After the unfortunate loss of our baby son, Logan Matthew, last week, we decided that we needed to take a trip to get away from everything for a little while. My boss graciously used his frequent flyer miles to purchase tickets for me and Lori to go to San Francisco for a vacation. We chose this place because we knew that there would be a lot to see here. And we were right.

Our trip to San Francisco started out pretty rough. We were scheduled to leave on a 6:00 am flight out of Austin, connecting us through Houston and then continuing on to San Francisco. A flight that early means that you have to get up even earlier. In our case, we needed to leave the house no later than 4:15 am in order to arrive at the airport 1 hour before our flight. Leaving that early means that you have to get up even earlier, and in our case, that meant getting up at 3:00 am! For those of you who aren’t familiar with that (other than Pappy, Lori’s stepdad), it’s extremely difficult. To make things even more difficult, we didn’t get to bed until around 1:00 am. Don’t ask me why we stayed up that late, but we did. I’m just glad that we weren’t drinking the night before or it would have been worse than it was.

Needless to say, we made it to the airport in plenty of time and didn’t have any problems catching our flights. We also didn’t have any problems sleeping on the planes some during our flights. But, let me tell you, that flight from Houston to San Fran is the longest U.S. flight that I’ve been on. 4 hours on a plane (not in first class) is rough once you start getting restless.

We landed into the Bay Area at approximately 10:11 am. Once we snagged our bags in baggage claim, we took a Super Shuttle to the place that Lori found on Craigs List for us to stay at for the week. There are rooms that are rented out above a nice Irish Pub and Restaurant called O’Reilly’s Holy Grail. We got a small room and our own bathroom, but it suits our purposes just fine. We don’t plan on spending that much time in the room anyway. Most of our time will be spent touring around the city.

As our shuttle drove through the city, we started to see alot of the hilly architecture that you see on TV and read about in books. Electric line buses, Trolley cable cars, old victorian style houses that lined every hill that we drove along. It was amazing. The weather was a little dreary and rainy, but we could still appreciate what this city had to offer.

Our shuttle stopped right in front of the Holy Grail. No sooner did we get out and start to collect our bags, a guy named Nathan walked up to me and said “Eric?”. He’s a young student that lives here who is sort of in charge of the renting of the rooms. More like a junior landlord. We went through introductions and he helped carry our luggage upstairs to our room.

This place that we’re staying at is pretty nice considering how quaint it is. It was recently renovated so the paint is fresh and the hardwood floors look great. The first thing that we noticed when we walked into our room was that there was no TV. Weird to us at first, but we both agreed that we didn’t need a TV on this trip. We would just waste valuable sight seeing time with a distraction like that. We thanked Nathan for the help, he offered up his number if we had any questions or needed anything and with that, we started our vacation.

We were both extremely exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before and the red-eye flight that we caught out of Austin. We considered taking naps for a while. Afterall, it was raining a little outside and we could have used the rest. But, between the coffee shop across the street and the temptation of this thriving new city, we couldn’t help help ourselves, and started out on a walking quest to check some things out.

We headed downstairs to the Holy Grail for lunch. I had Shephard’s Pie and Lori had Cornbeef with cabbage and mashed potatoes. Both were excellent choices. And we got a discount since the place we were staying at was part of the bar. Not too shabby if you ask me.

There’s an organic coffee shop across that street that we get a 10% discount at because of the room that we’re renting. And the coffee is awesome! Espresso drinks in hand, we headed out with our map to see what was around the immediate area. We started walking to Union Square when the rain really set in. We ducked inside a couple stores until we were able to make our way to a small souvenir shop that sold umbrellas. Two umbrellas later, we started walking some more. We weren’t really out for anything in particular, but we wanted to see if there was anything interesting in the area surrounding our hotel.

By the time we were ready for bed, we looked at the time an it was only 9:00 pm. But that didn’t matter to us. That was really 11:00 pm Central time which is what we were used to. And, we didn’t get much sleep the night before. And early evening suited us just fine. We said our “I love you’s” and “goodnights” and hit the sack. The only problem that we had was that we could hear the music from the bar below us. We were still able to fall asleep though. However, we jotted down “earplugs” on our To Get list for the next day.

Our first day under our belts and we already knew that we were going to love this place. While we were out in the rain, we stopped by the Visitor Center in Union Square. Now we had a bag full of brochures and maps to sort through. But, we were already starting to formulate a gameplan. And we got news that my best friend Chris and his wife and kid were going to drive in from Reno to visit us on Sunday. So that was one day taken care of. We also decided that we would purchase a 3 day Muni pass which gives you access to all public transportation including the Trolleys, buses, etc. Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Napa Valley, we were starting to come up with quite a bit to do. We need a good night’s sleep so that we’d be able to hit the ground running the next day.

One thing that I forgot to mention. When we finished our day, we headed back down to the Holy Grail for a few drinks, Nathan, who also bar backs there, mentioned a place called Crepes A-Go-Go. He said that the crepes there were awesome. We wondered over there for a cheap dinner. Lori got a Turkey and Cheddar crepe. Mine was more of a dessert, and I loved it! It was Peanut Butter and Nutella covered with whipcream. Now for those of you who don’t know what Nutella is, go out to your local grocery store and pick some up. It a hazlenut chocolate spread. It is out of this world! Probably not the most healthy dinner food, but who cares. I’m on vacation!

The recommendation by Nathan was perfect and hit the spot. Day 1 was over with and so far, so good. Tomorrow, we’ll start up with the picture taking. Hopefully the weather will clear up a little bit. Our first line of business is going to be a hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint called Dottie’s True Blue Cafe. It comes very highly recommended and is a staple for any San Francisco visit. We’ll see how that turns out. Sounds like a good way to start out a full day of sight seeing.