August 21, 2016

SFO: Vacation from the Vacation

We barely had time to unpack the car before leaving for a weekend getaway to the San Francisco Bay area. It was K's birthday and leaving the desert in August is always a good idea, even if you're still tired from a 16 day roadtrip!!

We traded in some timeshare points for a luxury setup at the Fairmont in downtown San Francisco. However, before checking in we pointed our rental car north towards Santa Rosa and a stop at Russian River Brewing. It was time to restock the beer fridge with some Pliny the Elder. I figured we would have an easier time getting inside on a Friday afternoon instead of Saturday.
I don't think there's ever a slow time here.
We pulled up to find a parking spot right next to the front door and 'only' 45 minutes later were seated at a table. That's quick for this high demand brewery. I was happy to see a re-designed cycling jersey hanging on the wall, now in black instead of light blue. Sold. I stocked up on bottles of Pliny and we made our way down to Oakland to have dinner with my nephew. It was well into the evening by the time we checked in at the Fairmont.
The goods.
Cycling jersey is top left.
The flagship brew & a sour beer to go.
Our room at the Fairmont had a nice view into the bay. Love this place, but it's a tad pricey off the rack. Timeshare exchanges only for us.
The Coit Tower lit up.
The next day was all about wine country. The past few times we visited we spent our time in the Sonoma Valley, this time we wanted to check out Napa. We didn't really have a plan other than stopping to pickup an area map of the vineyards.
A quick stop at Vista Point on our way out of town.
Learn the Cha Cha Cha on the sidewalk in Napa.
Parking was a little tight due to the car show going on downtown.
This guy even had a prop dog peeing on the tire!!
Not quite a winding country road. 
Looking good!!
Champagne at Mumm to get things started.
We had forgotten that one of our favorite wineries was in the Napa Valley, had to make a visit to Markham.
The Beringer property was worth the stop, the Rhine House here.
I think K wants a Tesla now...
The Fairmont lobby.
K making a grand entrance.
We had a wonderful dinner a few blocks away. I don't think we've ever had a bad meal in SFO.
We spent some time perusing the hallways, soaking up the history of the place.
Plenty of movies were shot on location.
We had a 1/2 day on Sunday before making our way back to the desert. We hung around the hotel for a bit after another huge breakfast, then went for a stroll down by the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a nice relaxing way to finish off the weekend.
Round one.
The dining hall.
Alcatraz as seen from our room.
We found out Tony Bennett was at the hotel the same weekend for a statue unveiling.
Tony Bennett's 1-day old statue.
The Fairmont from the rooftop garden.
The iconic Transamerica Pyramid downtown.
The rooftop garden was a nice place to relax after breakfast.
Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Baker.
We made our way back to the airport to put a wrap on the weekend. It's always nice to escape the desert in August and this year we skipped most of it!!
A haboob sweeps across the valley floor on our final approach into PHX.

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