Yep, Rich woke up yet again today!
Today was the first real 60 degree weather since the second day of our trip. The sun was shining down and the wind wasn’t quite so bad today.
The plan for today was to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, at least halfway across. Everyone else was sleeping in again this morning. They are so lazy. Finally got showered and moving for the day.
Breakfast was the first order of business. We went around the corner to a little 50s diner place called Johnny Rockets. It was close and I didn’t have to hunt for anything. The waiters were yelling back and forth and yelling hello and good-bye to everyone. After getting enough to hold us for a while, we walked back to the hotel to get the car.
The hotel clerk had told us to drive over the bridge to the Vista Point rest area. You could easily walk out on the bridge and get a good view for pictures. The directions from the hotel were pretty simple also. We jumped in the CR-V and went out on the streets of San Francisco.
Getting to the 101 was pretty easy. We drove through the Marina district and by Fort Mason that stood guard over the marina area. The marina area was heavily damaged in the 1989. So many houses had to come down and it looks like they used the opportunity to rebuild in very eclectic styles. Jumping on the expressway, we got to the toll area. No toll to go north on the bridge though.
We arrived at the Vista Point parking area. I quickly grabbed a spot from someone pulling out. We put on our extra coats to bundle against the wind. The gauge in the car said it was 65. With cameras firmely around necks or wrists, we headed for the bridge.
There are markers on the ground and posts to walk to the left side so that bikes could use the right side. People just don’t know how to walk though! The rule is up on the right and down on the left. You had to go around people or just plain stop for them. People will walk all over the place!
Then add a few hundred bikes trying to go at top speed, it was a little messy out there. At one point, there were people walking in the bike lane. An elderly Asian man was in the way and a biker had to push him before he got run over. I was afraid we would be seeing an accident.
Also, there are signs everywhere telling you not to jump from the bridge. Phone boxes with an automatic button to dial 911 appeared every so often. Rick had to take a picture of one of the signs. I guess the threat here is real.
We stopped to take pictures as we walked out. There were all kinds of views and directions to capture things from. It was windy, but not that bad. We made it to the middle of the bridge in no time. You could touch the support as it dropped down to your level in the middle. We started to walk to the next support, but I had to ask the guys to turn back.
The southbound walkway was closed today. On Sunday, the city had a big fireworks display and had lights out on the bridge for the 75th anniversary of the opening. Luckily, we didn’t show up in town on Sunday. So the crews were still clearing away all of the equipment from the anniversary celebration.
We turned to walk back to the parking area. Rich spotted a cargo ship coming into the bay and headed for the bridge. We tried to get back to the viewing area in time to watch the ship come through. We managed to get a good spot out on the end. I had to wait for some guy to remove his 2 and 3 year old kids from the brick wall that ran there. Not a smart thing to do since the cliff was right there.
We waited and we waited and we waited some more. No container ship. After maybe 20 or 30 minutes, we gave up and went to the car. We decided to check out the Presidio, which sits on the hilltop above the Golden Gate Bridge. This is still an active military base, but there are a lot of public areas around it. Yep, that’s the Presidio just like the movie.
We stopped at the first parking area and got out to look at some of the original bunkers and ammo stations that remained around the rim of the hill. We also got some really great shots looking back at the bridge. We walked to a couple of other view points and continued to take pictures. There was fog hanging over the Marin County side of the bay, which added to the effect.
We got back in the car and drove down to Baker’s Beach. This was a wonderful view point for the bridge. I was lagging behind the guys, so I got to one point in the path that meant I had to jump down into loose sand. I yelled for the guys to come back and help me.
But then this very muscular, tan hand appeared in front of me. A deep and very pleasant voice asked, “Do you need some help?” I had to stop and think first. A tall, dark, and very handsome hero? I found my brains and said yes. He helped me down into the sand and then took off running on the beach. I assume this was his normal workout run. Wow, a great day on vacation!
Back to my guys on the beach though. We got some more great pictures and the guys were trying to judge when a wave would reach them. The Pacific Ocean is very cold at this point on the coast, but plenty of people were playing in the water.
In the parking lot, I ran into a guy with 6 dogs. He was taking them to the beach to run. One little friendly and overactive guy wanted attention. The man said that this guy runs the length of the beach several days and was very quick. He looked like a minature greyhound.
We got in the car again and drove up to the Legion of Honor. I parked next to this vintage Volvo that looked really cool. The owner smiled really big when I took a picture of it and I gave him a thumbs up for the cool car. It took a few minutes to figure out that the Legion of Honor was a full colonnaded monument with an inside building. So we started to walk up to the fountain in the center.
I heard someone cry out and several older ladies started to run for the covered overhang around the door. I looked over and saw an older lady lying on the ground. My heart stopped for a minute. I ran over to try and help. Corinne was her name. She had tripped on the step and hit her head above the eyebrow on a column. My first thought was to keep her on the ground until help arrived.
She appeared to be bleeding around her right eye. I examined her and found that she had a cut on her nose and her cheek from her sunglasses, which were not broken. The cuts looked superficial, but they still bled a lot. The bump above her eye was swelling, but only oozing a little. She said that she didn’t feel any pain other than her head, but lying on the concrete wasn’t helping. She had her sense of humor.
An attendant came outside to help. Rick was shading her from the sun. I took off my jacket to cover her knees since she was wearing a dress. The attendant gave us her jacket to make a pillow. I cleaned up her face with a Kleenex to remove some of the blood. She seemed to be okay over the new few minutes.
The ladies around her kept yelling for her to get up and that she would miss the bus back to the facility. I tried to tell them she shouldn’t move yet. One lady told her if she didn’t get up, they were going to leave her behind. That kind of upset her.
Another employee came out to help. Corinne said she was fine and would get checked at the facility where she lived when she returned. I had Rich and Rick get her to her feet to check if she was stable. She appeared to be in good shape. The attendants had a wheelchair to get her out to the bus.
So the Legion of Honor houses a very nice art museum, which we didn’t know. We went inside and one of the attendants came after us. She wanted to arrange for our admissions in for helping with Corinne outside. Rich jumped at the chance. Rich in an art museum? Couldn’t see it voluntarily, but he accepted the tickets. Come to find out, it was $20 a piece to get in. He saved $60! So, Aunt Fran, Rich went to an art museum on this trip after all.
We walked around and viewed the paintings. I recognized several and knew many of the artists. It was a very nice collection. We went downstairs to view the special exhibit, which was on Victorian art. It was beautiful. They included a section on the premier interior designers of the time with wallpaper samples and other goodies. William Morris was much more than an celebrity agent! It was really great. Rich liked the Venus done on a rough canvas. Figures, a naked lady. Oh well, I had tall, dark, and handsome earlier in the day.
We came out and had then figured out how to get from the Pacific Ocean back to downtown San Francisco. Not too hard, except that our exit was closed for construction. They have that season here, too. We followed the detours and figured out how to get back on the same road we came out on. From there, it was easy.
Did I mention that I got to drive on some of the rolling hills that the streets go over? It wasn’t quite like Bullet or the Streets of San Francisco TV show, but it was cool. But then again, this was my second time to drive San Francisco streets.
Arriving at the hotel, the street in front had trucks unloading produce, buses trying to get through, and lots of cars. I did manage to get into the parking lot and find a spot. We trooped upstairs and promptly collapsed onto beds.
We didn’t get lunch and it was around 3:00, so it called for an early dinner. We went out and down to The Embarcadero St. Turning left, we went down to the original Fisherman’s Wharf from the turn of the century. This was the wharf I remembered from 20 years ago. The smells are wonderful. You walk right by the sourdough bread factory and down to the outside vendors with all of their seafood specialities.
I had chosen Alioto’s. I had read about its history and it was highly recommended. We got a table where we could see out of the windows and into the marina. I ordered the Fisherman’s basket with shrimp, scallops, pollack, and calamari. Rick got chicken penne with Alfredo sauce. Rich went for the spaghetti with clams in tomato sauce. We had warm sourdough bread on the table also. It was heavenly. I shared my calamari with the guys. Rick’s Alfredo sauce was so light and cheesy. How did they do that? The clams in Rich’s dish were fresh and looked great.
After a great dinner, you need to walk that off. How better to do that than to do a walking tour of a Liberty ship. In the harbor, there is a Liberty ship that was actually used during WW II. A group of people had been working for several years to refurbish the ship and make her seaworthy. On Saturday, she had actually been on a cruise with contributors and others out of the bay and on to the ocean.
We walked from the deck to the cargo hold for an exhibit. I explained the places my father had been in WW II and some of the things he would have experienced with a ship like this. We made our way up to the bridge and the guys dropped down into the engine room to check it out. The old ship creaked and swayed, but she definitely seemed pretty seaworthy. I had trouble with a couple of stairways and waited for the guys to check out the top deck.
Now going up, I had trouble with the gangway swaying so much. And then I could look down into the water. That is no sight for someone with a fear of heights! Then we had to come back down the gangway. It took a few minutes with the swaying, but I made it.
Rich went back to the hotel while Rick went with me to buy a sweatshirt and a postcard. I found the sweatshirt I wanted, but not postcard. We went down the street and there were stands out for you to look through. I finally settled on one and went in to pay. Souvenir shopping over.
Did I mention before about all of the languages that you hear on the street? I bet we have heard just about every language while we’ve been here. I’ve heard German from a lot of people. Surprisingly, there have been maybe 3 or 4 instances of Russian. Definitely, there are a lot of Chinese and Japanese tourists. The French have been pretty prevalent also. It’s definitely an international city.
We weren’t done for the night apparently. After I completed this blog, we decided to go out one more time. Rich was hungry, so we went by the vendors on Fisherman’s Wharf. He got another round of calamari. He claims this will be the last fresh ones he’ll be able to get for a while. That’s probably true.
We then walked down to Pier 39 again. Everything was closing up, but there were still lots of people hanging out. The Wipeout Bar has an open fire pit on their deck and a lot of people were sitting around it to stay warm. I assume there are beers to go with that.
Rich claimed that Ramya never brought him back a Ganesh statue from India. I didn’t want to hear about it again, so I went into Enlightenment and bought him one for Christmas. Maybe I’ll even put Ramya’s name on it.
Rich and I stopped by Trish’s Mini Doughnuts. These things are awesome and warm. Rick had to have ice cream, even though it was chilly. We then walked over to watch the sea lions. Three of young guys were playing the equivalent of king of the hill. They were pushing each other off the dock. Trouble was, there were sleeping lions on that dock as well. Every one in a while, someone would tell them to quit. Finally, someone’s mom showed up and they played like they were asleep until Mom left. We left when the cold got to us. So it was time to go back to the hotel for the evening.