The One About the Five-Day Weekend

Well it wasn’t all fun and games – the point of our recent road trip to San Francisco, after all, was to run a half marathon.  And let me tell you, a half-marathon is generally not fun, but in San Francisco it was just a little bit less fun than usual!  But back to that in a moment.

I’m a pilot.  And I’m the daughter of a pilot.  My childhood vacation memories include standing with my suitcase in my hands on a scale before getting into the plane (first single-engine, then we moved up to a twin when I was a teenager).  Weight and balance measurements are your friend in a private plane….

So when we told my mom and dad that we were going to drive up to San Francisco there was an audible gasp.  Why.  On Earth.  Would you drive that far.  When you could fly?

But Benjamin is still new-ish to California, and there is much of the central coast that I have only seen from the air.  So we headed up to SF the slow and leisurely way.  We spent an evening at Laraneta Vineyards in Templeton ( – if you ever find yourself in Templeton, head over to McPhee’s for a really tremendous dinner.  We spent a day and an evening in Monterey, where we were saddened to find the Museum of Maritime History closed until next year.

Benjamin did take a stand-up paddleboard lesson while we were there – and this seemingly innocuous 90-minutes sparked his new hobby – I’m sure I will post more on this soon!  (Google SUP if you are dying to know more immediately.)  We got out of Monterey just in time, too – there was a huge motorcycle race the next day and everyone who owns a motorcycle within about 500 miles was on their way to Monterey as we were on our way out!

We headed to Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World, and my luck was clearly in order as we happened to be passing through during the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival.  This was the 32nd annual, and I remember as a kid flying up to San Jose, renting a car and driving the ~30 miles south to Gilroy to attend the then-nascent Festival.  It wasn’t much different than I remembered – it’s basically just a food orgy – enter and eat as much as you possibly can.  And given that we were running 13.1 miles the next day, there was really no reason to practice moderation!

One of my friends met us in Gilroy and we all drove up to SF together.  We had a small detour when we got into town to visit Glaser Designs, a leather handcrafting studio whose products Benjamin has bought in the past.  We were there just before they went home on Saturday, and we got a very cool hands-on tour of the studio and the workshop.  These guys are true artisans.  Check them out:

Sunday was the marathon – and after a little taxicab snafu (BOO DESOTO CAB who did not show up and YEAH for my friend for waking up at o’dark-thirty to drive us to the Embarcadero!), we were in the midst of thousands of runners, bouncing up and down to keep warm.  Like I said, 13.1 miles is not always fun.  SF is COLD at 6:30 am!  And windy!  We ran across the Golden Gate Bridge, and back again (1.75 miles each way) and I never actually saw the top of the suspensions!  And then when you only have three measly miles to go, there are the hills.  Needless to say, I did not set a personal record but I am very proud of finishing that one.

Photo courtesy Mira L. Weinstein

After the run, we showered, had lunch, thanked my friend and went on our way – off to Big Sur.  This was the part I did not know about – there are AMAZING bridges that were built in the 1920’s that take you up and down the bluffs down the coast.  What a beautiful drive.  We probably spent about four hours driving that day, and we ended up in Lucia, just south of Big Sur.  I’m going to bore you with another photo here – this is the Bixby Bridge, and it was built in 1932.  Boy, they sure don’t make ’em like they used to…..

Anyway, we spent the night in Lucia and then drove home on Monday, which took about six more hours.  It was a beautiful drive.  And best of all, no jet lag, no smushing all you can smush into one suitcase and one carry-on, and thankfully no weigh-in at the beginning of the trip!


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One response to “The One About the Five-Day Weekend

  1. Jack Kenton

    Nice writeup! Way back in 1969 I was flying with the Navy Reserve and we had a day off at the Alameda Naval Air Station. I was, at that time, enjoying a short career with PanAm and my wife & kids flew out on the NYC-SFO operation in which the company was not allowed to carry paying domestic passengers. We took public transport from the Oakland side of the bay (temp’s around 80 F) to San Francisco and we FROZE. I couldn’t believe it. The temperature must have dropped 20 F just crossing the Bay Bridge there.

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