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Our Fifth Anniversary - Trip to San Francisco!

Friday, September 7, 2001

Happy anniversary to us! We woke up around 7:30, took our showers, and went about finishing packing and hauling luggage down to the car. We left the apartment at 8:25, right on time! Off we went to the hotel where Ken works, to park the car and grab the shuttle to the airport.

This was a painless trip, all the way. The check-in line was very short, and ticketless travel made it easy to get thru quickly. Down to the gate we went, where Ken stood in line for our boarding passes. The flight was full, and headed to Las Vegas – where we would get off and board another plane to go to Oakland. We had some momentary confusion when the flight to Las Vegas announced that it went on to end up in Oakland, but we figured it out and off we went in Vegas to get on the next flight.

Actually, I got a hot dog for lunch and stood in line so Ken could go play the slot machines. :D He LOVES the slots, although why I’m not sure! He’s pretty cute about it, so I offered – and he accepted.:D Once into Oakland, we decided to get our car first, since the counter was right inside the baggage area. The agent said, “We have a luxury car for you at your economy reservation rate.” PRAISE GOD! Cool blessing, even more important in the future. Smooth, easy car rental. I love it.

Then we went looking for the luggage. Ken started to get antsy, and told me I’d better start the paperwork, because our luggage hadn’t come in on that flight. OH, dear. Oh, well – we had the essentials in our carry-ons – makeup, meds, contact stuff, etc. – so off I went to start the paperwork.

Talk about another blessing! We had a really nice young woman who took all the information, and between she and I, we figured out that the luggage more than likely hadn’t been transferred off the plane we took from Nashville to Las Vegas. The plane was scheduled in about 25 minutes after we landed! So, she told us we could wait for it and get a travel voucher if we wanted to. Dang, that was no wait at all! Ken took our carry-on stuff out and found the car, while I finished up the paperwork and went out to sit and wait. It was no time at all before the luggage came up from the flight, and there were our two suitcases! I went in, told the agent, and she printed us out a $75 voucher. Well, two blessings within forty-five minutes of arriving in California! How cool!

So, off we went to start competing with traffic. I had gotten driving directions off the computer that were totally worthless, so we had some stressful times with THAT. But the weather was beautiful, and we were intrigued by these long, cylinder-type things that were lying by the side of the road in a construction zone by the airport. They were weird-looking things, wrapped in cellophane on both ends – until I realized they were full-grown PALM TREES, with their fronds and root balls wrapped, waiting to go back into the ground after a road expansion! They were weird.

The traffic wasn’t too bad on the freeway, even though it was close to drive time on Friday afternoon. We got a little lost, and ended up driving Highway 101 thru San Francisco, but found our way eventually to San Rafael and our hotel. The staff was really friendly, and Ken checked us in with no problem. When we got up to our room, it was a king-sized bed, overlooking the pool area – with palm trees.:D Ken had ordered a cheese and fruit tray, and it wasn’t there – so he called down to tell them. They brought one up, with brie, Monterrey Jack, and cheddar cheeses, grapes, strawberries, and a little bit of melon. They also brought up a little basket with crackers, pistachios, and dried fruits in it. Ken had known I would need to eat a snack, and had wanted it to be there to surprise me. Oh, well. It was still a nice treat! Ken also ordered up a refrigerator; they told us they were going to charge us $10/day for it, but we felt like it would pay for itself, if we could keep some snacks and drinks in it. (They never did put it on our bill. The front desk manager told us not to worry about it. ANOTHER blessing!)

We rested during the afternoon, and had our dinner reservation at 8:30 that evening. It was about a 20-minute drive, and a nice location. It was kind of an artsy place, and so was the food. It was good, tho – Ken had halibut on risotto, and I had scallops on au gratin potatoes. Expensive! We were to find that dining was going to be expensive, but well worth it after deep-fried everything.:D We were too tired to order dessert, even though there were several that were highly tempting. So, the waitress brought out a plate with two chocolate chip cookies on a doily, and around the sides of the plate were written HAPPY ANNIVERSARY in chocolate sauce. It was very sweet! Five years of marriage. Wow. In some ways, it seemed like just yesterday, but in others, like we’ve been married forever.:D We’ve been through a lot together, and like Mom says, it seems like we’ve always been together. I think that’s a good thing. We have a great marriage, and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, Godly man as Ken is. GOD IS GOOD!

We went back to the hotel, watched some television, and quickly fell asleep. And that ended our first day of vacation in San Francisco.

Saturday, September 8

We “slept in” this morning, which means MAYBE 8:30 local time.:D We took it pretty easy during the morning, ordering room service for breakfast and watching cable – and Lori swimming a few laps in the pool. It was too cold for little Ken.:D In the afternoon, we went to Sausalito, where we parked and walked a ways. We decided to eat dinner early, before the crowds hit the restaurants, and chose a restaurant randomly – one called Scoma’s, which had a beautiful view of the Bay and San Francisco. We decided to order some steamers as an appetizer, and Ken ordered a Dungeness crab. I ordered a pasta with seafood on top – heck, seafood in this area was turning out to be cheaper than beef! The waitress tried to convince us we didn’t want a full order of steamers, but it’s been SO long since we had them, we said YES WE DO!:D And they were EXQUISITE. Wonderfully prepared with onion and garlic, they were sooooooooo good – I think I could have eaten the whole order by myself! Then the entrees came. Oh, MY. My pasta was WONDERFUL – it had shrimp, lobster tails, and clams in the shell. It was really, really good! Ken’s crab looked good, and he said it was – but it was pricey. He thought my pasta looked good.:D But he managed to “choke down” that crab.:D I shared my shrimp with him – he LOVES shrimp. What a great meal! Great company, and a great view. This is the ONLY picture of us together we have from our vacation – but that’s the way we looked the whole time. Enjoying ourselves, and happy to be together.

After we ate, we walked around a little bit. We bought Mom some salt water taffy, and Ken got me a beautiful sweat shirt that says SAUSALITO on it. We also went to a Christmas store, but the only thing we got was a pretty gold ornament that says SAN FRANCISCO, and has a cable car on it.

We walked back to the car, and put our purchases in the trunk. Then, Ken wanted to go look at the ferry costs and times. We decided to ride the ferry over to San Francisco and back, not getting off, but enjoying the sights and the water. It was a WONDERFUL time. First, the ferry went over to Tiburon, and Ken saw the restaurant he’d read about several times. We decided to go there on Sunday for dinner. Then, the ferry headed over to San Francisco, passing Alcatraz on the way. Wow, what a place – I still can’t imagine being imprisoned there, and being able to see San Francisco so close, but no one ever escaping and living – that they know of.

We rode outside on the trip over to San Francisco, but once there, we decided it was a little too cold to continue riding over outside. Ken went down and bought a vanilla latte, and I warmed my hands and nose on the cup between sips. It was an absolutely beautiful night, and the lights of the streets in San Francisco were amazing – you could see how they went up the hills in virtually straight lines! Our ride lasted a little over three hours, and we were windswept and chilly by the time we got back to Sausalito. It was a wonderful time together, tho, and we both really enjoyed the time to relax and enjoy each other.

When we got back to the car, Ken couldn’t find the parking pass – which meant we were going to have to pay the whole fee. Fortunately, God continued to bless us – the young man working in the booth took us at our word on when we came into the lot, and only charged us for that time. It still wasn’t cheap, but it was less than having to pay for the maximum time!

Back to San Rafael, where we went to Safeway for snacks and drinks – and to bemoan the fact that the produce was so fresh and inexpensive, and to stare longingly at the crabs on display in the fish market. Back to the room to unwind, and go to sleep. And that ends the second day of our wonderful vacation.

Sunday, September 9

Got up early on Sunday – the day to go to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium! Hopped into the shower, got dressed, and off we went. It took us about three hours to get down there from San Rafael, travel time. We stopped in a little town for breakfast; the restaurant was kind of down-home, and the food was good. It was at the top of a hill behind a grocery store, in a n office and shopping complex. I went to the bathroom after we ate, and Ken ran down to the grocery to get us some bottled water. Now, when I say bottled water, I mean something maybe 24 ounces. KEN, however, got HUGE bottles – I’d have to say they were at least a liter each, maybe more! He got two of them, but they wouldn’t both fit into the cup holder in our rented luxury car! (It still makes me giggle when I think of it!) HE also got some Jelly Belleys, and we munched on them as we drove – and shared a water.:D He’s so cute….

We got to Monterrey around 11:30, I guess, and found a place to park. Then, we walked a few blocks to the aquarium. I was excited to be there, but the more I looked around, the more I felt like the people in the area weren’t there to enjoy people, but to take their money! Anyway. We went into the aquarium, and saw the whale skeletons on the ceiling just like in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.:D The bay outside had become the aquarium pen for the whales in the movie. It was very interesting to see the REAL place, and how they’d changed it for the movie.

There were LOTS of people, MOSTLY KIDS!! AUGH!!! I knew it would be like this on a weekend, but Ken didn’t want to fight the traffic driving down during the week. It’s a nice aquarium, but the Newport Aquarium in Oregon or the Chattanooga Aquarium here is really just as nice. We had a good time, though, and went shopping in the gift shop.:D I got a t-shirt with jellyfish embroidered on it, and some sea otter socks, and some other little things. We took a couple of pictures in the Splash Zone, which is the kids’ play area – but they had some fun things, like the PENGUINS! I don’t know why, but I love penguins. Maybe it’s because they’re my favorite colors.:D Then again, I like most sea creatures….

We wandered around for a while, and had a good time, but the kids were noisy, and pushy, and I was ready to go looking for lunch. We left around 2:30, and walked down Cannery Row. There were a couple of shops we peeked into, but nothing very exciting. We went to a restaurant on the pier, with a wonderful view, and had lunch.

Ken ordered a grilled artichoke and it was WONDERFUL. The artichokes were on sale in Safeway for less than $1 apiece – and we haven’t been able to find any GOOD ones this year in Tennessee, let alone any under $2. So a fresh artichoke was great! I can’t remember what Ken had for lunch there, but I had a risotto with seafood. It was OK, but not great – it had smoked salmon in it, and was waaaaaaaaaay too salty for me. But the view made up for a lot! And we headed back to the hotel.

When we got back, we rested up a little bit, then got ready to go to dinner at the Mexican restaurant in Tiburon. It was a beautiful evening, and the restaurant had a glorious view of the Bay, and San Francisco across the waters. It was good food, and entertaining.:D The tables in the restaurant were really close to each other – it was one of those arrangements where there’s one long bench against the wall, and the tables share the bench. Ken sat on the inside, and I sat on the outside. There was a couple of men at the table to my left, and a man and woman at the one to my right. Well, I ordered some skewers of meat – chicken and beef – and some beans. The meat was WONDERFUL, but hard to get off the skewers. (Sorry, I’m already laughing….) I TRIED being polite and using my fork to get it off the skewers, but it was difficult. On the first chicken one, I was being very careful, with everything pointed at my plate. Well, the chicken suddenly released its death grip on the wooden skewer, bounced OFF the plate, and flew across that two-foot gap, almost hitting the man (if it DIDN’T, I’d be surprised, honestly!). I apologized, but started laughing. Then, it was out of my reach right behind him, and he looked at it and said, “Oh, would you like me to pick it up for you?” HONESTLY! Talk about being totally embarrassed – and not able to stop giggling. “Oh, no, I’ll get it,” I said, and nonchalantly stabbed it with the offending skewer. OH, but it was funny!!!!! I don’t think I’ll ever forget that meal! Ken looked pretty tired, but he seemed to get a kick out of that little episode.

After dinner, we walked around Tiburon a little bit. It had grown a lot since Ken had been there, and there were some fun shops. I saw a teddy bear I wanted – it was my “trip bear” – and we saw several things to tempt us, so we decided we’d spend our next day in Tiburon. Back to the hotel, relaxation, and bed. And that ended Sunday!

Monday, September 10

God blessed us our entire trip in San Francisco with wonderful weather. It was a little foggy when we headed out on Sunday, but it all burned off. Today was beautiful! Again, we took it easy, and Ken went to Safeway to get us some CRABS for lunch while I got ready. When he came back, we spread out newspaper on the table, and I warmed up the spray margarine he had got me by filling the sink with hot water. After we unwrapped Ken’s salt shaker, it was time to dig in. It was like old times. We had so much fun! And the crabs were fantastic, very fresh and yummy. In our opinion, there’s just not much better than fresh Dungeness crab.

Then, off we went to Tiburon. It was just as pretty in the daylight! We went directly to the shop where I had found the teddy bear I wanted, and purchased it, some post cards, a Breast Cancer Aware Bear for Fred, and a chocolate to tide me over. Of course, I didn’t need it much.

We walked around some more shops and stopped for some gelato. While we were outside eating it, there were two adorable dogs and their owners coming up the street. I said, “I wonder what kind of dogs they are.” Ken said one type, but I said, “They look like miniature grayhounds.” And guess what – I was right!:D Their owners gave us a card with their pictures on the outside, and information about the owners on the inside. They live in Mazatlan during the summer. I mean, can you believe it?? MONEY seemed to abound in Tiburon. Anyway, after we finished our gelato, we walked some more - and ended up across the street in another strip of shops. There was a Chinese restaurant there, and so we decided to eat there (around 4:30). They had just opened for dinner, and so weren’t very busy yet. We had a wonderful meal! We had boneless bbq pork (like we’ve only had on the West coast!) and egg rolls for appetizers, and Ken had shrimp and something:D, while I had orange scallops. MY GOODNESS. The amount of food was amazing! The scallops were HUGE – I could only eat about half of what they brought me to eat. I kept forcing scallops on Ken, but he got full quickly, too. The restaurant looked out over the bay, and it was a beautiful, quiet moment. I wish we had more of those in our lives.

After dinner, we went out and took some pictures of the bay, and the fountain in front of the restaurant. It’s pretty fun; we trade the camera off most of the time, and sometimes you can’t tell WHO takes the picture. Then, across the street and back to the car, to put that packages away, and then we went to a bar & grille that had a deck on the back. They weren’t really friendly inside (felt like a lot of locals), but we wanted to sit on the deck, anyway. Ken headed in to go to the bathroom and bring back some hot drinks. Meanwhile, I settled at a table and watched the seagulls.

THEY WERE HYSTERICAL! Obviously, they knew that this was a place they could come find food –the other birds, too – and so there were several of them there. What was so funny was what they were doing – they were drinking out of a glass!
I’m not sure what was in the glass, but they would take a couple of drinks, then hop onto another table so another gull could take a sip. It was too funny.
I took too many pictures of birds on this vacation – I’ve warned Ken not to leave me alone with the camera when there are birds around. LOL! Ken finally came back, and this little guy came up to the table behind us, wondering if we had anything worth paying attention to.

We sat there for about half an hour, and then decided to head back to the hotel, relax for a while, and go to bed early – tomorrow was our big day in San Francisco proper! But before we did, I got Ken to go into a shop I’d been eying all day. It was colorful clothing for men and women. I didn’t find anything, but Ken found a cool guitar tie and suspenders. And THEN, off we went.

Tuesday, September 11.

I got up early and kissed Ken good morning, then hopped in the shower. Before I had my hair completely wet, Ken came thru the bathroom door and told me that there had been bombs or something go off in the World Trade Center, and America was under attack. At first, I thought he was fooling me – I couldn’t really comprehend what he was saying. But then he assured me he wasn’t lying, and I came out and sat on the bed with him while we watched the horrible events of that day unfold. For about four hours, we sat there and stared, dumbfounded, at the television set, seeing mass destruction and death so many times – and yet it was almost impossible to conceive. What can you say or do?? The grounding of all flights for an indefinite time period was a real, immediate worry – I could comprehend that – because we were supposed to be going home the next day. But all those people! I couldn’t even cry; how can you comprehend how many people must have died? Ken said that with 50,000 working in the WTC, there was probably going to be around 20,000 dead there. THANK GOD that wasn’t so. It was a horrible, evil day, but God still prevails, and still shows His grace in the midst of chaos. Since then, we’ve heard so many stories about how people were stopped from being at work early or on time, and how they had meetings somewhere else, or happened to be in the bathroom instead of at their desk when the impact came. God works in ALL things, even this.

Anyway. Around 11 or so, we decided we couldn’t just sit there any longer, watching those images being broadcast over and over. We got ready and headed up the coast. It was a beautiful day out, but we ran into a little fog – it really cooled down in spots. We ended up at a little place called Bodega Bay, and ate at a restaurant there that overlooked an inlet. The sourdough was good, but that was about it in my opinion. Oh, well – it was really the only bad meal we had the whole time! Ken had a shrimp Louie, which was good. I’m glad; he was pretty upset over the whole terrorism thing. I still was having trouble comprehending the amount of destruction I had seen. We drove back by going inland – I had a map which was worthless, and any time we went anywhere, it became a joke to say, “Well, THIS map says…” California roads are also NOT well-marked. It was awful trying to find our way places! – and had taken us to Bodega Bay by a really twisty, turny road.

We got back to the hotel, and decided to have some more crab that night for dinner, since we weren’t sure when we were going home. Any time is good for crab.:D This time, Ken brought back a plastic-backed tablecloth for the table – he had been worried about the crab seeping thru the newspapers. Again, it was fun, and yummy. We basically relaxed the rest of the night, watching the broadcasts of what was going on. I also called and changed our flight – for the first time! – I THINK we said for Thursday that time. It was a comfort to be together during this – I don’t know if I could have felt as together as I did if we weren’t.

Oh, I forgot! I also called Mom before we left, and told her I didn’t know when we’d be able to get out, but I’d keep her informed. My whole family ended up praying for our safety and ability to get home – and I’m very grateful to all of them for that.

Wednesday, September 12. We basically relaxed in the morning again, watching TV. I woke up feeling kind of nauseous, and asked Ken to find me something for breakfast – “like plain toast, or an English muffin. Nothing sweet.” By the time he came back, I knew I was in trouble – I had to try to get something on my stomach! – but he brought back a blueberry muffin and blueberry bread. OH, WELL. I tried to eat a bite of the bread, but barely made it to the bathroom before I threw up. After I did, I made myself some hot tea and drank it, plus ate the blueberry bread. I was fine after a while. I think maybe it was the stress from the day before; I started to actually FEEL again, I think, and the horror made me a bit clingy, too. I try not to get that way, but when I’m sick AND clingy, Ken lets me get away with a little more.:D

We decided to go into San Rafael and look around. One of the girls at the front desk said that there was a really cute clothing boutique in town, and there were several shops. We never found the boutique….:D We wandered around a little while, and I bought a book – HTML FOR DUMMIES – so I can build better websites. This is fine, but I want to be able to CREATE! I haven’t had a chance since we got back to even open the dang book, but I will – someday….

I think we started looking at the old end of San Rafael; there really wasn’t much open, and things looked a little run-down. We found a sushi place, and decided to stop in and try it out. Of course, all the conversation was about what had happened on Tuesday; there was a man sitting at the bar who used to work at the WTC, and had lost friends. The food was good, but not the best we’ve had.

We were a little surprised, but we ate it.:D Ken was still in a retreating place, and it was hard to reach him there. It was still a comfort to be with each other, though – the not knowing part of what came next, or when we were going to be able to get home was difficult.

Anyway. We stopped at Walgreen’s to get some soda, and I picked up some more post cards. Then, back to the hotel for more rest and relaxation. I love vacations!

One of the other ladies working at the front desk – Ken would know all their names, because he talked shop with them! – recommended a Chinese place not far from the hotel, so we decided to go there for dinner. She gave us directions, and off we went. IT was a really nice place, with décor that was kind of formal. The food was, again, a surprise in that it wasn’t as good as Ken thought it should be.:D But we had a good time, and were sure to tell the manager that the front desk had recommended we come there.:D I think we maybe got her a free meal….

After dinner, we decided to go to Border’s Books. I told Ken, “I brought enough reading material to get me here, keep me while we’re here, and get me back. I’m almost done with all I brought – and we still have a plane trip, plus who knows when we’ll be getting home!” (We were spending lots of time on the phone, with Southwest and with Dollar Rental. Dollar told us they’d have to charge us a drop fee of $750 if we drove back to Nashville. Add on at least one hotel room, and gas, and that option would have been about $1000. No, thanks.) I hit the jackpot! Bookstores are very dangerous places for me – I so love to read! I found a coffee table book on San Francisco - now I’m wondering where I put that book… I also found several paperbacks by some of my favorite authors. I felt guilty, and gave Ken $20 of the little bit of money I’d brought with me to help buy the books. We spent almost $100 on books! And Ken only got ONE. I can only say, in my defense, that the coffee table book was one I had told Ken I wanted to buy if we found one, and it was pretty expensive.:D

Back to the hotel we went; I think we went hot-tubbing that evening, which we did several times. It was nice – and gave us both a chance to show off our new swimsuits.:D I also contacted Southwest, and changed our flight to Saturday morning – she thought Saturday sounded very good to go out. Oakland’s airport was showing no signs of reopening yet, so we were praying that Saturday would be a possibility.

Something I never knew about myself until this tragedy happened: I really depend on familiar things and routines to keep my emotions stable during a crisis like our country is in. I loved being on vacation, loved being in San Francisco – and wouldn’t have minded the extra days at all if I wasn’t forced into them. It was time to get home, back to our things, our messy apartment, and our daily grind. But Saturday was still a few days away. The flight was scheduled to leave at 6:35 in the morning.

I had seen that Kinko’s had computers, and so we wandered in and asked if we could go online. After being gone so long, I knew we would both have full boxes! It turned out that, after 10:00 p.m., computer time was half-price. So, we went to Safeway for a few more snacks for our room, then went back to Kinko’s. We both got our own machines, and spent aobut a half-hour online. Ken said it was the cheapest time we’d spent out of our hotel room! :D Off to bed, after watching more news. And that ended our first extended-stay day. Tomorrow, San Francisco!

Thursday, September 13. FINALLY!! We get to go to San Francisco! We still didn’t get off too early; I think we were onboard the ferry around 10.

Ken gets seasick, and it was a little choppy that day, so we sat inside and tried not to think about the rocking of the boat. I tried to get him to read something in a magazine, but he finally told me he’d never been able to read while traveling like that, because it made the problem worse. Heavens! If I couldn’t read while traveling, those bus rides home after school when I was younger would have been longer than the hour and a half they already were!

We got into San Francisco, down by Fisherman’s Warf, and could hear the sea lions barking. It’s pretty interesting; since the last big earthquake in San Francisco, the sea lions have suddenly been coming onto the platforms around the wharf to sun themselves. They’re one of the biggest attractions down there right now! And I LOVE sea lions, so we went around to the pier to look at them. I bet there were 100 of them out there;

I can still hear the cacophony of their barking in my mind. Then, we were off. I guess we decided to head for Ghiardelli Square first thing, although I don’t really remember making that decision.:D
We rushed past several interesting-looking shops; Ken was worried about not making it back for the last shuttle in time. Oh, well. It didn’t take us long to get there – I think we did rather well for us! – and decided to eat lunch at the Boursin Bakery. SO many people, including my friend Doug Stephenson:D, told us to eat there. It was good – I sure ate a lot of sourdough while in San Francisco!:D The clerk tried to sell us some bread “to take home”, but we told him home was a long way away. There were two women in the restaurant who were also stranded; they were from Pennsylvania, and were scheduled to fly out the next day from San Francisco’s airport. We wished each other well, and then I sat down to wait for Ken (he had to go to the little boy’s room). The clerk brought our sandwiches out, and the pigeons decided to come see what we had to eat. Ken’s a softy! He started tearing off bits of his crust for them.:D
After lunch, we headed upstairs to the shops.
We really wanted to find something to take back for my mom and dad. We looked just about everywhere, but never did find anything we felt was worthy of them.:D We also didn’t spend much money.
Not knowing when or how we were getting home was worrying Ken. We did spend a little bit on some chocolate, and we shared a caramel sundae in the sundry shoppe. I took some pictures, and we decided to take a ride on the cable cars.

THAT was fun.:D It was just down the hill from the Square – literally DOWN the hill! – where the turnaround was. We went down, and I stood in line while Ken went to purchase our tickets. They were $2 each way. We had to stand in line for a while; the cars seemed to come in spurts. It was REALLY interesting, watching them on the turnaround. It took 2 or 3 guys to do it, but that’s all; they’d push the car onto the turnaround, then give it a little shove, and around it went, until it was facing the correct way. We even saw a STUDENT DRIVER CABLE CAR.
If I lived in San Francisco, I could see doing something like that for a while! Although the hills DID scare me. GOODNESS! I wish we had been on the outside of the car more, because we really passed a lot of interesting things that I couldn’t see too well. We also didn’t get a chance to get off at Chinatown, because of the time thing. We got off at the other end of the turnaround, and stood in line. Actually, Ken stood in line while I went and took pictures of the street. I did so wish we had more than five hours to spend in town! There was a street vendor there at the turnaround selling roses for less than a dollar. I kept hoping Ken would get the hint…:D Oh, well. Can’t expect him to read my mind – especially when I don’t know what it’s saying half the time!:D We got back on the car, and got to the other end – closer to the Wharf than the one we’d gotten on originally. So, we stopped at one or two of the shops, and I got more postcards, and a couple of booklets on San Francisco and Alcatraz. Then, we hotfooted (is that really a word?!?!? Spellcheck says it is!) it back to the Wharf, where we were fifteen minutes early to board the next to last shuttle back to Tiburon, where we’d parked the car. We both decided we’d love to come back and spend more time in the city.

We got back to Tiburon, got out of the parking lot, and headed to Sausalito. I had asked if we could go back to Scoma’s, since we enjoyed it so much. We had the steamers, and both of us had the pasta this time.:D YUM. Such a beautiful view, too. We just love being on the water!

Then, back to the hotel, where I packed up the treasures suitcase – where I was keeping everything we’d purchased – and told Ken that I still had room.:D OH! I completely forgot. On Wednesday, Ken had decided to go purchase a duffel bag for the return trip – he had bought a lot of clothes, and we had been packed to the GILLS on the way there. Ken did some laundry either Wednesday or Thursday night, I can’t remember which, and used the new duffel as his laundry basket.:D We again went to Kinko’s, and I sent out prayer SOSs to everyone I could think of, to ask for prayer that we’d get home on Saturday.

Friday, September 14.

How difficult to believe we’d been here a week. So much had happened since we left Nashville on our anniversary! This morning, Oakland Airport was opened again finally. Hallelujah! That meant we were probably going to get home tomorrow.

Once again, we spent part of the morning relaxing. Ken had heard about an interfaith prayer meeting on Friday, to be held at the mall just down the road from our hotel. We decided to go; we got fastfood sushi at the mall for brunch, and it was really pretty good! There were probably about one hundred people there for the service; it kept growing as the shops around it closed so their employees could come out and attend. There were books to write in, and I wrote in for Ken and I. They were passing out stickers to wear on our clothes as symbols of being united; Ken had the Liberty Bell, and I had the Statue of Liberty. We sang a little; I had been wanting to sing all those patriotic songs, but I’m never sure if it’s kosher.:D I enjoyed singing, and had several people come up and tell me how much they enjoyed my voice. That’s always nice, but that’s not what I sing for.:D The service was nice, and we thanked the minister who led it.

We then decided to drive up the coast a little, then inland. Ken took me to Vallejo, where the shipyards are. That’s where his parents met during World War II.

It’s a quiet little town, and the spunk that Emma had to move out to California by herself on a bus was made even more incredible by the tangibility of seeing where they lived and worked – and loved.

After driving thru Vallejo, Ken took us inland, to Sonoma. WHAT a different world! We headed thru a lot of vineyards – most of us recognize Sonoma County as Wine Country.:D They had sparkly streamers tied to the wires on the arbors; I think it must be to keep birds away, but I really don’t know. If anyone knows, please let me know! I’ll correct myself AND give you credit!:D All in all, we didn’t care much for Sonoma. It reminded me a lot of Bend, OR. It was dry, HOT, and incredibly expensive! We did find a good Mexican restaurant for lunch. Afterward, we went out and walked around. There was a mission right across the street, and we went over there and looked at it, then walked around the square.

Ken bought a thank-you card for the staff at the Sheraton where we were staying; they had been very friendly, and gone out of their way to let him try to stay in touch with his workplace. The general manager, after chatting with him and their talking about how much this terrorist attack was affecting business, “comped” our last THREE nights there – we didn’t have to pay for them! Another blessing, and more proof that God is right here with us.

We also went to a little ice cream shoppe and I had ice cream. Ken’s stomach wasn’t up to ice cream, but we had another chance to talk. By now, we’d pretty much decided that, if we could get more information, we’d be moving back to Oregon next year. We now decided we’d like to look at Portland. Nashville just wasn’t doing it for us. It had been what we needed, but now we feel the need to get back to where we’re comfortable. Portland offers a huge job market potential, plus Ken’s really familiar with it. Kaisa is in the area, as well as Lee (Ken’s best friend). It just seems to make sense. So, we talked about that decision a little bit more.

We made our way back to our car, and both agreed we didn’t like Sonoma. I wished we’d gone back to the city, or to Tiburon again, but we didn’t.:D We’ll know better next time! We headed back to the hotel to get freshened up, and ask advice about where to go for dinner. When we walked into our room, however, the message light was blinking on our phone. It was Mom; the message said, “Call me when you get back. I have information about Debbi and the baby.” Debbi, my sister, was due any day; this message was rather abrupt, and I was a little afraid that something was wrong. As soon as I got ahold of Mom, however, I could tell she was very happy. I finally had a nephew! His name is Dane Baruch (baruch = blessing), and he weighed 9 pounds – which was small for Deb’s babies. :D But joyful news, for sure! He’s a beautiful baby!

We had heard about Mill City earlier in the week, but Ken hadn’t thought it sounded like much. When the staff suggested that we head over there, though, Ken decided we might as well give it a try. So, around 7:30, we headed out again.

By the time we got to Mill City, I had to go to the bathroom – BADLY. We parked the car, then walked downhill to the “strip”. We passed a Chinese restaurant – NO!:D We found this place called The American Grille; Ken stood in line for putting our name on the list, and I went to the bathroom.:D The wait was about 45 minutes for a table, so we decided to walk around the town a little bit. MY GOODNESS. It was really a cute place!! There were LOTS of shops, and lots of interesting places. We decided to come to Mill City when we go back to San Francisco.:D We walked by the place where they were having a candlelight vigil for the victims from the attack; it was beautiful. And back up the hill we went. We were sitting outside the restaurant – had just sat down – when the hostess came out and told us our table was ready. We ate pretty light!:D Ken had a salad and crab cakes, and I ordered us some coconut shrimp, and had a cheeseburger. I only ate half of the cheeseburger, I was so full by the time it came!:D IT was noisy in the restaurant, but a fun atmosphere.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. Ken went back to Kinko’s, and I lay down to try to get some sleep. I called down for a wake-up call at 1:45, just in case the 1:30 alarm didn’t go off. I wasn’t asleep by the time Ken got back. He watched a little news, then came to bed.

Saturday, September 15.

After a nap, we got up when the alarm went off.:D O’dark thirty! I took a shower, we got dressed, and finished packing up. We were all loaded up and on the road by around 2:40, I think. It was foggy, and kind of eerie out. Traffic was almost non-existent, and we made it back to the airport just fine after stopping to fill the car up.

The parking lot was pretty empty; a security guard came up and told us where to park the car, and where to drop the keys. (I forgot! They had extended our reservation at the same fee I’d originally gotten it for. We had the car for three extra days for only $100 more. ANOTHER BLESSING!) We dropped the keys off, and we headed to the terminal.

There were probably about 10 people in line before us; we were three hours early for our flight, but that was what we were figuring it would take us. We hadn’t known that the counters wouldn’t open until FIVE, but that’s OK; by the time they did open, the line for check-in was wound around the inside of the terminal and out the door, along the sidewalk. Ken lay down on the floor and catnapped; I read. We were very blessed; we didn’t have our bags searched, although several people ahead of us did. I think it’s because we connected with the gate agent, and talked about Nashville – she asked questions about things we did, and was very friendly. We wished her well – we know the gate and ticket agents have got to have had it rough with people yelling about things lately. The line for the security checkpoints was growing rapidly, but once we got thru it, things went really smoothly. Ken didn’t think much of the security guards there at the checkpoint, but I thought they did OK. Of course, they didn’t hassle us.:D

We went to our gate, and Ken got into the line to get our boarding passes while I got breakfast. It was about 5:30, and the restaurants were just opening. I managed to get some eggs and bacon – and the eggs were very good! As I got back to the gate, Ken called me over – we both needed our IDs again, and I had his wallet. So, I ran up there with them, and then told the agent, :I’m going back to eat breakfast!”:D The flight was only late getting off the ground about 10 minutes, and they had padded the time so we were early getting back. Ken was kind of nervous at first, but he settled down. That flight was probably one of the best we’ve ever had. People were courteous; the flight was only 2/3 full; it was a direct flight back to Nashville, so we didn’t have to worry about delays on the ground – Ken’s idea, and SUCH a good one! Ken slept most of the way back; I fell asleep a little bit, but not too much. We were back on the ground and at the gate fifteen minutes early.

Nashville’s airport was like a ghost town. There was hardly ANYONE there, and it was really sad to see. But it was easy getting our luggage and getting the shuttle back to the hotel. We went to McDonald’s on our way home, got a couple of burgers to eat at home, and Ken took a nap so he could go to work. It wasn’t a very long nap, considering how long we’d been up, but he made it through the night.

I need to put something else in here, and I'm not sure where - so here it is!:) Ken had accidentally walked off with ALL OF OUR MONEY on this trip! We hadn't meant to bring our entire life savings, but we did. Ken got a lock box at the front desk, and kept it all there. Again, God worked for us! If we hadn't had all that money during the time we were uncertain about getting home, Ken would have been a basket case, and it would have been hard to be able to do ANYTHING, for fear of not having money enough to get home. It's been INCREDIBLE to see how God worked during our whole trip!

And so ended our honeymoon/anniversary trip to San Francisco, California. An eventful trip, to be sure, but one we’ll always remember. I had a wonderful time, and I feel like we really needed the time to remember who we are as a couple, and to renew ourselves. Thank you all who prayed for our safe return, and when you come visit, ask to see the rest of our pictures - and our new coffee table book, would you????:D

Other Pages of Ours....

Our Home Page!: This page should have every link to every page...:D
Our Trip to Maine!: We went to Maine for Dale's wedding in August. Read all about it!
Our Christmas Newsletter: If you'd like to read our newsletter, please feel free.:)