until March 4th, 2010. We found out the boy was getting a bonus and our friend Gabe told us to come visit her at any time. The bonus for visiting Gabe? She works at Lucas Film!!!
So here’s how it went.
We took the bus to the train to the airport (Newark). Got on our non-stop flight and were seated with this huge dude who drank 3 beers and 5 mini bottles of gin during the 4.5 hour flight. He was drunk. He stood for half of the flight. He sang for half of the flight. I prayed for the entire flight that he did a) not vomit and b ) not be on our flight home. We flew over mountains:
View from the plane
Other than our seat companion, our flight out was nice. I got a lot of knitting done, the boy watched TV the entire time (thanks to DirecTV for their inflight service for $6). We arrived in SFO and picked up our rental car:
And drove up US 101 to our hotel. I got to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. I was thoroughly geeked out.
That night we went into downtown Novato and had dinner and walked around. We found Llama Llama Knit and had dinner a nice little Italian place – excellent gnocchi and tiramisu! The one benefit of living in NJ is not being able to buy one of your favorite dyer’s fiber at the LYS. This came home with me:
Lucky Break BFL from Pigeonroof Studios
Downtown Novato allowed the boy to get his first Shamrock Shake of the year. We headed back to the hotel (The Inn Marin) which was rather nice despite being right on US 101. We had a “garden” room so we were further back from the road. The constant rush of noise from the highway meant that we had to sleep with the TV on all night, but still, a nice place to stay – we would stay here again! The hotel also had lemon trees which I have never seen before (since I’ve lived on the east coast my entire life) so this was a BIG DEAL.
And a gorgeous Magnolia tree:
This was also pretty impressive because everything was blooming in CA. Everything was still DEAD in NJ. But enough of the hotel, let’s talk Lucas Film!
Gabe had arranged for us to tour both Skywalker Ranch and the offices for ILM. We started at ILM Friday morning. When you arrive, the reception area features:
Among the cool things we saw on our tour of ILM were the original Vigo painting from Ghostbusters 2, an E.T. model, models from Jurassic Park, the head of Davy Jones from Pirates 2, and so on and so forth. It was really neat to see how everything is made and goes on for the movies.
After the tour of ILM we headed up to Nicasio to tour Skywalker Ranch. Holy Moley. It was like driving up the side of a mountain.
In the photo above there is a guard rail. Most of the way up the hill, the speed limit is 25 with 180 degree turns and NO guard rail. Was quite an interesting drive on the way up. We toured Skywalker Ranch and had lunch with Gabe and two of her co-workers, Gary and Frank. No photos were allowed while we were walking around but there are sheep on the ranch and everything is meticulously maintained. At the end of our tour we got to meet Dave Filoni (another Pittsburgh fan!) and have a chat with him – he is wonderful!
Me and the boy with Dave Filoni and YODA
After our lovely tour from Gabe we went out for drinks with a bunch of her co-workers as one of the directors was leaving. Then we got to drive down that crazy road on the hill in the dark. Hoo boy.
The next morning we met up with Gabe and headed into downtown SF to hit up the fantastic farmers market at the Embarcadero. I would move to SF just for this farmers market. We had lunch and poked around some of the stands before wandering the streets of SF. We went into union square to check out the cable car but did not get on one due to the lines. I took several photos though. Next time I will ride 😀
cable car being turned around
That evening we went to E & O Trading Company for dinner with Gabe. Gabe is friends with Rene who is the head chef at the Larkspur location. We had the best butternut squash dumplings I have ever had. We will definitely be going back again and I think I will gorge myself on dumplings.
During our trip we tried to stay on Eastern time as much as possible. This meant we were lame and were usually in bed by 9 pm, but it made getting up at 4 am (really 7 to us at this point) to get to the airport for our flight home which was at 7 am local. The flight home was uneventful, which was great. Sharon and her hubby picked us up at the train station and we got to have dinner with them which was a nice way to ease back into being home. I cannot wait for our next trip to CA and hopefully we’ll be there for more than 2.5 days. There is so much I want to see/do etc.
More photos are here. I didn’t want to bore what few readers I have with more sea lion shots. So that’s our trip. Short and sweet. But I’m working on some knitting projects to hopefully have another FO post later this week!