When a bicycle ride is too slow and an airplane is too fast, the next best option from California to DC is an Amtrak train. Before we secured tickets we had to be sure. We watched a YouTube made by a nice man with a camera who took us on a Superette-tour of the Amtrak sleeper room — equipped with bunk beds, private wash and bathroom and extra room for two people to watch the scenery roll by for 70-odd-hours straight. We couldn’t wait to settle in on the California Zephyr for the first leg to Chicago. Continue reading Traveling cross-country via Amtrak
As our drive took us inland the terrain shifted from lush coastal mountains, to lush farm flats, to San Luis Reservoir where all of the wind gods exhale simultaneously, followed by miles and miles of almond trees and eventually scorched soil and dust where a little wind is all it takes to clog up the respiratory. Continue reading The sheer awe of Yosemite
It took all of 1 day to fall in love with San Francisco, but our schedule insisted we move along. After scoring an airplane bypass — i.e. 2 tickets for an Amtrak Sleeper for our return trip home (woo hoo plane travel is over!) — a double-shot of Peet’s Coffee and breakfast chow. the day could not have a better start. We tossed our luggage into the car-with-no-navigation and headed south keeping the Pacific Ocean to starboard. Continue reading Discovering Pacific Gold
The California clock shows 5:30AM and coffee shops in our Russian Hill vicinity don’t wake until 7:30am so we tapped our watches as if speeding time along, wondering how we would survive this delayed awakening. But we did and departed our hotel (the neighboring-room ‘domestic’ situation sleeps) 7:30AM local time pronto. First stop an Italian espresso that did the necessary magic and off we were on a steady descent down Columbus Street heading toward Fisherman’s Wharf.
Walking with a backward lean made it apparent we were descending from an unusually steep mountain. We posed at each intersection photo-bombing ourselves into side streets that rose to the clouds or dropped to the sea, all the time marveling at the cyclist commuters taking on the uphill challenge barely sweating. No doubt San Francisco cyclists are equipped with twin-engine quads and an extra set of lungs. Continue reading Hello San Francisco
By 5am the alarms were off. Slamming down a quick cup of coffee we were en route to meet with family, who would valet service us to the BWI airport for a trip to San Francisco. This would be my first flight in over 20 years — I was perfectly content staying grounded — but it was time to trample fears and travel in fast motion. Continue reading First flight in 20-plus years