Sep 28, 2014

DSM to Fran

We visited California this summer, chunking it into a three course of San Francisco, Yosemite and wine country.  Flight was Frontier, a no frills bird with a quick 30 minute stop in Denver.  Peanuts cost extra, naps and drool are free.

We've taken a preference to renting houses via rather than hotels.  A home lets you stay close to the action, in a real neighborhood.  We lived like locals, walking to the grocery and cooking omeletts or bowls of Cocoa Puffs for breakfast if we wanted.

This is our casa in Noe Valley that Curls booked, a clean 1910 double story 20 minutes by electro' trolley from downtown:

Nondescript on the outside, charming inside with a sticker of $1.6 million.  Back home, this place would cost $180,000:

If you know the San Fran area, our stay was near the corner of Cesar Chavez and Sanchez...a few blocks from the Mission District and three trolley bells to Dolores Park.  Evenings, we strolled Church St. to dinner:

Our flight had departed Des Moines at 6:30 am and arrived by 10 am in Fran (time zone change), so we had a full day open to explore.  Settling into the house in Noe Valley, we quickly unpacked and headed out on foot for lunch.  Right away, we noticed cool looking trees we miss back home due to harsh winters.  Weeping limbs drooping with a thousand red petals.

25th St. in Noe Valley is where the eating action is, we wanted some healthy and filling veg plates.  We found the bounty at Savor.  

It was soft, plain tasting and heavy on the sour cream.  We scored it 6.5 out of 10.

Daughter was happy with her giant chip pancake.  Surprised her eyeballs didn't roll back into a diabetic coma:

We wanted to keep the first day simple, so decided to hit Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf, plus learn how to get around.  We had a car, but quickly learned it was unnecessary, as public transport was excellent.  Never walked more a few blocks to jump a train or bus.  

I'd read ahead of time the weather in the city is often hazy-brisk in the summer.  Nothing but net the first day:  bright, breezy, 70 degrees and perfect.  None of that friggin' Iowa humidity:

While soliciting random strangers to snap our mugs with the Nikon D40, I intercepted a not-so-fresh-feeling smell wafting in the wind.  Checked the pits, confirmed it wasn't me.  Soon we heard barking...oh yeah, sea lions!

Pigtails cracked up watching the blubber butts snoozing in the sun and crabbin' off when a smaller lion crowd surfed the top, mosh pit style.  Up to 850 lbs apiece, a thousand of these hungry fish-breath dudes pack the pier every season.

A few steps over is the Wharf.

Speaking of Beaverdale, it was pegged a favorite neighborhood in the U.S 

I snapped this one for running bud Greg, a devout member of the Orthodox Church of Applebee's:  

Shops along the pier sold some cray cray stuff.  We stopped in to browse life sized brass horses, an anatomically correct mermaid with assets and $15,000 spindly Italian glass chandeliers.  

We promptly stormed out when I was unable to find a 3-pack of Hanes premium white t-shirts.

More Bay walking, looped the Ghirardelli gift shop three times to load up on free choco' samples. 

 Refueled with a pair of Double-Doubles at In-N-Out, was curious how they stack up to Five Guys.

Decent burgers, Five Guys fries are better though.

Next post we'll visit the Japanese Tea Garden, walk an orange bridge and attempt to avoid eye contact with dry humping happening behind us in the park.



  1. Love hearing about your adventures. I'd love to go to San Fran someday!

  2. Any news on the bathroom update? I'm anxiously awaiting to hear if your plans have stayed the same or been altered!!!

    1. Nothing new, lazy mode for now. :-)

  3. Looks like a great time. Thanks for sharing. I am visiting you from Jerry's blog. Nice to meet you.

  4. "Beard & Pigtails" has been included in our A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that we hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.

  5. Anonymous11/10/2014

    Hoping for a new blog post soon!!!

    1. Sure, what should I write about?

    2. Anonymous11/11/2014

      I generally enjoy your posts no matter the topic. There's usually some little nugget that nearly makes me snort my tea, reading at my desk when I should be working.
      Some suggestions based on "recent" posts as well as other things about which I thought you might have an interesting perspective: Update on bathroom and/or yard renos. More about the vacation. Thoughts on the approaching holidays. Updated perspective on dating as a single parent (not delving into any nuts & bolts with you & Curls, privacy is privacy and everyone's entitled to it, even in the blogosphere). Evolution of blogging. Recommendations on other blogs you enjoy.
      I used to blog and I know how it can wax and wane. But some of us miss your posts. :)

    3. Anonymous11/11/2014

      Or parenting a tween as a single dad!


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!