A Day in the Bay (Area)

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It’s Sunday evening right now, and we are on the road to Escondido from Central California via the Pacific Coast Highway. Astonishingly gorgeous pictures to follow in a few days once I’m caught up on the trip…

Our last morning in Northern California was Thursday, and it started off well with family time at the Sacramento River Trail.  We packed up all our stuff from the house, and John took the children on a leisurely stroll while I struggled through a three mile run.  It was my second day running in the smoke, and it really did a number on me.  (At least, I think it was the smoke…) I have been congested since Redding, with my ears all stopped up and a pretty constant sinus headache (well, it’s a “face”ache actually.)  After the run, we drove through Taco Bell where I had a delicious Cantina Burrito – highly recommended if you find yourself at a Taco Bell any time soon.  It tasted surprisingly fresh and full of veggies.  Maybe it was just particularly tasty because I was so hungry from running and not having eaten yet, as well as from nursing the baby.  We made it down to a friend’s house, the Cases, whom we met while we were both stationed in Hawaii, by around 2pm and were able to hang out until 4:30pm-ish.  We enjoyed getting caught up on life while the children played and snacked.  Their home is lovely and, although it was painted brown, it appears pink from far away 🙂  I forgot to take a picture, but they have several turkeys and goats, hens, too.  They live near Beale Air Force Base, quite seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

In the town where Krista and Chris Case live

Krista in the girls’ pink bedroom

As usual, Gabriel found the books (and that’s Claire cooking behind)

Patience and Hailey Case

Their newest baby

The “pink” house

Me and Krista

When we left their house, though, we came across this charming scene, perhaps in Oroville, but it was too long ago for me to remember clearly 🙂

Our next destination was a neighborhood near Tracy, California, considered to be the “Bay Area” since it’s on the outskirts of the towns surrounding San Francisco.  We showed up to a warm welcome complete with a gourmet meal John’s sister Esther had prepared for us.  John felt compelled to dress for dinner…

Homemade Eggplant Parmesan, with homemade spicy spaghetti sauce and meatballs, green beans, and homemade garlic bread

Afterwards we had a homemade Italian Cream Cake for Greer’s birthday (She had made the cake, and it just happened to be Greer’s birthday!)

blowing out the two candles

In the morning, Esther and I ran just over 8 miles on a trail near her house.  It was a pretty good run for me, with a few 10:30 miles in there.  It was incredibly windy, though, which kept it cool for us but also made it more difficult for Esther to push the jogging stroller with her toddler in it.  A sure sign of the constantly high winds in the area, the surrounding hills are covered in windmills:
The windmill photos were taken on our way in to Dublin, another city in the Bay Area, for some shopping.  John watched her two girls and our five older children while Esther and I made our way with our two babies to an awesome running store in Danville and the mall in Dublin. The running store – Forward Motion Sports – is one of the few in California which keeps the “Road Noise” vest in stock; I could always have bought one online, but I wanted to try it on.  I read about the vest on the Mile Posts blog I believe, and it was created by athletes running the Hood to Coast Relay which does not allow headphones.  It has two lightweight speakers up in the shoulders which are removeable for when you need to wash it, a pocket for your music device with the cord to the speakers, and reflective strips.  I’m glad I was able to try it on because by my measurements I needed a Medium, but the Women’s Large was a much better fit.  I picked up a few other items as well, and then we headed over to the mall.
After an extremely successful shopping trip, we met Esther’s husband Rolf, as well as John and all the kids (he stuffed them all in our 12 passenger van) at a Mexican Restaurant in Dublin.  I enjoyed the fresh ceviche tostadas which had a slice of avocado on top, and the margaritas were excellent as well 🙂  I can’t remember how to spell the name of the restaurant, so you’ll just have to remain in the dark. The churros, the dessert that came with the kids’ meals, were mostly gobbled up by the adults since we felt obliged not to let them go to waste. And because they were awesome 🙂  We had a really great visit with Esther, Rolf, and the kids, and even exacted a semi-promise from them that they’ll come visit us in South Carolina!
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