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San Francisco, CA

We awoke in our Ontario CA airport hotel yesterday morning knowing that we had a full day of driving ahead, but feeling good about our prospects. After all, the sun was shining, it was warming up to a nice mid-60s day, and the hotel had a nice complementary waffle breakfast -- the kind where you pour the batter in yourself and they come out nice and crispy.

I was feeling particularly good despite the fact during our midnight airline approach to Ontario it was my turn to have equalization problems, and I went to bed about 1 a.m. (4 a.m. Eastern Time!) with my left ear basically sounding and feeling like someone had stuffed wet cotton in it. I woke with the same sensation, but by the time we had driven up and down the hills between Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, things had cleared up.

What to do on a long car ride? Having done I-5 just last week, it was a bit less interesting. We practiced animal sounds (Emma has a good rattlesnake and parrot, I’m the best at coyotes baying, and Eleanor does a fine chicken and bullfrog); we pretended to be Charlotte and Vendetta of the cartoon Making Fiends (a surreal online series which is somewhat addictive and entirely G-rated); Emma colored and worked puzzles, and we talked about the growing things we passed (almonds, oranges, grapes, unknown green vegetables).

The ride was longer because at the last minute we decided to bypass the turnoff toward Santa Cruz and head a bit further north to San Francisco. The reasoning was this: We wanted to go to San Francisco but had skipped it because it is not RV-friendly, we were already packed for an overnight without the trailer, and it would be easy to grab a hotel for one night to enjoy the city for a day before getting the Airstream out of storage.

Also, before we started this trip, we pledged to each other that once in a while we would get a nice hotel or B&B just for the experience. We hadn’t done it yet. With a couple of phone calls I found a fine room in the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf. We plugged it into the GPS and pulled in around 5 pm.

San Francisco is one of our favorite places. Eleanor and I have been here several times, and we've always had a memorable visit. Bridges, bay, city of hills, fog, and the unique SF culture. It was time to give Emma a taste of this great town.

Last night we took a short walk around Fisherman's Wharf to hunt up some dinner. Most of the restaurants in the wharf area are complete tourist traps, and others are just not the sort of place we'd take a 5-year-old, so we opted for seafood from the street vendors: crab sandwich, calamari salad, clam chowder in a bread bowl, etc. We piled it all in an open cardboard box we borrowed from the vendors and marched through the elaborate lobby of the Hyatt with our take-out dinner. The staff just smiled.

It was an early night because we're still on Eastern Time, but the plan is to walk our feet off today, showing Emma some of the highlights of S.F. that she'll enjoy. I'll take a lot of pictures and there should be a good blog entry for tonight or tomorrow. Then we'll head down the coast and resume our Airstream trip.

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