Pictures from California

All my pictures are up on Shutterfly and can be found through the following links:

Pictures from San Fran: share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AaMWbhk4aMWToQ

Pictures from Yosemite: share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AaMWbhk4aMWTqY

Pictures from Carmel/Monterey: share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AaMWbhk4aMWTsA

BTW – some of the pictures are blurry due to all the haze and smoke from the forest fires which aren’t all too far from where we were at.

Day 11 – San Fran to Home

Today we woke up at 8am and got ready before heading down for some breakfast. Then we came back up to finish packing everything up and left the hotel at 10:50am to head to the airport. We were checked in and sitting at the gate at 11:30am for our 2:35pm flight. I got a bunch of reading done and walked around the airport. The flight back wasn’t bad and I got the window seat.

When we got to JFK at 11:15pm, we got our luggage which seemed to take forever. Then we loaded up Mom’s car ad headed to Joan’s to drop her and Kevin off. Then Mom & Dad took me home. Now I’m off to bed as I have work at 10am in Westport.

Pictures will be up soon…I hope!

Day 10 – Carmel Valley to San Fran

Today we were up at 8am to pack up the car and head to San Fran. We grabbed some breakfast before taking off on our drive. We had some problems near the end with our GPS, but we found the hotel in San Fran. We are back at the same Holiday Inn that we were in last week.

After checking in, we walked down to Hyde Street Pier and grabbed lunch on the Wharf. We were all cold and tired, so we headed back to the hotel to watch the movie, Firehouse Dog and get ready for the SF Giants game tonight. In the process of getting ready for the game, Kevin and Joan found that Kevin left his brand new jacket in Carmel Valley at the hotel.

We drove down to AT&T Park and watched the SF Giants loose a game to the Chicago Cubs.
After the game there were fireworks which got lost in the fog but they were still nice.

Now we are getting ready to go home in the morning…

Day 9 – Monterey

Today I got ready before waking the others up again and Joan stayed in bed for a while since she said she had a pain in her leg. We finally got ready so we could get breakfast at the hotel before it was over.

After breakfast we headed to Monterey and to the Aquarium. This was an amazing aquarium and we spent hours there. I loved that there we penguins!!! I was so excited. While we were there we grabbed lunch and I had an amazing Hawaiian pizza. Then we went for a walk down Cannery Row and had a wonderful dinner. I got steak and a drink. The steak was great, not so much the drink.

Now we are back at the hotel and packing pretty much everything up since we are heading back to San Fran tomorrow and home the next day.

Day 8 – Pebble Beach & Pacific Grove

Today I woke up at 7:30am, got ready and then woke everyone up before we headed to breakfast. My day was made when they had raisin bagels and chocolate muffins 🙂

We drove back through Carmel and to Pebble Beach, via the Carmel Gate where we hopped on the 17-mile drive. There will be plenty of pictures up for you to see of the views. The whole thing is gorgeous and I really hope that I can go back and play some golf there some day. We left Pebble Beach via the Pacific Grove Gate. We went for another drive along the ocean in Pacific Grove. We ate lunch in the historic downtown at Toasties. None of our lunches sat well with any of us…

We also went for a walk through the town and saw many antique stores. We stopped in at the American Can Tinnery and walked around while I had my conference call about my reunion. Then we played black light mini golf. Kevin and I were in the lead by 1 after the front 1/2 and I ended up winning by 1 and was 4 ahead of Joan.

We got back to the hotel at 4:30pm so I went up to the wine and cheese hour that the hotel has and I was the only one there, but I got some good white wine. We then went into Carmel Valley and had an awesome dinner at the Running Iron. We were the first tourists they have had in a while and the waiter was hilarious!

Day 7 – Mariposa to Carmel Valley

Today we woke up at 8am and finished packing all our stuff up again. We loaded the car for Carmel Valley and grabbed another breakfast in the hotel. The drive to Carmel Valley was about 2 1/2 hours. On the way we stopped to get some drinks and I ran into a very angry man in Quizznos who almost decked me for accidentally “cutting” him on line to pay…ahhh well.

After checking into the Hidden Valley Inn, we drove to Carmel-by-the-Sea. We went for a drive down Scenic Dr and finally saw the Pacific Ocean!! We also explored up and down Ocean Avenue before stopping at Portobello’s for a great dinner. I had amazing penne pasta with chicken apple sausage and an apple tart with vanilla ice cream.

We also drove through Carmel Valley, which is where we are staying, before going back to the hotel. We wanted to go swimming but it was cold and the pool was very dirty so we watched TV instead….

Day 6 – Yosemite

So today was the day I was most looking forward to by far. I got to go bike riding through Yosemite Valley. After waking up again at 7:30am and grabbing breakfast at the hotel (today I had fruit loops and an english muffin), we headed to Yosemite via 140 to the Western entrance.

First we walked to Briadalvail Fall. It was awesome and Kevin and I hiked to the bottom of the fall. Then we stopped at the Old Chapel, which is all that is left of the Old Yosemite Village. We then parked in the day use lost and went to the store. Then we boarded the tram/shuttle thing that goes around the Valley and went to the Yosemite Lodge where we rented bikes. At this point, I separated from Joan and Kevin and went on a 1 1/2 hour bike ride all over the valley. First I headed down to Curry Village and saw some amazing views on my way. Then I parked my bike and hiked up to Mirror Lake, which didn’t end up being as exciting as I thought it would be since the haze ruined some of the views and the reflection of Half Dome in the lake was distorted by all the people swimming in the lake due to the 90+ degree weather.

After my bike ride, I hiked to the Lower Yosemite fall. It was gorgeous and definitely the most crowded place I saw anywhere in the park. I then went back to the store and grabbed a burger before meeting back up with Joan and Kevin to head back.

When we got back to Mariposa, I got a fruit salad and baked potato for dinner. Even though it doesn’t seem like a great dinner, it was exactly what I needed. We all went for a swim again and now we’re watching Harry Potter #5. Tomorrow we are off to Carmel Valley…

Day 5 – Yosemite

Today we woke up at 7:30am to get some breakfast at the hotel. I made a waffle and had what I think was 1/2 OJ and 1/2 Sunny D…it sure wasn’t just OJ. Then we were off to Yosemite’s Southern entrance via 49 and 41.

We first hit up the Mariposa Groves and the Giant Sequoias. We took a shuttle to the grove, a tram through it and the shuttle back. The tram ride was so worth it. Then we drove up to Glacier Point which was absolutely amazing!!! I can’t even begin to describe what I saw, all I can say is check out my pictures which are coming soon. BTW – some of the pictures are blurry due to all the haze and smoke from the forest fires which aren’t all too far from where we’re at.

On the way back to Mariposa, we grabbed dinner in Oakhurst and I had a wonderful hot turkey and potato dinner. When we got back I jumped in the pool to cool off and now we’re watching some TV and relaxing.

Day 4 – San Fran to Mariposa

This morning we woke up and finished packing to leave San Fran. We went across the street to get our rental car from Avis. It’s a Buick Lucerne. We checked out and loaded up the car then grabbed another breakfast from Denny’s. This time I had a bagel with cream cheese and jelly and some hash browns. While we were hitting up the bathrooms to clean up and get ready for our drive out east, the hotel lost power briefly.

Then we had a 3 hour, no traffic, drive to Mariposa. It’s a small town near Yosemite that we are staying at for the next 3 nights…we are at the Yosemite Inn. When we checked in, you could tell we were not in the city anymore and Joan and Kevin found it all too funny that the people hear may be missing a tooth or two and are very country-ish. We then grabbed some lunch at the Miner’s Inn across the road where I had a gigantic taco salad.

Then we hit up the tourism center and got info on how to get to Yosemite and took a drive through town. We then went swimming in the ridiculously small and freezing pool in the hotel. We grabbed some dinner on the main road in town at a pizzeria which ended up being packed by the time we left.

Day 3 – San Fran

Today we slept in and woke up late. We went next door to have breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I had some amazing french toast. Then we spent 45 minutes looking for something for Kevin since his wire in his bottom brace is poking the inside of his mouth. Eventually we just got him some gauze.

We then boarded a ferry to Alcatraz at 12:40pm and left at 1:10pm. It was only a 20 minute ferry ride, but I met people from Naas who not only know Margaret, Peter & the boys, but on of their sons is on Conor’s hurling team that Peter coaches! Small world or what?!?! I walked up to the cell house on my own and had a nice walk. It was nice to have some space from Joan and Kevin. The tour inside the prison was a guided audio tour and a learned a lot. Plus I got a phone call from friends at home and it was nice to hear from all them 🙂 We got back on the 4:15pm ferry.

From there we headed to Pier 39 and ate at Wipeout. It was a fun restaurant and I had amazing clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. Then we headed back to the hotel to pack up as we are off to Mariposa & Yosemite tomorrow morning! I’m so excited and it’s what I’m looking forward to the most.