Well we're home now and still struggling with the change in time zones, but I did promise you one last blog post to try and sum up the whole trip, but first let me try and sum up San Francisco. I really liked it. It's got Big Town infrastructure and Small Town attitude. It's quirky and odd but also feels like some forgotten area of Manhattan where everything went right. With such little time to take a city in I didn't get to do all the touristy things I would've like to do: we didn't get to see Golden Gate Bridge or see the sea lions on the fisherman's wharf or visit the "painted ladies", though we did ride a trolly (and it went "clang clang") so it wasn't a total loss. I did manage to buy new trainers, jeans and socks and I'm very glad about that. Miko and I spent our last full day mostly walking around the city; partly as a method of exploration and partly on trying to find a trainer store that we'd lost the map to earlier, and in doing that you end up walking to places and finding things that you shouldn't (like the "heart of the city farmers' market' just off Market Street) and it also gives you a general "vibe" of a place that maybe you wouldn't get from an open topped bus, travelling from designated stop to designated stop. We did manage to catch a tiny bit of DF Tram's set at the Minna Street Gallery, but we had to rush back to our hotel complete our online check in so unfortunately our time with Dylan was quite short. Dinner was once again at Max's and, again, was very good indeed.
As our flight wasn't until 6:50pm we had some time to kill the next day so we started off at The Honey Honey Cafe and Creperie on the corner of Taylor and Polk for a mighty fine breakfast. We'd intended to go to the famous Dotties (on Dylan's recommendation) but after reading nightmare stories about long queues we decided to try the above instead as breakfast is not a meal you want to mess around with. I have to say I'm very glad we did - The Crepe House (as it seems to be in the process of rebranding) serves a great selection of breakfast fares: Miko plumped for her final pancakes of the trip with home fries and scrambled eggs and I went adventurous and opted for a crab benedict (a new brekkie option on me) and home fries. The food was lovely; slightly rustic in appearance and homely. I'm not too sure whether I'd chose the crab benedict again, but it wasn't unpleasant, quite the opposite in fact, but it was a bit odd however I'm still glad I ordered it. The home fries were delicious: fluffy, crisp and tinged with sage. Both our stomachs were happy.
Afterwards we decided to take in some culture and wandered down to SFMoma to see the Richard Avedon exhibition. The SFMoma is a great gallery and worth the visit. The standing collection is well presented and the gallery itself is quite a joy to walk round. We managed to cover about 2 floors of the 5 that were available and the Richard Avedon exhibit (which in itself was worth a visit) and that took us about 2 and a half hours. I could've easily come back and spend more time here.
After that we walked back to the hotel and waited for our shared taxi to the airport. And that was it. Holiday over. :)
So what can I say in summary? It's difficult to sum it up when you're still quite close to the event. What I would say is that we both feel relaxed after it and that's a remarkable feat. On the whole, everything went ok - we stuck to our rough schedule and (more or less) saw everything we wanted to see. We've both come back with tonnes of photos and video to sift through. Having two days at the end of the trip in San Fran (in a lovely hotel to boot) was a God send and allowed us to declimatise back into civilisation. If we were to do it again (not that we would) I don't think we'd start in Dallas, as that put a huge amount of miles on our journey, just to get going. I doubt I'd return to Las Vegas, without $3000 and a box of cigars to burn (and I wouldn't hestitate to stay at the fantastic Desert Rose Resort again, either). We would spend a lot more time just in Utah, which has a tremendous lot of incredibly awe inspiring nature to offer the senses. I could quite happily spend 3 weeks in Zion. I could easily spend a large portion of my life in San Francisco, too.
It does look like the holiday was a lot more expensive than we budgeted for - especially with the increase in petrol/gas prices that the USA is undergoing (cheapest fuel we saw was in Oklahoma at $2.16 a gallon, most expensive was $4.04 p.g. on the road to Yosemite) and us miscalculating the mpg of the vehicle. However, as a once in a lifetime journey, I can only recommend it. I'm really glad we've done it. :)
And we have plans for more...