I’ve been having too much fun to write recently. Oy, what a hardship on a road trip, right?
I spent three days in the Bay Area and they were great. Visiting old friends and meeting new ones is always a fun time in my book and fulfills one of my main goals of this summer: seeing people. So a bunch of my time was spent either catching up with folks or spending time with new friends. I am doing a lot better at reaching out to talk to people who I haven’t spoken to in a while and it’s truly invigorating. If you ever have the desire to do that, please listen to that little voice in your head urging you to. The fear of ‘what will they think if I reach out’ is a valid question but the most likely answer is ‘oh, hey, it’s great to hear from you!’
I also went to a few different places while there. I spent a but of time on University Ave near Stanford. I’d never been there before but it was quite nice. And the ice cream selection at Salt and Straw is incredible. I had a vegan mint chip ice cream that was amazing! I also spent 4.5 hours at the Exploratorium on the Embarcadero. But, let’s be honest: that’s unsurprising. And one of my hosts gave me a driving tour of downtown San Francisco. I learned about the four railroad tycoons who had massive houses at the top of Nob Hill. Very impressive. I also took a day to explore a bit of Oakland. There was a very interesting flea market. I went there on a Friday so it didn’t have as much stuff at it as on the weekend, but it was still quite enjoyable. I also checked out a second-growth redwood forest nearby for a bit of tree bathing – it was very nice and calm. And I capped it off by getting a beer at Temescal Brewing, a place a friend has some kind of vested interest in.
After San Francisco, I drove through Davis, CA on my way to the California State Railroad Museum. Davis was home to a friend and colleague of my mom’s who gave me a bit of a tour of the local farmer’s market, which turns out to be quite extensive. So many different options of farmer, some great prepared food stalls, and amazing baked goods. I had a mini chocolate babka – so tasty! I then spent a couple of hours exploring the trains and the history of CA railroads, a-la those four tycoons mentioned earlier. A lot of history and a lot of train cars. Unfortunately, most were closed for entry due to COVID protocols. But there was an amazing toy train exhibit that was so cool. I didn’t realize there were so many different sizes of model trains. I had some growing up that I think were size N but since I wasn’t paying attention then I can’t remember.
There were many hours of driving and a time zone crossing to get to Moab, Utah, where I have been the past two days. I decided to be here for longer than average in order to truly enjoy the local national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. They do not disappoint. I took the advice of TripAdvisor and the Washington Post and got the Arches at 7am so that I could make sure to get into parking lots and do some hikes before the massive heat of the day (it was already 84 degrees at that time). I spent 4.5 hours weaving around small roads, doing some small hikes around the arches, and taking in all the red rocks. It is amazing how geology unfolds in such a way to make these beautiful structures. I really wanted to go to a place called the Fiery Furnace, where there are shafts of red rocks that you climb through, but it required a permit or a guide and I had neither. Instead, I got to check out various other arches (Window, Delicate, Pine Tree, Landscape, etc. – they are all named). It was great.
I took a break mid-day to eat some food and get some air conditioning back in my hotel, then went to Canyonlands for an afternoon drive. A ranger told me there are fewer trails so I just drove from view point to view point. The park itself is mostly on top of the ridge line that overlooks the canyons so you can get an incredible view for miles around. There were remnants of earlier mining operations (like for uranium – who knew?) and some old roads that you can mountain bike on or take a 4×4 all terrain vehicle. Crazy stuff. I just enjoyed looking over the erosion caused by rivers over the eons. It was beautiful.
My next stop is Denver for a few days which should be full of seeing friends and family.