Wow, you are back for another Travelogue post? I am totally shaking my head in wonder.
Let see where did I leave off…Oh, that’s right, I only got through most of the first day, in that first Travelogue post. Granted, that day seemed to last forever driving from Utah to San Francisco…Anyways, like I said in the last travelogue the kids were on their best behavior. No fighting. No Hangry tempers. No breakdowns of any kind. At least till get got to our destination. But to be fair, it was now late at night and they had been good for over 12 hours being stuck in close quarters in a car.
Before we could go find out hotel in downtown San Francisco, we had to first stop off at the Oakland International Airport to turn in our long distance car rental and pick up another car for local travel (it saved us hundreds by doing it this way.) It was while we were transferring cars that my kids decided they had been good travel angles long enough and needed balance things by being little travel devils (hopefully this comparison doesn’t offend you. If so I’m sorry, but anyone who had traveled with kids understands that the description is pretty accurate for how kids can be.) There were tired tears, begging to just be there at our hotel already. And of course, the standard “STOP TOUCHING ME!” “STOP LOOKING AT ME!” “STOP POINTING AT ME!” “STOP HITTING ME WITH YOUR KINDLE!”
Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic between the Oakland Airport and our hotel. It took us less than an hour. But Yeah, it wasn’t just the kids that were glad when we finally pulled into our destination. Unfortunately, the first thing we noticed upon pulling in was a sign to STOP HERE for mandatory valet parking. Seriously, why couldn’t we just park the car ourselves? There were plenty of spots right in front of us. We asked how much the valet parking was and were informed it would be $45 a night. Say What?!? There was no way we wanted to pay for valet parking (which was not mentioned at all when I set up the reservation) However, it was now past 2 in the morning and the kids were begging to just go in to go to bed so we decided that for that night we would pay for parking but the next night we would find something better. So we all piled out of our rental and I took the kids inside the lobby while my hubby pulled out all the luggage from the car. (let me tell you it was quite the feat to fit a large hard suitcase, 3 large carry on bags, 2 adult backpacks, 3 kids back packs, an umbrella stroller and the 5 of us in one small compact car. It wasn’t easy but we managed. It’s a good thing my kids are young and don’t need leg space.)
We managed to check in, and get our 3 sleepy, grumpy kids and all our luggage to our room. Sleep came quick and hard that night. Ahhhh sleep…Such a wonderful thing.
Monday morning came all too soon. Yet though we were still tired, Rory and I were excited to take our kids exploring. The last time we had been to San Francisco was on our honeymoon. We loved it soo much we have been wanting to go back ever since. We knew we wouldn’t be able to see everything that we wanted to this trip (since we had only one day to explore and 3 small kids.). So, we decided to just see as much as we could starting at the Famous Pier 39.It being San Francisco, a city practically built on top of itself, there is virtually no place to park for free. We found a paid parking lot near the pier which had a set fee for up to 12 hours (which we knew our kids would last that long.) so everything was set and it was time to explore!
With us leaving so close to Christma my kids were excited to see the big Christmas Tree at the entrance to Pier 39. So of course, we had to stop and take a picture. We then walked down the row of shops to get to where the pier looked over the water. Wanting a better look over the bay, we went up a flight of stairs and there clear as day was Alcatraz. The kids asked what it was and were fascinated by what we told them. Well except for the youngest who apparently couldn’t care less about an island prison and instead thought to entertain himself by shoving his new Kindle (an early Christmas gift from his Aunt Mary) through the railing to fall on the unsuspecting tourists below. I am happy to note that A- No one was hurt. B- The kids Kindle case we bought to protect the kindle really worked. The kindle survived its second story fall without a scratch.
All too soon, Rory and I were laughing as we watched our kids chase Seagulls up and down the pier as we discreetly played a bit of Pokemon Go. After all. we are from Utah (a desert) and don’t normally have the opportunity to catch so many water Pokemon. This lasted for quite a while until we turned the corner and discovered the sea lions which diverted our kid’s attention from the fleeing birds. My youngest particularly was mesmerized by the site of soo many sea Lions basking in the sun.
By this time the kids were getting hungry and we realized our phones batteries were getting low. This was sooo not a good thing because our new Phones (we got Google Nexus 5x phones with the Project fi service because of how well they work internationally) don’t use standard usb or micro usb connections so we couldn’t just charge them with our portable chargers. Not unless we could find usb-c to usb-a adapters or cords which we were unable to do before leaving Utah. This meant that while looking for a place to eat we also had to look for a shop that might sell the needed adapters. You will be happy to note we did eventually find the needed adapters and happily enjoyed a meal at In and Out….sigh…I LOVE their Cheeseburgers.
After Food the kids wanted to go back and explore more so we walked in and our of shops and up and down the pier for the rest of the day. We found a wax museum, Ripley’s believe it or not museum, lots of fun little stores (including a candy barrel store where we had to get a few little treats to enjoy.) and overall we just enjoyed the view.
After we left the pier we looked up a local GameStop for my husband to pick up a 2ds and a fun Frozen/Big Hero 6 Game to give as a Christmas present to our oldest two kids. Then we had fun just driving around and enjoying the sites of the city before heading back to our hotel. On our way back we discovered a small side street right next to our hotel with free parking until 8am so we parked the car (avoiding having to pay for valet parking…what can I say we are cheap ahem frugal.) The last thing we did that night before going to bed was make sure everything was packed up and all the electronics were fully charged and ready for the long day to come.
Since we didn’t have to be to the Airport till 4pm the next day (and we wanted to get the kids worn out before our 10 ½ hour flight) we took the kids out for some more site seeing. After checking out from out hotel, we drove by Lombard Street where the kids giggled over the crazy zig zagged road. Then we drove to Coit tower. It was early so the tower museum was still closed. However, we were all able to enjoy the incredible view of San Francisco.
Next, we drove around exploring some more. (what can I say I adore house stalking where we drive around and each point out houses or aspects of houses that we like). I could do this all day but the kids were getting restless so we found a picnic area near Golden Gate Bridge to get our and let the kids run around for a few minutes.
Then we last came to San Francisco we discovered this cool place called the Palace of Fine arts. The building, pillars, and pond look like the belonged in a tale of Greek or Roman mythology. Next time we go, I am totally packing a picnic to enjoy near the water.
Before heading off to Oakland we made one more stop. We had to stop by the beach. Our youngest was asleep so I stayed at the car with him while my husband took the oldest two to explore and look for sea shells (it being too cold to get in the water). This was the first time my kids had been to the beach and though we didn’t stay long or play in the water, the kids loved it! All too soon our time was up. It was time to head to the Airtport. I was sad that due to the amount of time we had we weren’t able to visit China Town (which my husband and I enjoyed so much last time) or any of the other fun places around San Fransisco. It just means we will have to go back I guess.
Wow, another really long post. Sorry about that. Hope you weren’t too bored. If you still want to follow along on our adventure I stay tuned the next post (which will be coming soon) will cover our journey across the ocean.