I mean, Day 6 though. Day 6 is awesome not only because we get to experience a new destination but also because…MORE FRIENDS!!!11
But first. First, though, breakfast. We woke up on Day 6 at a relatively normal time. I think maybe we rolled out of bed a little before 7. We had a drive ahead of us that day for sure, but we still had a few bits of Yosemite to enjoy.
For one, Nickie and Laura ended up making breakfast reservations at the The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (now called the Ahwahnee Hotel) when they visited the day before.
The original plan was just coffee and pastries at the Coffee Corner, so this was an obvious step up. On account of it was more expensive. That’s always a good sign.
After we put our name in, we hung out in the lobby of the hotel for a little bit. It’s a pretty place for sure.
It’s considered a masterpiece of “parkitecture.” I mean, at least according to Wikipedia.
Soon enough, our table was ready and we made our way through the stone arches into the dining room.
It was definitely a pretty room. Interestingly, though, those big windows? They just looked at trees. Like, there wasn’t much of a view from the dining room. Which was super weird. I think this may have been the only place in Yosemite where I couldn’t see some sort of mountain. And the hotel was surrounded by mountains. This is what it looked like from the outside.
But they covered the windows with trees. And I mean. Mountains>trees. That is a scientific fact.
There was one place in the dining room with a really nice view, actually.
For breakfast, you can choose to either get a la carte or buffet. One comes with a set amount of food. The other comes with endless food. This was a real Sophie’s Choice.
Pfft, no it wasn’t. OF COURSE I got the buffet.
As you can see above, I went for the eggs benedict, bacon, sausage, home fries, and chocolate crossaint for my first plate.
As you can see, there are no waffles on my plate. I bring this up to say there were NEVER waffles on my plate. Oh yeah…there was a place to get waffles at the buffet. Look, Owen snagged one on his plate.
But they never replenished them after he got the last one. Like, never. I must have gone up like 4 times to check. Waffles? More like Wawfuls. How do you not replenish the waffles? People love waffles. I could understand waiting if the yogurt or the fruit ran out. But waffles? For shame.
Actually, though, the fruit was pretty delicious up there.
In fact, the food I did have? It was really good. Those eggs benedicts were very very good. So I would still recommend it. But the waffle situation HAS to improve.
For a while, Owen claimed this was his favorite meal of the trip. The kids so enjoyed their meal, they even pretended to like each other for a few minutes.
After breakfast, we checked out the gift shop and hung out in the meadow outside for a little bit, taking in the beautiful day.
And then it was off to another hike. Well, honestly, this was more of a walk. I wore flip-flops. So don’t act too impressed.
We wanted to see Lower Yosemite Falls, which was only a 1 mile, super easy loop. So we hopped in the cars and drove over to the trailhead. And yeah, this was an easy walk. But still, really pretty.
The walk out probably took like 15 minutes or so. I don’t know what TLC was talking about because chasing waterfalls proved to be pretty fruitful that day.
After the falls, as we walked back to the car, we figured we should at least get a look at El Capitan. We didn’t have time to Free Solo it or anything, but take what you can get right? So we drove over to the Valley Loop trailhead and headed into the woods.
El Capitan is Spanish. For “The Capitan.”
And there it was – El Capitan. Everyone was saying they could see climbers on the left side near the tree in that picture. I couldn’t. And I still can’t. They probably made it all up to make me look like some sort of blind idiot Mister Magoo.
We did have to hit the road but we decided to make one more small detour before leaving Yosemite. We had to see Tunnel View. That’s like “the” view.
From here, you can see Bridalveil Falls to your right, El Capitan to your left, and Half Dome off in the distance. It’s a pretty insane view.
Also pretty insane? The parking around Tunnel View. I wish I got a pic of it, but it was pretty nuts. We had to circle a couple times to find a spot. But still, totally worth it.
And that was it for Yosemite. And man, I would definitely go back. I feel like we only scratched the surface with what we saw. I think we did a good job of hitting some of the highlights, but I would love to have more time to explore someday.
For the ride back to the coast, Matt and Laura took the Mustang and Nickie and I took all the kids in the Suburban. Now. Prior to this arrangement, Laura, thinking we were taking the Mustang, asked that we not drive too far ahead since all we had were our walkie talkies to keep in touch as service was meh. To which I, of course, promised I would stay close.
Thankfully, even though he took the Mustang, Matt stayed true to this promise and stayed close to us whilst in the Suburban.
Pfft, of course he didn’t. Once we were on the road outside of the park, he switched lanes and drove past us and out of sight. Like, literally. Out. Of. Sight. We didn’t end up seeing him until we were in Monterey.
That’s some classic Nerney. LOTS of stress on the “ass” in classic.
Anyways though – the ride to Monterey was a pretty one. Once again hitting a lot of winding roads, cliffsides, and nature on all sides. About an hour and a half after leaving Tunnel View, we started to come into Mariposa. And as lunch time was upon us, we decided it as a good time to stop. To our left, we saw Happy Burger Diner. Since we are fans of both burgers and being happy, seemed the right place to stop.
It was a really funky-looking little place. The inside was covered with album covers, which the boys seemed to enjoy pointing out.
And there was a jukebox, which of course Myles was allllll over. I believe he ended up playing a mix which included “Feliz Navidad,” Vampire Weekend, and Eminem, which resulted in the owner coming over and turning down the volume. So proud.
We did notice that it said orders would take about 30-40 minutes but eh, we had time. So we placed our orders and had a seat. And check this out – I kind of have a picture of everything the boys got. Sort of.
Myles got a corn dog with a side of fries. Jack went for the BBQ beef sandwich with a side of fries. Owen had the cheeseburger also with a side of fries. And Will opted for the salad bar with a side of onion rings. Kid loves his salad bars.
Nickie ordered the patty melt while I. I mean I had to get the Happy Burger.
The Happy Burger was DE-licious. 1000 island, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and cheese (I opted for no onions).
Everyone looked to really enjoy their lunch so I am definitely glad we decided to stop in, instead of choosing the quicker lunch at the Burger King across the street.
Also, while at the Happy Burger, we entered into yet another chapter in the saga known as…
GlassGate 2019: Chapter 4
After we placed our order, we noticed our bars were back so I went outside to place a call to the LensCrafters in order to confirm we would in fact be in later that day to pick up my frames.
The woman I reached on the phone, however, informed me that since these were special orders they would not be ready in time. Something about them most likely not fitting right or something. So instead of them being ready today, they would be ready in 7 days.
I told her we would only be in Monterey that one day and that the woman we talked to yesterday guaranteed they would be ready today. But my words fell on deaf ears. She told me there was nothing she could do. So I went ahead and cancelled the order.
I came in and told Nickie the bad news. She then walked outside to give them a call.
And she really Nickie’d them apparently. Because when she was back at the table, she informed me they agreed to have them ready by 4PM that day. Like, 3 hours from time of call. She’s a friggin’ miracle.
Will the LensCrafters stick to their word? Will I actually be able to see before night falls? Stay tuned for our next chapter later in this post!
On the rest of the over-three-hour ride to Monterey, the boys decided to listen to every Vampire Weekend song in order, from their first album to their most recent as we made our way back to the coast. And that…was pretty awesome actually.
At least I thought so. Nickie was less enthused. But still, nice ride for sure. Lots of changing landscapes, from forest and mountains to desert to, finally, some coast/ocean again. We had arrived in Monterey!
Being that it after 4:00, we drove directly to LensCrafters to pick up my glasses since they were to be ready by 4PM, which means its time for…
GlassesGate 2019: Chapter 5
We drove to the LensCrafters in Monterey and parked leaving the kids in the car as they, for some reason, did not agree with us that you could “tell a lot about a town from its eye care facilities.”
Nickie and I walked into the store, gave them my name, and the man went in back to look for my glasses. And guess what happened? Go on, take a guess.
My glasses were ready and we all lived happily ever after? Pfft. You’re so stupid.
Nope. They were not. They were of course taking longer than expected and would now not be ready until 6:00PM.
You know, I would have been fine if they had just told us 7:00 originally. Like, why not just give us that time? We would have come at 6:00, picked them up, and everything would have been fine.
Whatever, Monterey LensCrafters. See you at 6:00.
WILL my glasses be ready at the scheduled time…this time? Will I be able to see what I am eating by dinner? Will Nickie give them hell? Stay tuned. Yet one more chapter to go in this post.
We hopped BACK in the Suburban and drove to our hotel – The Portola Hotel & Spa, dropped off the Suburban, and went to check in (while Will and Jack went up to their room to meet up with Matt and Laura.)
They greeted us with a nice, warm cookie upon checking in. I am still in awe that every hotel doesn’t do this. It really goes a long way.
Our room was nice, though that area beyond the windows? It wasn’t a balcony. It overlooked a courtyard but it was just a screen.
The room had one of those air evaporators rather than an air conditioner. And at first, I was like “whaaa?” But honestly, it was really cool in Monterey. In fact, at night it got cold. Like, real cold. So simply having the window open did the job. Though Monterey does appear to have some of the most talkative birds in the country. I bet they were all just excited about the return of Big Little Lies.
While we were relaxing in the room, we got the word. The word that more friends were coming. Which was great news since Matt tried to leave us in Yosemite.
But yes! The Falzones had arrived. Tony. Larissa. Mia. So much Falzone. I had also received a text that my glasses were ready so Nickie and I decided to head down to the lobby, say a quick hello to the Falzones and then run over to LensCrafters to (hopefully) get my glasses.
We saw them in the lobby, all exchanged so many “happy to see you” hugs, grabbed the Mustang, and headed over to LensCrafters for…
GlassesGate 2019: Chapter 6
As we approached LensCrafters, I decided I needed a picture to commemorate what should be the final chapter in GlassesGate 2019.
I walked in, gave the woman our name (the man we dealt with before had left) and she retrieved an envelope from the back room. My glasses. Glory be. To LensCrafter’s credit, it was awesome of them to have them done in a day.
But the whole runaround thing was too much for Nickie so of course she talked to the manager, who said she would be sure to call us once she had a chance to talk to the main office.
That call? It never happened. Shocking.
But no matter. I had them. I had my glasses!
But…is this the end of our tale? Is there more to our story? Keep reading the blog to find out…if this is the end of….GLASSESGATE 2019!
When we got back to the hotel, the Falzones were all unpacked so we knocked on their door and all made our way to the Nerneys’ room. I grabbed some whiskey, Nickie grabbed some wine, and we all hung out for a bit. We filled the Falzones in on the trip so far. The Falzones filled us in on their trip down from SFO. And I was pretty excited to have so many people I love in one place. #blessed.
After we drank our drinks and conversed our conversation, we all went back to our respective rooms to get ready for dinner, which based on how tired everyone was feeling, was decided to be at the hotel. At Peter B’s Brewpub.
I really dug the atmosphere in the pub. Pretty relaxed. You know…”brewpub-y.”
The boys were pretty excited to have Mia to hang out with. She brought some pretty awesome Star Wars toys along with her, showing that her parents are doing the whole parenting thing right.
And we were all excited to just be hanging out with each other. The conversations got pretty loud on both sides of the table. I don’t recall a ton of the conversation going on…just that we were all pretty loud. I do remember Matt and Tony talking a lot about…I don’t know…Information Technology? I dunno.
But their conversation does provide a nice seque. On account of we got some apps. Get it? Apps. Like…technology or something.
Whatever. We got some appetizers to start with. Some are pictured below.
We ordered the mini corn dogs, calamari, cheese curds, and hummus plate. All of it was good. Although the calamari was a tad off-putting. They were like calamari…sticks. I don’t know. I mean, still tasted ok…but the presentation was odd.
Now, onto the entrees. Dinner…was a mixed bag. I SWEAR I took more food pictures. But for some reason, all I can find pictures of are my fish tacos, which were very good. Just enough spice and a ton of flavor.
I am gonna do my best to remember what everyone ordered. I know Laura ordered the Ahi Tuna sandwich. I know this because she gave me some of it. And it was rull good. Matt, I think, got the fish and chips, which he said was tasty. And Tony got the taco salad, which he liked but said was hella-spicy. On the plus side, though, he did say he was proud of himself for ordering something healthy.
Both Nickie and Larissa ordered the Bolognese. And erm. Well. This wasn’t the best. It took literally an entire lifetime to arrive and when it did, it definitely wasn’t what they wanted. Not good.
As for the kids, I know Jack got the pretzel and Mia ordered the grilled cheese. Both seemed pleased with those choices. Will got some sort of taco, but didn’t like it. Which was weird on account of how much I liked my fish tacos.
I don’t know WHAT he’s taco-ing about.
I know Owen got the macaroni and cheese because he hated it. Also, I hated it. It was a very hated macaroni and cheese. Which is an uncommon thing.
The one dish I knew I would remember was Myles’s dish. He got the chicken and waffle sandwich. Which, I know, doesn’t seem all that memorable. But it came with this sauce. Wait, did I say sauce? I meant abomination. It tasted like 1/3 maple syrup, 1/3 molasses, and 1/3 hot garbage. Seriously. This stuff was BAD. I can’t imagine anyone thinking this tasted good. In fact, I don’t even see it on the menu anymore. Smart, Peter B’s. Smart.
So yeah, dinner was a roller coaster of emotions.
After dinner, a few of us headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Which is a magical place. Because they just hand you free clam chowder.
Yeah, all the restaurants hand out free samples of clam chowder. Have you ever had free clam chowder before? It’s delicious.
But while we could spend all night making restaurants regret the whole “free clam chowder” decision, we were down on the wharf for two reasons.
…and ice cream.
We loaded up on some taffy and random candies and some of us had ice cream. I know its hard to believe, but I was actually too full for ice cream. Which was a new feeling for me. Tony, sensing something wrong with the world, did buy me a crème brulee truffle. So I mean. He really cares about me.
Bed was calling to us – especially the Falzones as they came in from the East Coast earlier that day – so we all walked back to the hotel and to our respective rooms. Our next day was gonna be a full one so we definitely needed some rest. See you guys on Day 7…it’s a good one so don’t miss it!