California

Day 2: San Francisco

We started our day by sleeping in. My husband took Jonas to get breakfast and I took Rachel to get breakfast. Her breakfast was ice cream…which she had desperately wanted the night before but I had said no but promised her she could have some the next day…

We then went and picked up our rental car which was a few blocks away from our hotel. While I waited for David to bring the car to the hotel I noticed my work cell phone was not in my bag. I temporarily panicked for ten minutes but eventually found it back in our hotel room.

Our first stop of the day was a walk on the Golden Gate Bridge. It took us a while to find parking but eventually we found a spot. We walked out to the first tower. While looking down at the water we spotted a whale. That was pretty cool and it was one thing Rachel really wanted to see on our trip so we can cross that off our list of things to look for.


We then left the bridge and headed to the Marin Headlands park. David and I were married here at the Rathbone battery. Jonas exclaimed that the site was pretty cool, so I am glad he was impressed with the location.

We left the battery and then hiked to the Point Bonita lighthouse. This is the location we had wanted to get married at but due to staffing cuts at the park it was not able to happen. There is a short hike to a suspension bridge that goes over to a lighthouse. The hike was nice and Rachel enjoyed watching birds from the lighthouse.

After the lighthouse hike we headed to Muir Woods. We caught a bus at Pohono St. in Saulsalito. The bus took about 35 minutes to get to the park. It takes 35 minutes to get to the park as the road is very windy. We did a quick hike to see the giant redwoods and got back in line at 5 to catch our return bus. We ended up having to wait until 5:24 for our bus back, which was not as bad of a wait as I thought it would be. We had debated just driving to the park but I am glad we did not do that. The park definitely has limited parking and the bus, despite its lines, was the best option. The other great thing about the bus was the kids had no electronics so they were actually looking out the window.

We got back to the car around six and then decided we would make a quick stop at Pier 39 to see the sea lions, as Rachel really loves animals. This turned out to be a mistake. It took us forever to get there and then to the airport….we finally got to the checkin at 8:50…about an hour later than we originally planned to arrive.

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Categories: San Francisco | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Day 1: San Francisco 

The kids and I left Minnesota to head to San Francisco today. We had to connect in Denver and actually had to run to catch our connecting flight. We were the second to last people on the flight. Initially we were not sitting together but a flight attendant was able to have someone move seats so Rachel could sit with me.


We arrived at SFO on time. Unfortunately we had to wait a while for our bags. While we were waiting I realized that the information desk could load Clipper cards. So while we waiting for our bags I loaded our Clipper cards with some money. This turned out to be a smart move as by the time we got to the BART station there was a huge line of people waiting to buy transit tickets. My kids LOVE riding public transit. My husband currently has a list of all the public transit systems the kids have ridden across the world, so we will have to add the BART to this list.


We took the BART to the Montgomery Street station which was right outside of our hotel, the Palace Hotel. My husband and I got married outside of San Francisco and this was the hotel we stayed at. Unfortunately when we got married there was a city wide hotel workers strike and there were picketers outside the hotel. Our stay this time seems as it will be much nicer  – no picketers, eighth floor, and view over New Montgomery street.


After we checked in we dropped off our bags and then took the F line streetcar to the Bay Street station. There we caught a 5:55pm night tour to Alcatraz. It was very cold on the island. We enjoyed the tour and then took the ferry back to San Francisco at 8:40. When we got back to the city we were very lucky as our F line street car had just arrived at the station.



We then headed back towards the hotel….but since none of us had really had a proper meal since this morning we took the street car one stop farther so we could eat at California Pizza Kitchen. By this time we were starving!


After dinner we headed back to the hotel and waited for my husband. Fortunately his flight landed 40 minutes early. We had not seen him since Saturday night so we were all anxious to be reunited. 

Tomorrow morning we are all sleeping in and will then site see around San Francisco.

Categories: San Francisco | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Getting close!

In about ten days we start on our epic adventure. But in 72 hours I will be in Minnesota with the kids before we go on our trip. My daughter is going to a sleepaway camp there and while she is there my son and I will visit with relatives. We leave Minnesota on Friday and head to San Francisco for 36 hours of siteseeing before our flight leaves.

Tonight I took all of my travel printouts out of the binder I have been storing them in and I put them in individual folders. I am not sure what I will do with the folders on our trip. I may discard as we are done with something, I may decide to keep the folders as souvenirs…




We are getting there with packing…daughter is mostly packed while son and I have the stuff I need to pack in Tupperware containers. Each night I say I am packing it up and that never happens. Luckily our flight does not leave until 7:30 pm on Saturday so I will have all day to pack if I need to.

Thanks for following. This may be my last post until our adventure begins.

Categories: Australia, Minnesota, New Zealand, San Francisco | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

100 days to go

100 days to go, 100 days to dream. Time is seeming to fly super fast now. I have dreams regularly about our trip. I have a few smaller trips between now and then which will really make the time go by fast.

What is left to do? Well, most everything is paid for already in regards to lodging. The only places that are not fully paid for yet are our place in Nelson and our place in Auckland. I plan to pay for Nelson on May 1 and Auckland on June 1.  We also have one hotel room that we have not paid for yet. Other than that, all hotels/apartments have been paid for so we won’t have that expense when we return. That is usually the biggest travel expense and it has been nice to spread it out over the last few months.

Airfare – fully paid for. We bought our tickets over to Australia/New Zealand using frequent flyer miles so those were relatively cheap. But I had to buy flights within Australia and New Zealand. I bought those in the fall once I knew our itinerary.

In regards to car rentals – one has been prepaid and two I was not able to prepay. And honestly I can’t find a better rate than what I booked so those probably won’t be prepaid before we go. I can deal with that though.

Activities are mostly all booked and paid for. This month I can book our Alcatraz tickets (yes we are spending a day in San Fran before we go) and our Sydney Observatory tickets. Our lodging in Sydney is right next to the Observatory so we will do that one night. I have two excursions booked but I cannot pay for them yet as they could be cancelled if the weather does not cooperate. I call those excursions the Pandy Excursions. Pandy was my great aunt that passed away in November but she taught me that you only live once and sometimes in life you need to splurge. So those two excursions, if they happen, I will dedicate to her since they will be our splurges. In fact, my motto on our trip will be “What would Pandy do?”.

I still can’t believe we have reached the 100 day milestone. It seemed so far away when I booked our first plane ticket at 330 days away. My brother gets married in 33 days and then the kids get out for the summer in 71 days. Those two countdowns will make the countdown to our trip fly.

Categories: Auckland, Nelson, San Francisco, Sydney | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

I left my heart in San Francisco

We depart San Francisco for Sydney at around 10:35 PM at night. My son has been to San Francisco but he was only fourteen months old. My daughter has never been before. Thus, knowing we don’t leave SF until late at night I knew I wanted to show them the city. I also wanted to ease us into the monster time change that would occur. So by heading out a day early we could also sleep in the next day and wear the kids out with sightseeing.

The plan is for me and the kids to fly out to SF the day before we head to Sydney. My husband will join us later that night. The kids and I are actually flying to SF from Minneapolis as my daughter is attending sleep away camp in MN right before our trip. So we arrive around 2 PM on a Friday and we head out to Sydney the next night. 

My husband and I were married in San Francisco. I actually cannot wait to show the kids where we were married and where we stayed when we got married. I love that city so much and I can’t wait to share my love of the city with the kids. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could.

I also plan to take the kids to Alcatraz on Friday. On Saturday my son wants to visit Lombard Street and both kids want to see redwood trees. We will also walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and possibly visit the Golden Gate park. I am just as excited about showing the kids one of my favorite cities in the world as I am about our adventure to the South Pacific.

I have been to SF many, many times. But amazingly enough I have never actually ridden a cable car. Perhaps we will finally ride a cable car?

Also – I was researching transportation in San Fran. We don’t need a car the first day we are there. But the second day we most likely need a car as we want to do Lombard Street, the Golden Gate bride, Marin Headlands, and Muir Woods. Taxis and Uber would be too complex. I was comparing renting a car in San Fran city and returning to SFO (airport) between Budget and Hertz. Budget it is only $55 for a one day rental. Hertz though was over $300! Amazing what happens when you comparison shop. 

Categories: California, San Francisco | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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