Picture of sacramento Our first day in California (actually, our only day in California) started in Sacramento, as that's where we happened to fly in to. Rumor has it you can see the Sierra Nevada mountains from Sacramento on a clear day but it was hazy this morning so we couldn't see much of anything. This is the state capitol of California.

Picture of sfskyline Our first stop in the bay area was Berkeley, mostly because Colin lives there. He took us to a few scenic locations where we could take this picture of the San Francisco skyline as well as the picture of the Golden Gate Bridge on the background. It was actually a pretty nice day, these pictures appear hazy because they were taken from several miles away with considerable zooming.

Picture of sealions In the afternoon, Emily took over as our tour guide and after a lunch in Ghiardelli Square, we wandered along the Embarcadero to visit this colony of sea lions. Apparently they showed up after the 1989 earthquake and after they took over the docks, the city built these platforms for them instead. As far as we can tell their lives consist mostly of basking and occassionally barking for no readily apparent reason. Sort of like our dog.

Picture of alcatraz It's .. Alcatraz! Whee. We didn't go to Alcatraz because neither of us had any particular desire to. But it's stuck out there in the middle of the bay so it kept appearing in our pictures. For the three people out there who might be unfamiliar with it, it was a prison island for quite a while. Now it's a tourist destination or at least that's how they bill it.

Picture of coittower One of San Francisco's many hillside neighborhoods with a few landmarks in the background. The odd looking tower (not the sailboat mast) is the Coit Tower. Emily gave us a detailed history of it which you can request from her if you're interested. The short version is basically that an eccentric widow (Lillie Hitchcock Coit) bequeathed a lot of money to the city and this is the result. You can go up in it, but we didn't. You didn't want to see more skyline pictures anyway.

Picture of downtown Oops. Maybe you did. This one is taken from the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. We drove through the Presidio to reach Fort Point, which is the southern end of the bridge. It was also our first view of the Pacific Ocean. Whee! It looked much like other oceans.

Picture of fishwharf You might be wondering by now who Emily, our erstwhile tour guide, actually is. Well, she's a college friend of Melanie who you can't really make out in this just generally poor picture of them. What is clear though is that they're standing underneath a 'water to wash fruit' sign. More could be said about this but perhaps it's best if you just create your own punchline here.

Picture of underggb The Golden Gate Bridge in color. Yes, it's not really golden, it's more sort of rust-colored. The 'Golden Gate' would be the water underneath it which is of course .. blue. Speaking of misnomers, the Pacific Ocean wasn't at all pacific. There were quite a lot of surfers enjoying the surf, there's one there in the foreground if you look closely.

Picture of davidggb After we left Fort Point we circled aimlessly for a while. (Okay we were lost.) But then we found the squiggly part of Lombard Street and drove down that. It's really quite fun, and we highly recommend it because it's just amazingly steep. We returned Emily to her home and then drove up to Lake Tahoe in a thick fog which at least was better than a thick blizzard.


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