Friday, 24 September 2010

San Fran-bloody tastic

Up early but already a hot day so we headed for one last dip in the pool before hitting the road again. This was the final leg of our journey toward San Francisco and we were excited to meet up with Jus, Lee, Jack and Katelyn and Seren (the dog).
To celebrate, we stopped in Sacramento for breakfast. On advice from the web we chose the Fox & Goose. You might think that sounds like the name of a British Pub – you’d be right. But reviews were all good so we entered. What we found was a fairly good attempt at a brit themed pub but maybe a bit too… British. But the reviews were accurate and the food lovely. One of us had bacon and eggs, the other fruit and yoghurt and stuff (I’ll let you guess which was which).
By now we were fairly accustomed with travelling long distances so the last 100 miles were easily covered in our wonder-van. The few miles to our new home were slightly trickier as the sat-nav and I entered into a heated debate about who exactly was right… it turns out he actually had a fairly good idea of where he was going but just didn’t explain himself very well.
Never mind, we eventually arrived at the Sheridan household and it was so lovely to see Jus and the young ones (Lee still working). We had so much to catch up with, home life, our travels, Jus’ life as a mother of 2, last time we saw her she was a new mother of 1, and now there is little Katelin, who took an instant love to myself, she’s only human after all.
It was so very lovely to feel settled instantly, just fitting into whatever was going on. Jus had lots of books and maps which made our planning easier. We’d decided to venture in San Francisco town the following day. Lee arrived home that evening and we decided an Indian take away was in order, something we hadn’t had since leaving Ruislip, and we miss those Indian meals……uuummmm India food….sorry you lost me there, so yes had a lovely evening eating and drinking. Jus & Lee had put us upstairs in the penthouse area of the house, as we would be furthest away from the little people and they have a very comfy sofa bed, quite frankly being able to stand up to go to bed was a novelty after Jeremy sleeping, not a lot of standing room in there. A good night sleep, Katy got up and headed out for her run with her GPS, an hour or so later a sweaty hot Katy arrived back, saying it was hot out and hilly, and looking slightly crazed.
After breakfast Jus dropped us off at the BART (the train) telling us it would be chilly in San Fran and to make sure we had enough layers on, so our first BART journey was fun, some great people watching, our favorite was a blind lady who had what can only be called a voodoo hat on, with dead stuff and feathers etc but no dog, ok maybe she was partially sighted but you’d know if you’d put a dead thing on your head, so we came to the conclusion she was just extravagant in her millinery choice!
When we got our stop off we got and Oh My God! It was so cold, what were we thinking wearing shorts for crying out loud. The sky was grey and it was blowing a gale, who’d of thought that in only a few miles the weather can change so rapidly, well Jus that’s who. So we marched down to the waterfront to book our trip to Alcatraz, as tourists it is our duty to do as many touristy things we can, so rocking up at the counter to book we we’re informed that the next boat was on Wednesday, not too bad until he told us it was the 3rd Wednesday in August, now at the time it was still July, so alas Alcatraz will have to wait until next time. We could see the famous prison, the rock; as they call it, and that’s as far as we’re gonna get, it does look quite impressive. Carrying on along the water front we saw some great sights a tour a San Fran water front on Segways, which looked very dorky and not cool, no matter what the literature says! We went down to pier 39 where we saw lots of harbor seals just hanging out on the deck, a very funny sight to see, and a tad stinky too. By now we are both somewhat freezing and track down a nice little Italian place and had something hot to eat while we walked the streets of San Francisco, I must say all that up and down keeps you warm, it was just like being in a movie, we kept expecting a car chase to come flying over one of the roads, but alas just the odd tram, which also looked very cool, if packed full of tourists, (we didn’t get onboard looked far too much like the central line at rush hour! ) So after a chilly day we headed back to Pleasant Hill, and the Sheridan’s. Jus came and picked us up, and it was once again really hot. Next time we go in it’s going to be long trousers and layers.
Now our time with the family Sheridan was an education for both of us, it meant we got to hang out with little people most of the day, and you know they’re hard work and a tad needy, but quite fun at times too. Jack is trying to talk but would mainly say,” hoy diddly toy toy toy!” and Katelin is eager to move on her own accord but just now she’s more of a watcher than a player. Jus is a great mum, seeing her juggle children, husband, dog and guests was an eye opener. We tried to help out as much as we could, I put on my chef hat and started baking bread, much to everyone’s delight as the bread in the US isn’t great. The recipe has been give to Jus who probably just needs the time to be able to actually get round to make it. Katy tried to have conversations with Jack but neither of them were getting anywhere……
So we ventured into to San Fran again this time to hire bikes and bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, this time long trousers and layers, ready for the San Fran weather to be greeted with blazing sunshine when we exited the BART, ho hum, so an up and down hike to the bike shop, the one Maurice had put on our hand drawn map from Courtney, Blazing Saddles it is, we got our bikes, not quite the Moab mountain bikes but they did have a handy bag on the front for our stuff. Off we went on a lovely bike ride, and only a few up hills, along the water front passing the Rock and Wind Surf competition going on, very cool. Then onto the bridge passing the lovely lady who wanted to pray for me, I said I was fine and really didn’t need a prayer, Katy came along and got the same invitation with the come back, “no thanks, I’ve just put one out” and peddled away. So over the bridge we go, and it’s a windy bridge but a great view of the city. On the other side we treated ourselves to an ice-cream, we’d just missed the very full ferry on that hour so would have to hang around for another hour. Not so bad, good view, nice weather and ice-cream, happy man :) Dropped the bikes back and got on the BART back to “home”. Our culinary time in the US of A had been varied, Katy trying to get us eating healthy but there are so many good foods here, and Lee took it on himself to show me best of the fast food franchises and pizza places, what could I do I was a guest in his house, it would have been rude to turn him down, so now I have the knowledge that Jack in the Box makes great Oreo Milk shakes (Carls Junior apparently have the best burgers but haven’t got there yet), i’m sitting on the fence when it comes to Pizza’s, Lee’s favourite, Round Table was an experience and a good pizza but nothing to write home about, (although I am!!) Lee has introduced us to Tritip and Carne Asada both a meaty feast, and very delicious, thanks Mr Sheridan.
It was also about this time that we experienced another first: I happened to mention to Lee that our to-do list included going to a drive-in movie and he pointed out that there was a pretty good one just a few miles down the road (though his actual words were “It used to be pretty rough but I think its OK now – let me know how it goes”). So as early evening approached we headed down to what is essentially a big car park and waited…We had decided that as a realexperience we had to experince the food, Katy was hoping for a salad or something not "beige" what she actually got was a pretzel while I had a Polish Hotdog with the works and we got a bucket of popcorn, ready to go. Although already filling up, we found a perfect spot right in front of the screen. Once it got sufficiently dark the first movie started and we tuned in the stereo in the van to the FM signal… instant movie (though not quite THX surround sound)! First movie of the night was Despicable Me after which several car full of young ones left, this was followed by Inception, so not a bad couple of films for our first drive-in. As they didn’t start until gone 9:00pm, we didn’t make it back ‘home’ until around 2:00am… good job we’ve got nothing else to do the next day, eh?! Less fortunate were those many drivers who had flattened their batteries during the performance and ended-up running around asking fellow movie goers for jump-leads. We fired up the rocket and rolled out of there feeling ever-so-slightly smug.
We thought we’d only be staying for a couple of days but ended up staying for 2 weeks and it was so hard to leave, but the time we had with the family was so lovely, just nice to be settled for a while. We had our last weekend up in Chico,which is 157 miles away from Pleasant Hill, it's a lovely town, full of college kids, and river running through it, we stayed in the family house, a big house, ideal for small people to run around, although it was even hotter up there than in Pleasant Hill. I was helping Lee do some work on another property he has, mainly demolishing a kitchen and bathroom (when I say ‘help’ I actually mean that I watched as various items were sledge-hammered into submission). Katy found the park and was off running early before the heat hit, luckily it was very shaded with trees apparently! The first morning we went to the lovely farmers market, where I got breakfast burrito and Jus got a back massage, Katy hung out with Jack and the weirdest thing we saw the strange "blind" lady with another crazy hat, small world or what?!? Katy & Jus later went off to find a sausage shop that Mr Jerem had found online, and a big thank you as they were indeed a fabulous sausage. The following day we went out for breakfast at a lovely place called Moms, where we had a huge meal good to see us through the day.(as you can tell food is very important to our trip at this point)
On our way back we headed into an adventure sport shop where Lee and I eyed up a pair of leather flip flops, Jus agreed they are the best ones as she had had a pair for years, well until Seren ate one, (bad dog!) later we went back and did a deal with the chap and got us each a pair, thanks again Lee, I owe you for those, invite to Ruislip is still open for you :)
Also you may or may not have noticed that through this trip so far may have let the hair go as it were, just seeing how long it would get before I looked too much like an 80’s rocker and the time had come when my fringe was sticking to my forehead in the heat and it was getting very hot around the collar literally! So I was taken to what can only be the best barbers ever. Both Jack and I went for a cut, Lee and Katy came along as support for both of us, Jus got to have some quite time with the little lady and the dog. Now this place is awesome as you go in they have bar where you can get good glass of chilled beer, and then you get sat down chatted too, and scalped. Jack was a star, just for the record he wasn’t drinking, the nice lady Sierra, asked what I wanted I tried to explain that it had been awhile and it needed a good hack and off she went, clippers in hand and a big comb and I was transformed into what Katy called a new husband :)
oh the delight of not having hair on your neck or forehead, and a cold beer, I was one happy man, now only one lady wasn’t so pleased and that was Katelin it took her a while to figure out who I was again, but with smiles and charm she came round, like I said only human!
And then it was time to move on again; too many things to see and do. After some last minute laundry and a teary farewell we loaded up the van and left for pastures new… Thank you The Sheridans for making us feel so at home and looking after us so well - we miss you all!


  1. Excellent account, as usual!! I am so-o-o enjoying your voyage! Now - on to the Galapagos!!

  2. lovely blog! glad you're making the most of eating your way round tim! look forward to hearing about all your worldly culinary experiences! much love xxxx

  3. Loving the adventure, you both look and sound so happy and relaxed (even after having to eat beige food!). Keep on trucking and I look forward to the next installment. Lots of love Mrs H x

  4. Sausages and leather flip flops, heaven I'd say! Tip top adventures, shame you didn't get to 'The Rock', next time maybe?