One Day In San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge

We drove into San Francisco from the north, on the 101 from the Sonoma Valley. Having only entered the address for the Golden Gate Bridge Park into Google maps and not really studying the actual route, we were all excited to find that our route to the park actually took us right over the bridge. The bridge is beautiful and majestic with great views of the San Fran skyline and the ominous Alcatraz seems to haunt the bay below. I explained to the kids that prisoners would try to break free and swim to shore, only to be eaten by the resident shark population, sparking a long conversation about sharks and qualifying as road schooling.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

The Golden Gate Park itself is fantastic with lots of play areas and is heavily used by cyclist, clearly a favorite pass time of the people of San Fransisco. We saw a number of photo shoots being conducted throughout the park and it was easy to see what a great backdrop the park really is. As we drove through the lush green park we were greeted by the Pacific Ocean. We headed along the coast to find our way back to the actual bridge.

The bridge itself has a wonderful visitors center and there is additional parking just past the visitor center on the left with an incredible view of the park and a well maintained walking path down to the bay. The kids had a blast on the bay beach with the Golden Gate Bridge as their backdrop.

With lunch time approaching we headed for Fisherman’s Warf. The famous hills of San Fran created an exhilarating and adventurous tone to our drive with lots of what if scenarios about losing your breaks on the downhills. The hybrid could barely make it up some of the steep inclines. We ended up eating at Plant Cafe a delicious vegan establishment not far from Fisherman’s Warf. We took our veggies to a local dog park and admired the neighborhood.

Love the yellow door!

Love the yellow door!

San Fran has some great style, architecture and local retail. We headed out to try to find a friend of ours who happens to own two of these stylish retail stores. If you’re ever in San Fran you should check out Marmalade and The Mason Jar . Then like all families on a tight time constraint to see one of the coolest cities in America in one day, we went to find a skatepark, road school phys ed!

After a 1 hour skate session we headed back into the city to meet another friend of ours for dinner. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity on the way to drive down Lombard St. We had driven by it a few times throughout the day and there never seemed to be a shortage of folks photographing the street. It’s very cool and was a lot of fun to drive down in the Hybrid, but man I would not want to live on that street with the amount of people around all the time.

Lombard Street

Lombard Street

We ended up at Pier 23 near Fisherman’s Warf a cool little spot with a great deck and they allowed us to bring our dog in with us, not something that happens very often. We finished our shrimp and beers, said our goodbyes and hit the open road for Los Angeles. I’m sure we didn’t come close to seeing everything, but we sure hit a lot in one day. So, is it possible to do San Fran in one day? Yeah, would I recommend it, probably not.

Check out the Traveling Chimps San Fran episode here

Have you ever done a fly by of a major tourist destination? Tell us about it below.

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Eugene Oregon Huge Vibe!

Washington Jefferson Skatepark

Washington Jefferson Skatepark

Just south of Portland lies Eugene, the Capital of Oregon. Our draw to Eugene was a video posted by a friend on Facebook a few months ago, showing a brand new, covered skatepark, opening in early April 2014. Washington Jefferson Skatepark is the largest covered skatepark in the world, with a focus on creating a community spot and drawing skaters from all over the state, and in our case, all over the US. We left Portland with visions of concrete bowels and skinned knees and our two day skate session didn’t disappoint. The park is open daily from 6am-11pm. We managed to get to the park both days by 8am and we were surprised by the amount of people already skating each day and here everyone thinks skaters just sleep all day, apparently not! I will say by lunch time, the place gets so crowded it gets slightly dangerous.

20140412_123641We didn’t just skate, we also spent some time walking around Eugene’s beautiful river side parks and around ┬áthe downtown area. We were quickly impressed by the Saturday Farmers Market that must have spanned 4 blocks and even mentioned to one another that we wouldn’t mind living here, probably the first time on our adventure that settling down had been an option. The market was packed with food, beer, arts, great music and people. There was even an Occupy type area, unrelated to the actual market, with drum circles and the type of people most of us would probably get along quite well with.20140412_133359

20140412_114953No visit to Eugene would be complete without a trip to Voodoo Donuts. This eccentric donut shop is heavy on funny donut names, pink exterior and vegan donuts as well. Making it a great place for us to eat or anyone for that matter. They even have bacon donuts for all you meat eaters and the coffee’s not bad either. Expect there to be a line and don’t forget your cash, they don’t take credit cards, but there is a bank right across the street. It’s worth the wait!

 

So, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Eugene, Portland, Portugal, Greece? Tell us below.

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3 Days in Portland

Day 1 – Washington Park, Rose Garden Children’s Park. Got the kids out of the car and let them run off some steam, so we could all get a good nights sleep. Washington Park was beautiful and a must visit. The park boasts a zoo, children’s museum, forestry museum and Japanese gardens. There are hiking trails through out the park and it’s a great place to walk your dog or ride your bike. The children’s park had a fantastic castle play ground and the kids ran around it for hours as we watched on with the dog.

Burnside History

Burnside History

Day 2 – Skateboard Day! Or as we call it, Phys Ed. Did you know that Oregon has 108 Skateparks? We first hit Burnside Skatepark, Portland, OR, a legendary skate spot built DIY style. Skaters took over the underside of the highway and created an incredible skatepark starting in 1990. Many spots have tried to copy Burnside all over the world. Very smooth, but pretty big concrete features and bowls.

Burnside

Burnside

Gresham skatepark, Gresham, OR. Cool local spot with a nice small bowl, much more suited for Jack and CJ. The kids were all very cool and welcoming and we had a great time skating this spot into the evening.

Gresham Skatepark

Gresham Skatepark

Day 3 – We took the Streetcar from OMSI to the Ariel Tram. The Streetcar was an excellent way to see Portland and only cost $1 per Adult for 2 hours or $5 per Adult all day, kids ride for free. The Ariel Tram was slightly scary and probably not the greatest choice if your afraid of heights, but it’s an exhilarating birds eye view of Portland and cost $4 per person over 6 years old. For dinner we hit Native Foods, our new favorite restaurant. All vegan entrees and nothing ordered was even close to bad. The vegan beer was award winning and tasted it too. Native Foods is a California based chain with one location in OR and one in CO, and the rest in Southern California, but if you ever run across one, we highly recommend it, even if your not a vegan.

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