Fran San Disco

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It’s been 2 weeks since we left home and now we are leaving our most western point.  Every destination for the next 2 weeks and 4 days will slowly return us back to Alabama.  We’ve spent the last few days in San Francisco and it has been a blast. I hate to leave this place behind.  Having such a large bustling city surrounded with so many natural elements to enjoy is an awesome mix.  When we arrived in town on Thursday we immediately met up with my parents who were smart enough to take the airplane route to California and we hit the ground running with a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Muir Woods.  It was interesting to compare the large redwoods to the sights of the huge sequoias from just days before.  The park was so rich and green.  It began to rain a little while we are there so we had the sensation of being in the rainforest as we walked the grounds.  Gray and Kyrie prided themselves in once again making Junior Ranger status while in the Muir Woods and are now proud owners of not one, but two ranger badges each.  If you want to know whose boss of the woods, they’ll be glad to tell you. 

Friday was a rainy day but since we don’t melt we threw on our water gear and took on the city.  Our willingness to look like wet rats for the day afforded us low crowds in the usually over populated areas.  Fun fact: there is almost twice the amount of people in the San Francisco metro area (which is about 3 counties) than there is in the ENTIRE STATE of Alabama.  We enjoyed clam chowder in sourdough bowls and fish and chips on the pier (I’m getting weepy just thinking about the gloriousness of that meal), saw the mass of seal lions in the bay and took a little time in the museum of retro video games.  After our soggy walking adventures we took a “car hike” around town where Evan mastered his skill of dominating the steep streets in an oversized vehicle.  San Francisco and her streets and parking spots are NOT built for large SUVs.  The fact that we didn’t bust-up any other cars or buildings (or ourselves) is a testament to Evans driving skills.  I’ve seen the steep streets of San Francisco on TV my entire life but driving them and only being able to see blue sky going up and blacktop coming down proves just how different those streets are from all others we’ve ever driven.

While driving we, of course, had to find the obligatory Full House spots and take in all the architectural elements throughout the city.  It was during this time that a trip highlight happened: just after setting our eyes on the painted ladies, my mom and Evan set their eyes on the naked man. Yep, a man decided to leisurely take his trash out to the street without a stitch of clothing on.  He opened the door of his million dollar home and walked to the street and back in again without batting an eye.  Apparently this is normal?  Welcome to San Fran my friends!

-Please note that no eyes were permanently damaged in the making of this memory-

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The next day the sun was out and the temperature was perfect so my parents hit Highway 1 down the coast and our family went back to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Kyrie insisted that we walked on the actual bridge and she got such a rush when a big bus would go by and send a gust of wind to collaborate with the heavy gusts already on the bridge.  She would giggle and scream every time.  Gray was a fan as well but in a much more mellow manner.  Phoenix hid in his pouch and snored through the entire adventure.  

Just across from the Golden Gate Bridge was a road that seemed almost forgotten and it had our names written all over it.  It wound up and around and slowly lead us farther from the city on the other side of the great red bridge.  The views were stunning.  When all the other cars on the path turned around, Evan kept going.  We entered a one way street that went STRAIGHT down and ended up in a paradise that seemed like an entirely different World.  We were met by the Pacific Ocean crashing against huge rocks at the base of bright green rolling hills.  The beach was so quiet and peaceful that it was hard to believe we were still so close to all those people we had just been in the middle of.  THIS is the spot where I will build my fictional home.

To finish off our “big city” time this morning we joined in worship with our new friends from Castro Valley First Baptist Church.  We originally planned to attend church at the Hillsong San Francisco campus but the logistics with the downtown streets and the camper weren’t going to fly so we chose the close to home route.  “CV First” was just at the end of the street where we were camping and it was a breath of fresh air.  Our family was welcomed like old friends coming home.  Everyone jumped at the chance to meet us and to learn a little about us.  The people were so lively and happy to be there.  We were told more than once that they were happy for someone from the south to see that there are actually Christians in California.  The music was done well in a simply stated way and the congregation sang loudly with pride.  The message was meaty and challenging. Our kids were well loved and we were even sent on our way with snacks for the ride. Talk about hospitality!  I can’t hep but wonder if the difference in that congregation and so many others in the south is that no one expects them to necessarily be at church.  It’s not the culture.  These people come on Sundays because they WANT TO WORSHIP CHRIST.  Refreshing concept huh?  

We are now officially on the road towards our longest destination of the trip.  Yosemite National Park. We have high hopes for Yosemite as it has been on both Evans and my dads bucket lists for as long as either of them can remember. The storms that came through California over the weekend have the park flooded at the moment but it should dry up enough for it to be enjoyed by tomorrow.  There are more breathtaking views and flowing waterfalls in our future. 2 weeks in and we’re still pumped!