Wednesday, August 31, 2016


We left mid-morning for the city of San Francisco with Patrick as our guide.  He has a route planned out that he uses for all visitors that maximizes our time in the city by seeing as many of the main attractions as possible.  How could we refuse!
First stop Treasure Island - that sounds inviting but unfortunately that low cloud mixed with fire-smoke was hanging over the bay which reduced visibility to the city.  No matter, we were still able to see the outline of the city in the distance.
It was back over the Oakland Bay Bridge to explore the streets of San Francisco - the Financial District, Chinatown and more.
It was during the next stage of the tour that we worked out why Patrick enjoys taking his visitors in to the city.   He directed our attention to something ahead and then, without warning, turned sharp left down the steepest street in San Francisco!  We thought we'd driven over a cliff...!!!   After the yell and screams we realized we were still alive and looked at Patrick sitting there calmly with a smirk on his face.  We will never forget that moment!   Filbert Street has a gradient of 31.5% (or 17.5 degrees).  The photo below is the 'flat' section of Filbert Street.
We regained our composure but was on alert from then on!  Next stop was the famous Lombard Street with eight steep switchbacks, bordered by Victorian mansions and beautiful gardens (see stock photo).
Patrick then dropped us at the Powell/Mason Cable Car turnaround and we rode the cable car through the streets of San Fran.  It's the one 'have-to' thing that must be done when visiting this city.
We got off at the Cable Car Museum and learnt about the history and workings of this unique transport cable system.  It was quite fascinating and we were super impressed with it's layout.  It also gave us an overview of the city and it's drama's with earthquakes and fire.
We then were off to explore the bay area...
...and drove beside Crissy Field along the shores of the bay to Fort Point.  It was built in the mid 1800's and is located at the entrance to San Francisco Bay and situated under the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.
We had great views of the G.G.Bridge from the top of the fort.  Surprisingly, the bridge is not that old.  It was built between 1933-1937.
We had planned to walk across the bridge but from the top of the fort we experienced bitterly cold wind which nearly knocked us off our feet.  It was an easy decision to not walk the bridge.  From here we went to the Maritime Museum.  The first thing we saw was the copper-clad stern of the Gold Rush ship 'Niantic'.  It was discovered 20 feet below street level.  There are almost 40 ships buried beneath downtown San Francisco.
Unfortunately the rest of the museum was closed due to a meeting in progress but there was more to see along Hyde St. Pier.
We continued along the waterfront to the famous Fisherman's Wharf.  A place to people watch, eat, admire the buildings and shops and enjoy the street entertainment.
We found the Antique Coin Operated Arcade and had a wow of a time in there. We were greeted by 'Laughing Sal' and that set the scene for the rest of the visit.  Sal is almost 7 feet tall and has an infectious belly laugh.  Paul thrashed me at air hockey but it wasn't before we had several drawn-out battles.
We exited the arcade where a submarine and naval ship were docked.
We walked along the waterfront and could not pass by BOUDIN's bread shop.  We couldn't believe how big it was and  how wonderful a bread shop could be.
One of the street entertainers was absolutely amazing to watch.  He was Jordan B.Wilson and goes by the stage name of 'Lone Sound Ranger'.  You'll see from the pictures that he was master of multiple instruments, a one-man band.
We had good views of Alcatraz...
Further along the walkway towards Pier 39 we enjoyed the gardens and then it was time to meet up with Patrick again.
We got to see another section of the city environs by driving home over the Oakland Bay Bridge and down the eastern side of San Fran Bay to Fremont.  An excellent day followed up by a lovely evening meal with Patrick & Regina.   Thanks Patrick, tour guide extraordinaire.

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