Monday, March 3, 2014

2 Months

It’s been two months already.  Still seems like some sort of extended vacation.  We have had some high highs and some very low lows over our first 60 days here on the left coast.  Since the lows should be allowed to disappear back into the recesses of my mind, I thought I would focus on the cool stuff we have done/tried to do while here.

Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz is this prototypical beach town about an hour south.  It has a wide and long public beach (read pain in the ass to drag the stroller with 60 pounds of kid in it to a nice spot) that has great waves and is cheap (free beach with ten dollar parking).  It has a boardwalk, which is almost a small amusement park, full of games and rides.  It also had a pier and a bunch of restaurants we didn’t get to check out on our first trip.  We will be hitting that up on trip number two.  The kids love the beach and so far it is the best part of California.  Did I mention it was free?  We will be going there EVERY nice weekend until we find a better spot.

Muir Beach – We tried to go to Muir woods one particularly nice weekend day.  When we got there, an hour’s drive away, it was so packed people were parking two miles down hill and literally walking up a mountain to get there.  We just kept driving through and stumbled upon Muir Beach.  Completely free, it’s a nice little cozy beach.  Much smaller than Santa Cruz, but nice none-the-less.  It is basically in a park, so there is nothing to do around it.  Very cool scenery and trails to burn out the kids. 

Half-Moon Bay – We have tried twice to do stuff in here, they should rename it to traffic jam bay!  It’s foggy and isolated, only connected to the rest of the peninsula by two roads.  Both times we have been there traffic was awful.  They have a pumpkin festival in the fall and a nice little downtown area, so we will try it again eventually.  But we will pack snacks for traffic!

Six Flags – If you had to pay the regular admission price ($63/person), this place would be a rip-off.  It is a third of the size of Kings Island.  However, we got tickets for $20/person and that was totally worth it.  Great park for the kids, and they serve BEER.  Would do this again if we can find more discounted tickets.

Downtown SF – Overpriced and overcrowded, especially on nice days.  It is fun to do the tourist stuff, like the Wharf and Chinatown, but parking is $20, and everything is marked up 100%.  We need to go back and do it without the kids, where Cyndi and I could actually eat at the little restaurants.  Carson got to participate in a street performers show, which was awesome, and the view is sweet.  We have to go back and do Alcatraz but it’s really pricey.  And one more note, people are rude as hell on won’t get out of your damn way, but this is the same in EVERY downtown.

East Bay – Most likely where we will live when we get out of corporate housing.  Prices are more affordable, at least less nuts, and the area is very suburban, which I like.  Plenty of stuff to do and good schools, only about 30 minutes from work.  Each city (Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore) have these really cool downtown areas that look like something straight out of a movie.

Oakland – Oakland is the armpit of the bay.  It is dirty and run down, save for a few nice neighborhoods.  The scene in Family Vacation where Clark tells the kids to look at the plight!  That is pretty much Oakland.

San Jose – It is actually the largest city in the area, but it has the feel of Lexington KY.  We visited the Children’s Museum, right in the middle of downtown.  And outside of a few homeless dudes, it is pretty nice and seems small for a city of 900,000.  The museum was excellent and the kids had a great time, but it was insanely crowded.

Foster City – Where we live now, great place for kids, where my office is, and insanely overpriced real estate.  We would love to live here, but I can’t afford it.  I don’t know what that says about a place when you make the kind of money we make and I can’t afford to rent.  Great access to parks and a nearly private beach.  We will enjoy the remaining 4 months we have in housing before we head to the burbs.

San Mateo – This is the city next door to Foster City.  Densely populated, with everything you need to do located on one street.  We have been to movies a couple of times and one of these nights I will hire a baby sitter so Cyndi and I can check out their downtown area.  Tons of bars and restaurants in yet another really cool little area.

We have a few more adventures planned for the next couple of months, including a long weekend in Santa Barbara over spring break (SB is just north of LA).  I think we are going to do Santa Cruz again this coming weekend as temps are supposed to be in the 70s.  We are also planning trips to LA and San Diego but those will probably be over the summer when the kids are out of school.

Next time, I will be funny!  :)

- Eric