Saturday, March 28, 2009

This week of traveling was rather unique for me. I had a navigator, a co-pilot, a friend along for the ride!
I picked up the friend at the airport in San Diego, when the fog finally cleared. Fog was still a bit of an issue when we got into a kayak to explore the area around the Sea Caves at La Jolla, but it cleared enough to get out into some big swells.


My navigator - pulling paddling duty in the front while the 'photographer' tried not to drop the camera into the drink.

View from the ocean.
Back on land, some of the very bright flowers demanded some attention.

From San Diego it was rapidly northbound over hill and dale and woodland, and winery - where a few samples were evaluated. My wine drinking skills improved dramatically when I learned that it was somehow impolite to drink wine straight from the box?

Next was San Francisco where we roared into town the first nite and enjoyed an exotic meal at a middle eastern restaurant - complete with a belly dancer.

Then, like any self respecting tourist we got on the historic cable car for a ride down to the waterfront. The conductor would not let us stand in the doorway, but had no problem with us dangling off the side of the car by one hand.
If you were not paying attention when meeting another of the cars, bodies, arms, cameras, and backpacks could easily collide. I guess they have a safety exemption!

The operator of the car has no place to sit down. He simply stands between two rows of benches near the front and has 3 large metal levers that operate the propulsion and the brakes. It appears to take a lot of physical strength to stop the car on a hill.

Video of cable cars meeting.



Once on the waterfront, we immediately boarded a boat for a short bay tour which included a run under the Golden Gate bridge, and a pass by Alcatraz island. We had hoped to tour the island itself, but all tickets were sold out :(

Alcatraz island from the south.
Gulls were enjoying 'drafting' along the side of the boat on the way.
The Golden Gate bridge - my first time from this angle!
Heading out to sea.
And back into the bay.
Some tourist who looks a lot like me.
On the way back, we passed right past Alcatraz on the north side.
Alcatraz.
And the famous sea lions who have adopted parts of Pier 39 for their own.

Somehow, I managed to lose my phone back ashore near Pier 39 and all searches and inquiries proved fruitless. Fortunately my traveling partner thought of calling the phone to see if anyone would answer? I thought it would already have been sold by a street person by that time.

Much to our surprise, there was a message on her phone - from MY phone, from a fellow saying that he had found it. By good luck and my very good fortune, my traveling partner was also the last person I had called and messaged, and the only person on my 'favourites' list. So the very nice guy that found it had sent the message. Fortunately, she was with me at the time, not a thousand miles away!!

A couple of cab rides later, and the phone was back in my pocket where it belongs. Big WHEW!

Well that called for a special coffee to celebrate before the very steep uphill ride on the cable car to our point of origin. On this ride the operator stopped our car right in the middle of an intersection (the only flat spots) much to the obvious chagrin of a cab driver who had the green light. Then, to make matters worse he jumped off the car saying "Don't leave without me", and ran into a nearby fast food outlet to pick up his dinner to go! I was unsure of which lever was the brake, so I did not try to revive my old bus driving experiences!San Francisco has no shortage of amazing architecture all around, and we drove around admiring a lot of it.

After a couple of days of congested urban living - with a truck about double the average commuter vehicle - it was time to escape back to the coastal quiet.

Well, at least till the tour of the Hearst Castle at San Simeon.
But that is for next entry!

5 comments:

  1. You have to book alcatraz weeks in advance. I was super sad when I missed out on seeing it when I was there.

    Nice pictures, I think I have stood in some of those exact same spots.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have to book alcatraz weeks in advance. I was super sad when I missed out on seeing it when I was there.

    Nice pictures, I think I have stood in some of those exact same spots.

    ReplyDelete
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