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On the road with Meg

By Mike Fink
CNN Headline News

Golden Gate Bridge
Mike Fink and his daughter Meg on the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco (California)
Leisure (general)

(CNN) -- My wife had business in San Francisco, so we decided to cash in frequent flyer miles and make a family weekend out of it.

Although San Francisco is not a particularly convenient place to get to from our home in Atlanta, it's not every day you find yourself with free time in the San Francisco area with your 7-month-old daughter. Needless to say, I was excited about the trip. While it was tempting to stay close to the hotel, I decided to venture as far as little Meg would let me.

We started out on Highway 92 toward Half Moon Bay. We passed the Christmas tree farms and nurseries until we made it into town. It was fitting Meg and I visit Half Moon Bay since it has a place in my family's history. Twenty years earlier, my family camped on the beach there while on a summer vacation. The night we spent on a freezing-cold windy beach is well-entrenched family lore. Someday I'll tell Meg that she has been there too.

From Half Moon Bay, Meg and I headed toward the beach community of Pacifica through a rocky mountain pass known as Devil's Slide. Apparently Meg wasn't all that impressed with the spectacular scenery. She slept most of the way as we drove on the cliffs hundreds of feet above the surf.

When we reached Pacifica, we made a pit stop for some breakfast, which we enjoyed with a panoramic view of surfers out on the ocean.

We then headed into San Francisco toward The Embarcadero and Fisherman's Wharf. I could sense Meg was getting a little irritated with all the driving, so we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and spent some time at the viewing area. Meg's mood improved when we went for a walk onto the bridge. I'd like to think it was due to the fantastic view of the city and the fresh air.

I was planning to head back into the city when I followed a sign directing drivers to "historic" Sausalito. With a hillside view of downtown San Francisco, Meg feasted on a lunch of strained green beans and watched the sailboats out on the bay.

Meg was still in a good humor, but I could tell she was running out of gas. Nevertheless, I decided to press my luck and check out the Haight-Ashbury district. We spent some time at Amoeba's, the place Rolling Stone magazine once speculated was the country's best and biggest independent record store. After browsing Amoeba's 24,000 square feet of music selection, Meg sent the not so subtle message that she had had enough and started squawking.

I thought the trip back to the hotel would be quick, but finding the way back involved extensive navigational skill through one-way streets and seemingly inaccessible on-ramps. We finally made it back to the hotel, where she quickly went to sleep, obviously exhausted from her travels.

I know the words "road trip" usually invoke images of a multi-day outing stretching across several states, but when you're 7 months old, you've got to start somewhere -- and hitting the road with your dad around San Francisco for the day is a great place to start.

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