it (gaining a bag, since my purse had been packed on the flight).  They drove me to Jack London Square, and waited while I got my ticket and checked my bags.  Then they waited for the train with me.  The train pulled into the station, and we said our goodbyes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Napa Valley Day-Trip


Saturday morning, we got a leisurely start. We left Berkley at about 10:00 AM and drove north toward Napa.  The countryside was pretty but stark - Becky says that in the winter, all the "golden" hills are green.  Reaching Napa, we got on the Silverado Trail.  We stopped at Soda Canyon Store and mulled over all the options - sandwiches or cheese, crackers, prosciutto, etc?  I ended up getting both, while Becky and David got sandwiches.  I tried calling Clos Du Val to see if we could reserve a picnic spot, but only reached a recording.  We headed down the road a few minutes and found the winery on the right. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cherry Blossoms in Bloom, Washington DC

Since this is my first spring back in Virginia, I wanted to make sure to catch one of the few DC "events" that people travel from all over the country - and world - to see. I checked the forecast for the blossoms and the weather frequently over the past week, attempting to figure out what the best morning would be. We'd had rainy weather off and on as the blossoms started to emerge, but the peak weekend was supposed to be gorgeous. The Saturday of the Cherry Blossom Parade is always ridiculous, so I made plans for Sunday morning. I got up at 4:30, drove to the nearest Metro station (free parking on weekends!), caught a train and got off at the Smithsonian stop. Even before 6:00 AM, there were plenty of other tourists exiting the station with me, most with much better cameras than my little Canon point-and-shoot. But what happened next was pretty amazing...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Golden Gate Bridge and Park

On Friday I got a late start, but managed to get into the city and to the corner where I was supposed to catch my bus with minutes to spare.  Unfortunately, the bus didn't leave from the corner, so went whizzing past while I was still trying to figure out if I was in the right place.  An hour later, after loads and loads of MUNI buses had passed, I'd asked two drivers for directions (one very helpful, one not), calls to MUNI and the Golden Gate bus whatever, I got on the bus headed out of town.  I got off at the Golden Gate Bridge, and was in a better mood almost instantly.