Sunday, December 8, 2013

RAK Day 10: Running Through the Streets of San Francisco

As you can see from this blog post's title, we did a lot of running through the streets of San Francisco. Literally. In our dressy clothes.

Allow me to backtrack. Post-Portland we stopped to camp one night in the Redwood Forest National Park, which was still a bit chilly, but not as cold as when we camped out in Moab, so we were able to brave the temperatures with the help of three blankets and layers of socks. Plus, the camp site was gorgeous.
Check out that river!
 The next morning we packed up our gear and went on a short hike through the Forest, where we got to experience the largest trees ever. These Red Woods are not joking around. We also hung out with some furry elk friends, which was fitting since our campground was the "Elk Prairie Campground."

Elk!
Trees Galore!
Hangin' out in a Red Wood.
Check that Aura.
We then made ourselves some PB&J sandwiches and hit the road to San Francisco.

Dan has great photography skills.
We had tickets to the Book of Mormon that evening and were treating ourselves to a stay at the Hotel Carlton, a boutique hotel right downtown. We dropped off our bags, got ourselves fancied up, hit up the free wine happy hour in the lobby of our hotel (YEP), got some delicious dinner at the restaurant in our hotel, and then started our trek to the Orpheum Theater to see The Book of Mormon.

...then we looked at the clock and realized that in order to be seated before they shut the doors, we had about 12 minutes to walk 1.5 miles. So we ran. Like Forrest Gump.

We got there in time, dressed to the nines and out of breath.  We found our seats and enjoyed a hilarious show. It was so so so good. We highly recommend it, as long as you're not easily offended by reality or curse words.

The next day we woke up, strapped on our walking shoes and took the trek over to Fisherman's Wharf, where we ate a lunch consisting of a strawberry & chocolate crepe and sourdough bread bowl full of scrumptious tomato soup. We also hung out with more sea lions.
Sea Lions...for free.
We like this one.
While being touristy, we decided that we should use up some of the Starbucks gift cards we had purchased to have a RAK on hand, so we thought up what is now our new favorite past time -- and RAK #28: Starbucks Ambushing. Basically, we stand outside of different Starbucks' and when an "unsuspecting victim" is about to go inside, we yell "WAIT!" and when they turn around, we hand them the $10 Starbucks gift card and tell them to enjoy. The look on their faces is priceless.

After a few turns of Starbucks Ambushing, we hopped onto a city bus to get to a different part of the city...and then kept riding the bus, which took us to the completely wrong area -- we aren't awesome at buses. Regardless, we shopped around a bit, found our way back to our hotel for the wine happy hour of the day and then hailed a cab to take us to a restaurant called Reaction for which we had gotten a Groupon. After a great meal of Mexican cuisine we walked off our full bellies on the two and a half miles back to our hotel, passing a large amount of homeless individuals along the way. We made a mental note to come back to this area the next morning to pass out our bags.

However, the following morning we had a hard time finding anyone to whom we could pass out our bags. After an hour of driving around the city, we finally found a few recipients sleeping in a park and after gifting them bags, we noticed that we parked right behind a car with this bumper sticker:

Fate, right?
We thought it was pretty cool that we had parked right behind that car, so we left them a $10 iTunes gift card on their window shield (RAK #29).
Rak'd!
After our visit to the park, we saw another group, but after witnessing them engage in some questionable activities, we decided to give up our search for bag recipients and decided we would find a homeless shelter to donate them to instead. So, we said goodbye to San Francisco and made our way to Hollywood.

My mom's best friend Darlene was visiting her daughter, Dana (aka the little sister I never had), so we arrived to a spectacular and much appreciated home cooked meal of spaghetti and meat balls and some quality conversation. After witnessing approximately 5 minutes of Carrie Underwood's attempt at The Sound of Music, we headed to bed. The next day, we made quite a few calls and put out an impressive amount of E-mails to charities and people in need in our future locations, which turned out to be a success (more on that later, though). In the afternoon, we laced up our tennis shoes and took a hike up to the Hollywood sign, which presented some beautiful views of the city.

Us and Hollywood!
Sunsets and Smog
At the top!
After our hike, we braved two hours of rush hour traffic (well, Dan did) and met up with our friend Ryan for dinner and drinks at this amazing restaurant, Shabu Shabu Bar. So so good. After dinner and a fun post-dinner board game, we headed back to Hollywood.

The next day, Saturday, we woke up and drove over to a shopping plaza where we picked up some items for future RAKs and also purchased some peanut butter to go along with our bags that we were donating to a Homeless Shelter. I checked with Siri where the nearest shelter was and she directed me to Los Angeles Mission, which ended up being the perfect place to donate.

When we dropped off our bags, we met a man working there named Mike, who told us all about the place where we were donating. Los Angeles Mission is not only a homeless shelter, but they also feed an average of 1,000 people a day...and they fed 3,000 on the day before Thanksgiving. They offer free showers and clothes to anyone who needs them, which meant our bags were absolutely perfect for this establishment. Their visitors are predominately women and they even had a huge recent donation form a local laundromat who donated all of the unclaimed clothing they had accumulated. This mission serves as the "hub" of the area and helps all of the surrounding missions when they need it, which Mike let us know is often. We thanked Mike for the information and for solidifying our choice of where we chose to donate.

We then met up with my cousin Cory, his girlfriend Lyn and the most well-behaved young girls we have seen in a while for linner (lunch-dinner...it was like, 3:30pm) at BJ's Brewhouse. It was great to catch up and enjoy a nice meal together!
Post-dinner at BJ's.
Now, we are enjoying our last warmish night in California while the rest of the country is freezing and are getting ready to wake up bright and early for our next RAK and to drive over to Joshua Tree...then on to Vegas!

If you'd like to help us hit $6,000 (we are less that $100 away!), you can donate to the RAK Roadtrip right here.

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