I just spent a week in California with my youngest daughter, Mary. We had a good time and the weather was perfect; slightly warm in the daytime and cooler in the evening and night. It was nothing like the hot weather in Ohio.
I left later Tuesday morning because there was a change in flights out of Cleveland, and then when I got to the layover in Dallas, all who were heading to San Francisco had to wait for quite a few hours because of heavy fog or something over the San Fran cisco airport.so my daughter had to pace around the San Francisco airport for several hours or more waiting for my flight to come in. We stopped for a late supper on our way to her house because we were both hungry. We were both tired when we got to her house so we didn’t stay awake long talking before heading to bed.
The next day after breakfast we went to the Golden Gate gardens and to the Conservatory there which was one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever been to. After we paid to get in we wandered through room after room with giant trees, shrubs, plants and flowers from other countries. It also had a little stream going through it over rocks and a small waterfall, too. In the background were the sounds of tropical birds, which one of the workers said weren’t real, but piped in songs.
|I was checking these weird pods on the plants.|
After we left the Conservatory, we drove around the very large park and around a small lake in the park with a waterfall that went into the lake.
We stopped for a while to watch the sea gulls swimming on the lake before heading towards home where we rested for a while before heading to the downtown area where we visited a new pottery shop that had only recently opened.
Everything was lovely in there, but I didn’t have any more room to add anything to my suitcase especially since I was stopping at book stores to buy books.
After that we went to the new Italian restaurant that had recently opened. It was lovely in side with wide windows looking out on the bay. We weren’t too enthused with the meals but we still ate almost all of what we were served and the freshly made bread was good. The waiter was nice so of course we tipped him well.
When we got home Mary brushed her border collie, Kira, and then took her for a walk while I read a book I’d brought from home. When they returned from the walk, we went to her friend Heather’s house to leave Kira for Heather to care for. Heather doesn’t have a dog of her own anymore, but loves Kira as well as her daughter’s dog and other dogs she watches for friends. She takes no money for this, but Mary does give her gifts occasionally when she’s gone for a week to Ohio. Last year I gave Heather a copy of my first book in my Catherine Jewell Mysteries, THE BLUE ROSE which she really liked so this year I gave her the second in my series, DAYLILLIES FOR EMILY’S GARDEN which she was pleased to get.
The next morning, Thursday, after breakfast we left and headed to Point Reyes Station and on the way there we wandered through mountains and small towns where we stopped at some of them where at one we got coffee and pastries and others we just wandered through some of the small shops. When we got to the town of Reyes Point we kept going back and forth through the not many streets looking for the restaurant called Siron Canteen which Mary had read had good food. Finally we asked someone and they directed us down a drive towards an old lighthouse with the bottom part of it a restaurant. It was set back from the beach where lots of people were either swimming or sun bathing. We found one table available and through the windows could watch the ocean with swimmers as well as sun bathers and children running around. We got cheese burgers, French fries and strawberry milkshakes.
After we left Mary drove on winding mountain roads up and down and sitting in the passenger side I could see the valleys at least three or more miles below. I was nervous because although she’s a good driver there were very few railings anywhere to keep us from going over the edge.
Our biggest problem was when we got closer to home on a five lane highway with cars slowly moving bumper to bumper except for the odd person who had slowed down to look at his phone and text people with a huge gap ahead of him/her so lots of cars were swerving to one lane or another to avoid being stuck.
We didn’t get home until 4:00 and then rested a while before heading for the farmer’s market in downtown Benicia. There were lots of people selling fruit and vegetables and some selling jewelry or other things. They have farmer markets downtown in Benicia every Thursday evening when it’s summer and into fall, too, I assume. Mary bought apples, peaches and some other fruit, too, which she put in her car when we went for supper at a hotel. We ate out in an area between the next building with a wall at the back and a five piece band playing at the back. They were quite good and I enjoyed listening to them. We each ordered salads for dinner which were quite delicious with fresh baked bread, too.
On Friday we went to the Oakland Zoo where we wandered around below before we took a gondola up to the top of the zoo. It flew up on a wire and only about four people could ride in it unless there were small children, too. It was a long ways down. At the top we got out and got coffee and something to eat in the café at the top and then walked around where we saw grizzly bears and some other animals before going back down.
|It was a little scary.|
When we left there we went to the LC Berkley Botanical Gardens with massive cactus gardens with cactus from all around the world. And other gardens of flowers and trees from different places around the world all labeled so you knew where they were from. It also had streams, ponds, and paths to follow. They also had a section of gardens for each state. It was such a large park that we couldn’t see the whole thing, but we will be going back again.
Mary fixed a delicious dinner and then we went to pick up Kira at h3eather’s house. When we left we went to the end of Benicia’s main street which ends at the Bay. Mary wanted to see the sunset over the water. We saw a sailboat out on the bay and some large boat coming around the corner from another area of the bay.
As we were leaving beside a building that has information on Benicia for those coming for the first time, there was a young man playing the bagpipes. I had Mary stop so I could get out and listen to him play. A man who stopped, too, said the man playing the bagpipes lived in one of the expensive apartments nearby because he could hear him playing during the day sometimes. According to Mary he often played there.
On Saturday morning we went shopping in Valejo for different shoes for me because all I had were sneakers as well as a sweater because where we were going that evening it might be chilly.
That evening we were going to a mystery dinner at a hotel in San Francisco. The meals were $76.00 each. We were told to dress casual, but not come in clothes that weren’t appropriate. We got caught in traffic so we were a little late, but there were others who came even later.
|I'm sitting next to the crime scene chair.|
There were eight people at each table, and we all had to put a fake name on a label and peal the back off and put it on ourselves. I chose Polly Peacock for the new pea en I’d bought for my son’s lonely peacock. Mary chose Pipi Pepper. We said we were the P P sisters. We were to question the people at our table and wander around until meals were served to talk to others.
Before meals were served a tall, very think, lanky young man wandered around talking to others. We figured he was one of the cast of players. I was sitting next to a chair with crime scene strip on it. When the last couple came, Mary and I moved down so they had seats.
After we were all settled a woman came out to talk to everyone. She was the one in charge of the mystery part of the evening. We started eating our salads then when she left the room. She wasn’t long gone before two men came out. One had handcuffs on his belt and the other had a gun, I think. They were police detectives looking for a murderer they thought was there so they started calling different people forward and questioned them asking if they were a murderer, or what kind of job they had, etc. etc.
They had no sooner left when the tall, skinny boy came running in moaning and crying with one hand on his side and fell to the floor moaning and groaning. The two detectives came back in and checked him and then carried him out before they came back in we already had our main course and we were eating it when the two police detectives came back in and started in again questioning people. They questioned a tall man who rode up in the elevator behind us. He said his job was as a minister caring for poor children. They moved on to others, too There had been clues typed up and laminated passed around to each table and we’d read them and pass them on to the next table. The person who picked the murderer was to get $100.00 and other prizes, too.
Mary had noticed a woman called Goosy Lucy dressed in green get up with a table knife and walk out of the room before the tall man who said he was a minister came staggering back in with his hand at his side moaning a groaning, too saying he’d been stabbed. So we were given a paper to write on it who we thought the murderer was and why we thought that. Mary picked Goosy Lucy and she was right. However I guess a lot of people picked her and someone else won the money and prizes. She didn’t think it was fair and she should have gotten at least something like maybe a coffee mug.
|Mary and Kira by one of the many redwoods.|
On Sunday we picked up Kira at Heather’s house and headed out to a California State Redwood Park to hike. It was so lovely and there were so many people walking there and many of them with dogs, too.We brought along a lunch, too, and in a open building with a few tables we ate our lunch. Mary always brings along a doggie dish to put water in for Kira. We quit walking after about three miles. At least that’s what Mary’s thing-a-ma-bob said it was.
That evening we went to a Chinese restaurant in Benicia and had such a delicious meal there. The only problem each plate brought to us had enough food to feed three people so most of it was bagged up and Mary put it in her freezer.
We got up a 4:30 the next morning to head for the airport and home for me. I’d packed the evening before so I was ready to go. I got there in time to get a cup of coffee and a pastry for my breakfast before loading, and then it was off to Dallas again.
It was a while before my plane was to leave for Cleveland so I had enough time to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee. I’d already eaten the peanut butter and jelly sandwich Mary had sent with me as well as apple slices.
My granddaughter, Emilie, picked me up at the airport and took me home. My friend Laura was still there waiting for me to come home. It was good to be home and Maggie was so excited to see me it’s a wonder she didn’t knock me down. After I wrote a check for Laura she headed home. A little while later I headed for bed. The bed in Mary’s house was comfortable, but there’s nothing like being in your own bed in your home.
P.S. Mary and I both took way too many pictures to post here.
Have you taken a trip to California?
Have you ever seen the redwood trees there?