Category Archives: golden gate bridge

Past trips: California, San Francisco Curry Night [22]

There was a choice, the boats that had been advertised by the other cycle hire places, they went across the bay and back over to San Francisco. On the other hand their was the cycles and the road that brought us here, technically it was a reversible route, only there was the hill, the one that had been so generously downward on the inward leg. The reversal of this hill posed a concern as I reflected on the question, why had I come over quite so peculiar earlier and based on that would it likely return under the strain of such an effort.

Sausalito, CA, Pacific Ocean

Mitch wasn’t about to be put off by a bit of gradient and I was ready to be swayed either way, declaring defeat and boarding a boat was therefore unlikely as the decision of first choice.
I wasn’t expecting success but set to offering it a token cosmetic effort without expectation, the initial part of the hill had seemed steep on the way down, so first id just aim for the top of that bit and then take it from there. To my surprise I was making it up, past that initial hill out of town and on, I wasn’t even loosing ground on Mitch, least not until the top where the gradient had not been the issue id expected the wind was more assured. Toward the top it gusted heftily through the channel dug out for the road and slowed me to a brief stop. My stomach was doing nothing, neither the heat nor the effort had been cause for further issues, all that 1.5leters of cola that must by now be swilling about within seemed to be working out for the best.

Sausalito Horseshoe Bay

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge Clouds

After a momentary pause I remounted, it was all but flat by now and was shortly back by the bridge. The weather had changed, clouds had drawn in from somewhere and now capped round the bridge struts. Some more photos, for quite unnecessary reasons and onward, a return leg of greater pace than had been achieved earlier and uninterrupted. I couldn’t quite recall where we’d picked up the bikes and stopped with a view to returning mine at what wasn’t quite the right store. I’d simply opted for the first store to appear, that’s how I remembered things, its not how things were, as Mitch rolled past and onward an additional but important few meters.

Apparently we’d only been gone a couple of hours, a cause for further price reductions, always welcome. The fish market was close by and Mitch’s mind had turned to retrieving something from its assorted marine offerings. Seldom in mind for particular delights of the fluddery and salty things, today was not such a day when the stomach would be calling for bravery or exceptions … nor was in any particular hurry to sample that which was so duly fried. I opted out.

San Francisco Fish Market SignSea Gull CA San Francisco

San Francisco Sea Gull Chip Tray

We headed back, taking in a café as we headed away from the bay and encountered the San Francisco cable car, then a fair bit of cross town hill wondering on the way back to the hotel.

San Francisco Cable Car

tram San francisco cruise ship leaving

Cable Car Travellers Hold On

San FranciscoSan Francisco Town House

San Francisco Homeless Resident -Kettled not helped

For the evening we made a second and more successful effort and using the underground to head to a different part of town, we’d hear that somewhere around 24 and 18th street .. there was options and out going points of interest.
The underground was externally ropey but came with a level of seating and space unfamiliar to those accustomed to the tube. Emerging at the other end, we were underwhelmed by some more developing economy style dilapidation, hoping for something in the way of improvement we started walking, it was after all a stretch of road that we’d been pointed at and this was only one end of that.
San Francisco Underground Station

San Fancisco Powell Station

San Francisco Underground Map

The road was in no kind of hurry toward improving, a mixture of grime and discarded rubbish, while the shops looks like temporary buildings in need of a touch of paint and possibly a spot of demolishing and stating again with a less DIY, left over materials from the back of the shed theme. Seldom has a city so underwhelmed, the advise to anyone intending to go would be don’t believe the hype, set you expectations low and the city wont disappoint as shortly shy of average, its hard to believe this was one of the worlds wealthiest nations. Mind Birmingham isn’t entirely all that, aesthetically speaking but then I’m not sure we have too many tourist campaigns espousing its delights. It does a fine line in congestion, as easy to escape as a mythical Greek maze.

Still not working now, not in Birmingham on these days – San Francisco and just as we were commencing the process of wondering what exactly to settle uncomfortably on, we did come upon a slightly richer vein of options. Discovering a bring your own, limited menu options curry house which we reasonably quickly settled on.

San Francisco Underground

San Francisco Streets

Drinks sourced from off license shop, conveniently located opposite we returned to what was clearly a popular spot, filling most quickly and it was good. Better than many Curry restaurants back home with their far more extensive menus, here it might have been simple and the options limited but what does that matter if its good and it really was.

Pakwan Indian San Francisco

Curry Pakwan Magners CiderPakwan Indian Restaurant CA San Francisco

After dinner we made a passing effort, burdened by a lack of belief forged of the impressions formed during our earlier wonderings, to find somewhere else to go to. Unready to head back just yet we settled on the nearest thing we could find to meet the criteria of being open, none disconcerting and somewhere to go.

The bar tender put in quite the performance, a lesson in profession bar manning, taking orders from one while serving up assorted types of beverages to others. We could do with a few of these types back home, where getter served is a war of attrition that is doing untold damage to the British reputation for queuing, not even polite pretense is given to such notions in most domestic bars these days. Only ten years ago such behaviour was notable though not exceptional, now it’s customary. Here there was no such need, so swiftly this lone bar tender operated, taking orders committing them to memory, most impressive. The bar on the other hand was a little lacking in charm, perfectly pleasant but with too little about it to warrant any sort of longer visit than the time taken for those couple of post dinner drinks to be supped down, as we perched upon our bar side stools.

Pilfered Post Visit Picture
Pilfered Post Visit Picture

blondies Bar San Francisco

Blondies Bar
Poor Quality Capture – Blondies Bar SF
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Past trips: California, San Francisco and The Golden Gate Bridge [21]

We’d wondered around the ocean front and as with many things on US maps, with their scales, it was further than immediate perceptions of the doodle had suggested. The further distance created by taking some faulty turns on the way toward the water had also had an effect.
We were about half way around, perhaps a little more, when the cartel pricing of the various cycle rental places was clear. By now we could have been cycling for some time having encountered the first ocean from hire place quite early on.

Having been no immediately drawn toward the premium tourist fund relinquishing bike hire schemes, with those earlier options, the later options now fell under that recently established common law not quite judgement but reticent pondering.   So we remained meandering along, options were running out, heading toward the end of the commercial town center part of the promenade.

Small ships were docked with members of their crews loudly and repeatedly alerting those who passed by as to their departure times. One was heading off, quite soon, on a trip out and past the bridge, Mitch seemed inclined we could after all get quite a good view from that sort of vantage point and with the price of the two cartel backed bikes, why not.

Occasionally I may be guilty of some degree of mental inflexibility and having had bikes in mind was open if not wholly persuaded by this boat idea, so without a vigorous sponsor to lead the case for the boats we mooched on, it was not late, we could always come back after all.

The assorted fish market stands & boat trip touting boats behind us we drifted up against the end of the commercial stretch.
The bike rentals weren’t done yet mind, perhaps we weren’t the first visitors to these shores to hatch such a plan.

There were not so many bikes left as a small bike place attendant popped up. They had all been most friendly, all the way along, I guess you’d have to be all those dithering tourists humming their uncertain holiday brain tunes about them all day. We didn’t know anything about all that.
This one though seemed less sales friendly somehow, more I like bikes and outdoor things so I’m doing this, it’s alright relaxed sort of friendly.
The price was also a bit better at this one, though it then transpired once inside, they didn’t actually have two of the cheaper bikes available anymore. It could have been a most cunning manoeuvre only it probably wasn’t, either way after unleashing the great countermeasure, befuddlement empowered procrastination, into proceedings it was settled.  We had one higher grade bike instead for the same price.

Somehow we also seemed to end up on some pay as you go style deal, which worked out fine, shed told us roughly how long the roundtrip tends to take, with the proviso that not all cycle speeds are equal and there were different places we could cycle to. If memory serves we’d pay for the hours we used up to the maximum of the 1/2 day and whatever that might be it would be less than the rather familiar standardised charges offered by all the others.
http://www.bikerentalsanfrancisco.com
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/San+Francisco+Bicycle+Rentals
Cycle hire leaflet
The bikes came with little storage bags which was handy for things like cameras, the multitudes and their shares habits – while the more general clobber was left behind at the bike shop for retrieval at that unspecified juncture of our return.

Heading off, it was a broad well maintained path that bowed over hillocks and arout grasy parkland bits.San francisco dock housesIt was all going pretty well until really quite suddenly it wasn’t. It was warm out, there was a moderate incline and yes I was out of practice but this seemed unfounded, my stomach contracted and convulsed making every sign that it had intention to relinquish that which lay within.
After a brief period of chewing and further faltering effort I pulled up and went to crouch by a bush.. There was reaching but unproductive, this was odd and not really acceptable, there was no call for that sort of reaction.

I gave up on that idea and with the benefit of the break continued on to the top of the hill with one thing in mind, the nuclear strike remedy that was coke and its stomach nuking powers.

There was a tourist shop and refreshment store up there, near enough to where the bridge began, neither sold coke they had silver canned cola, full of organic wholesome things… Normally fair enough right now I doubted it’s capacity for destruction was up to the only artificial ingredients and sugar destroyer we all know so well, all trusty, red and corrosive.

Still it was chilled, sugary, water based and there. This the angelic white cola really did help, though there was no more hill to contend with and I did wonder if I had maybe sunk that low a little bit.
Golden Gate Bridge full viewGolden Gate Bridge head on viewSan Francisco golden gate bridgeTourist deeds must be done.
San Francisco bayPrison Alcatraz IslandSan Francisco BayGolden Gate Brige Rusty Coloured Tower


San Francisco Boats and Ocean ViewPacific Ocean San Francisco

San Francisco Distant View


Bay Area Golden Gate BridgeSea Lions Lime Point San FranciscoHorse Shoe Bay Sea Lions

On the other side of the bridge and despite the great good done by the silver cola thought of coke remained very much at the forefront of hopes, aspirations and general thoughts for what might be.

Google Map Image Alexander Ave Sausalito
Sausalito Alexander Ave Ocean View

Photos don’t seem to do gradient, a lesson from skiing holidays pasts and clearly just as applicable without the presence of snow, something about dimensions and its good to know that even the google has not mustered dominion over this particular law.

#Don’tbeevil

Defintion of word evil by google

Though to be fair to them, not the most narrow of restraints, “profoundly immoral and wicked”, profoundly .. it does leave a fair bit of scope for well quite the array.  On the other hand maybe they were going for the noun …. “when regarded as a supernatural force”  … ,great spell checker, much better than word with its mangled phonetics decoder – no clue how it recognises some of those offers, very impressive.    We were on bikes heading down the hill to Sausalito, it was not the most arduous of efforts, gravity was much in our favour, which was nice as we could spend quite a bit of time just skooshing along taking in the scenery.

As we came into town another shop appeared, a more traditional general sort of store, swinging around we came to a halt and took it in turns to venture in.  The need was not longer so great but i headed of to hunt down a drink, before eventually settling back on that familiar red label, a big old bottle it was too, i made off with it.

By the time Mitch had returned from his explorations within, much of the cola had been take care off, a uprising amount given the issue of absorbing such a frothy fizzing sweetness has somewhere found itself a home.

Past Trips – California, A walk in San Francisco [17]

Before leaving Id herd more than once about how great San Francisco was and myself I had any seen that as the main visit of the trip, originally having it down as a three night stay, the longest of the trip.
Already I was feeling happy for the decision not to do that, Mitch already did not much care for San Francisco and while I was trying to keep an open mind, basically I felt the same way.

We’d driven through, parked, visited our hotel and walked up from the center to the golden gate park by this point and topography aside only one bit of road had seemed remotely pleasant or interesting with a Camden alternative vibe about it.

The park which had been very sympathetically covered in the guide books was most underwhelming. Yes it was probably an bit nicer than your average park but only a bit, the lake was more an over sized pond, shallow and green in appearance now a whole lot more than the murky goose turd offering in St Albans.
It was no Regent’s Park that was for sure and modestly concerning that it could earn such substantive billing in the guide books.

Mitch was up here for his daily running about, as he jogged off I sat myself down by the lake to deal with maps, bag and possibly food.
As I sat and rummaged a chap came flustering up to me, asking about whether Id seen a bag. He was a tourist, him and his fellow tourists had parked up only to return to find a back window smashed and a bag withdrawn, the bag he was now looking for. I believe he was hoping that were it’s not so valuable contents discovered then it might be discarded.
I had nor seen any dis guarded bags and apologised that Id been unable to help, offering some most un-useful sympathy for his circumstance.

More generally I was trying to work out what I might fit into the time between now and the approximate meeting time we’d agreed to meet back up, back at the hotel.
Back in New York walking the place made a big difference. After arriving in the dark, rain falling around the taxi to some not entirely flattering first impressions, it had been the walk down through the city to the financial district and back that had started to turn that around in what went on to be one of my favourite trips.

What a holiday spirit deflating experience that must have been, smashed window stolen bag – I headed off on my still largely to be defined walk. All I’d managed to decide is Id head across (North in actuality) from here so as not to repeat the route taken on the outbound leg.

There was the customary grid system in effect, least there was back here in the less Central more residential bit of the city. I fear I can’t claim to know exactly which I traveled down so in going to go with 18th & will check a map later to see if indeed the roads go by a numeric naming system and if so where abouts the 18th one can be found.

I left the park crossed the road and wondered the residential corridor known here as 18th.

Golden Gate Park Map

2 days later, attemp to continue them trip notes … 18th .. Revisiting the map .. actually in this area, go the probably still not entirety accurate memory

San Francisco residential road

Big old residential sprawl back here and a lot more pleasant, it reminded me of Mrs doubtfire scenes, not that that adds a lot to the experience but it was painting a more movie suitable scene.

Old bmw parked San francisco

White Fire hydrant

San Francisco town house

By the not so very long time later, when I reached the end of that particular vertical stretch, there seemed some fair time left and then there was the golden gste bridge. It was up this way somewhere, on the other side of a different park or hill or something, either way it wasn’t here. I wasn’t expecting it to be – I had the map / city plan – the question I had was do I see about trying to find it abit or apply good reason and head to something more like the center.

Thing was heading back presented little of interest and would leave me vacant time, while looking for the bridge seemed like an optimistic shot at fitting comfortably in between now and the meeting up time…. Pragmatism lost out as in retrospect it was always likely to, would have been disappointed with myself if I’d just seeped back without making an effort.
San Francisco trail map
http://www.presidio.gov/explore/trails/Pages/park-trail.aspx

There were park trails over this way with maps and occasional signs.  First there was another hill and a path into a golf course before dropping back down on the far side within a stretch of woodland.

There were a number of routes crossing and heading off in slightly different directions, I still had no particular plan but my reason for heading over had yet to be achieved, roads and trees all that had come into view.
Woodland golden gate trails

There was quite a big old road a little further down, concrete struts holding it aloft, not particularly attractive visual addition to the woodland foreground. In the background, the backish background in a not immedialty close way, objective sort of achieved, depending on how you define thingd… I could see it, or least s top sticking out bit of it.. Golden Gate Bridge through trees

Golden gate bridge distant view
Cameras and their zoom feature

Back here in the wonder pathways where people could wounded, cycle and jog near very streight and uneven residential streets my impression of the place had indeed improved, the residential appeal was understandable, it was quirky, the dirtyness had subsided & the properties were a fair old size, though how many occupancies wasn’t of course certain, whole franciscite families may occupy a sine room, sleeping in jenga inspiring piles, though they didn’t look like they were those kind of areas.

Golden Gate Bridge San francisco fullSan Francisco warehouse building

The route Id been on dissolved, a wrong turn perhaps or just a sudden sign gap into which there were choices, junctions, options or more simply different ways to go. I never reconnected with my original route, though having passed relatively high along the coastal ridge, on a road side, I also got a distant view of Alcatraz Island, visually it was reasonably clear though in an undetailed way, the camera really had to strain at its zoom to bring it in.Alcatraz Islandbiggish building near woods with flag - maybe a hotel

After the photographic bought I picked up the pace but struggled for a time to refind any trail, having resorted to wondering through an odd sort of estate with large colonial style buildings following roads not trails i was unable to find route Id previously been following.  Eventually i did stumble upon a new trail though the exact nature of its direction was not exactly how it might be, a noticeable slice of time had now elapsed and so  getting back over to the hotel had become very much the fixed target i had in mind, what energy remained was applied to retaining as much pace in the wondering as possible.  It was a most straight and gradient wise, generally upward heading trail.

http://www.presidio.gov/explore/trails/Pages/lovers-lane.aspx

Emerging back into residential San Francisco my sense of heading was compromised by not being where i had initially intended to emerge and equally being uncertain where exactly it was that i had emerged.

What i presume was a local, most tall chap, approached me as i gazed at my map, pointing out where i was and on explaining to where i was headed, providing a handy correction to the direction i was likely to have wondered off in.   He also explained that it was quite far and that buses could be found in the proximity to help with getting back, though a change or two would be needed.  With a mind to time and the news of distance i thought upon the buses as i thanked him and headed off with my course correction to help me.

I seemed to be reasonably high upon the crest of one of the cities larger rolling hills, stood upon the north-western side.  The view took in much of the city scape from up here, and there was mini-parklet which provided the requisite space to appreciate this view and despite the intentions to head back, to pause, take it in and capture some small snapshots within the camera.
Hilly Road San Francisco
Skyline San Francisco
Panorama View San Francisco
San Francisco City View

The route was a diagonal one from here, the city planners they didnt hold much with notions of matter none perpendicular, though they had chucked in a couple of cheeky exceptions to this rule, just to through a person of the scent of things. It was a step like journey of zigging and zagging, with half an eye on California Street.. for their according to the map where the cable cars, the ones from the films, as yet unseen but with the opportunity to encounter them on route …
San Francisco Cable CarCable Car On A Hill San Francisco

I was not on time, hadn’t been for some time, my face was almost certainly a little pink with the lack of natural of fitness currently allowed to shroud all efforts and the lack of close proximity that the hotel had opted for. Progress was alright though, it wasn’t that far, not bus requiring far, giving up and getting a lift sort of distance. Eventually a more familiar feel to the surrounds emerged about me, the streets lined with that bit more grimmyness and that unbridled poverty that was the detritus in this forest of high rises.