Browsing Archives for San Francisco

On our last full day in San Fran….cisco… we drove out to Marin County.  Or primary destination was Muir Woods to see a forest of coastal redwoods and we were not disappointed.  Even though I now realize that the colossal redwood trees in Muir Woods are only tiny wobbly suckling infants compared to the trees in Humboldt Park and in a few other areas along the California coast, we were mightily impressed with the grandeur of these baby giants.   

Our boys were restless on the comfortable wide gravel path that the park is slowly changing to a wooden board walk to keep the visitors from constantly trampling the shallow roots of these ancient wonders.  As we discovered earlier on this vacation, our sons seem to settle down when they are pushing their bodies hard.  They love to run and to jump and to throttle each other mercilessly and this is much easier to do away from the throngs of people on the main path.  So we took our family off road and they all dug into the calf crushing climb to the top of the park as they got down to the serious business of bloody boyhood.

And yes, even though they are much calmer when they are in full exertion, I still had a hard time suppressing thoughts of just wandering back to the car and leaving them all there… in the backwoods… of California.  But I controlled that impulse.. barely… even though ultimately I think it might have been the best decision I could have ever made for everyone in my family.  Seriously! I am not even kidding. 

The Country Doctor is very fond of relating the time honored tale of eleven year old William Clark ( of Lewis and Clark) hiking to his grandmother’s every summer ALONE across 300 miles of the Appalachian Mountains. Imagine the educational opportunities that would abound for our kids if we did abandon them in the wilderness!   They would learn to survive…  and to make things… and to forage… and to subsist… and maybe even to work together!   In the end, don’t you think it is possible we would be doing them a huge favor?
Yes – the blog.  Okay back from my private little fantasy of wood worn children that do not suffer the taint of modern American boyhood.
Muir woods is awesome and also where I bought the book that is in the giveaway that is going on one post down.  
Right before we set off on our hike, we listened to a lecture in the park given by a passionate gentlemen who talked about the forest as if it were a sentient being and spoke of the connectedness of all things natural and how we are rapidly destroying the balance.  He was a very good speaker and he got choked up a few times as he spoke about his love of the woods and how they are going to disappear if things don’t change.  At the end of his talk he said there was a way to stop it.  A way to stop the destruction of the natural beauty of this planet.  He said that we could stop it.  Then he asked if there was anyone in the small group of listeners who would be willing to consume ten percent less than they are presently consuming.  Just ten percent.  Who would be willing?
I kept my hand firmly to my side.
He asked again – who would be willing to just buy ten percent less.  If we all bought just a little less, the companies would eventually make less stuff and fewer resources would get used up and less pollution would occur and the entire planet would rejoice.

I looked up at the huge old trees.  I looked at my young sons.  I thought about this old world and all it has seen and all it has weathered.  I wondered how much more it could take.  I wondered how much impact man really has.  I mean man wasn’t around to cause the first ice age or the um… other um… natural catastrophic things that have taken place on this planet thousands of years ago.   Honestly in the scope of all time and space is the work of man really so impressive to actually destroy an entire planet?  

But then I thought about how much we have destroyed already just in the past hundred years. How we managed to destroy almost all the coastal redwoods in the entire world except for a few that were just too dang hard to get to.  But guess what?  They aren’t that hard to get to anymore.  We have machines that can bust through anything.  Technology has made it possible to get to parts of nature that were previously safely out of reach.
I breathed in the spicy scent of the bay laurel and the fragrant humidity of the coastal redwoods that used to cover the entire world and now are only a tiny rag tag army of mighty towers pointing to heaven and creating an entire world in their upper branches that is only beginning to be understood.  
And I raised my hand.
I r

aised my hand.

I said I would consume ten percent less.
And I am going to try and keep my word.
It is a small thing for such an ancient glory. 
For something that has survived for 2000 years and maybe as long as 4000 years.  I can do with a little less.  
For the sake of this old world… I can.
I think I can…

Bring it on San Francisco.

Bring it on!
I can take it.
How about another day of being beaten to death by the wind, on a boat to Alcatraz.
How about another day of walking all over this city and then forgetting where you parked your car.  And then spending another hour finding it.  But only after you spend $100.00 on a spaghetti dinner for the family… and not even an amazing spaghetti dinner… but just a regular old spaghetti dinner.
How about another aggressively friendly nudist?
How about two more nights cooped up in one hotel room with my entire family.
How about seventy three more trips in an elevator with my four sons.
All I really want to know is how many more years until my four sons can ride an elevator without having  to get into an All Star Wresting Match?  
And when do they learn to stand in line without poking each other’s eyes out?
Here are some things I have learned about my family and vacations on this trip.
 1.  Beaches are great.
2.  Parks are great.
3.  They can tolerate long walks… barely… but are completely unable to walk without smashing each other in the stomach several times.  
5.  Why is this?
6.  Why the smashing in the stomach?
7.  WHY!!!
9.  Pretty much everything other than parks, beaches and stomach smashing walks are going to be a challenge.
10. But I am up for a challenge.
11. You ain’t got me beat yet San Francisco.
12. I am not down yet.
13. I may look like I am down, but I am not.
14. Okay, I am kind of down, 
15. Okay I am pretty much dead.
16. But give me eight hours of sleep and I will be ready again.  
17. I hope…

Hee Hoo Haw Hee Hoo Haw Hu Hu Ho Ho Hee Hee Haw Haw Hee Hu Haw!
Guess the person who wrote this fortune never vacationed with the  Country Doctor and his four sons!  
But oh how I wish it were true.  
Oh!  Oh Please!  

We traipsed all over the entire city, starting at Telegraph Hill.

Breakfasting at North Beach.  

Yes, my kids had coke for breakfast.  
Yes, that’s right Coke!
And I had a huge bowl of coffee.  
Yes, that’s right a bowl of coffee.  
A bowl.  
I feel so… so… spongy now.

Bananas in Chinatown.  

Ferry Building – I bet no one has ever taken this angle before!

Cable car ride.  I really really want to call the cable cars – trolley cars, because my idea of a cable car is one of those things in the mountains that takes you up to the top.  But in San Francisco – everything is a little different.  
They put coffee in BOWLS for crying out loud!

Dim Sum in Chinatown.  
This is the scene of my relaxing fortune.

This is also where our children started dripping with emotion and consternation and fits of frothy fervor and where they started asking when we were going to a water park or an amusement park or a beach.  And we told them that beaches in San Francisco were cold and terrible and they said IMPOSSIBLE TAKE US TO A BEACH NOW!!!  
So we decided that the only thing to do was to let them find out how miserable beaches in San Francisco were for themselves.

Here are my miserable children.

Miserable and cold and wretched.

Miserable, cold, wretched, and shivering…

I think they have learned a lesson!

While my kids played in the freezing surf for TWO hours…
I laid on the sand and relaxed.
That is I tried to relax… whenever I wasn’t guarding my kids from the aggressively friendly nudist that wanted to tell us all about the rip tides. 
Other than that, it was very relaxing…