California Dreaming

Milwaukee to San Francisco.  San Francisco to Big Sur.  Big Sur to Santa Clara.  Santa Clara to San Francisco.  San Francisco to Milwaukee.  All in just eight days.  Visiting each of those respective cities is exciting on its own, but we explored beyond each city and had many unforgettable adventures.  Just take a look at these gems:

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DSCN2575Can I sufficiently summarize our trip?  No.  Will I try?  Sure.

Our first stop was San Francisco.  We explored the city just a tad since we were only there for a day, but that was enough to give Vintown what I dub White Knuckle Fever as I drove our toy rental car through the city.  It’s like, got hills, amirite?!  We walked around Chestnut Street, which had endless restaurants and little shops, all of which had that seemingly unattainable hip vibe.  And by that I mean that everything in California just seems cooler because, well, it’s in California.  Cliche?  Totally.  We had a few drinks at the Horseshoe Tavern, burgers at Umami Burger, and dinner at Mamacita.  The Hatch burger at Umami is fantastic and everything we had at Mamacita was great.  The Horseshoe was low-key and divey, which was perfect for two Wisconsinites looking for a beer after a long flight.  I don’t think you could really go wrong at anyplace on Chestnut.

Enjoying a few drinks and eavesdropping on phone conversations yesterday afternoon.

A photo posted by Sam Gruber (@sgruber4) on

The next morning, it was time to head to Big Sur, but not until after we checked out the Full House house and stopped at Baker Beach.  The Full House house was … a house.  The owners painted it so it doesn’t look exactly the same, plus there is a tree right in front of it.  It’s not high on my list of recommendations, unless you happen to be there at the same time as John Stamos.  Have mercy!

Boy, these youngsters have 0.0 idea what they’re missing. #Fullhousehouse. #TURNAROUND. A photo posted by John Stamos (@johnstamos) on

On the other hand, I really enjoyed Baker Beach.  It had gorgeous views of the Golden Gate bridge as well as the coastline.  Side note: you have to pay forty-three friggen’ dollars to get a pass to cross the bridges in the city (or at least that’s what the guy at the rental car place told me).  Umm, no.  I’m fine with seeing the bridges from land, thank you very much.  Our pictures still turned out rad, in my opinion.

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From there, it was down Highway 1 to Big Sur!  I had been looking forward to this part of the trip the most, as made evident in my last blog post.  Highway 1 is unbeatable in terms of views as well as twists, turns, and elevation changes.  Okay, it might not be that bad, but it did take me a while to get used to it.  (Honestly I don’t think I ever got used to it.  That road was a challenge for my Midwestern driving skills, but the views made it all worth it.)

We made a few stops along the way to get some grub and take embarrassing pictures of me DSCN2225freezing my tush off in the ocean.  We made it to our cabin at the Ripplewood Resort just in time to enjoy some nosh and enjoy a campfire.  Our cabin was perfect.  It wasn’t fancy schmancy and it wasn’t rough-tough-“real” camping.  It had a deck overlooking the Big Sur river, which was where we relaxed in the mornings and mid-afternoons.

Over the next two and a half days, we visited multiple parks and hiked our asses off.  Or, more accurately, we got our asses handed to us by the trails.  But just like Highway 1, the DSCN2383views made it all worth it, even when we wanted to kill each other got snippy with each other at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  My favorite park was Limekiln State Park; the trails are pretty easy but give you tons of photo ops in the redwood trees.  Plus you can hike right up to the waterfall which, you guessed it, gives you awesome pix! #smile #socute

(At this point in my post I have officially ran out of adjectives … great, awesome, fantastic, etc.  I need a thesaurus.)

When we weren’t making sandwiches or noshing or cooking meals in our cabin, we dined at a few restaurants.  The Ripplewood Cafe at our resort had a bomb breakfast (see what I mean about running out of adjectives?!) and was actually pretty affordable compared to other places in the Sur.  The only downside is that the menu is in Comic Sans so you think you are reading an internet meme while picking out your meal.  The Little Sur omelette was the perfect blend of green chilis and cheese, and the chorizo and eggs was so good that I continued to eat it long after I was full.

Right across the street from the Ripplewood Cafe is the Big Sur Roadhouse, which is where we dined on our last full night in Big Sur.  Pricy, but worth it.  I had the Big Eye Tuna.  You should get the Big Eye Tuna too.  Don’t even look at anything else on the menu.  Just get it, do it, now.

Our time went by way too quickly in Big Sur, and before I knew it, we were on the road headed to Santa Clara.  We stopped at one last park along the way, Andrew Molera State Park, and hiked the beach trail which, surprise, took us to a beach.  But not just any beach; it took us to our engagement beach!  That’s right, Sammerz is engaged.  And it happened on a beach in California.  My boyfriend fiancé couldn’t have planned it better, plus check out the ring!  It’s like he listens to me or something … ~swoon~

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After getting engaged and taking a bunch of celebratory pictures, we hit the road.  We DSCN2612-001made a mandatory tourist stop at the Bixby Bridge to snag a few last photos in Big Sur, and then it was about an hour and a half to Santa Clara.  Our hotel was fittingly named “The Domain” (so clever!  Get it, it’s the Silicon Valley!) and was mod yet comfortable.  We schmoozed some free breakfast tickets from the super-friendly front desk employee (getting engaged = free stuff? Hollah!) then headed downtown (I think?) to check out the store WWE Axxess.  #swag

Lovers in love.

A photo posted by Sam Gruber (@sgruber4) on

20150328_192425After that, it was time to celebrate our engagement the best way we knew how: pizza, beer, and scratch offs.  Kukar’s House of Pizza was busy but timely and had damn good pizza.  A word of warning though: the jalapenos are REAL.  I think I lost my taste buds for at least 2 days.

The next couple of days were filled with nearly-naked men and wrestling.  And we went to Wrestlemania.  OOOOH see what I did there?!  Wrestlemania was exciting – THE SHOW OF SHOWS! – and I got to see my beloved Undertaker.  I won’t bore you with the details; just remember that THE UNDERTAKER RULES FOREVER AMEN.

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California was even better than those fun tourist commercials that are on all the time.  It was even better than any song that is written about it.  It was even better than the acting on “Laguna Beach.”  Okay, bad example, but I think you get the point.  California was amazeballs.

Now onto planning a wedding. *gulp noise*