Northern California – Bay Area

Coalinga CowsDriving on the Interstate 5 northbound, through the Grapevine, is usually noted by passing the cows of Coalinga.  If you ever want to go vegetarian, it is a must-do event.  If you want to see your steaks and hamburgers in a live mode, it’s also a must-do event.  Whichever, be assured that this view is never going to make it on the Happy Cows California cheese commercials.  It’s quite aromatic, too.  Clear skies and little traffic all told for good driving time as we traded off the driving.  A long day, maybe, but adrenaline fueled the excitement of making it back to the Bay Area after being gone for almost two years.  Local traffic was a bit more congested than when we had left.  In 2010 the economy was still in a downturn, and the venture capitalists had not yet re-opened the coffers to fuel the current twenty-something generation. Despite witnessing an incredible restaurant turnover on Palo Alto’s University Avenue, we stuck with the tried and true – dinner at La Morenita’s, where they actually serve authentic Chile Colorado, and a double feature with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in Swing Time and Roberta the Stanford Theatre. I am glad to report that the organist still does an outstanding job between performances.

Only two full days in the area!!!!  Not enough time, by any stretch of the imagination. What a party in my head.  No CalTrain ride to San Francisco this time.  While Emmett managed to round up 5 pars and a birdie at Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course, I was able to meet with my good friend Laura.  We walked the Laura’s two dogs – Bailey and Sierra -and Terese stopped by for a quick lunch knit-in. Then Susan, Laura and I toured through Los Altos for lunch at Maltby’s, checking out a new store called The Makery on Main, and of course, a browse through Uncommon Threads.  Laura works there once a week, and her daughter Emily was on duty as we browsed through the recent arrivals.  Back at Laura’s the afternoon went way too fast as we drank tea and prowled through weaving issues and knitting a few rows on our projects.  Emmett picked me up in time to meet with my cousin Rick, who was only two weeks into living at his new home in Mountain View.  Great access to the Farmer’s Market, CalTrain, MetroLink, Steven’s Creek bike trail and all the amenities offered on Castro Street.  We hit Castro to have dinner at another old favorite, Amici’s.  Then it was time to call it day.

Wednesday was just as much of a whirlwind – shopping Draeger’s supermarket for my favorite tea and picking up some side salads for lunch with Ellen and Linda at Ellen’s home.  Draeger’s has a location in Menlo Park, walking distance from one of our old apartments.  Aside from the (now) usual restaurant turn-over on Santa Cruz Street, most of the neighborhood is about the same there.  Linda, Ellen and I had a ton of catching up to do – and the time just flew right by.

Our last home was a townhouse in Sunnyvale, a short walk to the old town center (not to mention walking distance from our old jobs).  I wouldn’t have recognized half the changes at Murphy Ave in Sunnyvale. Driving through town was a revelation.  The business area that the we used walk in had at least five – count ’em – five new Apple buildings – an expansion from their Cupertino campus.  Another type of food that we haven’t been able to find in AZ is the Afghanistan eats that we savored at Kabul’s.  Thank goodness they were still in business, and thriving at that.  More good eats.

Gamble GardenThursday morning, next leg of the trip breathing heavy down our necks.  We could NOT leave without returning for a short walk through the place where we were married – The Elizabeth Gamble Garden.  It’s as gorgeous as ever.  The raised-bed vegetables were getting ripe and the flowers were in spectacular bloom.  Greene and Green were the architects of the house, and built another one for the Gamble family in Pasadena, California.  Last year we had the good timing to get a tour of that house and it was quite the treat.

Time was pressing.  A quick breakfast at our old go-to place, Stacks, and then on the road for the next phase of our trip.  Interstate 280 to Pacific Coast 1 was the road of choice for crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. But first, we had to get past the marine layer……

280 North Marine Layer

Previous: Southern California

Next: Driving the Northern Coast

2 Responses to Northern California – Bay Area

  1. I was great to see you. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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