My girlie wrote this earlier this week; I agree!
I'm starting to feel a bit claustrophobic. While the houses here are nicely arranged for maximum privacy on tiny lots, the lack of space is becoming more noticeable. We are lucky to have a yard at all. I know that. But our backyard fence extends directly from the corner of the neighbor's house. The distance from my back door to the one behind me is about the length of our driveway. It took some thinking to realize why this lack of outdoor space is getting to me. This is the most city-like place we have lived in the past ten years! A-ha! In Homer, we may have lived in a duplex, but we could see about 8 miles across the bay and into the mountains from our windows. Even in Connecticut, we lived on a 2-acre lot and rarely saw our neighbors (unless their pup ran over and snatched a toy or shoe from the yard, hehe). I joked with Mike the other night that our house feels like a mini compound, but it is kind of true. All of the windows are strategically placed for privacy, but we can't even see the street from inside.
So, I thought I'd find us some nice open space with wild trees rather than landscaped ones and get away from the city. And I came across an unexpected hurdle. Campgrounds here get booked up months in advance. And while most of them allow dogs, most hiking trails and many beaches nearby do not. We were hoping to venture down to Big Sur for a weekend, but the earliest available is not until October! And even then, we'd have to board poor Midas if we wanted to hike anywhere. And Yosemite--forget it, unless we want to try one of those concrete and canvas "housekeeping tents." We need to sit down with our calendars now and book camping spots for next summer. Yikes. In the meantime, we may try our luck with some of the walk-in sites that can't be reserved in advance. But with a 2+ hour drive to get there, we'll have some sad kids if we can't find a spot for the night. In the meantime, we were able to reserve some Coast Guard lodging at Lake Tahoe for Columbus Day weekend. In October, because that was the first available weekend.
Aside from the lack of open space and freedom to enjoy public lands with our pup, there are a few other things I'm missing. Like a good, non-chain coffee place. Or any coffee place with a drive-thru. I had forgotten that the little espresso drive-bys are not a nationwide phenomena. Another not-so-little thing that I'm missing-- knowing people everywhere we go. We certainly got used to Homer's small-town friendliness. People say that Alameda has the same feel, but I haven't gotten a chance yet to meet many people. I think this will probably change once school starts back up (one more month, yay!). I did find a new place to work out, thanks to Groupon. I took my first class at Rise Bodyworks on Monday, and I could barely walk Tuesday and Wednesday. I take that as a good sign!
Okay, pity party over. But if anyone who knows this area has suggestions for weekend getaways, let us know. I feel like we must be missing something, because it can't be this difficult to get back to nature without planning months in advance.
We have been starting to explore the surrounding cities, and have lots planned for this weekend. Last weekend, we ventured to Oakland. To exit Alameda, you have to go through straight through Oakland, so we thought we'd better get familiar with the better areas of town. We visited Peerless Coffee, since I'm holding out on using my very last bag of K-Bay beans. It is a pretty large roasting operation with tons of different varieties. And they even requested my info for possible wholesale orders of my reusable coffee sleeves. We also checked out the Pedalfest bike festival in Jack London Square. We stayed for several hours, with the kids riding in a bike parade and then watching mountain and BMX bike shows.
This weekend, we want to visit Berkeley, both to find a few shops (running shoes, fabric, REI) and to go to the Kite Fest. Alameda is also having a huge Art & Wine Festival this weekend. And we have a sitter booked for tomorrow evening so we can have an adults-only bike ride to Park Street for dinner. We are really loving the bike-friendlieness of the area. Mike is still riding to work most days, and Emerson even learned to ride sans training wheels this week!