Pacific Catch; the perfect place to get your local stripes in San Francisco…

Right chaps, today’s post starts with me getting something off my chest, out in the open and laid bare for you all to see.

I simply can’t hold it back anymore…I have an admission to make.

I love San Francisco.

I do. I really really do. I heart it in all it’s blue-skied, green-grassed, natural-and-man-made glory.

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When we put it on the roadtrip list, I thought I’d like it. I thought ‘hey yeah, San Fran looks pretty cool and sunshiney and pretty…woo hoo!’

Psssh, what did I know? Those words are pale and insipid compared to the compliments this city should be getting.

It’s gorgeous. It’s clean. It’s friendly. It’s full of happy, healthy, glowing, outdoorsy people but it also has libraries, museums & galleries for those who prefer to work up a sweat by the turning of pages or the viewing of world class exhibits.

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You can eat pretty much anything you crave from a global menu of deliciousness; you can blend in with the locals at any number of coffee houses & cafes; you can string your camera round your neck and proudly proclaim your tourist proclivities at the wharf, the parks and the piers. You can get your photo taken with Yoda for heaven’s sake. Oh SF, you slay me.

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A Mission with Clint Eastwood and an unforgettable evening…

Sometimes an evening is so perfect you wish it would never end.

If any destination in the rest of the planet, the galaxy, the universe was offered to you right then, there isn’t anywhere you would rather be and you fear that if you leave that place and that moment in which you have fallen in love with everything about it, you may never be able to recreate whatever it is that has cast you under this spell.

Such is the magic of the Mission Ranch, Carmel.

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Finding a gem in the rubble of an earthquake…

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Napa Valley is renowned for being one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s also famous for being one of the most well-known wine producing regions in the world, delivering 5% of California’s wine each year. Some of the most acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignons on the planet come from Napa and 3m+ visitors each year come to the region to drink, eat & enjoy some of the very best local produce.

After a solid 12 hour drive from Portland, stopping only for a little lunchtime magic at the culinary delight that is Denny’s – judge me not, there’s a hell of a lot of nothing between Oregon and Napa – J and I arrived in Napa around 9.30pm on the Saturday night, ready to hit the hay and wake in the morning, refreshed & ready for our adorable vintage wine trolley tour.

Hmm…

Y’know what else Napa can lay claim to? Earthquakes. Ask me how I know…

I’ve only ever been in one earthquake before; a little 2008 5.4 in Chino Hills that I experienced mid-morning in a classroom with many other people. There was a little rumble, the walls vibrated, everyone stopped…then everything carried on as normal. Scary? Not really. Exciting? Little bit.

Now imagine going to sleep and waking up at 3.20am in the pitch black, in a place you’ve never been before and barely looked at when you arrived 6 hours earlier. Imagine being woken up because the walls are shaking the headboard which is shaking you. Imagine feeling the bed move and lift you up. Imagine feeling like the cabin you are in is about to lift off the ground and take you with it. Imagine not knowing how long this is going to last or whether it will stop and start again or if something will fall on you. Imagine holding onto the person beside you and literally clinging to them because you have no idea what to do or where to go. Scary? Yes. Exciting? Err, no actually. Not at all.

Not quite the welcome to Napa we were expecting and after getting up, seeing drawers slung out of their chests and a fridge several feet away from where it started, learning that there was no electricity or wifi, going back to bed, undergoing two aftershocks and then waking in the morning to learn that the quake had been a 6.1 and the largest in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1989 and that so many vineyards had been damaged that the trolley tour was cancelled, we were faced with an unusual prospect…

…what exactly do you do for 24 hours in Napa when there’s no power and no wine?

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