Summer 2011: An Epic Saga -- Episode 2, "Back to California"

Hey now, Philly, you street city
Been down by the railroad track
I know you can be a sweet city
But I won't soon be back
Haystack towns and smokestack cities
Are nothin' I want to see
My own house on high ground
Is the only place I want to be

So won't you carry me back to California
I've been on the road too long
Take me to the West Coast, daddy
And let me be where I belong

—Carole King

We drove from Provo to San Francisco to stay a couple days with Forrest and Naomi.  They were excellent hosts.  They shared their studio apartment with us (See?  Excellent.), showed us around their neighborhood, and Naomi told us the whole history of wine over an amazing homemade dinner.  Forrest makes the best food.  And he has the best girlfriend. 

The four of us went for a bike ride around the city.  Phil and I were going to rent bikes, and we decided to go with the tandem, because, hey—fun, right?  Only maybe the hills of San Francisco weren't the best testing grounds.  Needless to say, we had a little trouble keeping up with Forrest and Naomi on account of their regular, one-person bikes and bulging thigh muscles.  There probably isn't a better test of a relationship than riding a tandem up a steep hill in traffic.  It was a little touch and go there for a while, but we pulled through.
I don't know what Phil's whining about; I had an okay time.  My only complaint was that there was no one to feed me grapes and fan me with a large palm leaf. 

My Uncle David and his girlfriend Erin met up with us on our ride, and we convinced them to come up to my grandparents' house a few days later so we could all be there together. 
Alcatraz.  We would have gone, but it's apparently as hard to get into as it is to get out of.

My dad has been fishing out of San Francisco this summer, so we got to spend time with him and one of my favorite little doggies in the world, Bobbie.  We hung out on the Migrant, and Dad shared his fresh oysters with us (one of my favorite things, but not Phil's—more for me!).

Skipper and deckhand.

Our next stop was Healdsburg, where my dad's parents live.  Dad couldn't fish for a while, so he decided to come with us.  It was a struggle, but we piled all of our stuff back into the car, then stuffed my dad and his things into the backseat, and Bobbie rode on the floor at my feet.  

It was so wonderful to see my grandparents—we hadn't seen them since Phil and I got married in 2008.  We went for walks (Nana still leaves me in the dust), made lemonade and lemon bars from my Nana's homegrown Meyer lemons, and Nana and Grandpa took us out to Francis Ford Coppola's winery for a really scrumptious lunch.

When David and Erin got there, we took a long walk through the awesome cemetery behind Nana and Grandpa's house—lots of sunken graves and wooden markers and the like.  We also did a lot of this:
Erin was so much fun that we made her promise to come up to Brookings so we could all be there together (again).  She's really funny and she wrote a book about moving to Costa Rica (for which David took a lot of the pictures), and she even made a Costa Rica iphone app.  She's famous, and we like her very much.

Phil, my dad and I went canoeing up and then down a short stretch of the Russian River.  Bobbie did not like the kayak.  And, again, I could really have used some fresh fruit and fanning.  

Another highlight—Phil's first bingo!  Seriously.

It was a really full, really enjoyable visit, and we were sad to leave.  

But we did, anyway.  We (Philip, Dad, Bobbie, and I) piled back into the car and drove a couple more hours up to The Middle of Nowhere, CA, where Kevin and Becky live.  They are friends of my parents' from way back when (like, when my parents used to hang out together, or something—weird!), and they fed us the most delicious salmon.  Sorry if you wanted it; we ate the most delicious one. 
They also took us on a pretty hike through their wilderness and shared their wood-fired hot tub with us.  They've carved out a nice little spot in a picturesque part of California, and they manage to live off of solar and homemade hydro power.  I wish I could be more like them.

After Kevin and Becky's, we (just Phil and I, now) headed up the coast to Brookings, stopping only once so Philip could see some Roosevelt Elk.

We didn't get to stop to say hi to the redwoods.  I miss them.

I'm not even done writing about our trip, yet.


  1. Love it! Sometime we will need to play scrabble with you guys. Or Boggle. House rules include a 'dirty word bonus'.

  2. Eek, everything looks super fun. Good blogging indeed.