Greetings from sacramento again: we were ...

Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
Trip End Apr 01, 2003

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Greetings from Sacramento again:

We were exhausted the morning after our flight home from Connecticut so we spent the next day just doing errands, slowly. We had such a blast seeing everyone, but it was also nice to be home. We planned out our remaining days in Sacramento which also included a day trip to San Francisco. We've been to San Francisco before during our honeymoon and it was a city worth revisiting. Only this time, we agreed not to drive down Lombard Street in our twenty foot diesel pickup truck.

Tuesday - In West Sacramento there were a bunch of little shops and restaurants that were all situated within walking distance of each other. As soon as we stepped out of the truck we were handed a flyer offering us free samples of...CANDY! Our sweet tooth would not let us walk away without getting some of it, however, here in West Sacramento taffy seemed to be the candy of choice. Like jelly beans, they came in every flavor, but its chewy consistency was just not our favorite.

After our fill of free taffy we walked into an Indian trading shop. I found a pair of pretty silver earrings for my mom and a cool silver Kokopelli ring for myself. Kokopelli is a prehistoric deity depicted hundreds of times in rock art, some of it over a thousand years old, located in numerous sites in southwestern United States deserts and mountains. Often depicted as a humpbacked flute player, this mythic being has survived in recognizable form from Anasazi times to the present. In Kokopelli, Flute Player Images in Rock Art, Dennis Slifer and James Duffield mention "...widely held beliefs that Kokopelli was a fertility symbol, roving minstrel or trader, rain priest, hunting magician, trickster, and seducer of maidens..." We continued walking around the cobblestone streets and looking into each of the windows of the quaint little stores. Our parking meter ran out after two hours, so we went home.

Wednesday - Today we made the trip to San Francisco. Actually, one of the main reasons we went on this cross country and back again trip is to return to San Francisco for its irresistible clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl. We found what we wished for at the Fisherman's Wharf and we were once again confirmed in our belief that it was worth the wait and the 25,000 miles it took to finally get here. We walked off lunch and watched the street performers perform their amazing tricks and the sea lions working on their tans. We found an art gallery with the most amazing landscape photos we have ever seen. Jenn spoke up and asked how they made the pictures look the way they did. By using a small aperture, a slow shutter speed, ISO 100 color film, and a special developing technique, the finished pictures had a natural brightness to them and they also looked more three-dimensional than regular photos do. Unfortunately, I did not write down the name of the place or the photographer to pass on to all of you.

Our next destination was Golden Gate Park. We wanted to see the Japanese Tea Gardens, but we ended up driving in circles inside the park. We got so frustrated in not finding it that we were ready to give up and leave, but instead we pulled over and stopped in front of some living buffalo. There were only a few of them and they were being held in a small fenced in area. I have to admit we are a little spoiled, because we have seen so many buffalo wandering wild in South Dakota and Wyoming that it was just not as exciting. We turned around and began walking back to the truck when we saw a park map on display about thirty feet away. The map showed us how to get to the gardens and I thanked the lucky buffalo for distracting us. We finally arrived at the Japanese Tea Gardens and enjoyed strolling through them during the last five minutes they were open. Across the street from the tea gardens we saw a large building with the lights still on inside, so we went there to investigate.

It was a science museum called the California Academy of Sciences and on the first Wednesday of every month they offer free admission. Lucky us, thank you again mighty buffalo. So, we walked in and looked around at its exhibits of insects, sharks, sea lions, bears, and other wildlife that can be found in California. The museum also had a special section dedicated to skulls. That's right...SKULLS. A huge room was filled wall to wall and floor to ceiling with skulls of all different sizes. Although we were literally surrounded by dead animal bones, we didn't feel the slightest bit spooked and we enjoyed ourselves in that room full of skulls.

This night was far from over because now we were on our way to Chad's house. Chad and Jenn went to the same high school and met up at their ten year high school reunion. Chad told her to look him up when we arrived in San Francisco, and so, we did. We met Chad's two roommates and his friend Chris from Switzerland. We were getting hungry, so we caught a cab and ended up in Chinatown where more of Chad's friends waited for us guessed it, a Chinese restaurant.

I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was packed with people and the food smelled very good. By now, we were very hungry. We looked at the menu and everyone had decided what to order, however, later we learned that ordering was a waste of time. The waitress came by to take our order or so I thought. Somehow our orders were ignored and instead she told us what we were going to eat. We really did not know what to expect, but she took good care of us. The food arrived smelling very delicious and it tasted as good as it smelled all the way down to our hungry bellies.

With our tummies full and the night still early, we walked down to a local bar for some after dinner drinks. The place was quiet and empty, so after our first round we went to another bar that had a pulse. Chad and his friends told us about the famous people they have seen before in this place as they sipped their hot chocolate splashed with brandy. We did not see anyone famous that night, but the conversation and laughs made up for it. The night was getting late and we had to say good bye. Hey Chad, thank you to you and your friends for your hospitality and the happy memories of San Francisco.

Friday - We headed out to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center where we saw a Great Horned Owl, rattlesnakes, and we got to watch them feed a hungry water turtle some dead mice. We next followed a trail into the woods. We passed by a group of wild turkeys (not the same ones we saw in Connecticut) and the trail eventually brought us to a river. The closer we got to the river, the stronger the smell of dead fish became. When we got there we could see hundreds of dead fish everywhere and the birds were enjoying their all-you-can-eat buffet. The fish were dead salmon, which died after they swam upstream to lay their eggs. We had enough of dead fish, so we left and headed out to the Jelly Belly Factory for MORE FREE CANDY!

The Jelly Belly factory tour was interesting and it was neat to watch them turn sugar and more sugar into flavored jelly beans. Did you know that they also make taffy and an assortment of chocolate covered candies? There were pictures of presidents and other things which were made entirely from jellybeans. After the tour, we went over to the tasting bar where they had free samples of every flavor jellybean and every other candy they make.

I must have tried every type of candy under the sun. I also tried some of the jellybean flavors three or four times. They also had these new flavors from the new Harry Potter movie and some of them were quite disgusting. Some of those flavors I tried were grass, dirt, and sardine, and they mysteriously tasted exactly like they should. The nice girls behind the candy counter tried to trick Jenn into eating one called booger. She caught on to their trick before it was too late and those girls were lucky there was a counter in front of them and security guards within calling distance because Jenn would have kicked both their butts at once. I'm serious! I volunteered to try one called vomit, but only if they gave me a few peppermint jellybeans to chase it with. It was absolutely gut wrenching disgusting!

After dinner, Jenn went out by herself and drove through the holiday light show nearby. I stayed at home to work on updating this website. She loved driving through and seeing the motorized Santa with his reindeers, the elves, and all the other holiday ornaments. As per Jenn's request we listened to holiday music every day starting the day after Thanksgiving and it will not end until the 1st of January. She really loves the spirit of the holidays.

We had so much fun these past two weeks. We got to be with family over the holidays. We got to hang out with friends in new places. Actually, it made us very happy to know that we will continue to be with friends in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs. California is turning out to be a very friendly state.

Enjoying the sugar rush,
Love Dave & Jenn
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