Friday and Saturday, March 5-6, 2010
Knoxville to Palo Alto to Carmel


Friday: Our flight left Knoxville at 2:15 p.m. We changed planes in Atlanta and arrived at San Francisco International Airport just over eight hours later, at 7:30 p.m. Enterprise had a little gray Toyota Corolla waiting for us, and we drove 20 miles southeast to a Comfort Inn in Palo Alto.

Just down the street from the hotel, we had a great dinner, with fantastic fresh salsa, at Celia's Mexican Restaurant, 3740 El Camino Real. I (Jana) had the crab enchiladas. Being this close to the ocean, I felt seafood was in order. Tom had beef, never feeling that seafood is in order. Both were excellent.

After dinner I called my nephew Jacob and made plans to meet him at noon tomorrow outside Otero, his dorm on the Stanford University campus. Then I hit the hay, my brain still operating on Knoxville time.

Saturday: Kudos to Comfort Inn on a great breakfast. In addition to the typical hotel fare of toast and waffles, they offered boiled eggs, sausage, bacon, cheese, and hash browns. It was actually a real meal.

In the late morning, we checked out and drove through some of Palo Alto's residential neighborhoods and then through its cute downtown. The sidewalks were bustling with people frequenting the numerous cafes and shops.

We entered the Stanford campus via Palm Drive, drove around the Oval, and made our way over to Wilbur Hall, an on-campus residence complex consisting of eight dorms. I found a place outside Wilbur to illegally park and telephoned Jacob. He met us at the car, together we moved to an authorized parking spot, and then Jake gave us a campus tour on foot.



Palm Drive, through the Memorial Arch, Stanford

Jake lives in Otereo, an all-frosh co-ed dorm with three single-gender floors. The guy floor is sandwiched between two girl floors, hence a "manwich." Yes, life is tough for my poor nephew. <Eyes rolling>



"The Manwich"

The buildings of Stanford's Main Quad are some of the oldest on campus, featuring the striking nonsectarian Memorial Church, dedicated in 1903.



Corner of the Main Quad

The campus is littered with art, including the second largest collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures in the world. (The largest collection is in Paris.) Jacob and I posed with the "Burghers of Calais." The photo lies. I am not short. He is freakishly tall!



Jacob and Jana and the Burghers of Calais

Stanford is home to the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, a conservative public policy research institute founded in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, a member of the university's first graduating class in 1895 and the 31st president of the United States.

The 285-foot Hoover Tower has an observation platform on the 14th floor from which to view the campus and the San Francisco Bay area. It was the first time Jacob had been up in the tower. Good thing I was there to show him around!



Memorial Church from Hoover Tower



Our first glimpse of San Francisco

The three of us had a late lunch in the Tresidder Memorial Union at The Treehouse. Tom and I each had a beer with our lunch, just because we could. Oklahoma State University, my alma mater, doesn't allow beer on campus, so officially-authorized beer at school was a novelty for me.

Stanford's campus is gorgeous, and we were lucky to be there on a clear, sunny day. Tom and I were so impressed that we considered applying for admission on the spot! Jacob invited us to stay in his dorm once we enrolled. What a generous nephew!

After lunch, Tom and I left Stanford and headed for Highway 1, a/k/a the Pacific Coast Highway. We reached the coast at Santa Cruz, turned south, and found a room for the night at the Village Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. We thought a hotel in Carmel might be prohibitively expensive, but it was actually a good deal.

Our hotel was a mile from the beach. We walked down the very steep hill and enjoyed a lovely sunset. There were tons of dogs at the beach. This is a dog-loving town!



Carmel-by-the-Sea

Having eaten a late lunch, we weren't particularly hungry, even after walking the steep mile back to our hotel. It's a good thing, too, because it looked like dinner in Carmel would probably cost more than our hotel room. So we just bought some cheese and pepperoni at a nearby store to snack on later instead of going out.



Pacific sunset from Carmel Beach

Continue to March 7, 2010

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