Detouring through San Francisco was last-minute and prolonged our journey home, but we didn’t regret our change of plans for a second! When we pulled out of Crater Lake, we weren’t sure if we going to do the drive to San Fran in 1 day or 2 (7 hours in an RV is much harder than 7 in a car). We decided to play it by ear and see how we and the kids did along the way. We (responsibly) chose the least scenic, yet fastest route there, but it was hard to skip Redwoods National Park and another chance to drive down the coast! Our mantra was effectively, “friends not places” for this detour.
As we pulled out we also weren’t sure where we were going to stay. San Fran’s metro area is enormous, and our friends and family seem to be dotted all over the map – from Sonoma to Fremont down to San Jose and everywhere in between. No matter where we stayed, it was going to be a logistical nightmare. On the drive in, our friends Wayne and Kiran got back to us that they were going to be around and that we could park with them in Novato. I hastily double checked that they knew our size, and they assured us there was room. Staying with them was an attractive idea because it prevented us having to navigate the RV downtown or compromising by staying in an Oakland campground – our options were limited and I’ve mentioned before, city RV parks are usually overpriced parking lots. Additionally, since they both work full time, traditional hours, crashing with them maximized the amount of time we could see them when not at their respective offices. In the end, we got there in one day.
Wayne’s face when we pulled up betrayed him; he clearly had failed to understand the full scope of our size, but he recovered quickly and we were all impressed at Raj’s ability to maneuver the rig into a somewhat sloped driveway. Wayne and Kiran were tremendous hosts and allowed us to stay in their home (though the first night we hadn’t quite managed the logistics of where the kids and dogs would be, so we chose to stay in Gypsy until we’d worked it out). I loved cooking in their large kitchen and watching the deer in their front yard!
The first night also began a hilarious game of “who will fall asleep while putting the kids to bed.” That first night, I lost. I put the kids to bed in the RV while Raj visited with our friends – the plan being that I would bring the monitor back inside with me once they were asleep. But i conked out along with the kids and didn’t rouse until Raj came in to go bed! Oops! But i wasn’t alone – another night, Kiran did the same thing while putting their cutie-pie one year old to bed, and Raj failed our very last night there. We seriously never had a night where all 4 of us were awake without the kids!
Since Wayne and Kiran were away at work during the weekdays, we drove into the city to see our friends Mallory and Faisal, who moved there from Atlanta within the last year. They arranged for their fantastic dog walker to take all the dogs on an intense and long city walk so that we could all visit. We went to lunch at an authentic Afghan restaurant where Faisal over-ordered in Farsi and and we were glad for it because the food was phenomenal! We devoured kebabs, and roasted squash and fancy rice and delicious breads and then topped it off with baklava! So yum!
As we finished up our food, Mallory said, “I’m dying to give that kid (London) a haircut!” Since among other things, she’s a great stylist, I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to have her give London his first proper haircut! He had, after-all, been rockin’ a Trump-like do that was really bothering me (thanks Tina, for pointing that out – I could never look at him the same after that!). Raj, too, hadn’t had a haircut since leaving Atlanta, so once London was properly cleaned up, Raj took his place in the hot seat and was transformed!
After that we had to hop back in the Jeep and head to Fremont because it was the only chance our cousins there were available. Faisal and Mallory offered to keep the dogs until the evening. That was incredibly lucky because crazy traffic caused a 45 minute drive to take us 2.5 hours of bumper to bumper and the poor dogs would have lost their minds. Before that drive, it would have been quite possible to talk me into living in the Bay area… not anymore. Luckily the kids napped on the ride so at least they weren’t miserable too. In the end, the long drive was worth it to spend the evening with Anu and Jewels and their two sweet boys. She made us delicious chicken curry (we ate very well that day) and she and I drank fireball together while the guys drank vodka tonics and their boys played with Nina and London until we finally got them all to sleep. We had some wonderfully deep conversations and we lost track of time. Though we had planned to drive back to Faisal and Mallory’s that night, we ended up too tired and a bit tipsy, so we slept at Anu and Jewels’ house. If you are keeping track, at this point you realize we had effectively left our RV with friends in one part of town, our dogs with friends in another area, and we were in a third place with the kids. We couldn’t have planned it better! Well, if we had left the kids with Anu and Jewels and then went to a 4th spot, that would have perfect. Just kidding…sort of…
In the morning we said our goodbyes to our cousins and met up with Faisal and Mallory again to eat brunch and ice cream and to pick up our dogs. After making it back to Wayne and Kiran’s I attempted to make them dinner in their supercharged kitchen (oh how i miss my kitchen) and we all ate al fresco. Though that was the night Kiran lost the sleep battle, Raj and I stayed up late drinking wine and scotch with Wayne and debated and discussed social and parenting issues until our eyes crossed. It was awesome.
Our final full day was Saturday and we organized (i use that term loosely) for a small group of us to all go wine tasting together. Unfortunately, Faisal and Mallory couldn’t come, but our friend Sapna was able to join Wayne, Kiran and us and we all ended up in Napa on a gorgeous day (Kiran and Wayne’s nanny watched the three kids). Since it was thrown together, we hadn’t made reservations in advance, so the first two places we went to we couldn’t get in. Then we stopped at Regusci and got things started; none of us particularly liked their wines though. While there we were able to make a reservation at Fleury for after lunch, and though Raj and I had been there before, we were excited to introduce our friends to a wonderful wine and a fun experience. We didn’t have time for a proper dining experience so we stopped at a Mexican market scarfed down tacos and nachos – i am not exaggerating when I say they were the best nachos I’ve ever had – it may have been an odd lunch in the middle of wine tasting, but it was fabulous!
Fleury was nice but fell short compared to our previous experience there. Not only do they make some impressive wines, but their uniquely personal tasting experience had impressed us in the past. This time we felt a bit neglected. As we left, we figured out why. A large group had been tasting in another area during our tasting; they were a bit rowdy; clearly having a great time! Well one of them was purchasing over $10,000 worth of wine! No wonder they were getting so much attention! Perhaps we will give Fleury one last chance if we make our way to Napa again.
Our last stop that day was to our favorite Napa winery, Silver Oak. They never fail to impress. There are certainly some vintages better than others, but if you are a Cabernet Sauvignon fan, you really can’t go wrong. They are full and bold and almost too drinkable! With the exception of Kiran, who was our DD, we all headed home from there satisfied and perhaps a bit tipsy.
Kiran and I devised a plan to make a Whole Foods run and put together a fabulous Charcuterie plate for dinner – does anything sound better after drinking wine all day? Unfortunately, on our way there my body seemed to rebel against the wine. It had already been about 2 hours since drinking anything, and I had never felt drunk, but I was not right. Kiran dashed around the store picking up ingredients and I stepped outside to get some air. By the time we got home, all I wanted was bed, and I left Raj to put the kids down all by himself (he failed the game that night and passed out with them), so we managed to be terrible houseguests who both inadvertently went to sleep without dinner with our hosts or saying goodnight!
I felt better in the morning but guilty about abandoning our friends. However, when we saw them in the morning we learned that they basically fell asleep too! I guess we are all in the same lame parenting phase! And luckily, we had a easy and delicious charcuterie lunch before saying goodbye and getting on the road! It was time for our journey HOME!!!