The final week of freedom

June 14th, 2010. California

Today is Nik’s final day of freedom before starting his new job, and to celebrate, we are both working on blog posts that document our final week together (you can see Nik’s here: Wine Country & Creepy Drifter Encampment: The last post before I return to the Salt Mines)! I have a feeling that this was the last job-free week we will have together in town for quite a while, and as you will see, we did our best to make the most of it.

One morning, after breakfast, we looked outside and were kind of depressed because the fog San Francisco is known for had taken over our neighborhood. We could barely see the buildings across the street, but decided to take a little road trip anyways. We threw some edible odds and ins into a backpack, and headed north. Muir Woods National Monument (about 12 miles north of town) was our destination.

Looking back towards town from Sausilito as we escape the fog

Once we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, the fog began to dissipate, the temperature started to rise, and by the time we made it to Muir Woods, it was a beautiful day!

We parked the scooter around 10:30am, and the closest parking lot to the entrance still had a few empty spots. By the time we returned around 1:00pm after our 4.1 mile stroll, the two closest parking lots were full and cars were lined up for quite a while along the road leading to the monument. The moral of the story: arrive early!!!

The entrance to Muir Woods National Monument

A fallen redwood with Nik's profile for scale

A new sprout near the base of a 100 year old tree

Most of our stroll was in Mt. Tamalpais State Park, which has an extensive hiking trail network with several trailheads off of the Muir Woods Monument boardwalk. So if we go back, we will probably just hike through Mt. Tam…it consists of the same amazing trees and the trails aren’t manicured. My favorite part of the day was seeing the young redwood sprouts everywhere. Sure, I enjoy seeing 100+ year-old trees, but seeing 100+ year-old trees right next to 10-day-old trees is pretty amazing!

The canopy

Driving along coastal Highway 1 watching the fog roll in to the south

As always, we stopped to take photos pretty often, and this photo of Nik next to the scooter with his helmet still on reminded me of the road trips we would take in Chiang Mai. In fact, seeing this photo made me realize how similar the past month has been to the days we had in Thailand. Wake up, have breakfast, browse the internet, go on an adventure, eat lunch, browse the internet some more, walk to the local market to pick up fresh fruit, have an afternoon coffee, go on a walk, make dinner, browse the internet, go to sleep. It sounds pretty boring, but these are the days together that I love most. We have been doing exactly what we want to do on our time. We won’t always have this luxury!!

Nik taking photos along Hwy 1 in Mt. Tamalpais State Park, California

Nik taking photos in Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand

One day, we had planned to spend the day on Angel Island. To make the first ferry over, we had to wake up at 7:45am. When the alarm went off, we decided not to wake up. So we slept in, and then rented a car to take a drive through Sanoma & Napa Valleys. Again, it was foggy and cold in the city, but as soon as we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, the sky cleared and the temperature rose. The drive was beautiful, we had a picnic lunch next to grape vines, we drove up to the Sanoma County Dump and then stopped at a random winery in Napa for a tasting.

We made it home just before sunset and watched as the fog continued to roll in across the bridge.

One of many vineyards in Napa

Fog creeping through the Bay

We did spend a couple days pretty close to home running errands and being domestic. Over the course of the week, we have made meatloaf, french toast, biscuits, butterscotch brownies, strawberry lemonade,  grilled salmon and chicken enchiladas. We have also eaten at least three picnic lunches, brewed at least 10 pots of coffee and eaten at least 4lbs of strawberries. We have also played tennis twice, thrown a frisbee for a couple hours, feather kicked to Nik’s heart’s content and are both nearing the end of our books.

Pedestrian Crossing

Homemade biscuits!!!

Wind swept clouds

Our favorite shady spot at Crissy Field

We have also hit up our favorite coffee spots. One being Angelina’s on 24th & California, and the other being the Warming Hut. Our Warming Hut afternoon was especially exciting because a little fisherman caught a huge fish!! There was quite a commotion because his line got tangled with another one while he was reeling his catch in, and the rival fisherman was boisterous and kept telling everyone what to do. Then as soon as the fish was on the beach, the little fisherman scurried away quietly and continued his daily routine!!

A Fisherman and his catch (notice the fish jumping out of the water to the left)

He proudly walks away as we cheer and watch

Then another day, we drove down to Fort Funston in hopes of seeing hang gliders flying in the wind. The weather conditions were perfect, but I guess there aren’t many people hang gliding on a Thursday afternoon. Oh well. We did get to walk around in the sand dunes while watching dogs play and sea foam fly as the waves crashed in.

Nik summoning the sea foam to swirl around

Nik plowing sea foam on the beach hoping that it will take flight

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

Today, Nik requested a low-key day, and we have had a low-key day. We took a walk through the neighborhood to Sutro Heights Park this morning, where Nik discovered a secret garden filled with overgrown plants and hobo possessions. On the way back, we stopped at a Hong Kong-style cafe specializing in dim sum on Balboa & 33rd that transported us back to Shanghai. So really, today we saw the best of both worlds…fantastic Asian food AND fantastic American scenery!!

A typical Richmond home

Deteriorating wood uncovered during construction

rolston hauls has the best hand painted moving vans in town!


Today's sky at the top of our hill

Ocean Beach from Sutro Heights Park

The secret (read: abandoned) garden

Dead limbs covered with some kind of orange tree mold or fungus

Now we are home for the evening, enjoying each others company while browsing, writing, playing, eating, drinking, cooking and watching our neighbors.

At home

One note: The table and chairs we are seated at was recently found at the Alameda flea market, and is our very first furniture purchase together!!! It is also the largest furniture purchase either of us has ever made, and even though it has only been ours for a week, I hope that we will have it for a very long time. It is solid teak and marked “Made in Denmark”. The table has built in extensions that come out on either side to seat six or more. The upholstery isn’t in the best shape, but is probably original and will eventually need to be replaced. Regardless, it is fantastic and perfect as our work table that will occasionally be used as a dining table!!

A reminder to go to Nik’s blog post because he takes better photos than me and he writes better than me:

Wine Country & Creepy Drifter Encampment: The last post before I return to the Salt Mines

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