In Tom’s last post, he wrote about our upcoming move to California, hence the series “Wish They All Could Be California Bichons.” This will be the first of many updates from California. Whether you are a Bichon lover looking for dog friendly activities in the Bay Area, or friends and family who are just curious about our adventures on the West Coast, we hope you enjoy this series.
Day 1 – We arrived at San Francisco International on Sunday, sans Bichons. For the first few weeks while we are settling into our new digs in the East Bay, Jack will be vacationing with his grandparents in Hanover, Maryland and Max will also be staying in his East Coast home. In October, we will fly back to get Jack who plans to sniff out the new range to make sure it is safe for his uncle Max to visit next year. (If anyone has recommendations for pet friendly airlines, please leave a comment below, as we are still considering our options for flying the dogs. And I should add the requirement that it has to be an airline that permits dogs in cabin, safely stowed away under your seat in an FAA approved pet carrier.) After an exhausting day of travel, we settled into our relatives’ house in Walnut Creek on Sunday night, where we are staying until our lease starts at the end of the month. We found these wild turkeys outside the window of the guest room. The sight of wild turkeys is enough to make any Bichon, and especially turkey obsessed Max, hop a plane to the West Coast.
Day 2 – On Monday morning, we drove over to our new apartment and decided to switch to a different unit that is more centrally located in the complex. While I have many photos of the new apartment and its surroundings, I’ll wait to share those in another post once everything is set up. For now, I will leave you with this picture of Roy the koi, who lives in the pond outside of our unit.
In the afternoon, we drove into San Francisco and explored Golden Gate Park. For all the New Yorkers out there, this is essentially the Central Park of San Francisco. There are a ton of things to do in Golden Gate Park, and we started to make a list of places we want to come back when friends and family visit – Japanese Tea Garden, de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Botanical Garden, etc. This time, we were content to just walk around and take in the lay of the land. I posed for a photo in front of the Japanese Tea Garden, and Tom ate some organic chocolate ice cream by the boathouse.
Day 3 – On Tuesday morning, we headed north to tour the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California, which you can read more about in Tom’s blog post. We then drove to Marin County in the North Bay, which sounds like a lot of driving but was actually a fantastic way to explore to Bay Area. We stopped at the Bon Air shopping center, where we visited a giant maroon statue that I distinctly remember from my childhood. Said statue depicts a naked woman meant to resemble Mount Tam in the background. There was also a fabulous local grocery store called Mollie Stone’s where we took pictures of the cheese counter, and got a few perturbed looks from patrons who couldn’t figure out what exactly was so exciting about their grocery store. It’s the little things in life.
After Marin, we drove to Sausalito and walked around the town for a while before heading back to Walnut Creek to have a seafood pasta dinner with family. Sausalito was a lovely town that definitely warrants a return trip. While we didn’t see anyone walking their dog, we did find a flower shop with these pups sitting outside that reminded us of our dogs and how much we missed Max and Jack. The thing about moving across the country is that it is filled with happy and sad emotions – the excitement of exploring a new place combined with the fact that we miss our family and friends. What’s important to remember is that you need those bad emotions in order to fully appreciate the good, and both are a normal part of life. Plus, I know that my Bichons, family and friends are only a phone call or a plane ride away.