Friday, November 30, 2012

Drakes Bay Oysters and San Bernardino

A couple of weeks ago I posted how Beth and I traveled to Point Reyes and how I had a wonderful treat: Fried Oysters from Drakes Bay.  Little did I know that I would be one of the few to have some of the last out of the Bay.
Awesome Drakes Bay Oysters in all their goodness.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Company had a lease on National Park land which ends today and were given notice yesterday that that lease would not be renewed.  This means that they must cease and desist operations today have and have everything removed, including buildings, piers, and the 1 million oysters in the estuary, out by the end of December.  You can find the story here.

Well, I can chalk this up to a great memory with my wife as well as another part of history for the area come to completion.

Speaking of another memory, there have been a lot of stories lately about San Bernardio and how the city will be filing for bankruptcy.   In fact, the location of the first McDonalds sold for a little over $100K to someone who will now make it an unofficial museum.

Source: MSNBC
So when I came across this picture, it took me back to when my parents would go to the malls in that city and when my dad worked at General Tire.  It is of the Carousel Mall.  It took me back to when there was a petting zoo that would occasionally be brought end.  We went to it after a meeting once, still in our meeting clothes.  And all of a sudden, we heard Katie shriek as her dress she was wearing was being eaten by a goat!!!  What amazes me about this picture, besides the empty shops, is how it hasn't change in 40 plus years!

Other memories I have of San Bernardino was going to the Orange Show and the Orange Show parade, going to the car show with my dad followed by dinner at Sizzler, playing in the tire castles he would make when he would take me to work with him on a Saturday.  I also remember the time he told me to help an old man across the intersection.  I was about 8 or 9 and little did I know that the man literally did not have any eyes in his eye sockets as well as no tongue to speak.   Needless to say the old man frightened me and didn't want my help.  

I haven't been to San Bernardino in over 34 years, but I am always interested in whats been going on there.  So much has changed and surprisingly there is a lot that hasn't changed.

So now a couple of memories that will be more memories than reality.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finally a Four Day Weekend!!!

It was really nice to have four consecutive days off last week. Since starting the new job, I haven’t really taken much time off, and the stress and anxiety of the new change was starting to get to me.  We spent much of it hiking and enjoying the time off.  Now Emma is off to 5th grade camp for 5 days, which means that it has been quiet around the house (Emma and Myles have a healthy competition going on). So what did we do with our time off?

So on Thursday, I got to sleep in for the first time in a while until 9:00 AM.  I can’t remember when my body allowed me to sleep in that late.  For breakfast we had red velvet pancakes with butter cream frosting.  We had gotten the mix at Target (Archer Farms) and it is excellent. 

We then went on a hike with the Berhens.  We normally get together at some point during the kids breaks for hikes, they have three kids all about a month a part from our kids.  We went up to Shell Ridge for a five mile loop.  The weather was perfect!!!  The leaves were changing, and the grass is starting to come back due to recent rains (in fact we should be really green after this weekend and our over 5 inches of rain).  The reason this area is called Shell Ridge is due to the fossilized shells found in the rocks there.  The kids love the area.

After the hike, we went over to their house for Pulled Pork sandwiches.  The  kids played on the Wii while the adults played cards.  It is a treat for our kids since we don’t have a Wii ourselves (nor are we ever planning on getting one).  It just was a nice relaxing day.

On Black Friday, we didn’t do our normal up at 3AM tradition, but again slept in.  We did go to Target later in the day for the Lorax movie.  I got busy in the yard, bagged up the leaves before they got out of hand and we had Papa Murphy’s for dinner.  We also had some pumpkin left over from Myles visit to Smith Family Farms, so I made a couple more pies.
On Saturday we went to Rock City on Mt. Diablo.  As we have blogged before, this is a wonderful place for the kids to explore.  It is on a section of exposed sandstone that has been carved by the wind and rain into tunnels and unique formations.  And since it is like walking on sandpaper, you have tremendous grip.   There was no stopping the kids, they were off in a second, climbing everything in sight.  It was really busy though so we went further down the trail where we knew there would be fewer people.  After we were done there, we drove to the top of Mt. Diablo.  The observation deck was closed; however, you still could see the snowcapped Sierra’s to the east, Sutter Buttes to the north, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge to the west, and Mt. Hamilton and the Tri-Valley area to the south.  

Finally on Sunday, we made turkey.  Even though we do not celebrate Thanksgiving, you can’t go this time of year and not take advantage of the prices.  I have also learned the secret of roasting, including moist white meat, a lot of juice for gravy, and fall off the bone dark meat.  I will post this secret sometime on the recipe site soon.  So now we are on the fourth night of turkey leftovers and loving every moment of it.

Emma returns on Friday, so I will post her water logged story shortly after.  I can only imagine how much fun she is having even though it is raining.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

First Kidless Weekend.....

This past weekend, Beth and I had our first weekend just the two of us since Emma was born.  We have in the past left the kids with a sitter overnight; however, this was our first two night weekend experience.  And it was a long time coming.
We didn’t go far, only over to Marin.  We stayed at the Tamwoods Hotel just north of Sausalito.  It was a nice hotel, and if it weren’t for the rain, have fun activities, like making S’mores over their fire pit, and bicycling along the Richardson Bay Trail.  When the sun came out, we had a wonderful view of Mt. Tamalpias

So we checked in on Friday and got a really good night of rest.  We slept in, had breakfast, then drove up the coast to Point Reyes.  I have wanted to explore this area for years; however, it is kind of tucked out of the way.  This is the area where Sir FrancisDrake landed the Golden Hinde in 1579 on the first successful circumnavigation of the globe by an Englishman (and by a captain, Magellan died in the Philippines).  This area was also the epicenter of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  Being a fan (nerd) of both, I was so excited that Beth and I could explore the trails where history occurred.

We also had a wonderful lunch in Olema at the Farm House Restaurant.  This restaurant has been around since 1870, and we had our fill of excellent fish and chips as well as my favorite, Fried Oysters.  I have loved these little fried creatures since my parents took me and my sisters to Nanaimo when I was in second grade.  This is when I had an oyster burger and stayed at a hotel where they later made an attack of the killer ants movie.

Later that evening, Beth and I had dinner at Pasta Pomodoro.  The food again was excellent.  We haven’t eaten at that chain in quite some time but it was nice that we could just spend time enjoying a good meal and to talk.  We then went back to the room and snuggled in.

On Sunday, we slept in a bit (for us that is 7:00 AM), had breakfast, then drove home by way of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.  We made it back it in time to take the kids to Wreck it Ralph.  Very good movie, although a bit intense in parts for small children. 

So all in all, a really great weekend.  I am so happy we had this weekend to spend together.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Joshua Tree and Shadow Cliffs

So when I was a kid, my father and mother took us regularly to Joshua Tree.  What I enjoyed most about those trips was being able to climb over tons of sandstone.  In fact, I remember a number of times where I would try to follow him up the side of a stone wall only to get stuck halfway up.  Another thing I remember about these trips were how much my dad used to like to drive off the beaten path to find "short cuts".  These typically weren't and sometimes meant that we were driving down a Wash that looked like a road.

So on a recent visit to Castle Rocks, both these memories came flooding back.  We thought it would be fun to take the kids across the top and then down the crags that make up the mountain.  To get there meant running out a couple of miles which Emma and Sophie had been itching to do.  We also came across a family of deer on the way out.  The fall colors were definitely on display. 

We were going to take them down the path Beth discovered last month; with the only problem being that we got lost coming down the hill. This meant training the kids how to do a little bit of rock climbing.  Everything went well with only Beth spraining her finger.  Myles especially had a great time, crying after we were done because he wanted to do it again.

Also, on October 31st, we kept the kids home from school and I took the day off so we could go fishing at Shadow Cliffs.  I had heard the trout bit was good due to a recent restocking.  Well we didn't come up skunked; Myles caught his first trout and it was a beauty.  It was about 12 inches long and he reeled it in all by himself!!! 

Last weekend we volunteered setting up for the Save Mt. Diablo , Trail Challenge.  The kids love to help so they definately went to work.  And they got a free running tee-shirt, and Brazen Racing hat out of it to boot.

Finally, I also got around to making pumpkin pie out the pumpkin Myles received at his Smith Family Farms field trip.  It is kind of sad to think that this was the last time our kids would be going on this trip and the last time I would get a pumpkin from there.  You can find my recipe here

So many memories have been made the last couple of weeks.  I hope the kids remember them like I remember my Joshua Tree trips with my family.