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California RV'ing Part 2 - Northern California

Updated on April 7, 2016

The NFL Experience

Kenny and The Captain, demonstrating their athleticism
Kenny and The Captain, demonstrating their athleticism
Dad and Elaine joining in The Wave
Dad and Elaine joining in The Wave

Santa Clara, CA Home of Superbowl 50 (not L)

We arrived at my dad and step-mom's place in Santa Clara, CA a few weeks before the big game was played there but you could feel it coming. The new Levi Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers is directly across the street from my dad's home golf course so any action there has a direct impact on him and all who know and love him. We had more immediate concerns, though. For instance, the Joe Jost's food packed to go in Long Beach. This place has Polishes and liverwurst sandwiches Dad mentions OFTEN and it was fun to show up with a sampler bag and a jar of pickled eggs. Herein lies another benefit to traveling with a decent refrigerator. You can take treats from one town to your loved ones in another...within reason, of course, so easy on the requests.


Boondocking in the Burbs

We pulled up right in front the family's front door, which was kind of fun. As each night wound down, we just went out to our room. The Captain and I are earlier risers than Dad and Elaine so we'd just have coffee and read, maybe go for a walk before jumping into whatever the plan was for that day. This worked great for over a week, with one brief drive away and come back as a nod to the 3 day parking rule. It was pouring rain the morning of the day before our scheduled departure. We were making a plan for charging the battery and getting more propane. There was a knock at the camper door and I opened it in my p.j.'s expecting to see someone from the house. Surprise! It was one of Santa Clara's finest, in his rain gear, there to let us know that there is an ordinance against camping on the street. Imagine that. Frankly, I couldn't believe we got away with it for that long. I explained to the police officer that we were visiting family and planning to leave the next day. He said it didn't matter to him but that a neighbor had called. My dad is still trying to figure out who it was. My neighbors know me well enough to know that I'd have called a lot sooner than that so it was hard to get too worked up. I mean, nothing says "we live on your street in a truck" like levelers under the tires. We filled up the propane, drove to the park, ran the generator, had some oatmeal and enjoyed the rain. That last night we slept inside on the 2 living room couches, just to be on the right side of the law.

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Dad sharing his pickled eggs with The Captain.  That's my sister Cindy back there.Graffiti from the CalTrain windowLeaving Lillie Mae's House of Soul Food
Dad sharing his pickled eggs with The Captain.  That's my sister Cindy back there.
Dad sharing his pickled eggs with The Captain. That's my sister Cindy back there.
Graffiti from the CalTrain window
Graffiti from the CalTrain window
Leaving Lillie Mae's House of Soul Food
Leaving Lillie Mae's House of Soul Food

Things We Ate and Where We Ate Them

In an attempt to satisfy a craving for a deli sandwich, Jim took to the internet and found a place called "Nosh". Not having been there myself, I can only tell you second hand these 3 things: 1. The guy who served them didn't know what the name of his restaurant meant; 2. It was a decent sandwich; and, 3. You couldn't get a pickle. This 3rd item is enough to recommend getting your pastrami craving satisfied some other way. The gift is how many times since the question, "Yeah, but can you get a pickle?" has and will continue to come up. Skip the pastrami and go for the brisket. At Lillie Mae's House of Soul Food, you can get all those things you want under a sign that says "soul food". I had collards and macaroni and cheese, knowing I'd get a bite of chicken, ribs, and brisket off everyone else's plate. One piece of peach cobbler was enough for the table. It was all delicious and you should go there. Next time I'm having chicken and waffles based solely (no pun intended) on the picture on their facebook page.


Dad, Elaine, Cindy and our sister Shelley and her 2 kids, Jim and I filled a table at Kyoto Palace in Campbell to celebrate Dad's birthday. The family gave The Captain and I center seats since it was our first visit. It was quite a show watching the food come together. There were lots of birthdays and a big show put on by the staff for for each one. This is NOT the place to forego the fried rice for white rice. Trust me.

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The fried rice at Kyoto Palace.  He made the heart beat with that spatula.Elaine making her 1st ever catch at Kyoto Palace.
The fried rice at Kyoto Palace.  He made the heart beat with that spatula.
The fried rice at Kyoto Palace. He made the heart beat with that spatula.
Elaine making her 1st ever catch at Kyoto Palace.
Elaine making her 1st ever catch at Kyoto Palace.
Diners at Citrus Club applying spoons to their noses.  See, it's your kind of place, too.
Diners at Citrus Club applying spoons to their noses. See, it's your kind of place, too.

CalTrain to San Francisco

With a couple dozen stations between San Jose and San Francisco, Caltrain is a great way to get into The City from Santa Clara. It's an inexpensive, comfortable train ride with lots to see as you go through all the little towns along the way. Pack a snack, something to write on and something to read; those couple of hours will fly by. The station in SF is walking distance from AT&T Park, home of the SF Giants. You can hop on a bus going just about anywhere from there. During our stay, I went once by myself, once with Jim, and once with Jim, Dad, and Elaine. On my solo trip, I visited my friend Pete. We had noodles at this great little place on Haight Street - The Citrus Club. http://www.citrusclubsf.com/ Delicious food, nice people, and it's on Haight Street. After a visit that filled my heart the way only a visit with a dear, dear friend can, I got on the Muni to the CalTrain station and back to Santa Clara as easy as you please.

When JIm and I went together, we met our friend Gordon. His home and work is in San Francisco but he has property in Madison and is our summer neighbor. In fact, Gordon's arrival heralds the beginning of summer on our block. He took us for a lovely lunch at Pacific Catch - http://pacificcatch.com/menu/ - on 9th and Irving, just on the other side of Golden Gate Park from his home. We enjoyed every bite of our assorted tacos in a bright and bustling atmosphere. Again, great service and delicious food. Jim found a satchel a couple of doors down which he purchased and immediately began carrying making our shared backpack considerably lighter. We walked into the park where there was an enormous paper show in one big center. We took a look at that before moving on to our destination of The DeYoung. After milling around on our own in the museum, we found each other again and enjoyed afternoon treats in the museum cafe before walking back through the park in a gentle rainfall to Gordon's flat. If you visit the DeYoung, don't forget to take the elevator up to the top of the tower to see the panoramic view of San Francisco. It is breathtaking!

Field Trip to San Francisco

The paper show in GG Park was immense.
The paper show in GG Park was immense.
Gordon and Jim sitting on a park bench
Gordon and Jim sitting on a park bench
A friend I made in the park whose name escapes me.
A friend I made in the park whose name escapes me.
We just missed Spock and Kirk and the gang by a few short years, but they were here.
We just missed Spock and Kirk and the gang by a few short years, but they were here.
The trees in front of the DeYoung.  I love them.
The trees in front of the DeYoung. I love them.

A Wisconsin Evening in San Francisco

After giving us a tour of his building and construction projects (worthy of another post all its own), Gordon invited us in to enjoy tea and pumpkin bread. It was so nice to visit with our friend between summers. We took our leave in the early evening, planning to take the bus to the train (transferring once downtown). When we got off the 5 Fulton bus at 5th and Market, Jim thought it would be a good idea to check and see if we could catch the score on the Packer playoff game with Arizona. Well, if you saw that game at all, you know there was no walking away in the 4th quarter once you were pulled in. We went into Lefty O'Douls - http://www.leftyodouls.biz/ - where there were televisions everywhere and crowd was exactly what you want for a big game. Here's my advice to you if you're in downtown San Francisco and need to check in on a big game that you hate to miss but the people you're with don't care enough to make that the focus: pay the arguably too high price for a delicious sandwich and maximize your limited game viewing time in a San Francisco institution. If you do, I sure hope you get a crowd like we got. There were plenty of fans of both teams screaming and jumping up and down and I swear you would have thought I'd always been a Green Bay fan myself. We barely made the last train back to Santa Clara, where Cindy and Elaine cheerfully picked us up after 11:00 p.m.

MLK Celebration Train to San Francisco

In line for the morning train at the San Jose CalTrain/Amtrak Station
In line for the morning train at the San Jose CalTrain/Amtrak Station
In line for the train
In line for the train

MLK Day in San Francisco

Let me just start by saying that Madison, Wisconsin is second to no city in this country when it comes to observing the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all that legacy encompasses. Because of the work done by groups such as the King Coalition https://www.facebook.com/kingcoalition/ I have had the opportunity to hear and sometimes meet leaders of the Civil Rights Movement who have continued to lead the country and the world in issues around social justice. This year's keynote speaker at the City/County Observance was Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine. If this is not familiar to you, please read this or any number of links a google search will give you: https://thetartan.org/2011/2/14/news/little_rock

A search of MLK Day activities in this area yielded this http://sf.funcheap.com/mlk-day-march-parade-soma/ which led me to learning that CalTrain along with corporate sponsors, runs a FREE roundtrip train from San Jose to San Franiciso, with a few designated stops along the way specifically for this event. I reserved some tickets for the family and we set off for the march across the Lefty O'Doul Bridge commemorating the March on Selma. What a wonderful experience to walk with thousands of people in solidarity and remembrance. At the observance, which included many interesting and powerful speakers and beautiful music, a perfectly executed protest demanding justice for Mario Woods was directed at Mayor Ed Lee. Mario Woods was a young African American man who, after cutting another man's arm, was shot at least 15 times by 5 police officers for failure to cooperate with said officers. They mayor's response was weak and ineffectual. That evening, my dad was on the phone with his friend who'd seen that on the news. Knowing we were there he asked, "What the hell do they want anyway?". "Justice, Harvey, they want justice." "Hell, they don't even know what justice is!", to which my dad replied, "Exactly, they've never had it, so they don't know what it is."

Beautiful World, Beautiful People

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I took without looking!Sign, sign, everywhere a signShe didn't know they were there!
I took without looking!
I took without looking!
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
She didn't know they were there!
She didn't know they were there!

Jim's Notes on the Day

Jim, of course, brought his sketchbook for the train ride.
Jim, of course, brought his sketchbook for the train ride. | Source

And Back Again to Santa Clara

After lunch with my cousin Wind and his wife Monica, we all got on the bus (with tickets handed to us for free at the MLK event), and headed back to Santa Clara. Santa Clara, by the way, is a lovely city. As with so many places in California, I am blown away by the amount of flowers and fruit trees. Jim and I picked up tangerines that had fallen over a fence and ate them as we walked along. It is now tradition that Elaine goes over to her old block and steals me oranges and lemons. When visiting there, I have a regular walk that includes a park and a beautiful cemetery. Elaine's parents, Charlie and Martha Duncan, are buried there so I usually stop and say hello. There are other people there for whom I've developed a fondness based on the information on their headstones. On my next visit, maybe I'll tell you about them. For now, though, I need to tie a bow on this and put it under the Hub Pages tree. Thank you for listening to my ramblings. We'll talk again soon.

Wind and Dad
Wind and Dad
Waterfront bar in SF, taken from window of bus
Waterfront bar in SF, taken from window of bus

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      Jeani 2 years ago

      Loving your so-called "ramblings" (verbal and pictorial), and wishing you safe travels home. Oh! and regards to the Captain. xo Jeani

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