Guest Blogger: The magnificent Ollie Deane.
I’ve taken a break from being a poor running blogger to being a poor travel blogger.
With the promise of a cocktail and a home cooked meal from the dynamic duo (Tricky & Mannion) in San Francisco, we set off up the west coast as fast as Betsy could take us.
I was personally thrilled to have finally hit the coast line after a couple of weeks heading west. The blinding sun every evening as we sought out hotels/Motels/Hostels/Car Parks/ you name it, was now a thing of the past. Driving north with the Pacific ocean to our left gave me a small sense of achievement, and even though we knew we had a long way to go yet, we knew we were on the home straight.
Thumbs Up for the West Coast!:
And with that, into the Big Sur we headed. We thought we’d seen it all at this stage. I lie, I knew we hadn’t but I sincerely felt that nothing would easily amaze us. The Big Sur did this, again and again and again. Highway 1, between San Simeon in the south and Carmel by the Sea in the north has it all. You have not only the gorgeous Pacific views, but also lush, craggy cliffs and green mountains. We pulled over quite a few times to take pics, selfies, goPro twirls etc. along this 90 mile windy road. One odd place we stopped was a little beach full of seals flipping sand on themselves and giving a few screams at each other. A lazy bunch of sea mammals they were, but amusing all the same.
Lunch time came and went with a little budget breaking stop at Carmel by the Sea. Think of a little town with only fancy restaurants, brand stores, and retired rich people. This is Carmel by the Sea. It was a hot day in SoCal (Southern California to the less hip people), but our restaurant had to have a fancy fire pit going strong, burning the faces off us.
An expensive salad later and off we went to the 17 mile drive which is, as you may have guessed, a 17 mile drive. It’s a stretch of road owned by the Pebble Beach Company. It’s full of golf courses, beaches, very very nice houses and some vista points. $10 to get in per car. We went in search of every dollars worth we could get out of the place. It’s very pretty but had we known how tasty Tricky’s cocktail was going to be later on, we would have skipped it and opted for a 2nd drink!
Friday evenings rush hour had hit us hard at this stage and we slowly made our way through Silicon Valley and into SF. Nerds were going about their daily commute, reminding us of what us nerds had left behind. It felt good to be back in San Francisco. A place I’d long planned on moving until I realized I wasn’t cool enough to live there. I’d given Tricky the mammoth task of finding us free parking. With about 3 months notice mind you. Almost three weeks in and we hadn’t paid for parking yet. Until today. We were told that we we were more than welcome to park in some dodgy neighborhood in San Jose if we liked or cough up and park close to theirs. Cheers lads!
After 15 mins of lugging our bags up what seemed like the highest hill in SF, we arrived at Casa De Trick y Mannion.
The man of the house (sorry Kevin) was already preparing the drink and from there, all through the weekend, we felt like “normal” again. (The definition of normal is changing for us, but you get me). And about that cocktail, it was the finest drink we’d tasted in a long long time. After taking a drinking break following the partying with Katie, it wasn’t long before the alcohol hit the system. We could’ve stayed in the apartment sampling more of these great cocktail creations, but the lads had other ideas.
The plan was simple; show these poor travelers how great living in SF was, while at the same time telling us why it’s not as cool as NYC.
Friday consisted of “Off The Grid” food truck central, followed by some country and western music bar full of every single woman in SF. We were hopeful for Mannion but he was too cool for all of them that night. Mannion, Neem & I tore into the eggs and a loaf of bread for a midnight snack. I blamed Mannion, Mannion blamed me. I think Neem was the ringleader to be honest. Tricky was not a happy lad as he was the only one fit enough to hit the hills for replacements.
Saturday (& Sunday) consisted of a hangover-beating orange & ginger juice and the breakfast of the trip so far – all homemade I might add. Avocados & eggs all round by Chef Trick.
We were also treated to the finest morning walking tour ever conducted, again by the multifaceted two men. They were pulling out all the stops this weekend.
We got home to sample some of their Wholefoods purchase creations & homemade Irish Coffees before being introduced to the real reason we were in SF.
Watching Basic’s & Bro’s in action. We’d already heard a lot about basics, but we had never really seen one in real life. Neem had underlying basic tendencies which allowed her to spot her own breed from afar. Her new best SF basic friend, Kelly, brought her under her wing. She booked her into a Monday morning basic-filled fitness class and gave her tips on how to be basic on a budget for the next 7 months. I know I haven’t explained basics yet & I won’t. This video will.
Another highlight of the trip was Kevin’s curry. He threw in every vegetable he could find and came up with a dish that would rival any Indian restaurant west of Bombay!
After a day at Lagunitas Brewery on Sunday (thanks for driving us Kelly) and some heartfelt goodbyes (the Nouveau Bros had a few tears in their eyes), Monday morning saw us head down the crooked road and out over the Golden Gate Bridge. We delved into the latest and greatest hipster lunch, a Sushirrito. Basically a burrito made of sushi, and it had a veggie option! We were entertained by three Korean daughters having a photo shoot with the bridge in the background and their mother clicking a good 300 photos per girl. There were twirls, peace signs, jumps & fake smiles. I challenged Neemo to do all of those while eating her Sushirrito. She stepped up and executed in style.
Thanks to Trick, Kev & Kelly for the great weekends entertainment & glorious food. It was the weekend break (and pampering) we needed and knew we probably wouldn’t get again until New Zealand. No pressure Alan & Edel.