02 May 2010

Big Sur Marathon - the trip

Karen and I had a leisurely morning for final preparations and a reasonably timed flight to San Jose. Good old Southwest Airline, and their convenient non-stop from Midway Airport. Upon arrival we found Fox Car Rental - apparently a regional (CA/AZ) outfit, and I wonder how they'll fare if things in Arizona progress as they seem to be. If you catch my drift.

Probably the only "misstep" of the whole trip was car selection. We had arranged for an intermediate size, and were offered the P T Cruiser. Which we both dislike, and besides they look dumb. Well, for a little more money we could get a Prius? This was our misstep. In reality, the savings in gas usage probably would have offset the relatively insignificant difference in cost. On the other hand, part of our need was to drive 4 adults around comfortably, and since we've never been in a Prius, we declined. Too bad. Instead we got a Jeep SUV model, smallish by SUV standards, but pretty basic too and I'm sure abysmal mileage. But it served, and we were on our way.

First stop - the roasting headquarters of Barefoot Coffee, San Jose. I had read a Tribune article about Intelligentsia Coffee (a Chicago favorite), with a sidebar featuring other local brewers with similar attitudes and commitments. I've brought home coffee from one of the other featured outfits - Stumptown in Portland - and thought it would be fun to get some Barefoot for coming-home presents. It turns out that the roasting facility (basically a house in a common neighborhood) isn't normally a point of purchase for the coffee. If they have some on hand, they'll sell it. But they have a couple of local shops, and they also deal in mail-orders. On Friday, they were without any on hand, but were experimenting with some espresso ... mmm, did it smell great! And while I was getting the lowdown on their coffee, and directions to the closest shop, I enjoyed that experiment. Probably the first non-employee to have it. Yowza!

So, on to Chris's apartment, to the Safeway, and to get supper ready for his return from a long commute. We had a quiet evening staying in, and with the 2-hour difference especially, stayed up way too late. Saturday would be a busy day, and I didn't need one more night of poor sleep before the marathon!

Saturday had a kind of shuffling start, until we checked Kathryn's flight progress and learned they would land about 40 minutes sooner than we had planned. Yikes! So with varying degrees of preparedness, we set off for the San Francisco airport. On our way, we stopped to buy the coffee we had already scoped out. Amazing opportunity and value for the truly addicted (which I am not). With each bag purchased, a free cup of coffee. Whatever was I to do with 5 cups of free coffee, two non-coffee drinkers in the car, and my java-partner-daughter still in the air? OK, I'll take 2 and greet Kath with it. Boy, did that Jeep SUV ever smell good!

The plan was to collect Kathryn at SFO, then get a walking tour of Millbrae - the community Chris hopes to live in next, with train access to SF, the valley, and the East Bay. A shrewd choice, and one he is appropriately patient to work out. Millbrae is a beautiful town, basically built on the side of a hill. It is all uphill from the airport/trains to the interstate 280. We didn't walk the whole elevation, but ... it is steep!

We eschewed an excellent breakfast option in Millbrae, in favor of a drive to the Pacific coast, through Half Moon Bay, to Pescadero. There we like to check out the antique shop, an excellent shop that makes furniture, and have pie (at least) at Duarte's Tavern. For us this time, it was lunch - of course, with olallieberry pie. Mmm ... a King get together is nothing without food.

We continued our drive along the coast, turning back to San Jose from Santa Cruz. Chris and I would soon enough pick up that Highway 1 back in Santa Cruz, and continue down to our Saturday night lodging. And the girls would drive it on Sunday. We got back to the apartment with just enough time finish packing for the night and the marathon, and off we went.

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