Root Family

Root Family

May 1, 2012

California April 2012: Davis, Point Reyes, San Fransisco

Day 1-3

This trip had been planned out for some time. Bill and I have ties to the Sacramento area; I was born and raised in a small town in the foothills called Eldorado, and Bill spent a lot of time there visiting his dad and grandparents as he grew up, so we both have various reasons to go back and visit. Bill and April have been visiting more often because I no longer have family there, but my best friend still lives in the Davis area so I like to get out there at least ever few years to visit. Alene and I decided to time a trip with April and Bill out there to visit friends, and also get a taste of Point Reyes, which is a staple visit for their trips out there.

Bill and I both left on Friday afternoon with the older kids in each of our cars while Alene and April both opted to get a cheap one-way ticket to Reno to fly with the babies and knock off more than half the driving trip with 6 month olds.We picked up the wives and babies on Saturday around noon, then went on over the Sierras into Sacramento. Saturday and Sunday night our family stayed with my friend (Roman) and his family in Davis. We had a good time catching up, and letting our kids play together. Sunday was Easter, so we had a picnic and did an easter egg hunt at a nearby park.

Waylon taking a break at a gas station in Sacramento

happy to be out of his carseat

Bailey and my friend's daughter Brooklyn, Easter morning

Easter chics

A funny video we did at our Easter picnic trying to make it look like I'm doing a kick flip

Day 4

On Monday we headed out of Davis to meet up with April and Bill at Point Reyes. On a map, Point Reyes doesn't look that big or confusing, but I could not believe how much space it took up and how long it took to get around the area. I'm not complaining, I'm more impressed with how much it had to offer.

We first met up with them at the famous lighthouse near Drakes Cove and did the short hike down to the lighthouse and back. It was a nice introduction to the area. On the drive out I was most impressed with all the farming going on in the area and how the locals were able to live their lives amongst all the tourists visiting the area. It must get really old, but at the same time I'm sure the tourists contribute to the local economy. I was really blown away at the beauty of the place.

Looking north toward Tomales Point

Point Reyes Beach

On the paved trail to the lighthouse

Point Reyes - Lighthouse trail

Bailey, Waylon, and Alene about midway down the stairs to the lighthouse

Point Reyes lighthouse

The lighthouse

Point Reyes lighthouse

Family pic at the lighthouse

Point Reyes lighthouse

The worlds nicest view for ranger housing

Point Reyes ranger living quarters

From there we followed April and Bill back to the Bear Valley visitor center to check on the weather conditions (which were not looking good). It was calling for rain, but we decided to tough it out and hope that the forecast was wrong, but in our case this is the 1/100th time the weather man was right!

Our campsites were reserved at Coast Camp, which was a 2.2 mile hike in from the trailhead off the Limantor Spit road (near the Point Reyes Hostel). We loaded our packs and headed out. I was at a dilemma about whether to bring two smaller lightweight tents (weighing 5 lbs total and Caiden would carry one) or we brought our large 6-person heavyweight Colman tent that weighed 14 lbs. I thought it was only 2.2 miles in and I could carry that thing with no problems. It wasn't too bad, but I ended up with problems once we got to camp.

My Kelty 6500 loaded down (105 Liter pack)

My giant backpack

The trail is fairly easy to hike in and very beautiful. We had the misfortune of previous bad weather and more bad weather on the horizon, but we decided to trek on and cross our fingers, hoping for better weather. The trail was really muddy and at times we had to divert around it through the bushes to avoid large pools of muddy water. The first 3/4 mile is uphill, but once you're up on top of the mountain, it's a nice drop down into Coast Camp.

Bailey on the trail

hiking to Point Reyes Coast Camp

Caiden on the trail


Alene and the kids

hiking to Point Reyes Coast Camp

Bill and April left before us, so they arrived at the camp and set up. I hurried on ahead of Alene to get our tent set up and camp situated. There were other groups in the area (about 5-6). The camp area was nice and I loved the fact that you could hear the ocean just over the hill from where we were. It was getting dark, so we hurried over to the beach to check it out. It was really windy and already pretty dark, so we didn't get much time to do anything.

Caiden and Waylon at camp


Alene and Bailey at the beach

Point Reyes Coast Camp

Day 5

Waylon slept really good that night and I was glad I brought the giant tent, however when I arrived a couple of the tent poles broke (the elastic string inside snapped) and I was so pissed off, I decided to ditch the tent (some of the pole liners were tearing and I didn't feel like carrying it out either). It was a cheap coleman tent and I've vowed to NEVER buy a cheap tent again; they don't last.

We woke up to the sound of hard-pouring rain. We stayed in the tent hoping to wait it out, but it never let up. Even though we only had camp there for one night, we were hoping to be able to spend time at the beach and explore the area, but it wasn't going to happen. We were really upset, but what can you do? We packed up Alene and the kids and sent them on their way while Bill and I finished loading our packs and taking down the tents before heading out. Thankfully there was a large trash bin down there that I was able to toss my tent into. That saved me 14 lbs on the way back.

Waylon sleeping in

tent cutie

The kids in the tent waiting for us to make a decision on what to do

Kids in the tent at Point Reyes

View of our campsite looking down on the rest of the campground. Pouring rain

Point Reyes Coast Camp

I was really worried about Alene hiking out with Bailey, but Bailey trudged on the entire way back and hiked the whole 2.2 miles back on her own. It helped that she had her cousins hiking with her, who are awesome hikers.

hiking from Point Reyes Coast Camp

After getting back to the car we had some decisions to make. We had pre-paid reservations at nearby Samuel P Taylor State Park, but we were wet and miserable and without our larger tent (where we really wanted to use it was at the State Park), we opted to drive into San Fransisco a day earlier and check into our hotel. A nice shower and dry clothes sounded awesome.

On the drive out we were getting depressed at how beautiful it was out there and how we had come so far to not get to really see much of what the area had to offer. I really hope we get a chance to come back under better weather conditions.

We stopped at Agate beach on the way out

Agate beach

Agate beach, near Bolinas

Agate beach, near Bolinas

Agate beach

It was littered with huge Banana slugs doing their thing

Banana slug at Agate beach

We checked into our hotel (La Luna Inn), which was located right off Lombard street in the Cow Hollow section (just a couple of blocks from the Presidio). We walked a couple of blocks away and ate at Pizzeria Avellino for dinner that night

Pizzeria Avellino

Pizza time

Waylon enjoying some crust

Eating pizza crust

Alene and I ran down to Walgreen's to grab a few things we needed while Caiden watched Bailey at the hotel

San Francisco - Lombard Street

Day 6

This day was my birthday and it was full of adventure. We got up, ate breakfast and got ready to head on over to the Exploratorium, which was only a few blocks away. We have a year-round membership to the local Children's Museum downtown SLC and they're affiliates, so we saved ourselves $40 and got in for free. It was nice to let the kids go around and explore everything. It was geared a bit toward older (school-aged) kids, so Bailey didn't quite have much to do, but she still enjoyed it.

The neighborhood walking over

San Francisco neighborhood

The Exploratorium

San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts

Caiden and I in the mirror booth

Exploratorium mirror booth

Getting a drink from the toilet

Exploratorium - drinking from a toilet

Bailey, making a tornado

Exploratorium - having fun in the smoke

Caiden's hands

Exploratorium hands

Family picture

Family pic at the Exploratorium

After hanging out there we drove over and met up with April and Bill at Ocean Beach. April and bill surprised me with a birthday cake and Bill serenaded me with his own rendition of "Happy Birthday" (just kidding). We hung out at the beach for a while just long enough for the crazies to come out.

Bailey and I headed north toward the towering cliffs where the famous "Cliff House" restaurant was located above. As we got closer we stirred the hornets nest of a local crazy. Some skinny dude with nothing on but some torn board shorts and sporting wild hair and a long beard, comes running down off the cliff with a rugby ball in his arms. As we get closer (I have Bailey on my shoulders) he starts wildly kicking the rugby ball toward us and looking at us madly. The ball goes into the ocean and he ran out to get it. As he gets closer he's kind of huffing and puffing and staring at us and says "that's how you kick a real soccer ball". I kind of do the he's-crazy-so-I'll-just-ignore-him-thing, but I can feel him staring daggers into me, so I turn and acknowledge him with a head nod. He keeps his distance, but keeps following me a bit. Eventually he yells something out that I can't make out and Bailey starts laughing. He starts laughing with her, but in a crazy tone. I decided I've invaded his personal space, so I turn around and head back to our spot. I noticed him grab a piece of drift wood and took it up to his "camp" on the rocks, which consisted of a small backpack, a long board, and other drift wood. He then proceeded to yell at other people up above at the Cliff House looking down at the view.

My birthday cake

My birthday at Ocean Beach

Bailey opted to crawl out to the ocean

San Francisco - Ocean beach

"B" for Bailey

San Francisco - Ocean beach

She had so much fun

San Francisco - Ocean beach

Waylon fell asleep in my jacket

San Francisco - Ocean beach

Alene's pretty toes

San Francisco - Ocean beach - Altene's painted toes

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Battery Boutelle, which was just South of the Golden Gate Bridge. This was an old battery used for the military to protect the bay. It was really windy, so we finally were able to bust out the kites the kids got for Easter

San Fransisco - Battery Boutelle

San Fransisco - Battery Boutelle

San Fransisco - Battery Boutelle

San Fransisco - Battery Boutelle


After hanging out there we headed back to the hotel to plan for dinner. I was looking to do something authentic and local, but we didn't wan to drive and have to deal with parking. We walked about 5 blocks away looking for a specific diner that was showing up on my Urbanspoon app, but when we got to where it was supposed to be, it was no longer there and was replaced with a burger place in a similar mold of 5 Guys or Smash burger. I was hungry and the place looked cool, so we went on in to eat.

One thing I observed about being in this area of town is that there were no families. Either young people/couples, or older people. Everyone was literally staring at us most of the time as if we were carrying around some sort of precious artifact.

This is the part where I tell the story (that gets better with time) about how I beat up a drunk homeless guy. On our way back Alene was carrying Waylon and I had Bailey on my shoulders. The area we were in was really nice, so I didn't suspect any run-ins with "trouble", but it was waiting for us a couple of blocks away from our hotel.

As we approached a specific corner, I noticed a drunk homeless dude on the corner yelling and people as they walked by and causing a stir, cussing up a storm and acting crazy. Everyone was doing what you should do, don't acknowledge him and keep walking. I was confident we would do the same, but as we walked past him, I could see he saw me and decided to start following close behind us. He started off with talking loud to himself and then tossed in a few curse words here and there. Eventually he got closer and closer, so I turned around and asked him to please leave my family alone. He immediately shoved me (with Bailey on my shoulders), then put up his fists egging me on to fight him.

I was a bit shocked and immediately put Bailey down and gave her to Alene. I wasn't quite sure what to do at this moment but a flood of thoughts were pouring through my head; "Is he going to keep following us?" "Does he have a weapon?" "He's a bit smaller than me, can I take him?" I opted to keep walking, but at a much slower pace trying to figure out what to do. I didn't want him knowing what hotel we were staying at and from there he became more agitated, cussing up a storm, yelling something about "Jehova" and eventually when I saw my family seriously concerned I knew what I had to do.

I had remembered everything I taught my football players over the years when it comes to tackling someone. #1, the lower man always wins, and #2, the more speed, the more force to bring the guy down. I told Alene to keep walking and after she got about 30' in front of me I used my knowledge of tackling a person, planted my foot, turned and charged the dude. He never had a chance to react until the last second and all I saw were his eyes shockingly bulging out of his head. I came at him with everything I had and was ready for anything. I charged him and shoved him to the ground, but I hit him so hard that he went airborne. I can still see him flying backward in slow motion. He hit head first and my first thought was "oh no, I'm going to kill him", but he hit and as I stood over him, he looked up at me in shock and said, "ohhhhhh, tough guy". I yelled at him to "Stay the F*** away from my family" and turned and walked away. He started following again, but kept his distance. As we crossed the street, still a block away from our hotel, I gave Alene the room key and told them to walk on. I waited to see if he would follow and he made the right decision by turning and going in the opposite direction we were going. Once I saw he was out of sight I went back to the hotel.

Happy Birthday Tyler

The rest of the night I was filled with a bit of adrenaline so it took some time to go to sleep. I'm sure from Alene's standpoint it wasn't as dramatic as I recalled, but it was still a big deal to me because I never want anyone to hurt or scare my family, homeless drunk guy be damned.

Me with my kids at the birthday dinner just before our encounter

Tyler's birthday

Day 7

Alene had really wanted to take us to see Alcatraz. She had gone there when she was younger and even though I grew up relatively close, I had never been. We booked our boat ride out a week or so prior but could not get anything earlier than 12pm, which didn't leave a lot of time to explore the island. We arrived on the island and explored around, opting to take the audio tour through the actual prison, then taking time to see a few of the other areas of the island. It's amazing to me to see what destruction can happen to a place like this over 30+ years. It was eire and cool and I wished I had more time to explore, but the kids eventually got tired and I had to get back to go on a man-date with Roman.

On the boat ride out

boat ride to Alcatraz


The Officer's club. This was a dance hall and had a bowling alley

Alcatraz - Officers club (ruins)

An old sink in the "Industries" building

Alcatraz sink

Looking through some broken security glass into more of the "Industries" building

Alcatraz window

This is where the family housing units used to be. The island was it's own community. Every day the kids were boated back into the city for school.

Alcatraz - Family housing ruins with San Francisco overlooking

Inside the prison jail cells. This hall is known as "Broadway"

Alcatraz - Broadway

Looking up an old set of stairs near the mess hall

Alcatraz stairs

More jail cells


Before coming out here Roman's father in-law had told us to look for some Native American graffiti that was left during the brief occupation they had of the land after the prison closed. We were able to watch the introduction film and it had a lot of video footage and pictures of the local Native Americans occupying the island due to a law that abandoned federal land could be claimed by the Native Americans. They occupied the island for 2 years while also serving as a protest to the government's treatment of their people.

Alcatraz - Red Power

Alcatraz - Indians welcome

Gratuitous tourist photo


Later that evening we arrived back in Davis and Roman and I hit the town to hang out and see a live band perform. I love live music and even if its not a band I know of, it's tolerable music I can dig it.

Live music in Davis, CA

Day 8

This woud serve as our half-way trip back home. We said goodbye to the Rosarios and California. Before getting completely out of town we stopped by to visit Alene's cousin Amanda and during that time, Caiden FINALLY got his Famous Star burger from Carl's Jr that he thinks is the best burger in the world (ugggh), but you like seeing your kids happy and he sure was happy.

Finally got his Famous Star at Carls Jr

We stayed at the Silver Legacy on our way home in Reno, then made the trudge on back across Nevada to our home on Saturday

Bailey and Waylon in the hotel room

hotel cuties

Waylon is the king of Reno

king of Reno

Enjoying himself some licorice on the way home

Enjoying some licorice on the ride home

I'm probably just an optimist (at times), but I thought it was a good trip. I was upset about the camping being terrible, but I was happy to be with my family and I was happy to see my old friend Roman. Family road trips are always stressful, so I know I have to go into them with that understanding and it takes the pressure off a bit. I definitely want to get back out and see Point Reyes under better weather.

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