USA Day 8 – Palo Alto

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Today, the old man gets up early and heads to the airport for his flight to Los Angeles. From here, he will pick up a hire car to drive 90 miles south east to Temecula for our second house sit.

Meanwhile, theoretically, we will wait for Mariah’s owners to return, then join him in the morning. Only our flights are with Southwest Airlines. Whereas some airlines have cancelled some flights due to adverse weather elsewhere in the US, Southwest has pretty much rolled over and played dead, cancelling most of their flights for the past three days. So it’s no huge surprise when I get the message that Wednesday’s flight is cancelled with an option to rebook for Sunday. That not even this year! I’m not impressed and ask for a refund. Apparently I’m not being flexible!

After a stressful morning looking at alternative flights (which would cost an arm and a leg) or alternative methods of transport (which would take many hours), we are beginning to despair, when daughter no 2’s friend offers us a lift to Pasadena on Thursday. Which is close enough for the old man to rescue us. Daughter no 2’s friend is an actual Angel.

So we can relax, pack and take Mariah for one last walk. We take a wander through downtown Palo Alto. Daughter no 2 may have lived here for 18 months, but she spends most of her time on the University campus, so there are still places she hasn’t been. Like this interesting house where the owner wasn’t afraid to experiment with colour…

Downtown Palo Alto

Elizabeth F Gamble Garden

We walk to the Elizabeth F Gamble Garden. Elizabeth Gamble was the granddaughter of the founder of Proctor & Gamble. Her family moved to Palo Alto when she was a child so her brothers could attend Stanford University.

Elizabeth F Gamble Garden

Meanwhile, Elizabeth attended college then dedicated much of her time to the garden of her family home, which she later inherited and subsequently bequeathed to the city of Palo Alto.

Elizabeth F Gamble Garden

The garden is open to the public for free all year round during daylight hours. There are also opportunities to take guided tours of the house, but not in winter.

Elizabeth F Gamble Garden

To be honest, the garden isn’t at its finest in winter; none of the roses or irises it is known for are in bloom, but we still enjoy a pleasant stroll round the grounds.

Elizabeth F Gamble Garden

Hewlett Packard Garage

We return along Addison Avenue. Here, outside a private house, is a plaque commemorating the role of the property’s Garage. You can’t visit the garage; it’s in someone’s back garden, but the plaque out front acknowledges the garage as being the birthplace of Silicon Valley.

Hewlett Packard Garage

When a Stanford professor urged his students to go and start their own tech companies rather than joining established firms, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard did just that. From this garage in Palo Alto, Hewlett Packard went on to become the world’s leading PC manufacturer.

Hewlett Packard Garage

We walk back through downtown, which is buzzing with people out eating and shopping. We stop at the nearest thing to a supermarket (Whole Foods) to buy some drinks. I wait outside with the dog. I went in Whole Foods once. As a food allergy sufferer, it’s not somewhere I’d venture twice.

Downtown Palo Alto

Once Mariah’s owners have returned, we can head to daughter no 2’s house for dinner and bed before an unexpected bonus day in Palo Alto tomorrow. We should have been in San Diego in time for breakfast, but thanks to Southwest Airlines, that’s not gonna happen.

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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