Out and About

NASCAR at Sonoma

This happened a few months ago, but I wanted to document it here on the blog just to prove that it actually happened.

What was it? Well, it was something which up until then I had sworn would never ever happen.  Seriously, I wasn’t gonna do it. I had no interest…z-e-r-o.  And then, Tim bought tickets, and suddenly I had no choice. I had to do it, because…well, the tickets weren’t cheap. What was it, you ask? NASCAR.  For years I have been completely baffled by my husband’s enjoyment of watching cars drive around in circles for hours on end. And lets not even get me started on the “is this really a sport?” conversation, because that’s a whole nother post in itself. But, there we were, destined for a drive up to Sonoma for the NASCAR race at Sonoma Raceway. I was playing it both ways. I was trying to be a good sport, you know…compromise and all that…and on the other hand I was totally dreading it. I could sense the impending boredom, the same way I could smell the inevitable overheated tires and exhaust.

We got to the speedway and the first thing that greeted us upon parking on the side of a long dead grass hill was a truck hauling a camper which was proudly flying a Dale Earnhardt Jr. flag. Well, at least this gave me a solid understanding of what I was getting myself in to. Mind you, it was 10:00 am, and I promptly got out of the car, and cracked open a beer. I needed it. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I guess.

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Here’s the thing I hadn’t realized about NASCAR…it’s not just an event, it’s a lifestyle. I mean these fans are serious.  They’re diehards. And, cheap beer in hand, for this day my husband was one of them. We stood in lines for kitschy inflatable Kyle Busch seat cushions, and refrigerator magnets. We wandered around looking at cars. We tried to get a view of the pit (because we hadn’t paid for the upgraded pit pass).

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Then of course there was the main event. There was the race. And, that’s when I learned something else about NASCAR. It’s loud. Like noise cancelling headphones or you go deaf kind of LOUD. It’s a good thing Tim brought a few pair.

The other thing I learned is that, though I definitely resist this admission, it is way more enjoyable to watch in person then it is on television. And I’ll never admit it out loud, I kind of had fun. Is it bad though, that the part which was the most fun for me was watching all of the crazy car crashes? Does that make me a bad person? I mean, those cars are built to withstand a lot, and most of these wrecks don’t result in injuries, so that’s how I justify getting all excited when a car going 100 mph crashes into a guard rail in front of me.

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I won’t go as far as to say that I am now a NASCAR fan, because I’m not. I still don’t enjoy spending my weekend afternoons watching four hours of cars driving around in circles. But, I didn’t hate it like I thought I would. I might even say that I won’t resist going again, if say…the oppertunity arises. Just don’t tell Tim.

Muir Woods

My husband and I are collecting National Parks. We want to see and experience as many of them as possible. Most recently we spent a few days enjoying Yosemite, but prior to that we spent a quitet Tuesday afternoon hiking through Muir Woods again.  And though it’s technically a National Monument, rather than a “Park”, it is still a favorite of ours, and best yet it’s basically in our backyard (or at least within a quick drive of it). You’ll hear all about Yosemite soon enough, but first lets go on a walk through the giant redwoods.

IMG_4328_FotorIMG_4331_FotorIMG_4333_FotorIMG_4334_FotorIMG_4335_FotorIMG_4340_Fotor 2IMG_4343_FotorIMG_4344_FotorIMG_4345_FotorIMG_4351_FotorIMG_4353_FotorIMG_4354_FotorIMG_4362_FotorYou can read all about our first trip to Muir Woods here.

Whale Watching in Half Moon Bay

Back towards the end of January we went on a whale watching trip with The Oceanic Society . It was a beautiful day out on the ocean. We saw lots of sea lions, jelly fish, harbour porpoise, but alas…saw no whales. We were invited back for a second trip (to rectify the whale-less 1st whale watching trip), and went just yesterday.  The second trip was much rockier (ie. many seasick passengers), and much much foggier. But this time we did manage to see whales!  Two gray whales, and one humpback.  It was pretty cool.

If you are ever visiting San Francisco, and looking for something a bit out of the norm to do, I fully suggest a whale watching trip. Peak gray whale migration is from December through May.  Don’t forget your sea sickness pills, your waterproof pants, and your binoculars! We took the sea sickness pills, and I’m convinced it’s the only reason the two of us didn’t end up hung over the back of the boat like many of our fellow passengers.  I forgot my waterproof pants, wound up standing in the wrong spot at the wrong time and ended up with drenched jeans due to some errant splash. We also forgot our binoculars.

This post may seem a bit anticlimactic, as there aren’t actually any whale pics. We just couldn’t photograph them fast enough, and they weren’t exactly posing for the camera. But here are lots of pics of the sea lions…

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16th Avenue Tiled Steps

San Francisco is full of random and cool stuff like the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps.  It’s not even located in a touristy area, like you would expect. Just randomly placed between to unasuming residential streets. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

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IMG_3514On the way up, there are lots of pretty flowers.

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IMG_3528And up on the top, if you turn around, this is the view that you get!

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Pacifica Beach & Pier

So, I have a rather rediculous confession to make. Technically speaking we live at the beach, but in the three years that we have lived here I have only walked on the local sand twice. TWICE! I know, I know…that’s just silly. But here’s the thing, I really don’t think of the San Francisco Bay area as a beach town, so I really do forget that there is beach close and accessable to enjoy. San Francisco just doesn’t have that beach town feel. I mean it’s a big city! My brain just doesn’t equate “big city” with “the beach.”

But regardless, it’s silly. And last week we had a string of really warm, sunny (by Bay Area standards) days that just begged for a beach chair, a good book and some sunscreen.  So we meandered our way down to the Pacifica Pier and Beach for a day of sitting in the sun, and consequently (and despite multiple apllication of admitedly expired sunscreen) obtaining lobster sun burns. Seriously, a week later and I’m still peeling. I guess sunscreen really does go bad. Lesson learned….But I digress.

Anyway…

This is the Pier:

IMG_3622All of those little dots along the pier are people crab fishing. At first we thought they were regular fish fishing, but realized that they were hooking crab. I didn’t even realize that you could catch crab on a fishing pole. They use these gross little boxes of raw squid as lures and aparently find great success. Even though it seems like a rather mundane way to spend the day, expecially considering that while we were there we only saw one guy catch a crab, it still seems worth while. I mean who doesn’t love crab, expecially crab you caught yourself and paid nothing for?

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IMG_3655The waves were pretty big that day too.

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IMG_3637Here are some more beach shots.

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I thought that Tim’s shirt nicely matched the American flag. It was a photo begging to be taken.

IMG_3662I like watching dogs run on the beach.

IMG_3667And checking out peoples beach gear. Some people really have it all figured out!

IMG_3669And then there was this guy. Yeah, I don’t even know what to say about this. Trucker hat. Empty beer bottles. Clearly, no sunscreen bottle in site. There is so much wrong with this picture, lol.

IMG_3673Turn around from the ocean and this is some of what you will find behind you.

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IMG_3693That’s about it. I guess since it’s basically summer and all that,we should probably try to spend more time at the beach. If for no other reason than snapping pics of cliche passed out college kids on the sand…