Friday, August 15, 2008

There's More to Conference Than Workshops

So, as much as I was complaining about how long the week was, Friday still managed to sneak up on me. I've been distracted by silliness, as usual, and managed to leave work on Thursday without having penned my post. I almost never do that.

Instead of something insightful, I thought I'd share some pictures from San Francisco. I'm using ones from the tourist days since so many of the conference pictures have already made the rounds. Conference is great, of course, but its always nice when its someplace cool so you can build some vacation into it as well. Instigator, PM and I managed to cram a couple days worth of siteseeing into our trip. Honorary Playfriends Lynn and Kathy went along with us for some of the trip too. We hit all the high spots - Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Redwoods, and of course, wine country. Couldn't forget wine country.

First, my favorite picture. We landed on Alcatraz just around sunset. I froze my rear end off getting this shot and had to fight this guy who seemed to be all elbows (at least his elbows were in half my pictures). I think it was worth it. We weren't able to see the bridge from our hotel, so this was really my first good view of it. Later we got to drive across it, so that was cool, too.


Despite Alcatraz being ever so slightly creepy, its always hard to stay serious with my friends. This shot was taken in the cells of the psych ward. Notice all the clothing. We were freezing. Do you know how hard it is to find coats and gloves and such in Alabama in the summertime? You'd better have them already or you're in trouble. I've had this problem the last few summers - I've gone to San Francisco, Scotland and Alaska. All cold. All problems to shop for. I know...wah...you got to go cool places and be cold. It just seems to be a trend of mine, lately.


The next day, we took a spiffy tour that went to the Muir Woods (small redwood forest near SFO), to several wineries, a cheese factory, then a quick stop for pictures of the bridge on the way back. It was a very cool day. What I remember of it, at least. We ate breakfast at the hotel early, then didn't eat again until about 2. Unfortunately, we stopped at 2 wineries before lunch. Wine on an empty stomach just went straight to my head. Woo. The tour guide must've thought I was a lightweight. Or an idiot. Either way, we were the rowdy girls crammed into the back of the van.

Anyway, before the drinking, came the forest. It was very cool. Unfortunately we had to really book it to make it all the way through and back and we almost didn't get to buy our little redwood trees to bring home. I stood in line with everyone's stuff while Instigator went back to the van to make sure Mitch (our guide) didn't leave us.

Here's all of us at the 2nd winery of the day. This was toward the end of the tasting so I can assure you that several of us (excluding PM) were feeling GOOD. It was a beautiful day out.

Sonoma is pretty country. Its no wonder that so many women choose to get married at wineries (both my CA friends are/did). The first winery we visited was the recreation of an Italian villa. It was absolutely gorgeous. Why are there no Tuscan Villas in Alabama? I'd get married there...


Well, we had a great time in San Francisco. I wish we'd gotten to see more. There was just so much to see and do and not enough time. I think I would like to go back one day. I think my favorite part of the trip was riding the Cable Car down to Fisherman's early in the morning before the crowds and eating sourdough french toast at Boudin's. Or should I say eating Instigator's french toast. I had my own sourdough panini. In a close second would have to be the tour of Sonoma. That was just fun. Plus I got some awesome chocolate coconut gelato at the cheese factory. :)


If you went to conference, what was your favorite part of the trip? (Either conference related, or just fun stuff). If not, what has been your favorite trip and what did you like best? I need to start deciding what's next on my overburdened itinerary...
SP

21 comments:

MaryF said...

No conference yet, but I am happily living vicariously through you and others.

I loved those pictures! :)

Playground Monitor said...

I am SO ready to go back to San Francisco. I've already told the DH that we have to go back. I'd love to rent a car and drive the coast highway. Plus there were things in SF I didn't get to see. And I could eat that sourdough French Toast again.

It was so much fun hanging with you guys, so much so I didn't even mind having five of us crammed into one hotel room.

Instigator said...

I loved all of it. Do I have to pick one thing? If I do it would have to be Sonoma. I've told 'Zilla that when we retire I'm moving there. He can play with the grapes and I'll just soak up the beauty. So far he has staunchly told me no. I have about...30 years to work on him. Think I can wear him down by then?

Instigator

birdzilla said...

I might possibly soften slightly regarding San Francisco if I was to acquire perhaps an...emu.
On second thought, a monkey would almost put us there.

Angel said...

I'm all for a Playground trip to San Francisco!!! The pictures all look beautiful and I'd love to go. Maybe after Disney World, but before London?

Angel

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts and pictures. I don't think I will ever make it there but I enjoy seeing it through your eyes.
robertsonreads

Kathy said...

Woot! Wasn't that fun? Five to a room, no sweat!! Ah, cinnamon buns at the hotel. :-D Memories...

Our trip had educational value too. We learned we didn't want to be isolated on Alcatraz and that no one ever escaped. We witnessed firsthand how incredibly long the SF bridge is, saw that adorable Mule Deer calmly eating vegetation in the Muir Woods, delighted our van buddies and got to shop in Sonoma. (Not so sure what Mitch thought of those Sweet Home Alabama girls.)

I'll never forget the delicious bread bowl of Clam Chowder, Captain Jack Spareribs Show at the Wharf, riding the waves in the bay to and from Alcatraz, and last but not least... my discovery of PORT!!!

Ah, rum is a pirate wench's staple but PORT... now that be a boon for the soul. :-)

Sherry W. said...

Thanks for sharing the pics SP. San Fran is definitely a place I would like to visit some day. And for some odd reason I have always wanted to visit Seattle. Don't know why; I don't know a thing about it, but would like to. :D

Jean said...

I'd love to go back. I saw a lot more conference than the city—but what I did, see I loved. I could have spent two days in Chinatown. Sherry—Seattle is great. I've been there many times. (In-laws live in Olympia, an hour away.) I know why you want to go. It's the original Starbucks at Pike's Market calling your name. "Sherry, Sherry—come to me. You need caffeine!"

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Oh wow, how did you know I was surfing Orbitz yesterday and contemplating a return trip to Sonoma? It all started when hubby and I were discussing where to go at Christmas. I checked out Key West and the wineries in CA. It's cheaper to fly to SFO than to Key West. Is that wild or what?

Um, LOL, 'Zilla! I suppose for a chance to live in Sonoma, Instigator might let you have an emu AND a monkey. But not until you get there. ;)

My favorite part of the post-conference trip was riding through wine country and sitting at those lovely tables outdoors and trying wine. Reminded me so much of my days in Europe.

And it was too hilarious to be with y'all, some of whom are serious non-drinking lightweights who get tipsy after one small glass of wine. I really enjoyed that. :)

Five in a room worked just fine with that extra bed. And the Holiday Inn was actually nicer than the Marriott. At least we had a kitchen area!

Playground Monitor said...

The DH and I are going to Curacao after the first of the year. He's always wanted to go to a warm island climate during the worst of winter, so next year we're going to do it. Of course I'm having to buy sundresses now for the trip since there will be no sundresses in stores in January. Lucky for me, they're all on sale right now.

I think we shall forever be known as the "Rowdy Girls from Mount Pilot." LOL!

Rhonda Nelson said...

I think the thing I loved most about SF was the weather. Just lovely. And Sonoma was beautiful...

Playground Monitor said...

Oops! That should be "Fun Girls from Mount Pilot."

If you're not a fan of the Andy Griffith Show, google "fun girls from mount pilot" and wikipedia will fill you in.

PM's Mother said...

Can I go to SF with you? With 5 of you to push my wheelchair I might be able to keep up with you! I promise I won't be a wet blanket for you rowdy Alabama girls.

SF has been one of my "looking forward to" destinations.

Smarty Pants said...

Maybe when Nationals is in San Diego, we can rent a car when its done and drive up the coast. See a little LA, Malibu, all the cute coastal towns, up to SFO, then fly home from there...

Kathy said...

Highway 1 is a rush! When I lived in Monterey, part of it slid into the ocean. Yikes!!

Carmel is beautiful. That's where Clint Eastwood lives and was once Mayor or something like that. We went to the bar/pub he usually went to but he never showed. (The place has a cool name but I can't remember it.) *sigh* We sat by the fire, got all toasty warm, and had a drink. Ecstasy!! (Of course, y'all know I probably had a coke. :-)

Instigator said...

I LOVE the idea of driving up the coast after San Diego. I have family in the LA area :-)

Instigator

catslady said...

I have to say my favorite vacation was a carribbean cruise but I think a cruise to anywhere would be a great vacation.

Jolie said...

Hmmph. :( My jealous rears its ugly head again...

Angel said...

I'm right there with you, Jolie! :) Perfectly natural.

Angel

KansasSue said...

Haven't been to San Francisco since the early 70's. What I remember most was in your first picture...the fog framing the Golden Gate - so beautiful.

My favorite trip is the one we take periodically to Amelia Island Plantation, Florida where we rent a golf cart to tool around the place, enjoying the beauty and doing nothing. It's also close enough for fabulous side trips if we chose...Fernandina Beach, Cumberland Island, Okefenokee Swamp, St. Augustine. Someday I plan to win the lotto and retire there.