Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Berkeley - Big Sur Day 1

Day one started in LA, but ended in heaven. We left early morning from my parents place to take the five hour trek to the East Bay. Our plan was to stay in downtown Oakland because the parking and hotel situation in Berkeley sounded too hectic, so our plan was to take the subway in. I thought it was a great plan, but seeing how the trains were half filled with Tennessee Orange, I was worried about a UCLA Rose Bowl situation where all the locals made a big payday on the game.

Looking for some blue and gold at the BART Station

Once we came above ground, we tried going to my favorite beer joint, Jupiter, but seeing how it was the nearest pub to the BART Station, oxygen was hard to find let alone a place to stand there. After seeing how Triple Rock Brewery was so packed that it made the air-conditioning void, we headed for a little sandwich place that was new since I lived there last.

Since we had a few hours to kill before the game, I gave Barbara a tour of the campus. There's so much architectural history that I could take hours, but we jaunted by all the main sites, like Doe Library, the Campanile, and the west entrance. We met up at Sproul Plaza where the band performed before their final march up the stadium.

Sather Gate
Cal Band Great! Sproul Plaza

My parents headed up to the stadium which allowed me and Barb a chance to hit up a couple more of my local faves before the game. We went by Yogurt Park to remind me how great their yogurt is especially since it's about half price from anywhere else in the world. Then up to Cafe Strada, my all-time favorite coffee place in the world. It kicks ass three ways: good prices, super fast service, and awesome coffee. Get the Bianca Mocha. 'Nuff said.

After a short walk past the treehuggers, we were in the stadium. There was a large Tennessee contingent, but fortunately, Cal fans outnumbered the Vols about 6-1. The atmosphere was electric. The Tennessee fans were eccentric.

"I've been smoking in stadiums since the Civil War!"

Appalachian State made me wear black today!

Cal's defense made me really squeamish, but the offense looked pretty good. Once Cal did stop a Vols drive, I started describing to Barb about how Desean Jackson was the best punt returner in the country. As the ball was in the air, I said they were kicking it short to force a fair catch. Once Desean decided to run with the ball instead, I said he wasn't going to get much. Then, we were all jumping up an down.

It's Desean's world!

That left us on the edge of our seats for the rest of the game. We got to witness card tricks(which originated at Cal) and the ever more entertaining confetti toss preceding. Cal pretty much controlled the rest of the game, although I never feel good until it's really over. The Tennessee fans were great and they were very gracious to meet, even after their loss. On the way back to the train, we found seats at Jupiter. Unfortunately, I failed in meeting my goal of trying every single one of their beers in one sitting. Almost the perfect day..

"Please pass your cards to the right"
The Band's on the Field!!..and sixty thousand
of their closest friends

Monday, October 1, 2007

Berkeley - Big Sur Trip Day 2

Day one was about football, but day two was just about as important. There are a lot of great things I love about Berkeley, but Barbara hadn't really gotten the tour. So Sunday was about revisiting some of my favorite things. The first was a little architectural tour. We went by a couple of Bernard Maybeck houses, who mentored Julia Morgan back in the day. The house below was built out of concrete because fires that had plagued the Berkeley hills. The amazing thing about the house, it is just celebrating it's ONE HUNDRED year anniversary.

Lawson House

Right down the street was the Berkeley Rose Garden, also designed by Maybeck. What can I say, you could just spend the whole day among the flowers looking over the bay.

Berkeley Rose Garden

One requirement on every trip is a visit to Zachary's Pizza. My favorite pizza in the whole world. Barbara said Chicago pizza is better. If there was a a catapult nearby when she said that, who knows how far she could have flown. As for the other guy in the picture, I guess I'm photogenic enough that other people like to jump in.
Zachary's Pizza - Solano Ave.

Okay. Here's the real reason for the whole trip. The North Face Outlet off of Gilman St. I love North Face Products! I love North Face Products! I have no problem typing that continuously. The Outlet is a godsend because my only criticism of North Face is that their products are normally pricey. Not here! And there is an abundance of everything. It's really a battle of self restraint. It might have been a battle that Barbara lost.

Not even half the store.
"We're going to need another SUV!!"