This is Part 2 of a three-week series about the trip I took a couple of weeks ago. Part 1 covered my visit to the UC Berkeley Statistics department, and ended on Tuesday with me being picked up by a mysterious station wagon. That’s where the action resumes…
The station wagon was being driven by none other than Lindsey, my first cousin once removed! (She’s my father’s cousin, and for convenience, I’ll be referring to her as Aunt Lindsey.) And convenient it was. I was scheduled to visit the UW Madison Statistics department on Thursday, and rather than fly back to Boston only to fly west again to Madison a day later, Aunt Lindsey offered to pick me up on Tuesday afternoon, let me hang out in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, and then drive me to the airport on Thursday morning. Amazing.
As we left Berkeley, we had the idea of visiting my father’s old bay-front house at 2210 Mar East. He lived there for a couple of years when he was a kid, including the summer that three individuals successfully escaped from Alcatraz. If you look at the Google Map image, you’ll notice that 2210 Mar East is about the closest thing to Alcatraz in the bay area. Crazy. Anyway, we found the house easily and, after noticing that it was totally empty inside, walked around it and checked it out. Sure enough, there was Alcatraz straight ahead and San Francisco off to the right. Maybe some of those stories that Daddy Ackerman tells are true after all…
The next order of business was dinner in San Francisco with Lindsey and her daughters / my (technically second) cousins Hannah and Hilary. We met Hilary first, and the three of us drove into the city. (My first time on the Golden Gate bridge!) We had a little bit of time to kill before we were meeting with Hannah at the Fog City Diner, so we braved the streets of San Francisco and the winding roads up Twin Peaks. The view from the top was spectacular!
It was pretty chilly on top of Twin Peaks, so we piled back into the car and cruised over to the diner, where we met up with Hilary and her boyfriend, Dietrich. Because they all live on the West Coast (as opposed to my mom’s side of the family, which are strictly East Coast), I haven’t spent too much time with Lindsey and the girls. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them, and dinner was pretty delicious too. Hilary works as a Crossfit instructor, which is amazing, but unfortunately I didn’t get to do a workout with her. That’s probably for the best, actually; she probably would have ripped me in half. I didn’t take any pictures at dinner, either, which is a bummer, but I was pretty tired at this point. So off to Santa Rosa we went.
I was half asleep for the drive up, and I only vaguely remember collapsing into bed. When I awoke, though, it was an absolutely gorgeous Northern California day, and the girls had a gorgeous Northern California itinerary planned out for me. Hilary and I started the day by driving out to Bodega Head. Along the way, we stopped at a local coffee and produce place, where we ran into Tom Waits. (Technically, Hilary ran into Tom Waits. I had never heard of him. But she’s since played songs for me and sent me Youtube videos.) And when we got to the beach, we were greeted with some spectacular coastal views. We went for a little 20-minute hike along a coastal trail, and I took some pictures along the way:
After returning to Santa Rosa and eating some lunch, Lindsey and I set out on a wine-tasting trip to Sonoma County. We stopped at a couple of local vineyards, chatted with locals, and enjoyed some free samples. We ended up getting a bottle of red from the Armida winery, which we took home and enjoyed over a delicious home-cooked meal. I sadly didn’t bring my camera with me on this trip, but I had my cellphone and Lindsey took a couple of pictures of me at Armida:
After only one full day in paradise, it was time to pack up and get ready for the final leg of my Spring Break adventure: visiting the University of Wisconsin – Madison Statistics department. Tune in next week for the scoop and to find out which graduate school I decided to attend!