April 4 – 15
Our plan for the morning of our return to Oakland was to check out of the Airbnb around 11am and head over to the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park to tour that facility, but fate intervened in the way of a migraine headache Joanna developed soon after awakening.
Normally one of the healthiest individuals I know, this one knocked her down and out and so we spent a quiet morning until it was time to check out, then drove straight to Oakland, where I dropped her off at apartment. I then drove up to Broadway Car Wash as we often do to get the Civic cleaned up (Jessica and Kris kindly let us borrow it when we are in town) before picking up Kim and Marty at Oakland International Airport.
While I was sitting outside waiting for the car to finish, I took a second look at the arrival time for the flight only to realize that I had completely missed it, thinking it would be in an hour later than it was, which meant they were landing right about then. I quickly flagged down one of the attendants who pulled the car out of line, still wet from the wash, and I took off for the airport.
Fortunately for me, the flight was late in unloading and they walked out of the terminal just about the time I pulled up. Still early in the afternoon, we decided to head over to the Trappist in Oakland, home to a good selection of Belgian and other craft beers to kill time before checking into the Airbnb we’d rented for the weekend.
We settled in at the bar for our first round, split a ham and cheese sandwich on a really good baguette and while there, talked to Joanna who felt much better, good enough to walk over to meet us. Another round came our way as we bantered with the bartender and savored some really good IPA’s and Belgians, favored choices in this crowd.
From there we made our way to the Airbnb, the “Cheery, comfy modern apt close to Lake Merritt”, about a mile from Jessica and Kris’ apartment.
A spacious two bedroom two blocks from the lake, it would prove to be a nicely situated headquarters for our stay.
After checking in, we hit a nearby Lucky supermarket for supplies and then walked over the apartment to spend the evening with the kids.
We ordered delivery pizza for dinner and made a short evening of it in order to stop in at a Baggy’s, a cool bar close to the Airbnb, where we enjoyed a round in what would be a place you’d adopt as your local bar if you lived in the neighborhood.
The next morning we gathered up our supplies and while some folks walked down to the ferry terminal at Jack London Square, others took a Lyft carrying food and drink to the dock, where we soon loaded on the boat and cruised across the harbor to the Embarcadero where we would meet our rented trolley for the afternoon.
A service of the San Francisco MTA, you can ride for a couple of hours on one of the regular routes.
You are allowed to bring food and drink, of which we had an abundance. and we passed the afternoon filling half of the trolley with friends and family, all to celebrate Kris’ 30th birthday.
Along the way we stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks and a group photo, becoming quickly attuned to the fine art of eating and drinking in a moving, sometimes jerkily, railroad car.
At the end of our ride on the rails, we walked across the street to the old Ferry Building for a round of drinks on the patio of Gott’s Roadside, enjoying a beautiful day in the sun, conversation skipping over the tables, one long continuing dialogue that followed us all afternoon.
Finished for the day, we hopped back on the ferry for the ride back to Oakland where we offloaded and four of us (Kim, Marty, Joanna and I) walked to nearby Jack London Square and the large indoor/outdoor venue there, Plank, to meet Rhonda and her new beau for dinner.
Joanna and I split an order of fish and chips and enjoyed the moment, getting to know the beau, finding out he is a cyclist as well, another member of the community we embrace. We returned to the apartment and then our Airbnb for a quiet evening and following day, gearing up for our last big adventure of the weekend, a brewing session on Sunday at Diving Dog Brewhouse on Telegraph.
We’d brewed here once before with Kris and Jessica and had fun, a two to three hour experience where you add some ingredients, wait for them to cook, the move along through the recipe mixing and waiting, all the while enjoying one or more of their excellent local craft beers.
The one downside of this though is that for those of us visiting, there is a good chance we won’t get to taste the final product as it needs to sit for a month or two before consuming and this often doesn’t coincide with our next visit.
Later in the day as we walked back to the Airbnb the lights framing Lake Merritt reminded us of the many good times we’d spent here. And so ended what would be the last of what had been many ten day west coast swings.
The anticipated move back to Los Angeles meant that this formula we’d developed over the last eleven years would be put on the shelf, possibly brought out from time to time for visits to Charlotte.
We’d now likely visit more often for shorter stays but would definitely miss the 10-day routine, full of deep and lasting memories, that his travel recipe had delivered for us.
Broadway Car Wash: https://www.broadwaytouchlesscarwash.com/
The Trappist: http://www.thetrappist.com/
Trolley Rental: https://www.sfmta.com/services/charter-cable-car-or-streetcar
Ferry Building: https://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/
Gott’s Roadside: https://www.gotts.com/
Diving Dog Brewhouse: http://www.divingdogbrew.com/