Monday, March 31, 2008

San Francisco, Day 1

The following is a memoir of Amy's and my trip to San Francisco this last spring break. I wrote about the on-going experience every night before going to bed, so the next few entries are to be read from my point view only hours after having experienced everything:

There in the tree, succulent orange orbs dangle between crisp leaves, and I’m about to make one of my more minor dreams come true. By placing my foot between two branches and hoisting myself up a few feet off the ground, I’m able to pluck a fruit off the nimble limb.

A fresh orange right off the tree. Seriously.

I couldn’t get the rind off of that thing fast enough—a furious, hungry action acting as a perfect metaphor for how Amy and I took in San Francisco during our first day in the Golden State.

Let me just say this: California… is… awesome.

Streets undulate like the track of a giant rollercoaster, sunshine and fresh air sweep over the city like the morning fog, and flat-roofed houses cram the hillsides like some European seaside village. There are vineyards just outside of town, and giant redwood trees, and bridges that shouldn’t be architecturally possible. It’s like this whole other world!

I will say this, though: After having spent the last few summers driving all over the middle part of the country for road trips, actually flying to a destination seems almost like cheating. To leave Chicago at 6:30 AM amidst snow and mid-twenties temperatures only to arrive in hills, sunshine, and 70 Degrees Fahrenheit a mere four hours later just doesn’t seem right. Four hours wouldn’t even get me to Cincinnati from Bloomington.

Today has been an awe-inspiring day. Driving through the country in North California to drink the nectar of Sonoma Valley’s vineyards was a real treat. Beautiful vistas and delicious Pinots and Sauvignons—just a perfect way to start a vacation.

From there it was off to Muir Woods, where we trounced around through a wooded area straight out of a Lord of the Rings movie to take in the magnanimity of the storied Giant Redwoods. I remember seeing those in my childhood Science books and not believing they were real. Guys, they’re real. Pretty intimidating in person, but totally real.

The drive back home from the top of a wooded mountain meandered recklessly down Route 1, with plenty of unbelievable views worth pulling over for.

And, of course, we drove over the Golden Gate bridge to get back into town.

Did anything special happen today? Probably not. But nearly everything we did was a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring experience—all of it—from the truly overwhelming beauty of the hills and the ocean, to something as simple as plucking a fresh orange from a grove tree.

All that, and it was only day 1. We’ve got four more days of this!

1 comment:

Wade said...

San Francisco - I'm very jealous. My 2nd favorite city in the world that I have been to. I have been there 3 times and just wished that Jeanne would have been there for at least once. Next you should try going to Seattle with a drive to Vancouver mixed in. SF was my #1 until I went to Vancouver.

Cant wait to read the rest.