Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Great, the Good and the Really, Really Ugly: Part 4

December 29th:

After a wakeup call from David at about 8 a.m. we got up and got going. Everyone dressed for the day and then we called Jim to see what the plan was. It was decided that we would meet up with them at the Country Waffle restaurant in Dublin at around 10. We had some time to spare so we hung around the camper. I wrote about yesterday's events and the girls played with their games. Matt played with his GPS and David just generally caused confusion. When we got to the restaurant we had a bit of a wait. It was crowded!! Finally we got a table big enough for all 8 of us. We waited for Jim and Traci to arrive. Jim finally came with William but Traci was not feeling well so she decided to stay home. Each of us ordered our favorites. Jessie had a big strawberry waffle. She loved the whipped cream as usual. David had pigs in a blanket and ate every bite. Emily had Swedish Crepes with strawberries. I also had the crepes with sausage and a bisquit with gravy. Matt had one of the place's special breakfasts. He shared his bisquits and gravy with William who loved it. He ended up eating a whole biscuit by himself. Over breakfast we decided what we were going to do. The day was gray and drizzly so we decided to go somewhere inside instead of on the hike that Jim had originally planned. We took both cars. Jessie and Emily got to ride with Jim and entertain William. Matt really wanted to take the truck down Lombard street the famous curvy street in downtown. So we headed for downtown via the Bay Bridge. After navigating the streets of San Francisco with the help of the GPS unit we arrived at Lombard Street. While it seemed impossible that the truck would fit down, it really was no problem. David and Matt both enjoyed it. I got a couple good photos on the way down but I had to force myself to keep my eyes open. We got down safely and then waited for Jim and the kids. Matt walked back and got a couple shots of them coming down. We also took a quick trip down the steepest road in San Francisco which is saying a lot in a city known for its hills. It was really steep. Luckily the brakes work well on the truck! Then it was time. We were headed for the biggest landmark in the entire city, the Golden Gate Bridge. However, the weather had not cooperated with us at all. The fog was thick and the rain was trickling down. We went across and stopped at the vista point but there was hardly anything to see. Only bits and pieces of the bridge were visible as the fog floated about. We did not stay long at the vista even though there was lots of stuff to read about the bridge and surrounding area. It was just too cold and damp for the little ones. William thought that the best part was making hand prints in the raindrops on his Dad's Prius. The next stop was the Bay Area Discovery village. This was an activity museum for the kids. There was a special area just for the tots so David and William, accompanied by the dads, headed in to play. Unfortunately, Matt had left his camera at the camper and his phone in the truck so we have no pictures of them in there or in the Clifford exhibit. The big kids were not allowed in the tot area so the girls and I headed off to some of the other exhibits to see what we could do. We first visited the new muscial instrument they had constructed called a Xylobell. Boy could they make a lot of racket with that. Playing the xylophone part made a big metal bell ring. There were all kinds of different musical instruments rigged up to make the big bell ring. Next stop was the Art studio, where the girls made African print art. We left them to dry on the racks and headed over to the wave room. We figured we would return to get them later. Unfortunately when we went back someone had taken Emily's so she had to make some more. We just kept those with us that time. The wave room was cool and was where the girls spent most of their time. There was an acutal wave machine that showed how waves move through the water and then up onto shore. There was also a big wheel with different shapes in it and sand so when you turned the wheel the sand formed different formations around the shapes. The best part was the hands on room where you can explore the way different objects are affected by different forms of motion. There was a big tank where they could test wind on toy boats, a tank that had a current in it with plastic fish and other objects to test drag and resistance in water. There was even a wind effect one to see how different shaped objects move in the wind. Both girls had a great time at the different activities. After we exhausted all of those possibilities, we moved over to the Virtual reality section where the girls became underwater sea creatures on camera. What fun. After that we went over to the Bay building where there was a big toy train set up, "underwater" tunnel, a replica fishing boat and replica of the Fisherman's Wharf Grotto. While this was really geared more to the younger set, the girls found things to do to entertain themselves for quite a long time. Eventually William and David, along with the dads, joined us. The boys loved the trains and played with those for quite some time. Eventually though they did go and explore some of the other activities. While we sat and watched kids, another mom and I struck up a conversation. She grew up in the bay area but now lives in Utah with her family. We had a nice chat while the kids played. She was kind enough to take a picture of all of us together in the rare moment that the fog cleared enough to see the bridge. While I have my eyes closed, it is still a great family shot. It was finally time to call it a day. The boys were happily exhausted and both napped on the ride back across the bays to the east side where we met up with Traci and had dinner at a restaurant called The Hop Yard. The food was excellent but the company was definitely better. We took a short walk across the promenade and had dessert at Cold Stone Creamery. The boys played outside checking out the fountains under the careful eye of Jim while Matt and I got to visit with Traci for a bit. Sadly, it was soon time to call it a night. Jim sent William home with Traci and gave the kids a ride back to the camper so that David could have a turn in the "electric" car. What a great day spent with family we so rarely see. William is such a little boy now. He is sure to give his mom and dad a run for their money in the coming years. We look forward to having them come to visit us so we can introduce the city boy to wide open spaces with plenty of room to run! Now I sit here, with my family all asleep, enjoying a bit of time to relive the day as I document it. It is sad that we have to head home tomorrow. Hopefully we will get to come back sometime soon!

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