To the Bay Area and back again

So last week we were in the Bay Area visiting family. Prior to this our mechanic was complaining about how we don’t drive our cars enough which can lead to problems. So instead of flying we decided to drive up there. We had a pleasant ride up and after a couple of days of jet lag caused by living with little children and being forced to their schedule I got a fair amount of work done at random coffee houses around where they live. Paris Baguette Cafe was definitely my favorite out of the bunch.

During this trip I also met up with a college friend whom I hadn’t been in contact with for about 20 years. It’s surprising how familiar a person can feel despite a long block of time passing. She has a doctorate, has two kids, but despite that it was almost like going back in time. I’d forgotten she has a penchant for saying the word, “Dude” a lot. Well worth the effort of driving a little to meet up.

On the way back we decided to visit San Luis Obispo to visit Hearst Castle. I’d been there back when I was kid, but I don’t remember anything other than it being a very long drive. I’d forgotten that it’s not actually a castle. They do have a nice forty minute film that talks about William Hearst and why he built it and such. I was expecting a snoozefest, but it was actually quite interesting! Go see the movie if you happen to be visiting!

My favorite part of this place: the pool!

Afterwards we stayed at the famous Madonna Inn. It’s a hotel with 110 differently themed rooms. Through the power of Yelp, we discovered a restaurant called the Firestone Grill, specializing in Tri-tip sandwiches. It was amaze-a-balls. The steak was tender, the sauce was sweet and tangy, and the bread was buttered and toasted to delicious perfection. Well worth stopping in for if you happen to be in that area! Afterwards we walked around town for a bit and then headed back to the hotel where I swam in their heated pool for a bit then called it a night.

Our room was in this building
This tasted about a billion times better than it looked.

My uncle on my dad’s side lives in nearby Santa Maria, so we popped in there for brunch. I got to meet a couple of his grandkids who I’ve only been aware of because of Facebook. I think of my dad’s side of the family as a bunch of lone wolves because they’re all spread out far enough from each other that it takes some effort to visit each other. But maybe that’s why when visits do happen it’s so satisfying.

I’m back home now and it’s the pollenacolypse here. My sneezing has increased considerably, and shortly after waking up I had a coughing fit. Time to vacuum and snort nasal spray.

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