Caverns, San Francisco, and RAIN!

Trip Start Oct 28, 2008
Trip End Nov 17, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, November 9, 2008

We managed to sleep in this morning. We haven't said much about the hotels thus far mainly because they've just been rooms. Sleep and shower. Period the end. But last night in Jackson we stayed at the Best Western, and I just need to take a moment to sing their praises.

The room was amazing! The king sized bed was a bit hard, but the fire place and nice bathroom made up for it. Plus, had we been there longer, there was a microwave in the room as well as a few other amenities- like an iron and ironing board. There was also a little exercise room off the lobby. But the first thing we took advantage of was the spa. Yummy! And the restaurant they recommended for dinner- Jose's Mexican- was outstanding, as was the diner they recommended for breakfast- Mel & Faye's.

Anyway, after sleeping in and a bit of TV this morning, and breakfast, we headed to Murphy's to see Mercer's caverns. We gave up on Yosemite after seeing a brochure for Mercer's in the hotel and thought it looked much more interesting. Especially after yesterday's ride through the mountains.

We're both glad we did. The caverns were incredible! 16 stories down, surrounded by amazing formations of stalactites, stalagmites, and rock. Our tour guide was really funny, too.

And I've fallen in love again. Murphy's and it's sister city Angel's Camp are probably the cutest towns on the planet. The old main part of the towns are the perfect small town atmosphere, but both are quite big and have all the amenities of large cities. And if you need more, it's not that long of a drive out to a bigger city. San Francisco was only 3 hours in the rain.

We met a woman at a gas station in Murphy's who asked if we really were from New Zealand. Turns out that she and her husband live in Murphy's 6 months of the year, and Nelson in the South Island for the other 6! Small world.

After the caverns, it was on to San Francisco. We were trying so hard to beat the rain, but it got us around Oakland. It wasn't raining hard, just enough to make seeing difficult on the bike. And make me really nervous.

When we got to the Bay Bridge we couldn't see the top of it due to the fog. The was a wall of gray all around us. It made it feel like we were entering a completely different world.

We wound up going up Fisherman's Warf twice, and around some of the side streets searching for a suitable place to stay the night. Finally, we wound up here at the Holiday Inn Express. It's a bit more expensive than our usual choices, but only one block up from Fisherman's Warf. Apparently this room can go for up to $500 dollars/night! Thankfully we're travelling during the off peak times, so it's not nearly that bad!

After showering and changing clothes, we wandered down Fisherman's Warf and had dinner at Hooter's. It doesn't exist in New Zealand, and I've been telling Steve forever that he had to try the chicken wings. He did, and he loved them. In fact, he ate 18 (I stole 2 from his plate). Then we went for more of a wander, trying to burn off dinner, and poked around some of the souvenier shops. We now have 2 San Francisco shot glasses because we decided to pick up a bottle of port, and needed something to drink from.

The cold rainy weather is sticking around tonight. It's supposed to clear up tomorrow afternoon, so we're crossing our fingers that it actually will. We have to do laundry tomorrow morning though as we're completely out of clean clothes, or even anything resembling clean. Maybe that will give the weather a chance to get it's act together.

I was wishing for some balloons to do balloon animals today. Sometimes little kids are freaked out by the black leather clad bikers. I would love to pull out a balloon and make them something just so they have a great first experience with bikes. Corrupting the youth of today, I take my job seriously.
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