Thursday, October 25, 2007

San Fransisco Trip! (#55 and 56)

Last Friday I flew to San Jose to visit my little sis for the weekend. She graduated this last May and almost immediately landed a job and moved to San Jose. It was one of those things where we were all thinking, "yeah, sure, go interview with that company, that's great!" and then one day she told me she had taken their offer and was moving to California in one week's time. My entire life, I have never lived more than 3.5 hours drive from her, and for the last 5 years, she'd been closer than 30 minutes.

As I flew down over San Jose and saw the vast expanse of yellow lights stretching into the night, I was couldn't believe that my baby sister lived here all by herself. She had had the courage to leave everything and everyone she'd ever known behind and go somewhere new to strike out on her own. I had never thought of her as so independent before, and I was amazed and impressed that she had done that which I don't even know I would have had the courage to do. She grew up in my mind's eye in that moment.

The weekend was a whirlwind of awesome California/San Fransisco tourism. Our first stop (I was famished!) was at the iconic In & Out Burger.

The next morning we got up bright and early (ok, really it was 9, which isn't so early, but it WAS bright!) and headed out for San Fransisco. After parking in a $30 all-day lot (yikes!), we took a tour of the harbor, out under the golden gate bridge and around Alcatraz. This is where I tackled #55!

Alcatraz looked pretty ominous. I would love to go on a tour of it someday. The spiel that the boat captain gave contained lots of interesting tidbits, including the fact that the incinerator also heated the bakery. ewww.

After the tour we explored Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, discovering the sea lion den, great clam chowder, and the world's best cinnamon/sugar mini donuts. (Sorry, but the last two items on that list mysteriously vanished before I was able to create photographic evidence of their existence...)

We then toured the town on the trolley cars, where I was almost kicked off for simply doing the most natural thing in the world on a San Fransisco trolley car...hanging off the side and giving people high fives. The hills were impressive--I'm not sure I would ever want to do a race in San Fransisco!

We finished our day at Lombard Street, the world's "crookedest" road. Katie drove it like a champ! (That's her in the car right in front--yes, I was in the car with her, but I jumped out and ran down the last curve so that I could get this shot.)

The next day, we woke up bright and early (same meaning as before) and took a 2-hour hike through some gorgeous mountains. Apparently locals call them "hills," but clearly they are mistaken. My calves don't suffer for days after hills!! Come on, does that look like a hill to you?? Check out that incline!

The gorgeous place my sister lives. From our vantage point on the MOUNTAIN:

We're looking good, even after that grueling hike!!

On my flight back home Sunday night, we flew over the California wildfires. The sight was eerie, not only because of the brightness of the flames in the inky darkness, but also because of the street lights mixed in with the fire.

It was a great trip, and an amazing way to check #56 off my list! I miss you, sister!!

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