Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Honeymoon.

After George proposed (you can read about the proposal here), wedding planning kicked in. I blogged a couple of times about the process (you can catch up here), but have been really busy since November 18th! Planning the "wedding of my dreams" was time consuming, and planning a honeymoon wasn't on the radar.

However, last June, the two of us went on a roadtrip (you can read about the "Great Adventure" here). We turned off our phones, bought a map, and had 5 days or so of freedom. We weren't sure where we were going (although we knew Marfa was going to be a goal! We wanted to see those lights....and we did!), and we weren't sure where we were staying, but that was going to be part of the fun. I thought back on the trip, and how much I completely enjoyed myself, and thought something similar would be fabulous for a honeymoon. Due to the generosity of our family and friends, we were able to use the same concept, only bigger scale. We planned more this time...we bought plane tickets to San Francisco, plane tickets back to DFW from Seattle, and we booked about 4 different hotels. We left gaps in between, which gave us some more freedom in between pitstops. We knew we could take advantage of public transportation in San Fran, so we booked the rental car on our way out. 

After the best day of my life (which I think I will refer to my wedding day as, indefinitely...), March 24, we had about 24 hours to pack up George's apartment in a storage unit, pack our bags, and board a plane. And so begins a picture-book story (online version) of our trip.

Because part of me is Type A, I assembled a book with our reservations and passport/birth certificate.

George, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, checking us in at DFW. Keep in mind we have not slept in over 24 hours; I think he looks great! :)

En route to Phoenix for our layover, I was too excited to sleep, George made himself comfortable on my shoulder. After arriving in Phoenix, we made use of our time by ordering drinks. At 7:44 AM. We then flew to San Fran, and started our adventure.
Checked in to the unbelievable HOTEL MAJESTIC. I would strongly recommend this hotel to anybody. Charming, over 100 years old, and luxurious. We stayed in a "haunted" room, but we didn't see, hear, or feel a presence. This was the view from the bed, looking into the living area, and the beautiful bay window overlooking the streets of San Fran, near Fisherman's Wharf.

We had affirming signs everywhere! Right when we checked in, we noticed the Butterfly Lounge to the left of the check-in desk. If you didn't already know, I've been drawn to the butterfly since I was in 6th grade, and collect butterflies and butterfly images. This lounge is the home of the largest collection of butterflies NOT in a museum. How cool! We didn't even know until we got there.

Hotel Majestic kindly left an ice bucket with champagne in our room. We had a toast before meeting my friend Katie at a nearby bar.

We got to meet up with my "Library Big," or my favorite co-worker who taught me the ropes at the bar in Norman. Katie is doing well in San Francisco! She is working for a gym and looks amazing herself. We had Irish Car Bombs for old time's sake. Katie, if you're reading this, thank you for making our trip EXTRA special with your presents. We love you! And whenever you're out this way, give me a call!


This breakfast was so good, I ate it two days in a row. Hotel Majestic's Spinach Omelette, Hash Browns, Mimosa, Coffee. Sourdough Toast. To die for!!!!!!!

Daddy called this gem of a restaurant and pre-paid for our lunch. The location is PRIME. The food is DELICIOUS. And the service was AMAZING! This was definitely one of our favorite meals. Thanks so much, Daddy!
Our "Newlywed Cheesecake" and coffee to warm our bones at Scoma's!!!
Then, thanks to a recommendation from Rachel and Ryan, we went to the Musee Mecanique, or the mechanical museum. This was free, and really fun. We explored all over Pier 45 and Pier 39. 

We spent a few days in San Fran and got to see Haight-Ashbury...

...and the Aquarium of the Bay...
...had an amazing meal compliments of the Naslund's at E&O Trading Company (the decor was unbelievable)...
...and on the third day...
...we finally got our RENTAL CAR! We don't have pics, but the first stop we made was to see Bill Graham's tombstone. He's a major influence in George's life. We found it, and George left him a yellow rose, symbolizing some Texas love. It was really beautiful. And quiet. And I knew it meant a lot to him. We then traveled on to the Muir Woods! 
We had our first little squabble as a married couple at Muir Woods. But the size of the trees made the argument seem really small. I realize how corny that sounds. But it doesn't make it any less true. 

After Muir Woods, we knew we were heading North. We hopped on Highway 101 and started making our way up the California coast. There were few items on our Roadtrip Bingo cards (thanks, Mommy!)...mainly trees. Once we hit the Avenue of the Giants, we were in another world. This was one of the highlights on the trip, for sure.

After seeing sights as gorgeous as these, and finally seeing the coast for the first time, we had to get out. George insisted on dipping his feet in; I was freezing and wasn't so sure. But he convinced me. We took off our shoes and ran in the ocean. After getting sandy-feet-syndrome, we rinsed our feet with freezing cold water, dried them with t-shirts in the trunk, and decided this was as good a place as any to stay. It was quiet, beautiful, and had some character.

Our first glance at the coast after driving through the Avenue of the Giants. Stinson Beach.

We ate at this darling cafe. The windows overlooked the gargantuan waves. There was a fireplace beside us. We sipped our wine slow, and ate fish fresh off the coast. This was one of my favorite memories, for sure. The clouds just hovered over the cliffs; it truly felt like we were in heaven. 

After knocking on a couple of doors, we found shelter at the Stinson Beach Redwoods Haus Inn. With the succulent garden patio and the butterfly pillows, we knew we were in the right place. 

I slept like a rock in our cozy little room. The decor was all straight from the late 70's, and our bed was carved out of wood, with a mirror as the headboard. We woke up early, sipped coffee on the succulent garden patio, had some home-made breakfast, and hit the road again.
It was hard to leave this beautiful beach, but being Napa-bound certainly helped.

We drove for a few hours, and had to decide between Napa and Sonoma. We thought as our first time, Napa would be a better experience. 

We went to the Black Stallion vineyard and had a delicious and romantic wine tasting.

The vineyards are absolutely breathtaking!

Thanks to Leslie's recommendation, we also stopped by a place called Brix. What an amazing restaurant! And what an amazing experience. 

While at Brix, we met a man named Abi. He is from Zimbabwe, and is a practicing physician. He comes to Napa weekly, and after a hard day's work, stops by Brix for a glass of champagne to "celebrate life." We spoke to this man for a while at the bar, and I truly felt like my life had changed after talking to him!!! I swear he was an angel or something. We talked about love, marriage, life, and philosophy, for a while. He bought us champagne, and we toasted to life. We were again, positive we were in the right place at the right time.

To life. Cheers.
Everybody in Napa told us to stay the night there; that it wouldn't be possible to make it to Crescent City that night. Because of our impromptu stay in Stinson Beach, I felt like we really needed to make up some time. George drove for hours. I slept a good bit of the night. I think we ended up in Eureka, but I'm not sure. I know he drove a long time in the dark, like a champ. We stayed at a Best Western or something, and hit the road again in the morning. Portland-bound!!!!

We were lucky enough to drive through Humboldt County. Another dense forest. This was the epitome of the perfect roadtrip. My passenger window was far more entertaining than any TV show I've ever seen!

We took every "Scenic Route" possible. That was the POINT.
And I'm so glad we did.

On our way to Portland, little waterfalls, big waterfalls, small streams, and massive rivers, ran beside us. The misty clouds were heavy and right above us the entire drive. It was an absolutely rich forest. From the water to the trees, everything felt so alive. Including me.

I'd hoped for a rainbow with all the rain. And what do you know?

We made it to Portland. In Oregon, you can't pump your own gas. Which is actually, kind of fun...

We checked into a McMenamins, thanks to a recommendation from Dr. Davis. We felt a little dumb, because this McMenamins was more of a bar-scene, less of a hotel-scene. I guess they have rooms upstairs above the bar for people who get too intoxicated to make it home...we were the only ones with "reservations" and the girl/hostess looked at us like we were from another planet when we were "checking in." I had my itinerary and everything. Thank God George told me to leave my rolling luggage in the car. 

Hahahaha. We had a beer and made our way upstairs.

McMenamins is communal style, so inside our tiny bedroom we had a bed and a sink. And that's it! There are two toilets and a shower that everybody uses down the hall. It was a fun experience, and helped out financially. 

This was opposite the john in the communal bathroom. Definitely an interesting place! Lots of character...

...but we were ready to get out of Portland. Too many hipsters. We loaded up on coffee at a diner and trekked up north toward Seattle.

And if we didn't find the most ADORABLE little inn!!!! This place was so charming!!! We stayed here 3 nights.

The Space Needle!!!!!!


We saw the Experience Music Project, or EMP, another great recommendation from Dr. Davis!!! This display of instruments was two stories tall, and twisted like a tornado. Unbelievable!

We checked out both the Jimi Hendrix exhibit, and the Nirvana exhibit. I learned a lot at the EMP!

This is a community-involved map of bands. The lines represent times when different band members have collaborated with other bands. This visual display shows how rich the Northwest is in terms of underground music. Look at those names! And they're all connected. How cool.

Everywhere we went, we got to throw around the term "honeymoon," "husband," "wife," etc...and just that alone was really fun. "My husband is meeting me here; he'll have a local Amber and I'll take a gin and tonic." What a fun phrase. 

We had some hiccups along the way, which is to be expected when half the trip isn't planned. This is George in one of those "hiccup" instances. I find taking pictures even when he's angry, helps to dissipate the tension. We end up laughing at ourselves...

...or making ourselves comfortable on a random island (Bainbridge) and having drinks all day long in lieu of catching the ferry on time to Victoria...

We made friends everywhere we went. This is a guy named David. Moved from Hawaii....helping his grandmother move into a retirement center...we had drinks and a long walk with David. It is mind-blowing how many commonalities we have with complete strangers; all it takes is the time to get to know them. Usually, time is what we are lacking in our daily lives; not the desire to make friends! With ample time thanks to missing the Victoria Clipper Ferry, we were able to relax, unwind, and meet good 'ol Dave.

I also made friends with these guys after sipping some tea by my lonesome at a cafe. George went to a bar; I went shopping, and then needed a warm drink. I heard some music from across the road and walked over, plopped down, and had a great time.
(Bainbridge Island, Washington)

We stayed the night in Bainbridge, then took the ferry back to Seattle. We tried again for the Victoria Clipper, and weren't able to board because of a passport issue. We then had a free day in Seattle. In hindsight, everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to. Plus, now, I get to take another trip out to Victoria on a weekend when the Butchart Gardens are even more beautiful! Win-Win!
Of course, I had to stop by the ORIGINAL Starbucks! And get my usual Grande Coffee, Soy Milk, 2-Pump Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce. It was delicious.

We walked around Pike's Place Market, and had a leisurely day. 

 Local, fresh, delicious. Just how food is intended to be. 

We even had time to go bowling...and this bowling alley was an absolute blast. We had an amazing waitress bringing us drinks and fried raviolis, and the tunes overhead were, I swear, from some of my iPod playlists. I busted out some granny-style moves, and was actually winning for a brief period of time.

Because we have a tendency to be young at heart, we played on the playground and made the best of our last day in Seattle. I swear if I'd known George as a little kid, we would've been friends then, too. He had so much fun bouncing on this floor covering after the rain. It felt like we were wearing moonboots. Then, we went back to the 11th Ave. Inn, and watched Wonder Years on the iPad as we drifted off to sleep. Our alarm went off at 4:45, and we called a cab to take us to the airport. 
We made our way through security one last time...then landed safely back in Dallas. Daddy picked us up, we caught up with my parents over some delicious Carmine's pizza and wine, then got settled in our apartment. As husband and wife. It was really an amazing adventure.