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California Dreamin'-A 14 Day Odyssey to San Fran,Yosemite & DL! 8/2013 COMPLETE!1/9!!

Discussion in 'DVC Trip Reports' started by podsnel, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. anewmac

    anewmac Ive got nothing planned whats an OCVP to do?

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    that is AWESOME congrats..... I need to get my rearS (ya plural LOL) in gear and get back to the gym... maybe Monday LMAO
     
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  3. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    That is (almost) exactly right! I was in St John in the USVI for a week with Pods and 5 other couples- our friends Janie & Kevin were renewing their vows after 25 years of wedded bliss. They rented a HUGE villa and invited us to come- it was wonderful! We are so lucky to have such generous friends! Since coming back I have been busy playing with the photos I took at the wedding, and working on my travel Agent endeavor- not to mention doing the usual volunteer stuff....well, anyway, I promise I haven't deserted you, I just have had too much other stuff happening this month!!

    I'll be back in a few with an update and replies.....:)

    Thanks for being so patient and hangin' in!
     
  4. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    After that AMAZING lunch was over, I called Holgar at Silver Lion Tours- http://www.silverlionservice.com/. I had read VERY VERY good reviews on both TA and Yelp, and had booked him probably 6 months prior to our tour. He was very flexible on the time, and very flexible on what we would do. I had mentioned ahead of time what I had planned on our other days in SF so as not to overlap and see things twice. The BIG reason I wanted to book this tour was I wanted to cover alot of ground in a 4 hour time slot- and Holgar turned out to be the perfect choice! So....based on our lunch location, Holgar suggested we walk down to the Ferry Building where he would soon pick us up to start our afternoon. On our walk......

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    We took a seat and waited-

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    And once Holgar had made it through the traffic, we were on our way! We started by taking a trip over the nearly-completed Bay Bridge, for a quick visit to Treasure Island-

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    Some nice views from over there of the city-

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    Hi Honey!

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    You can see from this quick vid just how CRAZY windy it was there-
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    Back over the bridge, this time on the upper level (East bound you go lower level, Westbound you go upper).

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    Next, we went in search of some SF hills, and Lombard Street. This was one of many times hiring Holgar paid off- we were in a minivan, so had access to all areas of the city (larger tours are prohibited from driving in many areas of SF). And not only that, but Holgar made the MOST of EVERY hill in that car- he whipped that minivan around like it was a mini-cooper!

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    Looking down to Alcatraz and the Wharf-

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    Like riding a rollercoaster- complete with San Fran themed music for the full effect, lol!

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    click to play (Lombard St)
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    He did time this really well- if you are doing it on your own, I suggest doing what he did, which is make a right onto the top of the curvy part of Lombard. After we had driven down, he dropped us at the top so we could walk down, then he met us at the bottom.

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    Next up was the Cable Car Museum, which is a free attraction in the city. This is where all the cables meet to pull all the cable cars up hill in SF- when the trolleys go downhill, as Holgar explained, it is all gravity and brakes.

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    OOPS! I need to upload pics! I thought I had the whole day on there already- ok, back in a few....

     
  5. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Ok! The cable car museum-

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    On our way out, I asked the boys to sit in this car for a pic. As I was getting ready to take their photo, this lady sat down with them. Oooo-kaaaaayyyyyy......

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    Our next stop was Chinatown, but on the way, please meet the Tour Monkey-

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    Once again, we were dropped off to explore, and were met up with at the end of the area.

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    What the heck is THIS thing?

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    There is alot to see in Chinatown, being that it is the largest chinatown in the US, but more in-depth activity here will have to wait for another trip- my boys just aren't into it (FYI- there are walking tours which are also foodie tours, and I think I would love to do that with Pods sometime).

    Our next stop- Coit Tower. Thank GOD we were dropped off on the top, NOT at the bottom, while the Tour Monkey went looking for a place to park-

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    Yes, that's a statue of Christopher Columbus. Why? Just 'cuz it's San Francisco and why not. The Coit Tower was built in 1933 at the top of Telegraph Hill with money bequethed to the city by Lillie Coit, a wealthy socialite who had a lifelong affinity for the fire dept. The tower is often said to resemble a firehose, it is also often said it does not. Why? Because this is San Francisco, and that's how it goes, we were told. :rotfl:

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    The GG Bridge in the distance-

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    Inside are murals which were commissioned by the New Deal.

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    After we decided NOT to wait in line for an hour to go to the top, we went back outside to enjoy the gorgeous views from terra firma instead.

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    Cont'd next post-
     
  6. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Holgar took our photos...

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    And we scoped out the tower a bit more-

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    Then it was time to hit the steps- Holgar told us where to walk, and said he'd be waiting for us at the bottom (with snacks and drinks, which he had been offering us all day). These were the Filbert Steps, and WOW were we glad we were only walking down them and not also walking up! Along the steps are many homes, some of which are only accessible by these steps, as well as beautiful gardens, which are maintained by the people who live in these homes. It was VERY cool!

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    Ok, I know these aren't steps, but this is just the beginning....

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    In-between the buildings of course there is a gorgeous view....

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    All of the homes were architecturally interesting-

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    So cool, right? A couple of times I passed people who were coming up with groceries- I did NOT admire ANY of them no matter how cool this place was!

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    Yea, that's right- it's a street sign in a garden on some steps. In case your lost. Or walking alone because you take too many pictures and your family is MEN who DON'T and have left you in the dust.

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    And then...more steps!

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    Can you believe this stuff is in the middle of a CITY????

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    I have read there are feral parrots here, too. San Francisco is a trip, man!

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    LOVE this tree-

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    Cont'd next post-


     
  7. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    And then...the end-

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    I was NOT excited to go down this last part. Something about a fear of heights and sheer terror of not being able to hold the railings nearly tight enough.

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    I guess the railings just were so simple and easy to see through- I don't know. All I can say is that it freaked me out a little as I took one. step. at. a. time. I also did not go all the way i wanted to on the Mist trail in Yosemite because I was still shaking from this descent- and I REALLY regret that particular vacation choice.

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    It just gave me vertigo, that last part!!

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    I would never have thought to walk those steps had it not been for our guide- it was really, really nice to have gone there without any research for a change!! Hiring Silver lion was a great idea for us. Anyway, at the bottom of the steps, or thereabouts, was-

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    Next, we were back to tour some residential areas, specifically Pacific Heights, including a drive by Larry Ellison's house, and his daughter Nicola's house- which is home to a robot statue named Goliath (you can look up that one yourselves, I don't want to get in any trouble here on the DIS!). First, a Victorian-

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    Larry Ellison's?

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    We stopped at these steps in the Presidio- which Holgar said was how wealthy people use a stairmaster, lol.

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    Next we would be exploring Haight Ashbury, passing through the OMG-I-Love-this-beautiful-park-but-it's-freakin-cold-here Golden Gate Park-

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    We were dropped off to explore again. This particular shop was interesting EVEN to Tyler-

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    In case you were stumped on what to get that special someone for the holidays....

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    It's always 5:00 somewhere...but in Haight Ashbury, it's always 4:20 here. Seriously. This clock is permanently set to 4:20. And in case you aren't aware of the significance of that particular time of day, I direct you to Google one more time.....(don't feel bad- I didn't know, either.)

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    Pretty sure this is not authorized by Disney execs-

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    Cont'd next post

     
  8. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    We were just about to the end of our 4 hour tour with the monkey, but we still had time for one last iconic stop before he dropped us in North Beach for dinner. We had to go see those Painted Ladies....

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    Silver Lion (Holgar) charges $75 an hour with a 4 hour minimum. He offers tours all over the SF Bay area, as well as out to wine country and down to Monterey. He is willing to do whatever you want, and is VERY knowledgeable- over and over you see reviews saying "We could never have covered so much ground on our own" and I completely believe that to be true! I would STILL be trying to figure out where those Filbert steps were, I am sure, and never could I have walked them and seen HA or anything else the same day- what a nice man offering a great service.

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    And yes- I know you want to know- of COURSE I kissed the monkey goodbye. :rotfl:

    Up next- dinner in North Beach at Sotto Mare.....

     
  9. JKSWonder

    JKSWonder Twelve plus trips and counting

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    Beautiful pics!

    And now I have the theme song to "Full House" running on loop in my head.

    Edited to add: Just looked up the 4:20 thing. :hippie:
     
  10. ProudMommyof2

    ProudMommyof2 DIS Veteran

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    Awesome update and yes I googled why it is always 4:20 :lmao::thumbsup2
     
  11. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    I do hope you get out there- although I do understand how far away it must seem! Maybe on your inevitable way to Hawaii one day! :idea:

    Hello there! :lovestruc THANK YOU for making me go to yank Sing! I was on the fence about it (reviews can be a bad thing sometimes....) but when you said it was good, I was SOLD!!

    And thanks for the compliment on their eating- Tyler really DOES eat everything- Timmy is a little more particular, but for some reason he always surprises us on vacation. :thumbsup2


    YUMMM...did you go? Or did Rum win?????:rotfl:

    Lucky you! I need to find that around here-

    Aside from being so crowded (which I fully agree- it's a zoo) is there somewhere you reccommend?

    Well, I have left lots more for you to see today! :)
     
  12. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    Tour Monkey did good! Maybe I'm weird but I want one of those shrunken heads. :) And I didn't need to Google 420....I've lived in Colorado too long not to know that one now! ;)

    Jill in CO
     
  13. englishrose47

    englishrose47 DIS Veteran

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    I would never have managed those stairs !!!:scared:That store sure did have a VARIETY of choices ;):rotfl2: So Jill why is it 4 :20p , without googling !!!:confused3;):rotfl2:
     
  14. Beth D

    Beth D DIS Veteran

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    LOL! I know about 4:20! (but it's because i went to Ohio University with all the other hippies) Nearby there is an intersection of routes 4 & 20, and a local radio station has a daily song at 4:20 that is rather psychedelic.

    (Englishrose - just look at the goofy sigh, that says it all!)

    I wouldn't have done those steps either Ellen! I agree, it's something about the openness of them. Steps that have stuff below them are fine, but open air below, uh uh, no way!

    Your pics are all so great!

    Are you going to post any from St. Thomas - like a mini TR within a TR?
     
  15. Wicket's Mom

    Wicket's Mom DIS Veteran

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    I've got to go to San Fran since seeing your pictures, love the painted ladies. The views were beautiful.

    I completely understand your trepidation about the stairs. I have a fear of heights also, especially since we went to the Grand Canyon. People there were doing some crazy crap, it totally freaked me out!

    Now if I give up Disney for a year I could visit Cali next year!
     
  16. chattadisser

    chattadisser Mouseketeer

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    Add me to the list that now has the Full House theme song in my head!

    How crazy are those steps? Is there no other way for the people that live there to get to their houses? The cool part is you would be in shape if you lived there!

    I had to google the 4:20 reference as well.

    Christine
     
  17. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Thanks! That is a tough choice- both are incredible- but Hawaii is my favorite. Especially Kauai. If someone handed me a ticket right now and I could only stay a day with all that flying??? I would take it in a heartbeat. I love it THAT MUCH. Good luck deciding!

    LOL- yea, those pics are killing ME, too! :rotfl: It was fabulous and tasty, that's for sure-

    72 LBS????? You are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What have you been doing to lose the weight?

    And yea- sorry- but I was away for a week in STJ, followed by the craziness that ensues when I return from vacay. But here I am again, to get you psyched for YOUR fabulous trip! :goodvibes


    St JOHN..... and we went to the Baths this time on our boat day (without Thomas, because we couldn't all fit in his boat. But we did see him while we were at the baths, so that was good!)- VERY VERY cool!!!:thumbsup2
     
  18. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Everywhere you look......:rolleyes1 We used to watch that show every week when it was really on- Pods LOVED those Olsen twins- he would always say he hoped we would have a little girl just like her...Oh well on that one! :rotfl2:

    Thanks, and it IS really funny, isn't it? :rotfl:

    LOL- of COURSE you do. :rotfl::rotfl: Tyler knew, too. And if you want a shrunken head, you would LOVE that store- it's been on some cable show, Holgar said- CRAZEEEE stuff in that place!

    Type in 4:20 and then you'll know.....:rotfl:

    Thanks! And yea- I'll post some- but no TR- too busy trying to do this and finish DISmoms eventually. We are going on the Fantasy for NYE- gotta think that is pretty TR worthy, too- ya know? :goodvibes

    Yea- see, this is where the problems begin. But if you justify it with you will be in DisneyLAND which is INCREDIBLE, you can do it!:thumbsup2

    We have all learned so MUCH today, haven't we? 4:20 and everything! :rotfl2:
     
  19. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Wow! Sounds amazing! I'd love to see St. John someday.

    Very nice. I've come to appreciate this view from watching Mythbusters.:rotfl2:

    :scared1:

    Highway engineers. :sad2::rotfl:

    Looks like a very cool museum!

    :lmao::rotfl2::rotfl:

    Watch out! It's a mad photo-bomber!

    :scratchin Next you'll have to explain why Christopher Columbus would have a fire hose.

    Yeah, I can see where going downhill would be more appealing.

    :rotfl2:

    The beauty of the digital age is that you can take lots of pictures without worrying about using up film or development costs. The downside is that you can freely take 20 pictures of the same flower. :rolleyes1:rotfl:

    :scared1: Awwk! Polly wants to eat your brains! Awwwk!

    Have Cynthia take you on the Koko Head hike sometime.


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    Dude...Know what would be cool? A statue of a fire hose, man...

    :lmao::rotfl::rotfl2:

    Looks like you got to see quite a bit! SF looks like a beautiful city.
     
  20. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    What a great tour. I never woukd have thought of hiring a guide, but I can see where his knowledge of the town helped you to squeeze in a lot in a very shirt time.

    I woukd have freaked out going down those stairs, not sure I could do it.

    We have a flock of feral parrots here in Long Beach too they are really noisy. It's always 4:20 in HA, but April 20 is like a National Holiday there! :rotfl:
     
  21. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    All caught up! Your Dim Sum looks yummy!!!!!!!!!!!! But oh those little plates, bowls and steamers can add up fast.

    What a wonderful wonderful tour! I am SO doing those steps on our next trip. Although honestly, I might like it better in reverse...going up!
     

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