September 18, 2010

Last Few Days in the Bay Area

August 12-16, 2009

Driving back from Tahoe, we took one last drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Later, we had one last meal at our favorite Japanese restaurant, Yuki Sushi, with two of our best friends, Tim and Dave.

Just a few of the maps we used during our road trip (yes, we used an Auto GPS too!)
Fanciest tamago sushi I've ever seen
Strawberry-filled mochi, with azuki beans
Jennifer at Ike's Place on 16th (now closed)
After a fun-filled six years in the Bay Area, we headed back home to Maui, leaving behind good friends but taking great memories with us.

Lake Tahoe

August 10 -12 , 2009

We stayed at the cabin for one more night and even played one epic game of Mexican Train.

And took one last photo of the cabin before heading on out.

Jenn and myself headed up to Lake Tahoe, driving through a few CA counties we'd never been through, grabbing caches along the way.  One of our favorites was near Kirkwood, where we had only been once before, a few years back to ski.  No snow now, just great views of the lake.
Overlooking Caples Lake in Kirkwood, CA
We arrive in Tahoe and checked into Harvey's.  We gambled a bit, while waiting for my parents to arrive.  The next few days were spent gambling, driving around the Lake, caching, and of course, more gambling.  We had our best luck at the smaller northern casinos, especially the Tahoe Biltmore.

Near Elev. 6555 geocache
Jennifer sure is strong!
Emerald Bay
Dusk at Tahoe
 After a few fun days around Tahoe, we headed back to the Bay Area for one last hurrah, before moving back to Hawaii.

My Brother's Big Day!

August 8, 2009

We woke up to a glorious sunny day, perfect for an outdoor wedding.  But before heading into Yosemite Valley, my brother had given us a task.  He needed large branches to form tripods from which the wedding flowers would be placed on.  Luckily this cabin's surrounded by woods, so we tromped through the wilderness, looking for the branches.  It took us a while, but we finally found some good ones.  We used a rotary saw (which my brother had provided the night before) to cut the branches to good lengths for the tripod.
Dad hacking away at the wooden posts
After making sure we had everything for the wedding, since it'd be an hour round trip if we had forgotten anything, we headed back into Yosemite.  Our destination was the Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite's top hotel.  We couldn't check in yet although plans were made ahead to let us check in early so we could get ready for the wedding.  The front desk said we could check in soon so while waiting we had a nice lunch at the hotel restaurant.  We went back to check in and they said we still couldn't check in, even though the wedding hour was getting close.  My brother was able to check into his room, but we still needed two more rooms to get ready.  Eventually, they released the extra two rooms and we were able to get ready with plenty of time before the start of the wedding.

The wedding took place on the outside lawn of the Ahwahnee, with the sun shining and a cool breeze keeping things comfortable.  I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.
Everyone mingling before the ceremony

The tripods we helped build
Jeff and my parents waiting for the ceremony to start
Waiting for the bride
Jayne reciting her vows
Mr. and Mrs. Hayashida
Name cards
Origami crane tree
Cruising before the reception
Jenn and myself before the reception
Mom making a toast
Wedding sign
The buffet - yum!
Best man's speech

The beautiful wedding cake

First dance
The Hayashidas
After a nice ceremony and fun reception, we headed back to our room to recuperate from the busy day and to rest up for brunch.
Brunch at the Ahwanee Dining Room

August 19, 2010

Enjoying Yosemite Part 2

August 7, 2009

We got up bright and early (not really) and headed back to Yosemite to check out the Visitor Center and meet up with Jeff, Jayne, and her family.  We spent a bit of time at the Visitor's Center, checking out the displays and watching a nice movie about the park.  We also spent a bit of time at the Ansel Adams Gallery, wishing we had enough money to buy an original AA print!

My dad taking a photo of Ansel Adams Gallery
After spending a few hours at the Visitor's Center area, we met up with my bro, his bride-to-be and her family at a nearby picnic area.  While waiting for them, we walked down to the river and saw the backside of El Capitan looming above.
There's El Capitan above us!
We ended the night with a yummy Korean BBQ meal cooked right on the grill.  Jayne's family also prepared homemade Korean sides to go along with the meat.  Yum!
Kalbi ribs on the grill!
Tomorrow, the big day!

August 6, 2010

Enjoying Yosemite

August 6, 2009

A year ago today, we were at one of our most favorite places in the world, Yosemite National Park.  We had arrived in the area the day before, staying at our parents' friends' cabin outside of the NP, about an hour drive to the entrance gate.
Welcome To Yosemite!

We headed straight to the Wawona Hotel for a nice lunch with my parents and Great Uncle Ralph, who made the trip with us from San Francisco.
After our delicious lunch
We then headed to Mariposa Grove to check out the Giant Sequoias.  Jenn and myself took a stroll along the trail, while my parents and Uncle Ralph took the guided tram tour.
Giant Sequoia
While they were taking the tour, Jenn and myself, drove over to Glacier Point, an overlook of the valley below and Half Dome across the way.  What an awesome view!
Jenn at Glacier Point (doesn't this look Photoshopped!)
Dave and Jenn at Glacier Point with Half Dome in the background
I told Jenn she should go out on that ledge and I'll take a pic.  She politely declined.
The Ahwanee Hotel down below, site of my brother's wedding in a couple of days

After taking in the awesome views, we headed back towards the cabin, stopping at the Iron Door Saloon in Groveland for some grub.  While the service was bad (it took forever to order), the food was decent, the decor was electic, and the karaoke singing was amusing.  After dinner, back to the cabin to get a good night's sleep before the big day.

August 2, 2010

S.F. Aloha Festival

August 2, 2009

For the past couple of years, we made the drive up to the Presidio to attend the San Francisco Aloha Festival. Parking costs a few bucks but admission is free. There are lots of vendors selling Hawaiian goods and clothing, and entertainment like hula. But we go mostly for the food! The Hawaiian plate with kalua pig and poi! And a spam musubi too!

Watching the hula dancers at the Aloha Festival

Jenn and our friend Kris after she had finished dancing with her halau

After filling ourselves on the ono Hawaiian food, we drove over towards Ocean Beach and stopped at Sutro Baths, since we had never stopped before. We walked around the baths and took in the views towards Point Bonita Lighthouse and the Marin Headlands.

August 1, 2010

I'm Back!

After not posting anything to this blog for a year, I'm back! I've been reading my old road trip blog, reading one post a day on the day of the original post. It brought back great memories of our road trip and has me longing for another road trip one of these days.

Between the end of our road trip and moving back to HI, we had a few more great experiences and I'll be posting those in the next few days.

July 31, 2009 - Riding the Cable Cars

Believe it or not, we had never ridden the SF Cable Cars during our six years of living in the Bay Area. So off we went to the end of the line near Union Square. We bought our tickets and waited in the long line to catch the cable car.

Jenn waiting for the Cable Car

It took a while, but we finally got on and made our way slowly up the hill towards the end near Ghirardelli Square. We didn't get a spot on the outside so we crowded in the inside. It actually worked out though, it was a little chilly that day!

Dave and the Cable Car

We stopped at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop, just to get our free piece of chocolate.

Jenn at Ghirardelli Square

We then walked around the Square a bit, then back to wait for the Cable Car to take us back. When we got to the waiting area, there was a sign that said a one hour wait from this point. The line wasn't moving at all and there weren't many cable cars coming to pick people up. We noticed that the ones that were coming, weren't full when they left. We thought, hmmm, we should walk up the street to the first stop and jump on the cable care from there. And so we did, and it worked out great. Only waited a few minutes, instead of an hour, to catch the first cable car. So that's the secret, don't wait in line, just go to the first stop and catch it from there. It'll save you lots of time!

Jenn at the End of the Line

We also took a pic of the front of our car, with all of the bugs we picked up along the way from the second half of our road trip. It took some elbow grease to get every last bit of bug off of the hood!