Cruising the Pacific: the Real California Adventure

Soarin’ Over California really inspired our rush to do two cruises this year. Every time we rode this ride, we remembered many of the highlights of our life in California – from the Russian River (gotta love the Rushin’ River Outfitters in DCA), to Yosemite, San Diego, Palm Springs and finishing at Disneyland.

We already live in Radiator Springs (grin), so it was the scenes out over the water that said, “Cruise the Pacific.” And now we get to do it – twice!

Soarin’ Over California

Going Coastal on the Love Boat: A San Francisco Love Story

So… now we get to plan what we want to see and do in each California Port. In San Francisco, we want to focus on the things we didn’t get to do when we were living in Hotel California recently.

Cruise ships used to dock at Pier 35, but apparently, Pier 27 is the new Cruises ship pier. From there we can walk to the cable car and ride it to Powell & Market and see the Flood Bldg. where I used to work and near where I was, apparently, conceived. :)


Or we can walk to the Embarcadero in the Financial District, jump on BART and get off on Powell & Market. We’re thinking we might want to have dinner at Michael Chiarelo’s spanish restaurant, Coqueta, on Pier 5.

sailorboydadI’ve read about how Piers 1 to 5 are in a section considered the Historic Pier area where solders were shipped overseas. And then I wondered if that’s  where my Naval Air Force father kissed my mother good-bye before heading overseas during the tail end of the Korean War after she promised him she would wait for him.

This may also be the same place where my mother welcomed my step dad home from Korea, after breaking her promise to my father.

No wonder my father said, “I’ll always have San Francisco.”

Going Coastal on the Love Boat: Itinerary

Our 7-night itinerary for the California Coastal cruise is:


This is an itinerary we never would have done while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. But from Las Vegas, it’s very appealing. Besides, we didn’t get to revisit everything we wanted to while living in Hotel California recently.

We meant to get back to Fisherman’s Wharf, Market Street, the Piers, North Beach, etc. but we didn’t get around to it. Not having to drive through the City and park makes it much more appealing. :)

Cruising California while living in California would be like cruising Alaska while we were living in the Pacific Northwest. It was a little less impressive because much of the scenery was the same. We would love to cruise again to Alaska while living in Las Vegas or say Florida, should we return there.

The good news about all the ports is that we won’t have to purchase any excursions. In fact, everything we want to do we’ll do by walking, cable car, taxi, or BART.

I think also letting our Disneyland AP expire is also freeing us up to do other things. Otherwise, we’d sit in DCA, sip wine, and feel like we were already there. :)

Going Coastal on the Love Boat: Fall Cruise Booked

After living in the Bay Area again recently for a year, we started missing some of the highlights. We wrote about these in the “Catching up with the Bay Area” adventures. So Rich started pricing out a “California Wine Country” driving trip. We soon realized it would cost less to take a California Coastal cruise on Princess this fall, especially with his airline discount. So that settles the question of what to do this fall. We’re booked!

We love to cruise, especially while we’re living in the desert. Arizona even has a cruising club for water lovers living in the desert. And cruising is the most affordable option for us right now.

It was a thrill to finally sail under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa after living there for a couple of years. The other bridge we must sail under is the Golden Gate Bridge.

Oh the stories I’d heard growing up – how my mother got a stiff neck staring up at this big ship as it sailed into the Bay when my s-dad returned from Korea.

Of course, that was before I’d heard the story of my parents living in San Francisco right after they were married and where I was conceived before my father was shipped overseas to fight a war. I first heard the story when my grandmother and her husband were living in Clear Lake just north of San Francisco after he retired from his job in Los Angeles. My mother and I were visiting from Oregon and I, about 19 or 20 at the time, said, “Let’s go to San Francisco.” So we did.

While walking on Market Street, my mother gazed up at an apartment building and with a twinkle in her eye said, “I lived there once.” I realized then she was talking about my father, something she rarely did and certainly not in front of my s-dad. This was so unexpected that I was taken aback. I’d been trained not to mention my father. And when my grandmother gave me photos of him and a letter from him, my mother said I had to give them back.

Unprepared, I casually said, “Oh, with your boyfriend?” I couldn’t bring myself to mention “my father” or “your husband.” And then we both giggled a bit nervously.

It was like my mother and I had a separate, secret relationship from the rest of the family. I treasure those moments with my mother but after I stumbled on the truth (that she dumped him instead of the other way around, among other things), she refuses to go there. Instead, she insists on talking about my s-dad as if he was my only dad and that is especially painful to me.

Fall California Wine Country Trip

Who: Rich and Kathy
Wine Country
October 2015
Return to Wine Country

We’ve been hoping for some time to return to Maui for our 20th wedding anniversary, which is next year. In fact, that’s one reason we wanted to move back west. So for this fall, we’ll probably take one of the smaller trips, most likely an onsite Disneyland trip or a driving trip to the Bay Area and Napa/Sonoma.

And now that one of our friends are honeymooning on Maui right now, we really need to start a countdown to the 20th Anniversary Maui trip instead of a Kungaloosh Countdown. Oh it’s still Tiki, especially if we hang out at Trader Sam’s at Disneyland this fall.

We’ll keep drafting some of the possibilities here.

Saturday: Las Vegas to Monterey (8 hours) at Monterey Plaza Hotel

Sunday: Santa Cruz (Dream Inn)

Monday: Moss Beach Distillery for lunch (stay over at Cypress Inn or drive on to Timber Cove Inn)

Tuesday: Timber Cove Inn (2 nights)

Wednesday: Wine tasting

Thursday: Lunch at Bottega or Coppola – stay nearby or drive on to Livermore for the night

Friday: Livermore (stay over or stop at Harris Ranch overnight?)

Saturday: Drive back to Vegas


Who: Rich and Kathy
Opryland Hotel
September 2015
Music City

Another possibility for a late summer/early fall trip is Nashville. We’ve been there three times and stayed at the Opryland Hotel twice. And now that I’m pursuing songwriting, we might want to visit Music City again. Right before our first trip there from San Francisco, Rich had bought a guitar in San Jose. We joked that we should move to Nashville – lol!

But maybe we’ll move to Nashville instead of Orlando. We’ve done Florida twice now and left twice – as much as we love Disney and the beach, it’s kinda hard to sustain a meaningful life there. We have fears of repeating our mistakes of moving and leaving again. And we just can’t afford to do that again. Literally.

Anyway, a trip to Nashville is always fun and now there’s even more to see and do now that I’m a member of NSAI.

Must See/Do (for starters)

  • Go to the Bluebird on a Monday night for songwriter night just to check it out
  • Get tickets for the Opry (a must on every trip)
  • Visit St. Ignatius in Franklin (Jonathan Jackson of Nashville TV show is a member there)
  • Check out neighborhoods
  • Check out the foodie scene
  • Check out other live music venues
  • Attend NSAI workshop on a Wednesday night if our schedule works out for this