After Marco's full recovery from food poisoning, we were back in the car and headed to Bridgeport, California making our way through the wild Sierra Nevadas. The Sierras are a mountain range 404 miles in length in the eastern part of California and bordering with the state of Nevada. As beautiful as they look, the drive is pretty hair raising; with it's many twists and turns, constant elevation changes, and roads that are so narrow only one car can pass at a time. During the drive I couldn't help and think to myself 'how did early explorers ride through these mountains with just their wagons and horses?' Meanwhile, I was having a difficult time controlling our Volkswagon, the Silver Bullet (I apologize, I haven't had the pleasure to formally introduce her yet). In the final hour of our drive we started to notice the sky getting darker, as it began to rain. The rain quickly turned into little flurries, and started to set all around us. By the time we arrived at the Bridgeport Inn, it was fully snowing. We couldn't wait to get inside and watch the snow fall through our bedroom window.
The Inn was built in 1877 back when the first set of miners were migrating from the East during the famous Gold Rush. As you walk in, there is definitely a pioneer ambiance all around you; the dark mahogany cocktail bar, the flowered wallpaper, steep stairs lined with bright red carpet, and the lace curtains covering up the French pained windows. It was unlike any place we had stayed in. Our room was on the second floor down a long dark corridor, lined with wallpaper that seemed like it hasn't been replaced since the 1800s. Although quaint and cozy, it did emit Stanley-esque hotel vibes and I admit I walked quite quickly down the hall, afraid at any moment the Grady twins would pop out and ask me to go play with them.
As the snow piled on to the floor outside, we didn't want to leave the warmth of our little 1877 bedroom. The reason we had made a stop in Bridgeport was not to look for gold, but to swim in these secret (or not so secret) hot springs: Travertine Springs. We decided we couldn't let a little bad weather destroy our plans as we scraped the snow off our windshield and drove off in search of the springs. Down a dirt road and up a small mountain we went as the temperature in the car read 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius) and the snow fluttered all around us. We finally arrived to what seemed like a parking area, and hiked our way through the lower Sierras. After 20 minutes of hiking around in circles we found the four springs. We threw our clothes off and jumped into the hot sulfuric water, basking in the water as the snow landed on our heads and formed icicles in our hair. The hardest part was leaving the warm water behind, running through the snow and throwing your clothes on, before you got frostbite. We drove back to the Inn, took warm baths and settled downstairs in the bar enjoying some beers for the night.
The following morning (thankfully no ghost sightings) we enjoyed a warm breakfast at the Inn's tavern, and set off for San Francisco.
We made our way down to San Francisco after spending one day in Sacramento, which we used as a pit stop for washing clothes, getting some work done, and eating some delicious pizza. Other than that, there is nothing much to report about Sacramento because we left antsy to arrive to the Bay Area. It was Marco's first time in the beautiful city and it had been 9 years since the time in which I lived and studied here. I have always had a special place in my heart for San Francisco. It's not because the city is lined with beautiful Victorian houses, it's colorful citizens, or incredible food at every corner, but because there is a certain smell to the city, unlike any other in the world. It is a combination of Eucalyptus trees, fresh ocean air, food, and a hint of SF I cannot describe, but as we drove I rolled down the window and took deep slow breaths of the city.
We stayed at my aunts house in the Lower Haight area and besides eating a lot of delicious food, we walked the entire city, exploring every nook and crevice, sipping on espressos in North Beach, running in Golden Gate park, walking the Golden Gate bridge, and exploring Sausalito. But mainly, eating. A lot. There was some Thai food, dim sum, pastries, bobba teas, fresh breads, raw vegetables, and of course hot dogs at the Giants baseball game. We also had the opportunity to meet up with some friends we met during our adventure in Iceland two years ago. We caught up and had a couple of drinks at a bar called Driftwood. Interesting side story... by befriending the bartender/manager of the bar we discovered that in its previous years, Driftwood has almost always been a gay bar. So to honor the past, the owner has kept a few penis memorabilia secretly lying around in areas such as the top of the bar, or right behind the door in the bathrooms.
We left San Francisco, very happy and full, but knowing that we will definitely be back to visit when we get a chance.