California Day 1

For Andrea’s kids spring break we decided to take a week long trip to California. The impetus for this idea came from an email I received from a subscription site that I am a part of called Next Vacay. The email was an alert on flights from Cincinnati to San Francisco for $150 round trip per person! We just knew that we had to take advantage of that deal! And, as you will see, it was totally worth it.

We flew out on a Tuesday morning in early April, waking up much earlier than any human should. With what we had planned for the day, we knew it was going to be a long time before sleep would come again since California is on Pacific time which is three hours behind us. But, that’s the price you pay for adventure, right? A few hours later we were in San Francisco picking up our rental car, err, I mean boat. It was a massive Dodge Durango and much bigger than any car I had ever driven before. It took some time to get used to.

Our first destination was not in the city, but actually well outside of it. In fact, we did not plan on doing anything in San Francisco proper until the following Sunday. But, we were in luck in that we were going north and Google maps had us going over the Golden Gate Bridge.

I had been to San Francisco a little over 20 years ago and had seen it before, but it was still nice to see it again. Plus, Andrea and the kids had never been there before. We had about an hour drive to our first stop in Fairfield, the Jelly Belly factory!

The factory tour is completely free. There are plenty of stops on the way for a self-guided tour, but if you call ahead or get online you can book a guided tour as well. Roll that beautiful bean footage!

As you can see, there is a lot going on in the process. And, as shown below, there are a ton of different varieties of jelly beans too.

They even have someone that makes jelly bean art!

There were many more examples of bean art around the factory, including more than a few of President Ronald Reagan, but these were some of my favorites. President Reagan was a huge fan of Jelly Belly jelly beans and had them around him constantly. The president will show up a few more times during our trip too.

The factory tour was quite educational and fun. I would highly recommend it if you are a fan of the jelly beans and if you are in the area. And, of course, at the end you can buy just about any jelly bean they sell. I picked up a few bags of their Dr. Pepper jelly beans while Andrea bought the buttered popcorn variety.

After the tour we were off to Sacramento to see the state capitol building. I may have mentioned this before, but one of our travel goals is to see all the capitol buildings of each of the 50 states that make up the United States. This one in California would end up being our 12th capitol building so far.

Like many of our state capitols, this building is based off of the nation’s capitol building in Washington, D.C. It was finished in 1874 and has been used as the seat of government for California since then. On the grounds were many examples of the flora from around the state including the famous redwood and sequoia trees, palm trees, and many other trees and flowers.

The inside was almost as nice as the outside. We started the tour at a statue of Ronald Reagan (I told you he would pop up again).

Does anyone else think his legs look really tiny?

The tour was quite interesting. We learned all sorts of things about the capitol building itself and some of the more recent governors. First we saw the senate chamber. It was sort of modeled after the British parliaments House of Lords with it having a red carpet.

The senate chamber featured a portrait of President George Washington, who was more representative of the upper class, much like the House of Lords.

By contrast, the house of representatives was more in line with British House of Commons with its’ green carpet and portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, a known common man of the people.

We even ran into the Governator!

After Sacramento we headed back to the bay area, Oakland specifically, for a baseball game between the Oakland A’s and Boston Red Sox. Next to their stadium is Oracle Arena where the Golden State Warriors play.

The A’s, and the Oakland Raiders of the NFL, play in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum.

The stadium is considered to be one of the worst places to watch a baseball game out of all of the MLB stadiums. After seeing just a little bit of it, I could understand why. It is huge and it didn’t help that it was mostly empty. It did not make for a great atmosphere, unlike some other stadiums I have been to.

The game itself ended at 1-0 with the A’s winning. The only run was scored on a home run in the first inning. Unfortunately, we did not get to our seats until sometime during the second inning. So that made for a boring game. I was looking forward to more offense since the Red Sox had just won the World Series last year. Oh well.

After the game we walked back to our hotel room for some much deserved rest. It was well past our bedtime and we had a lot of driving planned for the next day!

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