Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Bird's Eye View

After our failed attempt at seeing a great white shark, Logan and I were determined to cross something off my bucket list.  We left the hustle and bustle of San Francisco and slowed down for an afternoon in wine country.  The drive out of the city is amazing.  The views of the rolling hills approaching make you feel like you are thousands of miles away rather then just an hour outside of the city.

View from the car driving into wine country.
First stop was not for a glass of vino like you might expect, but rather some of the best fried chicken I've ever had.  There is a little spot called Ad Hoc, owned by the same chef of world famous French Laundry.  Instead of putting our name on a 3 year waiting list and spending $500 on a meal that would be memorable but also destructive to our bank account, we went the lunch route.  Ad Hoc does weeknight dinners and a Sunday Brunch indoors, but outback at 'addendum' you can get an amazing gourmet lunch box.  It was a great 'picnic style' menu which was enjoyed in their vegetable garden.  The chicken was worth every calorie consumed.  I haven't had fried chicken that good since my great-grandmother's, who made hers in the same traditional southern fashion soaking in buttermilk overnight.  If you are ever in the area I highly recommend making the stop.

With our bellies full of chicken and sweet tea, we continued our way to get a taste of some great California wine.  We were greeted for a private wine tour in Sonoma County.  (I love the perks of working in hospitality.)  We came at a great time of year because all the grapes on the vines were bursting with color and flavor, waiting to be picked during harvest, which starts this week.  Logan and I relaxed that evening with a couple of great glasses of wine and some much needed R&R.

The next morning we woke up nice and early ready for the day's adventure.  Today I would be crossing off 'ziplining' from my bucket list.  Not just zip lining, but zip lining through one of California's most beautiful places, the redwood forest.  We had a relaxing morning and took our time getting ready.  We then heading down to Bodega Bay after getting a tip from a local to go to 'the boathouse' for the best fish and chips we would ever taste.  Every morning the fishermen would go out to get their catch of the day and when they ran out, they closed up shop.  It doesn't get more fresh than that.  

The locals were right - this was darn good fish!

We took the coastal drive to see some northern California beaches and stopped in a cute little beach town.  When I say little, I mean one convenience store, a bar and a surf wear shop.  We stopped because Logan saw a huge sign that said casino.  Casino in their eyes is one video poker machine in the back of a dive bar.  However, we still go out and looked around so I could take a few photos.  There was something a little eerie about this place and I wanted to have a few shots for when I described it.  Then we found out why it felt so eerie.  This was the spot Alfred Hitchcock filmed the movie 'The Birds.'  I put my photos together... and now it makes a little more sense.

Killer Seagulls ready to make me their pray.
We left the twilight zone and headed to the woods.  I am ready for more adventure in my day!  We got a quick lesson on how to zip line properly and put on our very fashionable gear.  I felt bad for the guys in the group since the leg straps had to be very snug and gave them a nice codpiece for the day.  After we were all pro-zip liners from our practice we made our way to the 'bunny slope.'  The first zip line was short to ease our way into the day.  We would have a total of 5.  Logan was brave and went first out of our group.  He made it look so easy, so I went next.  

What a rush!  We cruised over the treetops with an amazing view hundreds of feet below.  The feeling is a mixture of exhilaration from cruising at high speeds at a pretty high point in the woods, while also peaceful and serene.  It was quite and the views were breath taking.  The longest zip line track we did was 800 feet.  It lasted about 30 seconds, but looking down from a height of 200 ft. was unreal.

The tour took a total of 2.5 hours and I got to experience the redwoods in an amazing way.  These trees are hundreds of years old and the tallest in the country.  We were able to look down on them from a bird's eye view - how many people can say that?  Our tour guides were incredible. They were so knowledgeable on all the species of trees we were looking at, constantly kept the afternoon's mood lighthearted with jokes and puns, while always giving us confidence that we were safe.  We had an amazing experience and I would definitely go back again.  I have to give a special thank you to Logan for making this happen.  He was monumental in helping me cross another item off my bucket list, but was overcoming one of his own fears of heights.  This might not be his first choice of how to spend the day, but he made sure that we both had as much fun as possible!  One more reason why I love him.  (Sorry for the moment of sappy, but it had to be said.)

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