Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's official, we are now residents of the United States of America once more. The past five months have been spent mourning our departure from the adventure-filled days of living in Southeast Asia, moving into our new house, and then re-discovering how cool it can be to live in America. This past Thanksgiving weekend we were taken on a one-day tour of the Northern part of the San Francisco Bay area with my favorite father-in-law and arguably world's best tour guide, Jennifer's dad. Jennifer's mom and grandma also joined us.

But first, a snapshot of the Thanksgiving turkey. Note the deep golden tone of the evenly-browned skin and the fresh ground parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Mmmmm! This year I followed the recipe I got from my brother David on how to cook a turkey. It was slow roasted for 12 hours - but dang, there is no other way to cook a turkey! It was the best turkey I've had!

Now back to the tour. When Jennifer was a few months old her parents moved to San Francisco, so they know the area very well! We started our adventure bright and early at the Muir Woods National Monument. The Muir Woods are home to giant redwood and sequoia trees. The forests here are millions of years old and are highly adapted to the cool, moist climate along the northern Pacific coast.

Here is Grandma showing Craig all of the rings on this giant redwood. This particular tree was born aroun 909 A.D. To put that into perspective, that's a few hundred years before Angkor Wat was built. It's an old tree!

These giant trees grow in small family groups. When there is a forest fire, the redwoods drop all of their needles and pinecones. The fire gets the soil ready for the seeds to germinate, and then new trees spring up around the burned remains of the old one. If you look closely in the background, you can see the charred stump of the original redwood in the center of this family grove.

After a few hours strolling around the Muir Woods we made our way down highway 101 to Sausalito for lunch at The Spinnaker overlooking the San Francisco Bay. This was Jennifer's parent's favorite restaurant while they lived in San Francisco. You can see the downtown skyline, Alcatraz, and sailboats coming and going from the dining room.

Next, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge and toured The Palladio. The Palladio was home to an old U.S. Army base that has since been converted into the Disney Family Museum.

Under the bridge is an old U.S. Army battery, built in the 1860's, where huge cannons like these guarded the bay. These cannons could sink any ship that dared to come within two miles of the narrow entrance to San Francisco Bay.

After that we had the grand tour of Fisherman's Warf and ate clam chowder in sourdough breadbowls. Two hours later, we were back at our house in Folsom and eating leftover apple pie that Jennifer made. With so many things to do so close by, we're going to love Folsom!

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