saint francis' land of the oaks

big bikes for big trips! ryan and i are in california right now, visiting our BFFs john & mary, who currently live in the mostest adorable apartment in oakland.

we arrived late on thursday night after a 10+ hour day of traveling (don't even want to discuss the food eaten along the way, including a hilariously awful lunch in the detroit airport at a hockey themed bar called slapshotz). mary picked us up in their trusty old volvo, and spirited us to their house, where john was waiting with a hearty seitan stew and much needed beers. we enjoyed each others' company for a few hours and then finally got horizontal and passed out.

on friday, we woke around 10, and went out to coffee at a great little place on telegraph called mama buzz. mary was at work, so it was just john, ry, and me. so some strong-ass coffee and bagels with hummus enjoyed in an outdoor courtyard got things started off right. i forgot how much outdoor eating and drinking space there is in california, but when i'm here, i really appreciate it. also, the bay area weather, though reportedly colder than usual, has been sunny, clear and damn near perfect (especially compared with the dreary, chilly philadelphia we left on thursday morning).

we cruised down telegraph toward the BART station, feelin fine.

trained into san francisco, and kicked it around the mission. what better is there to do in SF on a gorgeous friday afternoon? 22 oz bottles of craft beer purchased in a creaky deli, on our way to dolores park. i rocked a boonts, ry got a lagunitas IPA, and john got a racer 5. commence the afternoon tipsies.

don't you love dolores park? i really do, and i come here every time i'm in san francisco. dogs, hippes, super cute dudes and ladies, everyone's drinking and probably smoking, too. paradise.

after the creeping afternoon shadows chased us out by cold, we wandered back into the neighborhood and briefly popped into a thrift store (i bought a fantastic gary numan & the tubeway army record). then, we stumbled across this alley full of beautiful murals:

our bagels long forgotten, we stopped for burritos at taqueria cancun, and spent the next few hours visiting a series of great bars, happily killing time, waiting for mary to finish with her 6 o'clock soccer game. first to zeitgeist, then to the elbo room, then to shotwells where we finally met up with mary and bert.

we were trying to get into a new, much lauded artisinal pizza place called flour + water, but it was taking forever. it seemed like the restaurant's priority was seating yuppies on spendy dates, and not our motley 5-top, so we decided to skip it. while we were waiting for another 1/2 hour to get seated at weird fish, we went to a raging dive bar - the uptown - to jam PBRs, all the day's booze finally sinking in...

back at weird fish, packed in at a cozy table, we ordered much needed plates of wonderfully fried vegan eats: seitan "fish" and chips, a pitcher of anchor steam...

we sat there for awhile, chatting non-stop with our beloved friends, loving every second of this california trip. trying not to succumb to the ever-present thoughts of "why don't we live here?" and just enjoying the present moment, so far far away from home...

more soon!!


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