This story is part of Scout’s Whole40 Challenge:
-40 dollars (per week)
Find the guidelines and full story here.
When Daniel’s phone blared One Republic’s “Good Life” at 4:00 a.m., I knew Scout had talked us into something terrible. Why did we ever agree to wake up at 4:00 a.m. on a Sunday?
As I wandered into the kitchen for a glass of water, Scout jumped up and declared, “Don’t wait to travel!” as he and Daniel hurriedly made coffee. I ignored Scout’s morning enthusiasm, but he went right on talking. He described his dreams, his hopes, his goals. Then he launched into a verbose explanation of his night vision and something about rabbits being crepuscular. This is when I asked him to please stop. It was 4:05 a.m. and all I needed at that hour was a pitcher of coffee.
Scout rushed me as I brushed my teeth. The more I ignored him, the more persistent he became. He kept saying, “Don’t wait to travel, Anna. Don’t wait!” like it was some kind of life-giving mantra.
Into the darkness
By 4:49 a.m., we were out the door only 19 minutes later than we planned. Scout was exceedingly annoyed, but Daniel reassured us that we’d make it on time. I wasn’t sure. After all, we live in Vacaville and our destination was San Francisco. That’s 50+ miles and several bridges to cross.
(Scout tip: If you’re planning a drive into the City, expect tolls at $7/car. There’s one as you enter the City on the Bay Bridge and one as you leave the City. If you’re a local, you already know to get a FasTrak pass for your car. If you’re new to the area, be sure to have some cash on hand. I told Scout that the tolls were coming out of his “Adventure Budget”. He insisted that was unfair since we had a FasTrak pass and “the FasTrak didn’t even beep when we passed through the toll.” I know he thinks this means we won’t be charged, but it just means we’ll get a ticket in the mail next month. Unfortunately, cheating the system is harder than it seems.)
Scout declared, “Don’t wait to travel!”
Christmas Tree Point
As we drove, Daniel and Scout smiled because they love when they beat the sunlight. As they smiled, their enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I was finally glad to be on this adventure. Soon, we’d all be watching the sunrise from one of the highest hills in San Francisco: Christmas Tree Point. (Scout tip: For an exact location and driving directions, check out this page on SF Station.)
Spoiler alert: you might see views like this.
Daniel was right about the time. We arrived and parked by 6:00 a.m. It turns out that a 5:00 a.m. drive to the City is exceedingly pleasant. Why? NO TRAFFIC. And if you know anything about the Bay Area, you know that this is something of a miracle. (Scout tip: Leave early and obnoxiously force your friends to leave early with you.)
Scout wants you to know that he and Daniel landed us free front row paring at Christmas Tree Point. Again, this is something of a miracle for a popular destination in the City. (Scout tip: If you arrive a little later around 6:30 a.m., you’ll have to park at the bottom of the hill and walk up the winding road in the darkness. If you like walking up winding roads in the darkness, then by all means, please sleep in a little later.)
Scout tip: Leave early and obnoxiously force your friends to leave early with you.
Karl the Fog
Once we parked, Scout and Daniel got out and stood in the darkness. Of course, I joined them for this existential moment. As we stood on the ledge in the darkness, fog enveloped us. It was simultaneously eerie and comforting. It reminded Scout and I of George McDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind. Have you read it? Well, this was our At the Back of the East Bay Fog. But we’ve been rude to call him, “Fog”. His name is actually “Karl” and you can follow him right here on Twitter like we do.
As the sun’s first light appeared on the horizon, Karl began to clear a little. Scout insisted that Karl moved just for us, but I think it may have been a tad more complicated than that. Regardless, we just stood there and wondered why we waited so long to do this. (Scout tip: “Don’t wait to travel!” Just get up early and go!)
The elderly gentleman and his son
As we watched the breathtaking sunrise over the Bay, I observed something truly heartwarming. Of course, Scout told me to stop staring, but I just had to know these peoples’ story.
There was a man in his forties (I assumed) sitting in the back of his car with an elderly gentleman who (I assumed) was his father. They had woolen blankets, coffee thermoses, and even Baileys for a splash of cream. From where I stood, I could only see the son as he lovingly poured the coffee for his father while they enjoyed the sunrise together.
People say a lot of things about San Franciscans, but here was a testament to the warmth of the human spirit. Positive father-son relationships are rare and yet, here was a father and a son enjoying the sunrise together. I had to talk to them and take their picture. Scout asked me to please refrain. Daniel just chuckled, but his eyes silently pleaded, “please refrain”.
“What would Phil do?”
As I stood there considering my meet-cute options, I wished I was as brave as Phil Rosenthal on Somebody Feed Phil. “Phil would just walk up and say good morning,” I thought. “I should be more like Phil.”
As I talked myself into bidding this father-son duo “good morning”, a woman suddenly emerged from the back of the car. Wait… a woman? What had they done with that sweet elderly gentleman sipping his Irish coffee?
Daniel and Scout erupted in laughter as we all had a sudden realization: there was no elderly gentleman. There was no heartwarming father-son relationship story. There was no redemption for San Franciscans! There was just a lame, happy couple drinking coffee in the trunk of their car.
Wait… a woman? What had they done with the sweet elderly gentleman sipping his Irish coffee?
“What would Phil do in this situation?” I assume he would still go over and say “good morning”. What did I do in this situation? I created a distraction and began singing, “O say can you see by the dawn’s early light…” at the top of my lungs.
(Scout tip: Never assume. Oh, and “Don’t wait to travel!”)
As much as we enjoy post-apocalyptic moments like this…
…it was time to bid Karl the Fog a lovely Sunday and grab ourselves a cup of coffee. When Scout asked, “Where to?” Daniel suggested Saint Frank and we all headed to San Francisco’s best coffee shop.
We know words like “best” are sweeping and exclusive. And yet, we’re okay with that this time. In this rare instance, we use this word unabashedly. Heck, we use this word proudly!
Saint Frank is, quite frankly, the BEST cup of coffee in San Francisco.
We took this unassuming photo for a reason. To be frank (puns… always puns), we didn’t want to distract you with the views along San Francisco’s iconic Polk Street or the perfectly poured microfoam or the chic downtown ambiance. Sure, Saint Frank serves each of these elements with unassuming ease, but that’s not why we love them. We love them because, quite simply, they source, roast, and brew a gorgeous cup of bean water.
Saint Frank’s deserves its own story so we’ll save our full description for a future post. In the meantime, please oh please go visit them! While you’re there, don’t forget to snag one of their salted butter blueberry muffins. They are transcendent.
What’s the damage to Scout’s $40/week budget? Let’s break it down:
- Bridge trolls… er… TOLLS: $4.50 ($14 total split three ways between Scout and Team Frymire)
- Parking at Christmas Tree Point: FREE
- Parking at Saint Frank’s: FREE street parking on Sundays
- Small Americano: $3.00
- Salted butter blueberry muffin: $3.50
- GRAND TOTAL: $11
Don’t wait to travel
After a breathtaking sunrise, transcendent blueberry muffin, and the best cup of coffee in San Francisco, Scout and Team Frymire headed home. By 9:15 a.m., we were back in Vacaville and ready for church, Costco, and our usual Sunday routine.
For $11, Scout had an adventure as fun as any he’s had on his travels overseas. All he did was get up and go! As we reminisced about our morning, I couldn’t help but think of Scout’s mantra. It irritated me at 4:00 a.m., but now that I think about it, maybe Scout was on to something. We tend to wait until things are “perfect” or we have a vacation day or we can afford a plane ticket before we get up and go. I know we’re lucky to live in the Bay Area right now, but I’d venture to guess that each of us lives near cool people and places. So why do we wait? Maybe there’s something to that little life-giving mantra of Scout’s…
“Don’t wait to travel.”
“Don’t wait to travel.”
“Don’t wait to travel.”
Where will YOU go?