PrologueLast year, Craig visited California with friends. He went to Yosemite, San Francisco, and even saw the elusive Tom Waits perform in Oakland. Although we had done some road trips together, we had never flown somewhere together. When my semester was over, we decided to take a trip to California together. Our dear friends Andy and Iris Ann had invited us to their home in Sunnyvale, which we would use as a home base in addition to exploring other parts of the area.
5/16/97- ArrivalWe flew in to San Jose on Craig's birthday. We left Boston at 5:30 p.m., and arrived in San Jose around 9:00 p.m. Our friends Andy and Iris Ann picked us up at the airport, and drove us back to their house in Sunnyvale. Because of the time difference, Craig got an extra three hours of birthday!
5/17/97 - San FranciscoWe woke up at 7:30 a.m. and Iris Ann made us a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and cinnamon apple coffee cake.
Andy and Iris Ann drove us into San Francisco for the day. It was 94 degrees, which was a record-breaking temperature. The sun was shining and the skies were blue. We ate turkey club sandwiches on the deck of the Eagle Cafe.
We took the 12:45 ferry to Alcatraz. Craig had been there on a previous trip, but I never had. It was amazing. The audio tour was very informative. We really enjoyed the tour. The creepiest part occurs when you enter the cells for solitary confinement. The island itself is actually quite pretty, with lots of wildflowers growing on it.
After taking the ferry back to the mainland, we wandered around Pier 39 for a while. We saw the street performers dancing like robots and then standing still like statues. I bought a nesting doll in a shop called Perestroika.
After that, we walked up the Embarcadero to Ghirardelli Square. We sat on a bench for a while and got some maps at the information center. Then we went back to Pier 39 and did some shopping, buying lots of Ghirardelli chocolate.
We walked back to the car, and on the way back to Andy and Iris Ann's house we took 101 and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. We saw the linear accelerator which, strangely enough, spans the San Andreas Fault.
We ate dinner at the Acapulco, which is near Andy and Iris Ann's house. Craig had enchiladas and I had a beef quesadilla. We had huge margaritas, and I had chocolate chip cheesecake for dessert. We got back to the house around 9:00, and sat up talking until a little after 11.
5/18/97 - SunnyvaleToday we awoke to a breakfast of grapefruit, bacon, and biscuits. It was Sunday and we spent the day relaxing and visiting with Andy and Iris Ann.
We ate a variety of cheeses and pate with crackers for lunch, along with olives, carrots, and pickles. They are wonderful people and wonderful hosts. We had great conversations all day. Andy showed us some of his impressive collections.
Andy drove us to the San Jose airport to pick up our rental car (red Cavalier).
As Andy and Craig's birthdays are close to one another, Iris Ann made a birthday cake, and we had a cookout with her son Eric and his wife Crystal. We had chicken, French fries cooked on the grill, and Caesar salad. After chatting for quite a while after dinner, we went to bed.
5/19/97 - Big SurWe ate a breakfast of cereal and toast (with Knotts Berry jelly...love that stuff!) and then said goodbye to Iris Ann at around 9:30 as we headed out on our own for a few days.
We stopped at an Asian supermarket for supplies. There was a bit of confusion between "ice" and "rice", but we eventually got it straightened out, and we were officially on the road by 10:00.
We stopped in Monterey at around 11. We parked and did some shopping. We walked down towards Fisherman's Wharf. We saw many seals right underneath us. We ate lunch at the Bahama sandwich shop (turkey and provolone). At Cannery Row we were locked into a gift shop when the woman decided to go to lunch and forgot that we were there!
Seals at Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey
We exited 17 Mile Drive at Carmel Gate and went to the beach at Carmel. We walked around and browsed in several shops before driving further down Big Sur. We stayed at the Big Sur River Inn, where we ate a nice romantic dinner. Craig had prime rib and garlic potatoes, and I had baby back ribs and onion rings. We had a quick scare when we thought we had lost our credit card, but Craig found it in the car.
5/20/97 - Big Sur, San Simeon, FresnoAfter breakfast at the River Inn (Craig had a ham and cheese omellete and I had scrambled aggs, toast, home fries, and bacon), we continued down Big Sur.
We stopped at Pfieffer Beach, which was very difficult to find. There is a well-hidden road which leads to it, and the road is only one lane, so you need to pull over if there is oncoming traffic. It was gorgeous, though! There were huge rocks with window-like holes through which the waves splashed.
At one point during the drive, we saw an 18-wheeler thant had tumbled off the road into a ravine. We saw sea lions as we headed toward San Simeon. I was also quite fascinated by the fact that cows were grazing right next to the ocean. I guess it isn't really so weird; but it seemed it to me, and it led to lots of inside jokes.
We took the 2:20 p.m. tour of Hearst Castle. It was quite interesting, and we had a guided tour. The pool area had been drained due to some renovations that were going on, so we got some rare photos of a drained pool. Of course, the indoor pool was still full, and it was just gorgeous.
We all went out to dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery that night. I had spinach and three cheese ravioli with herb and cheese bread, and a bay breeze. Craig had a chicken enchilada and some beer.
Heidi generously let us stay at her place. She was great hostess and we are very grateful.
5/21/97 - YosemiteAfter a wonderful breakfast at Irene's in Fresno (we each had scrambled eggs, home fries, and bacon), we drove on 41N to Oakhurst. We stopped at Von's market for a 2-hour grocery expedition, as we would have a kitchenette in our condo for the next couple of days, and planned on making all of our own meals.
We arrived at Yosemite National Park shortly before 2 pm. We were staying at a condo at Yosemite's Four Seasons Vacation Rentals. Upon entering the park we ate a lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches and Doritos in a picnic grove.
Nothing compares to the view that you are presented with when you emerge from the tunnel: Half Dome, El Capitan...it was breathtaking. We stopped at Bridal Veil Falls, which was just beautiful. The mist really did look like a veil. We drove around the valley floor, stopping and getting out of the car to see the gorgeous views.
At one particular point (a green field with a view of Yosemite Falls), Craig got out of the car. I was getting tired and said that I could see it from the car. He kept pushing the issue and I couldn't understand why. Eventually I got out and the two of us sat on a fence looking at the falls. Just then a troop of Boy Scouts walked by. Craig seemed to be getting exasperated. It seemed to take them forever to pass, since there was one straggler who couldn't keep up with the rest of the troop. Come to find out that the reason he wanted to be alone was that he wanted to propose to me! He had been to Yosemite before, and had though that would be the perfect spot to propose. He had been planning it since we planned this trip, and it was a total surprise to me. He had even asked my parents' permission!
I was speechless, but after I realized he was indeed asking what I thought he was asking, I accepted. We watched the sun wane behind the mountains, and sat watching climbers go up the face of El Capitan.
Just engaged at Yosemite Falls
We made a dinner of chicken, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, and didn't finish eating until 11:30 pm! The condo had free videotapes you could borrow. We took A Fish Called Wanda, but fell asleep as soon as we put it on.
5/22/97 - YosemiteWe woke up and ate a leisurely breakfast of Frosted Flakes, coffee cake, oj, and tea.
We drove up to Glacier Point around lunchtime. This was the first day of the season that the road was open, due to snow. The view to the valley floor was gorgeous, even though the weather was sort of gray. We ate PopTarts up there (we forgot the rolls for the sandwiches we had intended), and tried to keep the squirrels at bay.
We cooked steaks on the grill at the condo for supper, along with peas, herb potatoes, and gravy.
We stopped at Yosemite Lodge, and happened upon a movie about two people who climbed El Capitan (one of whom was a paralyzed ranger). The non-paralyzed member of the duo was there, and gave a speech after the movie. It was very interesting.
It was the night of the full moon, so we took a moonlight tram ride around the valley floor. The skies cleared up and the view was amazing. They gave us blankets (it was quite chilly) and served hot chocolate. We could see the headlamps of the climbers on El Capitan through the darkness.
5/23/97 - SunnyvaleThe next morning it was drizzly and became full-fledged rain soon after. We made ham and cheese omelettes, English muffins, and orange jiuce for breakfast. We drove around the valley floor one last time and then drove out on rt 120. We drove through Chinese Camp, and stopped by a lake to eat ham and cheese sandwiches in the car.
We arrived back in Sunnyvale, happy to get away from Yosemite before the Memorial Day crowds arrived. We ate pork chops and rice with salad and bread.
We spent the evening with Andy and Iris Ann in the hot tub, which was quite relaxing. Then we had a dessert of apple pie and ice cream, and talked until 11:30.
5/24/97 - Half Moon BayThe next morning we ate scrambled eggs with cheese, English muffins, and oj for breakfast. Andy and Iris Ann drove us to Half Moon Bay. We bought sandwiches at a convenience store/deli and ate it on the rocks at James Fitzgerald Marine Preserve. We walked among the rocks on the beach and found shells, rocks, and starfish.
We then drove to a state beach and walked around there. On the way back to Sunnyvale we stopped at Santa Cruz, and then spent the rest of the day at Andy and Iris Ann's house.
We ate cheese and crackers with nachos and salsa. I took a nap and awoke for a dinner of hamburgers and onions. We had brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert.
5/25/97 - San FranciscoWe had cereal and bagels for breakfast. Our friend Tom was visiting California for the long weekend, and would be in San Francisco for the night, so we drove our rental car up to the city.
Craig and I went to Golden Gate Park to the Japanese Tea Gardens. We had an ice cream bar for lunch. We drove to Lombard St., but it was way too crowded. People's cars were overheating from idling so long, so we turned arond.
We drove to North Beach, parked the car, and wandered around. We were supposed to meet Tom at an appointed time, and were wandering around Chinatown beforehand when we saw him driving down the street! We went with him to his hotel room, where we announced our engagement.
We went out with Tom and his Fresno friends to the House of Nanking for dinner. They have amazing Chinese food, and an interesting ambiance. It is very small and you often end up sitting with people you don't know. They said that we were ordering "too much beef", and they would not let us order that. They said they would bring something we would like. We were a bit skeptical, but they were right! We ate Nanking checken, Nanking shrimp, chicken chow mein, beef, soup, chicken fried rice, and white rice.
We then went to the San Francisco Brewing Company for drinks. We went to the City Lights Bookstore and had drinks at Vesuvio's next door. I wasn't hungry in the least after all of the Nanking food, but some people were, so we went to a pizza place before driving back to Andy and Iris Ann's.
5/26/97 - Big BasinWe ate cereal and Pop Tarts for breakfast. Andy and Iris Ann took us to Big Basin to see the redwoods. The trees were amazing. There were some that had fallen, and you don't really get a proper idea of just how massive they are until you stand next to a fallen tree. We ate hot dogs and chips there.
We then went back to Sunnyvale and took a dip in the hot tub. We got to watch hummingbirds fighting with one another.
Andy and Iris Ann took us to the Duke of Edinburgh in Cupertino for British cuisine. It was very good. Craig had fish and chips with vinegar and a Harp's beer. I had a beef and onion pie with chips and a mudslide.
We went back to the house for more hot tubbing, where we saw more hummingbirds. And and Iris Ann's backyard is beautiful, with a lawn and a gorgeous garden. We then went inside and watched Wallace and Gromit The Wrong Trousers for the very first time. We were hooked!
5/27/97 - DepartureAfter a lovely trip, we returned home as a newly engaged couple. We immediately started planning the wedding, set for August 1, 1998.
Iris Ann and Andy
Bixby Creek Bridge
Liza, Craig, John, Kim, Margaret, Heidi, Steph, and Dan at Rock Bottom Brewery
Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite
Picnic at James Fitzgerald Marine Preserve, Half Moon Bay
Japanese Tea Gardens, Golden Gate Park
Redwoods at Big Basin