Jon and Rachel take on California

Mission accomplished. And we had the best time! It started with us flying into San Francisco and meeting up with my cousins Erin and Scott who showed us downtown, AT&T park and the water then we drove up to Napa and spent a few days there then drove back down to San Francisco stopping at Muir Woods along the way and ended the week exploring the city. It was a packed week but so much fun. Here are some of the hi-lights:

Welcomed to the city by true San Franciscans. My cousin got a compliment from a stoned hobo on her pants-- thats the welcome I was talking about.

Welcomed to the city by true San Franciscans. My cousin got a compliment from a stoned hobo on her pants– thats the welcome I was talking about.

AT&T Park where there was a game going on. Lots of birds… very frightening.



Made it to Napa! And we found a giant chair!
“Better than a mug shot” -Napa police officer who took our picture
Thank you?

And thus begins all the pictures of the wineries/vineyards. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the view. And take notes, we hit some good ones. First up: Castello di Amorosa. Go there. As soon as you can.


Why yes this is an authentic Tuscan castle in Castiloga California. And why no it was not built by authentic Tuscans because they couldn’t stand the heat. The owner tried, they couldn’t work in “these conditions”.


It just wouldn’t have been the same if there weren’t sheep and chickens.
Oh and the further one is cooling down against the stone, he’s not in time out or depressed like I thought.

While looking at the animals, we bumped into a lady who started asking us a lot of questions about our tour and what we thought, turns out she was a reporter for the local Calistoga newspaper and we made it in the article!


The view is like no other I’ve seen

Next up: Beringer. In my opinion, Beringer had the prettiest grounds because of all the gardens and details. I think Jon was still stuck on the castle, because it was in fact a castle.


Beringer grounds– so many beautiful gardens! None of which Jon even noticed…


We found the vineyard cat

And what do you do when you find a vineyard cat?

You chase it.



Apologies for this shot… it was the best one I could get with the sun



Because of I’ve heard of it before… Robert Mondavi was next


Robert Mondavi– under construction so not a lot of good pictures here…


Well except this one. He welcomes you to the vineyard…

This next one was my other favorite: Cuvaison! Thanks to Jon’s mom for telling us about this one. It was small but the man who helped us was so nice and so informative and friendly!


Pondering which wines to taste? Trying to remember what lunch he ordered? Contemplating the meaning of life? Or ignoring me trying to take a picture of him?
We’ll never know

We got a picnic lunch here and ate, drank and were merry.


Picnic view. It’s really ok to be jealous at this point. It was pure bliss.

Pretty much just to see what this building was about: Opus One. It was supposed to be a blend of space-age and Maya? It had a big hill that would be prime for rolling down if you were a kid, that’s what I noticed.


It did have really nice symmetry– I noticed that too. Is that space age or Maya related?

Not pictured: Alpha Omega but I do recommend going there. We enjoyed our tasting and had really good conversation with the man who helped us!

After thoroughly enjoying Napa it was off to Muir Woods then San Francisco! First up: Muir Woods


Not just for tall trees

If you’re going to go to Muir Woods, go early in the morning. On our way out of the woods around noon we were hit by a wall of people flooding in.


Thank you Jon for going to see the tall trees with me

"If I were a mountain man I could consider this tree as a home" -Jon

“If I were a mountain man I could consider this tree as a home” -Jon


How does this happen?

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forest gangsters because tagging bridges in national forests is thug

forest gangsters
because tagging bridges in national forests is thug

we chose the sea view path to see the sea. so up up up up up we go

we chose the sea view path to see the sea. so up up up up up we go

And this is the view we were rewarded with. Well worth the hike.

DSC01711Successful trip to see the tall trees. On to San Francisco!

We stayed at a hotel on Nob Hill, a pretty swanky area. So glad we arrived all gross from our hike to make a good first impression.


the view from our room: Grace Cathedral

You can’t go to San Francisco and not see Lombard Street!

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To be fair, we saw Fort Point for Jon.

enlisted men quarters-- Jon's future residence with some minor upgrades

enlisted men quarters– Jon’s future residence with some minor upgrades

I think the bridge was my favorite attraction of San Francisco. Very impressive.

DSC01765When we were making our trek to the Golden Gate Bridge we kept seeing this weird golden dome sticking up above all the apartments and shining in the sun and we kept taking turns saying “I wonder what that is…” as we got closer and closer and then we passed it. On our way back we found out what it was: the Palace of Fine Arts.

In the middle of the city was this colossal beautiful structure. It was such a nice break from the rows and rows and rows of buildings and so unexpected!
DSC01786 DSC01782 You can’t go to San Francisco and not go to Chinatown. And in fact we had some darn good Chinese food there too. DSC01787 A little out of place but I found other good one of the bridge that I liked.DSC01751We saw a lot more of San Francisco including Fisherman’s Wharf, the trollies, and other sites I was just bad and didn’t get pictures of it all. shame on me. For all the pictures of our trip, check out our Flickr page.

Goodbye California! Thanks for having us!