Sausalito day trip & Mazda 6 saves the day

Mazda-HeaderWho needs a reason to go out and explore, especially when you’re living in California? The minute I get a vehicle delivered, I pop back into the house for a quick minute, leash Alfie up and we’re on our way.

Alfie-in-windowAnd because I can’t say no to this cute face! Usually I do this first so I can take photos while the car is spic-n-span and free of dust, but also — hello sport mode fun! I just discovered this over the weekend, that when you put cars in sport-mode… it’s automatically jumped up from being: okay this is fun, to: whoa this is awesome.

Mazda6Also, I’ve noticed lately a lot of review cars are red. I wonder if there’s a reason for that? 

I got the Mazda 6 last Thursday for review, so that’s when I took Alfie on a jaunt around town, exploring neighbourhoods. Since my husband was working on Friday, I decided to venture out to the climbing gym and meet my internet climbing buddies, turned into real life climbing buddies. You might know Esther and Jacob from their blog Local AdventurerEsther-and-Jacob

BoulderingWe bouldered for about an hour, then left the gym to meet up with Lauren, and Jessica for lunch at the new Eureka restaurant in Cupertino. No photos taken, only Snapchat videos that are forever deleted (ahem, unless you follow me). But wow, what a gorgeous little area to hang out in! We were there for a couple of hours, and since it’s a new build that I haven’t checked out for a while, they also added a Phil’s Coffee (which is so picturesque it’s insane).

I only took photos of the palm trees, because I still feel like a newbie tourist here. I love it.Palm-tree

Saturday was pretty low-key and we didn’t do too much. Yawn! OH WAIT. CHANGED MY MIND. Except for the morning when my husband called me mentioning he got a flat tire on his bicycle and it was unrepairable due to the tube busting out of it.

Mazda to the rescue!Mazda6-to-rescue

Alfie and I hopped in the car and drove 30 minutes north on the highway (he wasn’t on the highway, I obviously had to exit lol) to bring him gear to fix the tire. He didn’t want a ride home! So we hung around with him as he fixed his tire, and we watched all the other cyclists pass by (a lot of them stopped and asked if we needed help), it’s a hotspot area for cyclists for sure! Wow. Mazda-to-Rescue

Sunday, we ended up checking out a new-to-us pizza place called 1000 Degrees Pizza since we had a free coupon to go try it out. We ended up doing a build-your-own 10″ pizza to split between the two of us and we added SO much stuff.1000-pizza

The regular cost would’ve been $8.95 which is a decent deal for a nice wood-fired thin crust pizza — my ultimate favourite kind of pizza. It was cooked super fast (assuming because it’s in a 1000 degree oven) and by the time we finished paying (for our drink) it was cooked and plated.pizza-up-close My husband really liked it, and I liked it too but I think I added too many toppings and I wish the center of the pizza wasn’t gooey/watery.

Eat-the-pizzaMaybe too much sauce? I’m not sure. I did enjoy the rest of the delicious pizza, since we polished off 3 slices each. Hee hee!

I told my husband I wanted to take him to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge and check out the views of the city and the bridge from that side. Precisely what we did — and hundreds of other tourists. I guess I forget what it’s like in the city on weekends, especially long weekends! I usually take our visitors (or even myself) up to the city on weekdays. Definitely not as crowded.Alfie-smilesAlfie’s “I’m ready to go!” excited face.

Mazda-insideHere I am snappin’ photos of me turnin’ on the tunes and adjusting the power seats in the Mazda6 before the ‘long trek’. A lot fancier than my own Mazda!

Our first stop was to a vista point along the highway, we rarely do this – so I pulled in and checked out these gorgeous views of the hills. views

vista-point

Then we made it across the Golden Gate bridge and down to this spot. One view I will never tire of:Golden-Gate

Alfie-Me-Golden-GateOnce we hung out at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge for a while, I drove us up to Sausalito, which is a small city in Marin County north of the Golden Gate.

sausalitooLittle history lesson here for ya, but back in World War 2, Sausalito was a shipbuilding center.

Sausalito-maiIt’s a gorgeous little spot with tons of character, tons of rich people (just bein’ honest!) and a lot of beautiful and huge sail boats.

Palm-trees-dog-walk

SausalitoWe walked around the main street and had a bit of a snacky-picnic right along the water. It was such a beautiful day!

I was so tired yesterday from our walking around, and me driving all along the coast, but we ended up finishing up our weekend by going for a 6km run with just the two of us. Usually Alfie comes with, but since he was out with us in the sun the entire day and we didn’t want him to get too overheated. I am pooped!

Not only that, this week is going to be a scorcher here in San Jose. On one of the days this week, it’s reading it’s going to get upwards to 39°C (which is 102°F), I’ll definitely be on the lookout for a pool/beach to swim in on that day. Wowzers!

How was your Memorial Day Weekend?

Mazda-wheelThanks to Mazda for loaning me the vehicle for the week, and for allowing these adventures to happen! And thanks to you guys, reading my blog – because this wouldn’t have happened without your help!

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Climb for FREE at Wallnuts!

Newfoundlanders, this post is for you b’ys.

In my twenty years of climbing history, first of all that makes me sound super old, Wallnuts has been the best climbing gym I have been to. Not just for the climbing. But the warm, friendly atmosphere from the staff, the climbers, the regulars. Back in the day, it was our high school hang out spot, our Halloween party gym. Anyone remember Rock The Power with my tee’s included? Hah. So many memories associated with Wallnuts I simply can’t sum it up into one tiny blog post.

Sure there have been enormous crazy cool looking gyms I’ve climbed at. But it doesn’t come remotely close to how I get all the warm feels from Wallnuts. Wallnuts is not only “just a climbing gym”. It’s a community. Perhaps it’s the fact I climbed since the beginning and it has and always will be my home-gym. Meeting friends while I’m in Newfoundland for a visit? Hit up Wallnuts for a climb to catch up. Mind you, when I return to the climbing gym in St. John’s now after living away for 10 years, I don’t know a soul. But that doesn’t mean they’re not welcoming. It’s just a younger generation, with new-to-me faces and everyone is still loving life and enjoying the gym. It’s fantastic. I’m glad they’re doing well and keeping the business running.

Enough about the reminiscing. Today I wanted to bring to your attention that if you’re in the St. John’s Newfoundland and surrounding areas, that you can climb for free at the gym on Saturday. This Saturday!

If I was home, I’d offer ya a drive even, just to check it out.

camp_artemis

greglockephotos02Now I know what you’re thinking. Get those fears out of your head that it’s a scary thing to do, because truthfully after 20 years of climbing, I’m still terrified of heights, even if I free fall for fun, or jump down off the bouldering wall. I think fear is a good thing to have. Keeps me safe at least.

Climbing definitely a whole body workout and you will be having so much fun you won’t even consider it exercise. Don’t have strong arms or finger strength? Not to worry, it’s all in the balance and leg strength for the most part anyway. You don’t need to be strong, a pro, and I promise you that no one will make fun of you. In fact, believe me when I state that people will recognize that you may be a beginner, and will come over, introduce themselves and perhaps give you a bit of beta (tips on how to do a climb/route differently and more efficiently).

greglockephotos01I love climbers man. So please, if you’re free and have always wanted to try it out, print and sign the waiver and pop by the gym. You’ll have to sign up for the Saturday free climbing online or over the phone, and all that information will be in the bottom of the blog post.

Do me a favour b’ys, go’an and check it out. Say I sent you, all the way from California!

Happy 20th Birthday Wallnuts, wish I could be there to celebrate.

Details:

  • Free climbing to the public from 1pm–5pm on July 18
  • With their most experienced and knowlegable staff on hand to manage the safety equipment, all you have to do is sign up, show up, and give it a try!
  • Zero age restrictions (my nephew climbed at the age of 3) and climbs of varying difficulties to challenge everyone.

Wallnuts Climbing Centre
57 Old Pennywell Road
St. John’s, Newfoundland
709.579.9255 (is it awesome that I know this off by heart from dialling it so much as a kid?)
facebook / twitter

photos provided by Wallnuts Climbing Centre

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Climbing trip to Yosemite

Yosemite-headerIt’s taken me a while to write about my Yosemite trip, because it didn’t turn out as planned.

My friend flew all across the continent for 1 climbing trip, and in this crazy California drought that is going on — it rained on us. It rained on our only climbing day, cancelling our 6 multi-pitch climb. So before I get into the details, let’s back it up.

My friend Lori and I had met at the local climbing gym back home in Newfoundland, Canada 20 years ago. She’s my first climbing partner I ever had, so I trust her completely with regards to climbing, gear, and everything safety-wise. She wanted to come out to California and climb Yosemite for her birthday and asked if I was free to go with her. Um, YES. YES I AM. Now, I mentioned I was scared to do a multi-pitch climb, but I was ready to take it on and brave the Yosemite mountains. After all, that’s how you get over fears, right? Frig sakes. These are the things you only dream of, especially being on the opposite side of the continent. Never thinking you’d ever be one of those climbers who actually gets to go to Yosemite. So when Lori came to California, she rented a jeep and we had a 4 hour girls road trip across the mountains to Yosemite.

Getting to Yosmite

Jeep-to-YosemiteWe ended up using the google maps for GPS on my BlackBerry, which ended up taking us on every type of road you could imagine. It was getting to the point we couldn’t get deep into conversation because one would drive, the other would have to focus telling the driver “okay, in 5km we’re getting off this road, and onto another!” At first it was laughable counting at how many highways and roads the maps were taking us on (I lost count after 14) but then as it continued the entire duration of our drive, it honestly drove us a little nuts. After talking to a few other people after the fact, sure enough it’s the way to get to Yosemite from the Bay Area! Yeesh!

Arriving in Yosemite

Yosemite-National-Park

Lori-Nancy-in-Yosemite4 hours later, we made the trek across the mountains and into Yosemite.

Yosemite-LodgeWe arrived at our hotel, Yosemite Lodge and unpacked our belongings for the evening, then headed out on the road to get our surroundings inside the park before the sun went down. Oh, and of course check out famous Camp 4.

Yosemite-treesSidenote, the trees are huge in California!

We stopped by to get a couple of snacks and groceries, and when we walked back out to the parking lot we noticed a couple of older looking surfer dude’s gazing up at one of the mountains with their binoculars. We joined in, and started chatting with them for a bit. Then, they got all creepy on us asking which hotel we were at and inviting us up to go hiking and drinking in the woods and whatnot. Silly me, I took off my wedding rings for the trip and left them back home, because I didn’t want to sever my finger off when rock climbing. So there was that. Back to what they were gazing up at. A couple of climbers were on top of the spire with their rope attached to the side of the mountain (think slack lining) wrapping their hands and feet around the line and traversing/crossing over to the mountain. It was crazy and super awesome — definitely wouldn’t be me doing it though.

Travelling-with-makeupCan you tell there’s a couple of girls in the hotel room? Lori laid out all her toiletries first, then I followed suit. Guess which one is mine.

Enough excitement for the evening, we headed back to our hotel with the snacks in tow. We got ready for a night in, changed into PJs and was in bed by 8:00 watching episodes of the Duggar Family. Shortly after arriving back to our room, we received a phone call from the front desk informing us that our power is going to be out the next day (our climbing day) as there was an electrical problem in a couple of the buildings we were staying in. Meaning, no hot water for the morning.

climbing-gear-laid-outA little ticked off, since there was nothing we could do about it in the mean time so we laid our climbing gear out to pack away, slept on it and decide to tackle the issue when we got back to the hotel after the next day of climbing.

Climbing day

Lori-brushing-teethWe woke up at the crack of dawn (for me, that’s 7:30), and realized the power was most definitely out. Lori ended up brushing her teeth with her head lamp on. I had to document that. We noticed the forecast called for rain that day, but we were determined to see what our hired climbing guide thought of it all.

MountaineeringSchool

MountainschoolWe got to the mountaineering school shortly after and decided that in fact it was going to pour all day long, making our plans of climbing the 6 pitches dangerous due to the conditions.

Since Lori had travelled all this way, she knew she wanted to get in some sort of a climb that day. The guides were completely booked up the rest of the week, so it was out of the option to postpone the climbing for a day or so. After much deliberation, we all agreed on going out to do a crack climb.

Lori-belaying-guideWe knew the rock was going to be slippery as it continued to rain on us. What I didn’t realize was how difficult crack climbing is.

Lori-climbingHere’s Lori climbing in the green jacket.

For those that speak my language, we did the route called jamcrack and it’s rated at a 5.7. Incredibly novice, right? Add in soaking wet rock, aggressive climbing shoes, a scared newf (me) and you’ve got yourself a difficult 5.9-5.10 climb. Basically due to the rain we made the route harder for us to climb. Obviously.

Nancy-climb-crackThere’s me!

Nancy-crack-climbNot only that, crack climbing has a whole different technique of its own, something I had never practiced doing before, especially with my La Sportiva Miura’s (an aggressive shoe). With climbing cracks (heh), you need the most comfortable pair of climbing shoes, a pair that feels like a set of slippers on your feet. Because you’re going to be shoving your feet into the cracks sideways, then bending your knee back over so it meets up with the opening of the crack. Make sense?

Nancy-top-outCan you see me at the top of the climb? My ankles were sore for days. I didn’t trust shoving my hands into the wall crack, even though we taped them up before heading up the route. Luckily Lori nor I had to do any clipping or placing gear, we top roped up as our guide did the dirty work for us.

Nancy-Lori-climbsHere’s us rain soaked and done our single climb of the trip.

packing-up-climbing-gearWe taped our hands since we needed to shove our hands into the crack for balance.

climbing-shoes-in-rainNeedless to say, it was a memorable climb. Scary for me, but super fun looking back on it.

Unfortunately, we only got to do one climb that day, since it started raining harder after I came down (as I climbed after Lori). Shivering and soaking wet, we called it a day, packed  up our gear and headed back to the hotel. Yet, the power was still out. Long story short, the Yosemite Lodge suggested we can either move to another room in their hotel, or check into the fancy smanchy $500/night Ahwahnee Hotel for the same price. When in Rome Yosemite! You betcha we took that opportunity to check out the famous hotel.

Tea time at the Ahwahnee Hotel in our grubby climbing clothes

Ahwahnee-Hotel-YosemiteAfter heading back to the mountaineering school and getting half the money back from the guided climb, we checked into the Ahwahnee around noon, which may I add was fancy on the main floors but I much preferred the Yosemite Lodge rooms. Little did we realize the rain would let up a couple of hours after we cancelled our climb, and the rocks seemed to have dried up completely. Talk about bad timing! It was far too late for us to go back to the mountaineering school and get our guide back. He lived out of the park, and was most definitely gone for the day. We were the only climbers that ventured out in the rain, everyone else who were probably staying later throughout the week cancelled.

Walking-to-hotel-and-robeWe checked in, and warmed up in the most massive robes known to man. The hiking boots add a nice touch, don’t you think?

Sorel-soles-fell-offToo bad they got wrecked.

Ahwahnee-Hotel-Grand-Room

Ahwahnee-Hotel-dining-room

Ahwahnee-HotelThe Ahwahnee front desk told us to come back down in a few hours to have some free coffee/tea and cookies. Music to our ears. But first, we needed to have a bit of lunch. Lunch that we bought for ourselves, thinking we would be eating on the top of a ledge in Yosemite, after a couple of pitches. But since that didn’t happen, we brought our failed lunch back with us, and ate it in our hotel room, eating in silence, thinking of what we missed out on.

Tea-at-Ahwahnee-Hotel4:00 came around and we headed down to this grand room. We didn’t end up changing to head downstairs. Hey, I don’t have to impress anyone. Seriously, we looked like dirtbags in our old climbing clothes, and rained on frizzy hair while lining up for some free hot coffee, tea and a couple of cookies. It was so fancy you guys. A man with a bow tie was playing mellow classical music on this grand piano in this fantastically large room. We were so out of place, but eating it all up for what it was worth. Our big trip was cancelled and darn right we were going to make the most out of it. So, we went back for seconds.

The rest of the evening and the next day were left for sight seeing around Yosemite, checking out El Capitan, and Half Dome which was incredible to finally see in person!

Me-with-El-CapIn Yosemite and found El Cap!

Lori-Half-DomeLori standing in front of Half Dome

Lori-and-ElCapThen El Cap (the photos are a little out of order but you catch the drift)

Pointing-to-Half-DomeMe pointing toward Half Dome.

Yosemite-homesSome of the residence in Yosemite

Yosemite

Lori-Yosemite-FallsLori next to Lower Yosemite Falls

Rainy-MtnsShortly after the rain had stopped

Me-next-to-Half-DomeHalf Dome!

Buds-at-ElCapA gentleman asked if we wanted out photo taken. It was so crooked I had to crop it so much, so there goes the top of El Capitan.

Point-HalfdomeSince we couldn’t climb, we took a ton of pictures at both Half Dome and El Capitan.

Half-Dome

El-Capitan

Camp-4-Yosemite

Leaving Yosemite

Before our drive down, Lori knew another Newfoundlander living here in the Bay Area who loaned her some of his climbing gear which included a rope, quick draws, and lucky for me — a helmet. Before we made the 4 hour trek back to my place, Lori wanted to get one more climb in at Yosemite. I admit, I wasn’t comfortable doing a climb with only the two of us considering I didn’t own any gear besides my shoes and harness.

Loris-last-climbWe had to drive out of the park slightly, to get to the climb Lori wanted to do. Little did I know we’d be sliding down a 200 foot cliff on our butts to get to the base of the climb. I get scared easily, especially considering I never outdoor climb. So I was angrily telling her I’d never do this again. HAHAHA. I was terrified we’d end up rolling down the cliff and no one would ever find us.

ATC-and-binerAnyway, upon leaving Yosemite, Lori bought a climbing guide book to see exactly where the climb was, and she also kindly bought me a new ATC and locking biner as an early birthday present. So, I took the helmet, put it on, and belayed her up a route that we found after buying a climbing guide book at the mountaineering school. No real pictures of her climbing, considering I was paying full attention to her as she did her climb.

dirt-faceDirt faces and all, we packed up our gear, crawled back up the 200 foot cliff and walked back on the highway to the rental car and drove the 4 hours back home to the Bay Area.

Man, I gotta say. It was such a weird trip. A memorable trip. But not the epic climbing adventure that was supposed to happen.

Guess that means we have to do it all over again :)

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