The Road Trip: Day Twelve

Today we woke up and headed over to the restaurant section of the hotel for free breakfast. Scrambled eggs, OJ, french toast slice, bacon, sausage…water. I could have gone nuts on the bacon but I was considerate of others and only took 2 pieces. This was a “real” breakfast compared to the Continental Breakfast that most hotels serve you. This helped make up for the crappy room/bed debacle. Our plan for the day was to drive into downtown San Francisco and take a look at the city. The drive was only about an hour or so from our hotel, so we packed up our stuff and headed out.

We got there a “little early” for our check-in. About 3 hours early. So we parked the car and head off on foot to explore. San Francisco is a city of hills. Huge, steep hills. Really steep. If you’ve ever driven a stick-shift car, this city will shock you with fear. I’ve never owned an automatic transmission since I learned to drive. (That was a long time ago.) I’ve driven in all kinds of weather, even my Mustang with 400+ hp through the snow. No big deal. The hills in San Francisco made me very nervous. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to drive much in this town, if at all, but as luck would have it….well, I had no luck. Thankfully we rolled into town well after the work rush hour, which helped with congestion, but that didn’t eliminate the need to navigate some hills. When we finally go to our hotel (at the bottom of a hill), the air was filled with the smell of burning brakes. Everyone’s brakes. If you wanted to make a mint of cash in this town, open up a brake shop.

Our hotel was nothing special, a Travelodge I believe, but it was located within walking distance to Fisherman’s Wharf. By “walking distance” I mean, you could get there in within an hour. The road we started out on was Lombard Street. Known as “The Crookedest Street in the World,” it’s a popular tourist attraction in San Francisco. We started at the top of the street, which I believe to possibly be the steepest street in town. If you are in any remotely “out of shape” you will be gasping for breath at the top of this hill. Going down the hill (as we did coming home) is no better. Your knees hurt as you tippy toe down the hill. Crazy.

We stopped inside a few art galleries on our way to find lunch. Brian had spotted a gallery with some Salvador Dali stuff, so we stopped inside. We got a tip for some organic lunch by one of the art dealers inside so we hustled off to find it. I had a grilled tuna sandwich and it was very good! Not too much mayo, so it was just right. They had natural, fresh-made lemonade so I had a couple of glasses of that. So refreshing! :)

We made our way near Fisherman’s Wharf and looked into getting tickets for Alcatraz. One tour company had 2 tickets left for the 3:30 tour. Brian had already seen Alcatraz and didn’t want to go again, so I had to make the call. It was going to be a package deal with a “city tour” included. I decided to skip it and Brian and I just got a city tour on a double-decker bus instead. The bus was a “hop on, hop off” tour, where you could “hop on/off” at any time and rejoin the tour as the next bus would stop by. We ended up staying on the bus until we got to the Golden Gate Bridge where we hopped off to take some photos. After a short stay we hopped back on and continued the tour. The tour offered a great way to easily see the city. You sit atop an open-roofed bus and listen to recorded information through the tour provided headphones. I was able to get some pretty good photos of the architecture as we rode around in the windy, 50-something degree weather.

After our city tour we went looking for dinner. As we walked along the wharf we could hear the sound of Sea Lions. I think they were Sea Lions. The big, brown flipper’d things with whiskers that “bark?” Those things. We found them and took some photos of them sunning on some floating wooden docks. Pretty cool!

Being that this was Fisherman’s Wharf, you feel somewhat obligated to eat sea food. I mean, c’mon, right? I can’t recall the name of the restaurant off-hand (old age), but Brian and I both ordered “Onion Crusted Salmon with Red Skinned Potatoes and Veggies.” I haven’t had fish in some time and this was pretty good. Not too “heavy” for a dinner meal, and it was getting late so that was a good choice.

Street Trolley’s. I’ve never ridden one, and well, this is the city to do it if you’re gonna do it. After dinner we found one of the stops and stood in line. For about an hour. It was very chilly at this point, but worth the wait to say “I did it.” The whole ride lasted about 4 minutes as we just took it up the hill from our hotel. We jumped off and began the treacherous descent down Lombard Street to our hotel. It was about 10:30 pm or so and we had yet to check in. Long day, lots of sight-seeing, very tired. No time to blog, must get sleep!

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Thom BriggsComment