Friday, October 13, 2017

Sailing Buzzards Bay August 2017 - Jamestown to New Bedford, Onset, Scituate and Home




Sunday.

We wake to beautiful fog. Even the Newport bridge is gone. We take our time eating breakfast, walking dogs, getting ready. When we walk the dogs we see the beginning of the Fools Rules Regatta, an annual event in Jamestown where people build sailboats on the shore and then sail them down the beach. The construction materials are pretty creative! 




We head out of the harbor into peasoup. Lots of boats coming back in, and we decide it's prudent to do the same. We waste some time looking at pretty boats in the Newport Harbor and then try again.

It's very foggy for awhile, but we have the AIS on, and there is some visibility. Finally it begins to lift, but then we are confronted by another conundrum. The marine forecast for Buzzards Bay said waves 2 ft; these are easily closer to 5, or more, rolling swells about 6 seconds apart. They aren't scary, the boat handles them just fine, nobody is getting wet. But boy o boy this is not a good day for anyone prone to seasickness!

I volunteer to make lunch. I've never been seasick, and I think I'll be fine. Wrong! It's warm down below. I open a couple hatches but even so ..... I'm making tuna salad from the tuna we had for dinner last night. I chop up the tuna, go uptop for a break. Chop up celery, another break. Throw on some mustard and mayo, chop a little onion. Give the bowl to Beth and ask her to mix it up. Cut up a tomato. Hand up some chips and bread and get out of there just in time....that's the closest to seasick I've ever been. I now understand the stories I've read where everyone gets sick on a boat. 

Back up in the fresh air I stare at the horizon and sip a coke. Gradually my stomach returns to a state more resembling normalcy. Eventually I can even eat a little lunch. Whew!



Lee looks at the marine forecast again. Aha! We were actually in Rhode Island Sound, not Buzzards Bay, and the forecast there IS for seas 3-5 ft and a small craft advisory. We later speculate that if we had known the real forecast we would probably have changed our plans. Ignorance was sort of bliss...I guess.


Once in the shade of the islands, and truly in Buzzards Bay, the seas do moderate. Between the swells and the lack of wind it is after 6 when we finally pull into New Bedford. The dogs get a short walk, we all take showers, eat dinner, and collapse into bed. Sailing through swells like that all day is just exhausting. You don't realize it but you are doing isometric exercises all day, just to stay upright!

Monday.

Pleasant uneventful day. A little wind, no waves. We actually can put up the sails! The current from the canal helps us along too. We pull into Onset at 2:30, much better than yesterday!



I've decided to do my run this evening. We need to leave Onset at 9:30 am tomorrow to be at the beginning of the ebb tide into Cape Cod Bay. This way I don't inconvenience anyone else and I get my third run of the trip in so I'm ahead when its time for our next cruise in September.

This run is the first of 6 weeks of hill repeats. Last year when I did these I hated them and dreaded them every week. This year I'm not looking forward to them but I decide I need to have a different attitude. Yes they hurt, but they are supposed to. A minute and a half of 90% effort, then rest for 4 minutes, repeat. It's not fun, but the end results are great, and a couple of weeks from now my hill climbing abilities will be much improved. Hang in there!

Tuesday.

We are heading out of Onset and into the canal right around 9:30 am. It makes so much difference if we time our passage properly. It only takes a little more than an hour to pass through the canal.

Back in Cape Cod Bay at first we are still pulled along by the ebb. We even raise the sails and try to motor sail. The sun is shining, the wind dies. It's warm enough that I put on my bathing suit top.



Then clouds start to gather, the wind builds and it cools off. By the time we pull into Scituate it looks like rain and I've changed into a sweater. What odd weather! It's quite windy but it never rains and we have a nice evening ashore. We try a new restaurant (for us), The Gallery. Sliders, tacos, small plates and a delicious peppery Pinot Noir. Tomorrow we head back across Massachusetts Bay, back to Salem, and home.



Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sailing Buzzards Bay August 2017 - Jamestown and Newport






Saturday.

Time for laundry (thanks Bob and Beth!), dog walks, and a six mile run for me. This little island is hilly! I get a good workout, Lee buys us fish for tonight. Lunch will be in Newport. There's a darling little ferry but its costs $28 per person round trip so we're going to take an Uber instead.

Off to Newport with a very talkative Uber driver. It's not what I expect. Yes there are hundreds of ginormous yachts and sailboats. Yes there are beautiful old houses overlooking Narragansett bay. But I thought it would be more like a large Marblehead, refined, quiet, understated wealth. But it's pretty touristy, and on a Saturday very crowded.

Our lunch is at Midtown Oyster Bar. Good oysters from Duxbury, expensive drinks. Beth gets a lobstah roll, Lee and Bob get soft shell crab sandwiches. I get a hamachi poke, thinking it would come with rice, but no, it's just a small bowl of deliciously flavored fish. Lee exclaims that his lunch is way too much for him to eat, so I'm glad to help him out. I eat half his sandwich and many of his fries.

Back in Jamestown it's quiet and peaceful, more our speed. Lee and I take the dogs for a walk and then sit around at a table outside a little deli, drinking coffee, talking, people-watching. This is one of my favorite parts about cruising, soaking up the local flavor of the little towns along the coast.

We have fresh tuna steaks for dinner on the boat. We are ready to relax for the night when the holding tank's light starts flickering on. Uh-oh. We could try to make it until morning but with four people....in we go to get a pump out and fill up with water.




It's getting dark and we don't know where the self service pump out is. We try one dock; nope, only water. Our second try is right, and thank God there's a guy on the dock to grab the line. I'm nervous and drop the line in the water not once but twice before finally handing it to him successfully.

Leaving the men to their business I take the dogs for their evening walk. As we walk past a row of hedges the dogs become very alert. A skunk! Oh nononono I mutter and we head in the opposite direction at a fast clip. Oh yesyesyesyes the dogs say, but I win the argument. Whew!




When I get back to the dock everyone is ready to go. Back to the mooring in the dark, it takes Bob with a flashlight and me with the boathook to get us back where we belong. Well at least now we're all set and don't have to deal with it in the morning.





Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sailing Buzzards Bay August 2017 - Onset to Cuttyhunk to Jamestown





Thursday.

We try to get going early so we have plenty of time to get to Cuttyhunk. Cuttyhunk is an adorable little island in Buzzards Bay but their moorings are first come first serve and there are only 46 of them in their inner harbor. And in high season (July and August) its VERY popular. We're doing pretty good at getting going until Lee can't find an expensive boat gizmo that he recently bought. It was on the nav station so he thinks he might have dropped it in the trash, which we threw out when we went in to walk the dogs. So in he goes again. Then Bob finds it, in one of the drawers in the nav station. Guess what? Lee doesn't have his phone! Bob tries whistling, which gets the attention of the dock manager, but not much else. So I hale the Marina on the radio. "Onset Marina, my husband is digging through your trash. Please tell him we found it!" I'm laughing as I say this, and before too long Lee is back on the boat.

We are making our way out of the  harbor and now I can't find my hat. I think maybe I left it in the Marina bathroom, but I'm not about to go back for it. I finally find it where my tidy husband had put it, under his ball cap on the bed. That's enough losing things for the day!



There is wind but it's died down a lot from last night, and we're sailing right into it. So we just motor, again. We promise our friends that we really may sail tomorrow when we head to Jamestown, maybe!

It's beautiful on Buzzards Bay this morning. The sky is blue blue with a few puffy clouds. Off in the distance, along the coast, there's a bank of fog. It's pretty far away but you never know what fog will decide to do. We turn the AIS on just in case. A few tendrils reach us but that's it.



Cuttyhunk lies sparkling in the sun, surrounded by sail and motorboats. There are mostly big boats in the outer harbor. We make our way through the narrow entrance to the inner harbor. It looks like the only free moorings are the private ones, but then someone helpfully points out a free town mooring, maybe the last open one.

We settle in, put up the grill, have hotdogs for lunch. Then we go in and walk around a little bit, let the dogs stretch their legs. It's such a beautiful island, but it's pretty hot so after an ice cream cone we head back to the boat to relax.



I decide to get in the water to cool off. It's chilly of course so I don't last long at all, but it's very refreshing, and once I've dried off it's great sitting under Lee's new shade contraption. It kept the rain off the boat a few days ago and now it's keeping us cool and shady.



While we are lazing around on the boat we see a really beautiful little boat, dark blue with a red interior, tooling around in the mooring field. In the boat, named Misty II, is a Westie! The boat makes no sound at all, its electric. It glides around the mooring field and then disappears from view. The Royal Westie, I whisper.


We take the dogs in for an evening walk and meet the Royal Westie and His owner. The Westie is 10 years old, very calm, polite and friendly. Like most Westies he loves seeing other dogs that look just like him. The owner is old school wealthy, friendly and reserved. We talk dogs and boats for a little while, the two great equalizers.

Friday.

In the morning we take our time since we only have to go about 24 miles to get to Jamestown. We decide to leave at the same time as at least 10 other boats, most of which are way bigger and fancier than us. And when we get out into Buzzards Bay there are a zillion boats heading the same direction, including Misty I. It's like a gd flotilla. There is still very little wind and what there is comes out of the south and so far does us no good at all.



We catch up to the flotilla once, and decide that maybe it's a regatta or maybe a race that isn't materializing. There's what looks like a committee boat so it's possible. And there's some big assed racing boats too. We pass them once, then later they pass us, as if they are looking for a better place to race. We never do figure out what's going on.

We head into Jamestown. It's nice, another typical coastal New England town. It's on an island, Connacicut, across Narragansett Bay from Newport. We couldn't get a mooring in Newport and it's just as well, they're crazy pricey.



I'm kind of tickled by the fact that we have sailed into another state, Rhode Island. All of our sailing so far has been in Massachussetts. It feels like some sort of achievement.

We eat eat dinner at Chophouse Charlie's. It's not fine dining, but our food is good. Bob and Beth get lobster rolls, a first for Beth. I get the lobster scampi and Lee got the jambalaya. 




Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sailing Buzzards Bay August 2017 - Salem to Plymouth and Through the Canal





Monday.

Well we were going to stop at Scituate, but the weather is threatening so Captain Lee decides we should continue on to Plymouth and stay two nights, waiting to go through the canal until Wednesday. That works out fine but brother Monday's sail just went on forever. The problem with Plymouth is that even after you turn into the approach to the harbor, you still have a couple of miles to go. And even after you turn into the harbor itself, you have to go wayyyy around before you can go behind the sea wall. It just was a very long day. 



The dogs were extremely happy to get off the boat. I don't know how they do it, their bladders are much much stronger than mine. We have a carpet square on a grommet that they theoretically could pee upon but so far they don't cotton to that idea. Mainly they just sleep.

Finally on our mooring and Lee gets to try out his new sun/rainshade. It works great, at least for keeping out rain. We were able to eat out in the cockpit and stay dry. I think it will provide plenty of shade as well, once the sun comes out.

Tuesday.




The clouds are certainly threatening but the small craft advisory has been lifted. We could have probably made it through the canal to Onset today after all. Oh well! I'm able to go for a run since we don't need to rush, along the coast. Beautiful as always. Then I can take a shower at the very nice Plymouth Yacht Club. 

In the afternoon we walk around town, go to the park, explore the old mill. For dinner we go to the nearby Surfside Smokehouse. My goodness, good BBQ in New England! We are duly impressed.




Wednesday. 


We make our way across Cape Cod Bay to the canal. We know how they time it now so that we are going the direction of the tide. That makes us bounce through the canal pretty fast, 7 or 8 knots! The wind has swung around and is coming from the south. This can be bad if it keeps going that way for several days, but this has just started so when we leave the canal there is a little chop but not bad. Before we know it we've turned the corner and we're in Onset Marina, our home for the night. They are full service so we get fuel, water and get pumped out. We should be good to go now for awhile.



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Boston on the Fourth





Usually we spend the Fourth of July on our boat in the harbor at Salem Massachusetts. We watch the fireworks from our boat. We can see the fireworks from all the little nearby towns, Lynn, Marblehead, Manchester by the Sea, Beverly, as well as Salem's. It's beautiful and peaceful and we don't have to deal with crowds or traffic.

But Boston is supposed to have wonderful fireworks, and an old friend of Lee's from China will be in town with his family. We decide to go to Boston on the fourth.



We spend the night on the boat in Salem Sunday night. Dinner is on the boat, grilled shrimp, nice salad. Monday morning we sail to Boston. There is enough wind so that we can actually sail down to Boston, but but we take the sails down when we enter Boston harbor, and just motor. We stay at Constitution Marina at the mouth of the Charles River.  We are in an outer slip. The sun is bright and hot but there is a breeze.

We meet Lee's friend Benjamin, his wife Doris, and their little boy Johnny for dinner. Benjamin and Lee used to work together in Asia. Benjamin and Doris have very good English, and even  5 year old Johnny knows a lot of English. They are on a grand tour of the US and just happened to be in Boston on the Fourth. They didn’t even know it was a holiday until we told them! And actually I understand that very well; It took me awhile before I knew the holidays in Hong Kong. They want to try local food so we go to Legal Seafood Osteria, which is right nearby. We order oysters first. Everyone enjoys their sweet and salty New England taste. They have the tuna and the cod for their entrees, although Johnny has the kid’s pizza.

In the morning I have a 6 mile run to do. As I'm warming up outside the Marina a guy starts talking to me. He asks me if I've run the Boston Marathon. I tell him I can't qualify because I’m too slow, but keep searching for a waiver bib. His name is Richard. He’s a Boston marathon bombing survivor, so he gets free bibs every year. He gives me his card, and tells me to get in touch with him this fall. Well! You never know! I Google him when we get home. He’s a real live hero. He finished the race and then ran back toward the bombs when they went off and saved a guy’s life. I’d be honored to get a bib from him, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I know by now how hard it is to get any sort of bib for Boston.



In the morning we take Benjamin, Doris and Johnny for a ride around the harbor. Then we say goodbye and get ready for our next set of guests. The Westie Executive Committee has come to Boston to celebrate the Fourth with us. We’ve got hot dogs, burgers, chips, drinks, salads, and a Flag Cake for dessert! We’ve got  8 people on the boat again but this time we don't go anywhere, we just hang out at the marina. AmyC comes for the first time. She is afraid of the water but she is just getting braver all the time. And AmyD clambers on and off the boat with ease. We have a nice time, talking, laughing, watching all the boats.






Its fun to watch the boats streaming through the Charles river locks to get a good place to watch the fireworks. We figure out that the half shell where the Boston Pops play and the fireworks are set off is actually pretty far away. In my mind I thought they set them off right over the harbor, but I’m wrong. They close the locks before the show starts, otherwise the Charles would get so crowded nobody could move. We couldn't take a sailboat through the locks anyway.



Our guests leave before the fireworks start. They have to work and some have dogs that don't like fireworks. 



The show doesn't start until 10:30 PM, way past our usual bedtime. And  we are too low to actually see them properly. We can see them a little through the bridge but we're too sleepy and go to bed. 



The next morning is beautiful. We have flag cake for breakfast and then motor home. Its a sunny, calm day. Hot sun, crisp air. Perfect New England summer weather!



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Duluth and a Baby Shower




The following post actually occurred at the end of May:

I went back to Minnesota this past weekend. My niece Nicole was having a baby shower and I didn’t want to miss it. She will always be more than “just a niece” to me, because she lived with us for three years during high school. She is an amazing, level headed, very strong young woman, so let me just brag on her for a little bit.

Nicole was almost her little brother’s mom through some very rough times. When they came to live with us in 2001 it was hard at first for everyone. Slowly we all adjusted to our new situation and then Nicole really blossomed. She made friends, got excellent grades, played flute in the marching band, AND was a varsity cheerleader (which took some juggling on the part of the band and the cheer squad during football games!).

When it came time to go to college, Nicole had another tough choice to make. She had always been very good at math. She had always been attracted to the medical fields, but both her father and her grandfather were engineers, and we thought it would be a good field for her too. She entered engineering school at the University of Minnesota. Her dad lived in St Paul, and that way she could be close to her father and her brother and go to a good school. 

Nicole graduated from engineering school in 2008 with a degree in chemical engineering. It was the height of the recession which was a very bad time to be looking for a job of any sort. She kept applying, and stayed in Minneapolis. She met a very nice young man named Tom. And then she got a job offer with a French oil company. She took the job, and went off to work on an oil rig in western Texas.

Nicole ended up working on an oil rig in Siberia! She was lonely, and the work wasn’t what she wanted. She started to think about medicine again, and about Tom. After nine months she quit and moved back to Minnesota.

She decided to get a nursing degree, and she and Tom moved to Duluth so that she could go to school there. She completed her nursing degree, got a job in a Duluth hospital, and got engaged. Last Thanksgiving she and Tom decided to get married, while all their surviving grandparents were there. They got married the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Several weeks later, Nicole realized she was pregnant.

So now Tom and Nicole have a new house, a new puppy, and a baby on the way. They love living in Duluth (a beautiful but chilly city) and are looking forward to being parents.

I flew into Minneapolis on Friday. Sarah had to work that morning, so I took an Uber to her office. An interesting aside, my Uber driver was deaf! Uber told me when I chose him and he held up a sign with a notepad to explain how I could communicate with him. It was novel, but no big deal.

I love Sarah’s company, Zeus Jones. They are quirky, a small, boutique ad agency. They are giving her a lot of excellent opportunities, and they are family friendly too. She can even bring Mika there sometimes, much to that little dog’s delight. 




I’ve seen pictures of their office, but it was great to see it in person. It has a lot of open space, but wasn’t noisy at all. It was possible for some people to work collaboratively and not bother others. 

I sat in their reception area, charging my phone, reading, snacking. I went across the street to Wedge and got myself a breakfast bowl with eggs, spinach, brown rice, veggies, cheese. I’m not sure if it was breakfast or lunch, since I had gotten up so early to catch my flight. At least 5 of Sarah’s coworkers came over to introduce themselves and “thank” me for Sarah! It was very flattering, to her at least! I knew some of them by name from her stories from work. It was fun to meet them for “real”.

Finally she was able to tear herself away and off we went to Duluth. Its about a 2 and a half hour drive. I drove there, because I just didn’t know if I would be fit to drive back after the shower since I was so short on sleep.

It was very warm in Minneapolis that day. The high was 88 degrees as we drove up I-35 north. As we got close to Lake Superior the temperature started dropping. It dropped 30 degrees in about 5 minutes. It was a beautiful day in Duluth, but only 58 degrees. I’m glad I brought a sweater with me!

First we went over to Nicole new house. We met Jennie their new dog, who is about seven months old. She is an already big and friendly lab/pit mix. This house is high on a hill overlooking the town. It's older, built in the 20's, but in good shape. It's a great neighborhood, near the University, with lots of families and kids.

Then we drove to the shower, in a nice neighborhood overlooking Lake Superior. I was conscious of the fact that last year around this time I ran Grandma’s Marathon nearby. I wish it had been 58F THAT day! The two young ladies hosting the shower did an amazing job. They had all kinds of snacks for us. The had all kinds of fun activities. The first thing we did was sit down at a table where waterproof markers and baby onesies in various sizes were provided. There were stencils we could use, or we could just be creative. I did one with a selection of my standard doodles, hearts, stars and wiggly lines in a variety of colors. Everyone’s onesie was different. When we were finished we hung them all on a clothesline to admire. 



Then we played a couple of shower games. One game had us decipher the name of a children’s book spelled out in emojis. I knew most of them but a couple had me stumped. Then Tom showed up to help Nicole open their presents. One of the neat things the hostesses had us do was bring children’s books instead of cards. Totally without consulting each other, Sarah brought Blueberries for Sal, and I brought Make Way for the Ducklings, both by Robert McCloskey. We were the only literary-minded guests; most people brought infant board books!



There was also a photo booth, with props, which made for lots of fun photo opportunities.




AND there was an amazing cake and cake pops too.



Then it was time to drive back to Minneapolis. By this time I was very tired so I’m glad Sarah drove back. She saved us from a couple of deer crossing the interstate right in front of us too.

The next day in Minneapolis was really hot again. We went shopping for leggings and summer dresses for Sarah. Erik had a graduation party to attend so we tried a new sushi place in Wayzeta, named Sushi Fix. Not only was it close to their house, but it was very good too. We took a walk along the lake after dinner. This portion of Wayzeta is really pretty, and very wealthy. Giant mansions overlook the lake. There are bike trails and parks galore.




The next day I got up early to beat the heat and run 11 miles on the Luce trail by their house. Its  a very nice trail for running with lots of wildflowers and pretty lakes along the way.



Then  later we went to the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market, saw Cathy at the Green Machine Farm Stand, and got brunch at the Golden Deli. The rest of the afternoon we just hung out and relaxed. On a quick trip to the grocery store I popped in to the Land’s End outlet store and finally got myself a new bathing suit. I bought my first ever Tankini. I am long waisted and usually the tops aren’t long enough but this one worked.

I flew home late that evening to cold rainy New England. We actually have the fireplace on. I don’t think I’ll be using that bathing suit any time soon.



Saturday, July 8, 2017

San Francisco and Sonoma - Sauvignon Blanc and a Baseball Game




Wednesday April 26

With a 6 am flight out of Logan, I am up before 3 am. Shower, dress, meditate, coffee and a clif bar, and off we go. No issues getting on our United flight. There are a fair number of empty seats, which makes us wonder if the recent fiasco with the man being dragged off a plane because he refused to give up his seat really has had an effect.

It's a 6 hour flight, long, but not impossible. We are in SFO by 9:30 am with the time change. We grab our rental car, and off we go to Sonoma for a few days. We've been to Napa a bunch of times, but never Sonoma. 

Our b&b checkin time is 3 pm, so we have lots of time to kill. We have lunch at an amazing Mexican place, El Molino Central. Then we park the car on the square, check out the visitors center. We view the old stockade, the mission, and the "country" house of General Valejo, one of the founders of Sonoma. We stroll around the square, choosing our dinner destination, and stopping for coffee at a "basque" pastry shop which is anything but. It's finally okay to check into our b&b, An Inn2Remember. 



We eat an early dinner at The Girl and The Fig, just a block from the b&b. Excellent food. I get the 3 course prix fix meal, Lee gets a bunch of apps. We're in bed by 7:45, and sleep soundly until 5:30 am. It's been a long day!

Thursday, April 27

 We have a wine tour scheduled for today with Platypus Wine Tours. We've used them in Napa and they've always been good, taking us to small family wineries and interesting and unusual places. But first it's time for a run. There's a nice bike trail to follow, and plenty of other runners out and about. The flowers are beautiful, lots of roses, just past full bloom, little goats, and of course vineyards everywhere.



The tour is fine, but not as wonderful as previous tours. I'm not sure why. The people on the tour with us are really nice, it wasn't that. I think maybe we have had our fill of California wine tours. This is the fourth time we have gone to either Napa or Sonoma and its just time for a change. We start researching bike trips in California and we're intrigued. Maybe that will be our extra activity the next time we visit Daniel.

The first winery, Petronius, is extremely beautiful, very elegant. We taste the wine in their extensive wine cave, which is chilly after the bright warm sunshine outside. They make olive oil too and we taste it as well. It is spicy and peppery, with a bit of a bite.

Lee leaves the wine purchases mainly to me. Right now he is more of a craft beer drinker. I surprise myself this year. At almost every winery I'm attracted to their Sauvignon Blanc. I end up buying a bottle at all four wineries. They will be nice to drink this summer.


After Petronius we go to a small family winery. The owner, Chris, shows us around. He's a former physics professor from an Australian winemaking family. He specializes in Shirahs, natch, and I buy a bottle. He's funny and charming. It's my favorite stop on the tour. 



The third stop is a wine tasting venue. The woman that serves us is a bit over the top, very flamboyant. She does a cool thing where she has us taste a wine, then gives us various crushed herbs to smell and has us taste it again. It alters the taste of the wine, depending on what herbs we smell before tasting.

The last winery is high on a hill with a beautiful view, but it's large, busy, crowded, and I’m really not that impressed with their wines. Plus our little guide seems half drunk, or asleep. I buy a bottle anyway, I might as well, since then they waive the tasting fee.



We eat dinner at a Portuguese tapas bar, Tasca Tasca. It's delicious, and we're exhausted. In bed again by 8:30 and we sleep a good nine hours.



Friday April 28

In the morning we head over to Petaluma. We wander around the town, check out the river, a small park, some guitars in a local music store. We eat at a little diner, Sax's , for lunch, and then start heading toward San Francisco and Daniel's apartment.




We pick Dan up at work and take him home. Kelsey comes over and we walk to the sushi place around the corner for dinner.



Saturday April 29
This morning I run 4 miles from Dan's apartment. The weather is sunny, in the 60's; it the first time I can wear shorts and a tshirt on a run since Florida. I run down 17th street to Valencia and then up Valencia to Duboce. When I hit two miles I turn around and reverse my course. 

We decide to try dim sum in Alameda for lunch, instead of our usual pilgrimage to Hong Kong Lounge on Geary. It's okay, but not amazing. Their dumplings are flavorful, but the dough is thicker than it should be. Oh well! We've been hearing for years that dim sum in the Oakland area is really good, so now we know. 

In the afternoon, we hop in Dan's car and try to go to Baker beach. It's a beautiful day so half of San Francisco has the same idea. There is absolutely nowhere to park so we give up and park on California around Fillmore in Pacific Heights and walk around there instead. Even the ice cream stores have lines around the block so we settle for some excellent coffee from Jane's. Probably just as well!



For dinner we go to a hot new ramen shop, Mensho. They are small and their line is long as well, but it moves pretty fast. Inside it's crowded and noisy. The waitress can barely hear us, and vice versa. First she brings two beers and one water, instead of the three beers and waters we ordered. Then she gets the ramen order wrong too. She gets Dan's right but brings Lee and me some appetizer instead of the noodle bowls we ordered. After some confusion the apps are removed and we watch Dan eat his ramen while waiting for ours. I'm annoyed, because they really don't apologize, or make any special effort to bring us the correct order promptly. The ramen itself IS very good, and unusual, with a creamy broth, and some pickled bamboo shoots that taste downright strange, especially if you bite into one all by itself instead of mixed with other flavors.

Sunday April 30

Today we decide to do something I've wanted to do ever since Daniel moved to San Francisco. We are going to a baseball game! It's the Giants vs the Padres and we don't really care about either team, but we'll root for the home team, why not? As long as the Cards aren't playing I'll root for anyone except the Yankees.

We can walk from Daniel’s apartment to the stadium, another plus. We stop along the way to pick up Kelsey. It's a beautiful sunny day, and warm for San Francisco, almost 80, which for this town is downright hot. Our tickets are in the bleachers. The Giant's stadium seems gigantic, but I think its because the only games we have gone to recently have all been in spring training stadiums. 



I waste no time getting stadium food, I'm hungry! I get a margarita, and a philly cheese steak sandwich. I'm a fan ever since the one I had after the Philadelphia marathon, but I've never had one that tasted quite as good as the one I ate after running 26.2 miles....

It's pretty hot in the bleachers. Although I have on a short sleeved shirt, I'm wearing black pants. I sure wish I had had the sense to pack shorts! My legs get really hot. I finally drape my green jacket over my legs, and that helps provide some insulation from the sun.

There are some cute little kids in front of us that are fun to watch. When my margarita is gone (it wasn't very strong) I have a beer as well. At the 7th inning stretch we sing God Bless America, City by the Bay, and Take me Out to the Ballgame, of course. No Sweet Caroline, that's just the Red Sox I guess, although they played it at the end of the Philly spring training game in February.

The score is 0-0 until around the 4th, when the Giants score twice. That's where it stays until the 9th, when the Padres tie it up. Extra innings! We last through the 11th inning and then call it a day. As we're walking home a fan tells us that the Padres won, 5-2, or something like that. Oh well! 



For dinner we go to North Beach for some really good pizza. Our waitress is adorable, and very Italian. We are excited about seeing Afrogatto on the menu (ice cream with coffee poured over it, one of the delights we had in Puglia). They have a Primativo so we order a bottle, and two pizzas, one with broccoli and sausage, one with arugula, provolone and proscutto. They are delicious and we eat every single bite!

Monday, May 1

We are up at 3 am again, for another 6 am flight. Driving to the airport, returning the rental car,  checking our box of wine, it all goes smoothly if you don't count missing our exit for the rental car return. We buy breakfast burritos and coffee. The flight is full and they are asking for volunteers to check their bags. Since we will have to wait for the box of wine anyway, we check our bags for free!

Unfortunately they make us wait on the runway for an hour before we can take off, and we get a grand tour of Boston on the other end as well before we can land. Diane kindly allows us to pick up the dogs, even though we are past the time we said we would arrive. The dogs look lovely from their baths and grooming, and we are so happy to see them! I love getting to visit Daniel, but I wish he wasn't so far away. 


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