After the fiasco that was San Francisco, our super awesome tow truck driver brought us and our sad little house on wheels to Eli’s Aunt and Uncle’s house about 30 miles away from the city. At this point, I am convinced that California only has cute towns because we landed in yet another precious little town.
So once again we got incredibly lucky and had a place to go when things were getting less than favorable. Aunt Carole and Uncle Pat welcomed us into their home and helped us get our car back in functioning condition and we really enjoyed our time there. Every day we went on walks with them and their precious dog, Zaheer. They were super hospitable and showed us all around the downtown area which was filled with quirky restaurants and boutiques and the best local small town vibe. Even their Starbucks was totally unique with special ice cream brews and foods that were only available at that location.
Every night that we were there we had amazing food, either eating out or made by Carole, and then had cake and ice cream for dessert. I was trying to eat healthy beforehand but that cake was too good to pass up. It also became a nightly ritual for us to play games before bed. I got my ass handed to me in Dogopoly (the dog version of Monopoly)… and Skipbo…and Yahtzee. I’m pretty sure everyone else was cheating. It’s the only logical explanation. It was nice to sit down and enjoy each others’ time like that though.
It would be shameful of me if I didn’t mention how technologically advanced Redwood City is as well. We went to a Starbucks for a quick coffee at one point and were chatting about some really intricate light shows that occur in the area every Tuesday night when Eli stopped to point out the robot that was casually rolling down the sidewalk. It was a short little thing, probably about the size of a medium suitcase and it was seemingly unmanned.It stopped for pedestrians in it’s path and even at the edge of a sidewalk. We were in awe but apparently it’s a totally normal thing in that city. It was a delivery robot that brings food that you order to wherever you are and Redwood City was the testing ground for this new and innovative approach to food delivery. I vowed to order food at some point so that I could put this little robot to the test but quickly forgot. My bad.
Tuesday night was another awe-inspiring experience of technological kind. We attended the light show that we had been discussing earlier. The city has a beautiful museum that is in the heart of the downtown area and it was once the City Hall so it has the big pillars and old timey feel to it. Right on the front of this building the Magic Lantern 3D Light Show is projected, making the building come alive with plants, animals, robots, and the history of Redwood City. They made the building into a living attraction. The projection was so well done that you could mistake it for some clever decorations and animatronics.
Between the robots and the crazy cool light shows, I don’t know how to feel. California is on a whole new level of future. I think Redwood City is also becoming a mecca for techy hipsters and the like so who knows what kind of amazing things will come to the city next.
Within a few day the van was repaired. Apparently the alternator had gone out on us and needed to be replaced along with the battery. It was an easy fix that only took a few hours to have fixed. After all that we had been through with it, knowing that it was in working condition again was a huge relief. We spent a few extra days in Redwood City and then moved on to our next destination.
A good three hours later we ended up in Chico, California, where we got to meet a long lost cousin of Eli’s for the first time. About a year ago, Eli’s mom came into contact with this cousin, Lance, through Ancestry.com while he was putting together the pieces of the mysterious Greenburg family. Flash forward to Saturday and here we were, arriving at his door, ready to unite some cousins. Lance and his husband, Jed, were extremely welcoming and sassy and hilarious, making our time with them incredibly enjoyable. They even invited us to Jed’s work event where we got to meet a bunch of professors from Chico University. They were all really interesting and incredibly knowledgable on the topic of world religions. We also enjoyed the fact that Jed and Lance have sooo many cute pets. We actually decided to steal one on our way out. I hope they weren’t too attached to their cat, Tuxedo.
We spent our time together talking genealogy and learning so much about Eli’s family that had been unaccounted for for so long. The whole story is absolutely insane and so farfetched sounding that I told them they should be on an Ancestry.com commercial or have their own documentary after all that they had found. It has seriously been one of the coolest experiences on this trip so far and I’m glad that I got to be a part of it.
We didn’t do too much while we were in Chico because we had so much work to catch up on but we did get the chance to do a tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery. They offered a few different tour options (all of which include free beer) but we opted for the sustainability tour. We got to go throughout the brewery and garden areas and see all of the revolutionary ways in which the company is working to help the environment. Basically every byproduct that the factory produces is recycled; carbon dioxide, methane, grey water, unusable plant materials, etc., all recycled back into their system to be used to make other things. It was really incredible to see. They even had the Tesla Power Wall batteries and thousands of solar panels. My favorite part though was the cats. They had two little black cats that live on the property and catch mice and they were super affectionate. At that point the tour was definitely worth the $10 ticket.
Another place of honorable mention was a really fun and super eclectic restaurant in the downtown area called Madison Bear Garden. I think it may be one of the oldest establishments in Chico and has a history of being a brothel at some point but now it is a weird little burger place. When you first walk in, you’ll be in sensory overload. There is so much going on in there that it’s nearly overwhelming. There are odd decorations on every part of the ceiling hanging haphazardly amongst the bars and tables. You really have to see it to believe it, it’s nearly impossible to describe. Perhaps the most odd thing about the place is wasn’t their decorations, though. No, the weirdest part was the fact that it was all self service. You order your food from some singing chefs through a little window, drinks are ordered at bars at either side of the building, and you have to go and find your own seat, which was a little difficult in the popular restaurant. The food was excellent though. I decided on a barbecue veggie burger with onion rings on it and it was one of the best I have ever had. Eli decided to get a little… experimental and go for the peanut butter burger. He said it was awesome but I refuse to believe him. I’m almost certain he was feeling slightly delusional that day.
Other than that, we have just been spending our time here relaxing and getting some work done. We have had so much fun getting to know Lance and Jed and their sweet little animal babies. We are going to work harder to keep up with blogging our adventures in the future instead of posting two weeks worth of events in the span of two days. I spent the day cleaning out the van to prepare us for our next destination which will be at another cousin’s house close by. But that is all I have for you for now. As always, everything is fine.