To the Batcave!

To the Batcave!

Like colorful soda bubbles rising to the surface, we were zipping and twisting up and through the San Francisco hills to Sutro Tower. The music was pumping through the speakers matching the sweet, but subdued, excitement of the morning. The wind was chasing us with a greater speed than we could escape it. I felt like I was a passenger on Mario Kart Racing where it was a neck and neck race to the top of the hill.

SurveySutro3_Fotor_Collage Twin Peaks, an overlook of the city and home of Sutro Tower, a satellite that is visible from Alex and Andrew’s apartment and acts as a reference point when they are navigating the city, is where we surveyed the land. We climbed the hill only to find the winds whipping us into a frenzy like the creamy clouds swiftly moving above. We could see the Golden Gate to our nine o’clock, Main Street at our noon (follow its path through the city and you’ll come to the Ferry Building clock tower we were at the day before).



San Francisco, a city of fog and wind, was built upon the Gold Rush of the mid 1800s. Many flocked to pan for gold! Many found it and many found ways to profit from the rush in other ways. LeviRyder_Fotor_Collage

Levi Strauss jeans* were Ryder’s adamant uniform of choice for his time in San Francisco. The once canvas clad pants, with copper rivets and double stitching, was the gold miners “must have” or otherwise they would have ripped through their thin clothing and commenced sluicing gold in the nude. Ryder found his studies of Mr. Strauss, a panhandler from New York, who failed to find gold but found wealth through endless pants innovation, a pioneer of his time.


Eyes full but bellies gurgling, we raced down the hills to a neighborhood Farmer’s market. Ryder insisted he had zero interest in said activity, but I told him it was my turn to explore.


Leaving his car seat with great hesitation, Ryder started to see the benefits of making this pit stop. Before long his arms, and mine, were filled with local treats: granny smith apples, bouquets of bay leaves, jars of alfalfa and orange blossom honey, and the pièce de résistance – a pint of still warm from the sun California strawberries. They were gone in sixty seconds flat.



The next track we caught was to Golden Gate Park (which oddly is nowhere near Golden Gate Bridge, but it has buffaloes!). Ryder had three main requests for his trip to California: 1. See Alex. 2. Ride an airplane 3. Go to parks, i.e. playgrounds.



Golden Gate Park playground did not disappoint! Included within was a beautifully spinning carousel with unique animals on its large saucer display: lions, pigs, ostrich, camels, and frogs. The boys rode around in exquisite style.


Next was the box slide. A double track downhill raceway of smoothed cement, kids brought scraps of Amazon boxes to race faster and faster. I especially loved the forethought and ingenuity of the kid who brought a convertible style refrigerator box, in his own world, he never noticed the jealous racers surrounding his hot rod.




After what felt like endless laps on the slide, we caught some sushi a few blocks from the park. Chris and I are adamant that our kids try new foods and this insistence can be just as grueling as a scooter traveling up a steep San Francisco hill. The miso soup was instantly declared, “Gross. No thank you.” before it even met his lips. His tempura-fried shrimp arrived, perfectly done. Tears in his eyes and promises of bathroom conference meetings, the journey was looking dismal. Until finally a compromise was offered, “May I try the soup on my shrimp?” Done. Amazingly enough this combo meal was soon declared one of the best meals on the trip (not to be topped by the Ferry Market sandwich).


Checkered flags waving, I was inwardly declaring Finish Line! Here’s one for the parental coaches everywhere! (The next evening we had cactus and mushrooms we had bought from the Farmer’s market, we will call that race a tie – one bite of cactus fully consumed, three gagging faces later, he at least met the minimal terms of the “new-foods-be-thankful” contract.)

Another full day lapped, we holed up in The Batcave Alex had prepared for Ryder’s arrival. The iPad warmed, his eyelids drooped, and the device was quickly plastered to his forehead as he dozed off to level Dreamland. Raceway cleared. Vehicles secured in the garage until morning.



*This post was brought to you by:
Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea! A Fairly Fabricated Story of a Pair of Pants. Written by Tony Johnston and Illustrated by Stacy Innerst.

Levi Strauss and Blue Jeans. Written by Nathan Olson and Illustrated by Dave Hoover, Keith Williams, and Charles Barnett III.

8 Replies to “To the Batcave!”

  1. I need a batcave, Alex! I’m glad you guys had a great time. Way to go, Ryder, for trying the shrimp. Savannah would be proud of you…shrimp is one of her favorite things to eat. Um, I hope you bought some of that amazing-looking honey, Charity!

  2. What fun pictures; looks like Ryder had a lot of fun too!! My favorite pic is: well,
    two are: the one of Ryder w/jeans on the rock and the one of him paying the clerk in the store w/his red hair from behind – how precious is that? It looks like you all had a wonderful time together – making memories!!

  3. What awesome adventures! But I have to say, Uncle Alex’s batcave is my favorite thing…it is a fortunate nephew indeed to have such a loving and creative uncle in his life!! So fun and so thoughtful! (The jeans are a close second…and that story was riveting. Sorry.) I also love that Ryder is old enough to remember this trip forever…wonderful memories.