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San Francisco and No Cable Car Ride?

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It is true; we went to San Francisco and did not ride the cable cars once. We have been several times to the city and did not feel the need to ride on them this particular trip.

  • It is one of the highlights for newcomers to the city and I have always enjoyed the ride.
  • We did see them several times and riding would have been easier than walking, like we did, up Hyde Street on the way to walk Lombard Street (a 31% grade up 269 feet from the beginning).

This was our first experience using Air B&B and we enjoyed it. Our millennial kids all asked who was the millennial as they have not used the service. Just trying to pave the way…

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” The coolest thing Mark Twain never said according to my research. Of course it was in the 60s (15-20 C) while we were in the city. Going north to wine country and south to Silicon Valley was much warmer. We did spend most of our time in San Francisco where I wore my Michigan State University hoodie around the city and received several positive comments, even one positive comment from an Ohio State fan, with the lone exception of one U of M fan…

The point of the travel was to see our youngest son who works in Silicon Valley and we were successful. We also learned from our prior trips out here that too much Mom and Dad was bad, so we planned this year’s travel accordingly and had some great tours on our own.

  • AT&T Park to see a San Francisco Giant’s baseball game: one stadium visited since retirement
  • Muir Woods tour
  • Bike ride and tour of Napa Valley, completing biking in our eighth state since retirement
  • Self-guided walking tour of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Park and Bridge

The views from AT&T Park were great and the game was exciting—this last place team had almost every seat sold for a three-day series with the Cubs.

 

  • We saw an incredible inside the park home run and enjoyed all of the new food options not yet served by the Reds.
  • Our favorite was the Helmet Nachos
  • Although we did not try them, Churros was an interesting new (for us) item sold in the ball park and elsewhere in San Francisco.
  • It was Metallica night at the ballpark, and we got to rock the national anthem as well as Take Me Out to the Ballgame. All of the songs that night were Metallica songs.

If you have not seen how tall a redwood tree can get, you should definitely visit Muir Woods National Monument.

  • We had a tour walking into the park from Mount Tamalpais State Park above the Muir Woods Park with a connecting hike into Muir Woods.
  • It was enjoyable to hike from the canopy of the redwood forest on down.
  • Keith, our tour guide, did well leading our group on the hike and was very knowledgeable about the area and all things San Francisco.
  • One of the highlights was the ferry boat ride back from Sausalito to the Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco.

Last year when we visited San Francisco, we said we would visit Muir Woods (check) and wine country. We signed up and enjoyed a half day bike tour of Napa Valley. Two wineries were plenty for me to handle; we kept the bikes for an afternoon ride along the Napa Valley paved bike path.

  • I really enjoyed the wine and the whole area.
  • We noticed a distinct culture that has grown up in the Napa Valley. The atmosphere was just different in a good way.
  • We met several people on the tour with us who spent the night and it sounded like a good idea, especially after one or two tastings.

In 2015, I biked over the Golden Gate Bridge from Pier 39. This year, I did not want to bike. We noticed that this year the Golden Gate Bridge opened the west side of the bridge for biking only and we walked on the east side (with best views of San Francisco) across the Golden Gate Bridge (1.7 miles one way) as a part of our walking tour.

 

We wanted a walking tour of San Francisco and we took a self-guided (or misguided!) walking tour of about 20 miles.

Our walking tour began with the Haight-Ashbury district as San Francisco is celebrating 50 years since the “summer of love” from June through August, so we made it in timeJ.

  • We also walked to Alamo Square Park to view the Painted Ladies, a wonderful row of colorful houses.
  • Walked through Golden Gate Park and saw the bison, funny for us as we have a herd of bison close to our house as well.
  • Walked to the beach near Golden Gate Park.
  • Walked through the Presidio on our way to and from the bridge and enjoyed the nature trails and homes in the park. We also took advantage at mile 19+ of the shuttle service throughout the Presidio to visit the Main Post and catch our train back to our Air B&B.

 

A few lessons learned.

  • We had a fun tour guide, Mike, on our bike tour. He said he had been retired for three days and went back to work. He lives in town and he and his wife walk to work. He only works part time and loves the job and the opportunity to stay active.
  • A good guided tour is worth the money. Our self-guided tour was fun, but we could have learned a lot more, and been a little less tired if we hired a local guide.

Other highlights:  Played disc golf in Silicon Valley and Golden Gate Park. Only problem at the Golden Gate Park—they were “closed” to house the Outside Lands music festival at the park. The group Metallica played at the Outside Lands as one of the headline groups.

Visit to Stanford University—a wonderful campus on Palo Alto. We sat and had ice cream and watched some of the new orientation students. We also visited the University of California Berkeley. It was interesting to see the college campus at Berkeley after having visited the Haight-Ashbury streets and the “summer of love” promotions.

Trip by the numbers:

States visited (number in total…) 1 California, flew direct

Activity statistics:

  • Biking miles: 22miles.
  • Hiking/Walking 40 miles.
SF Bike Tour End Pic Napa Valley

Biking in wine country–fun!


2 Comments

  1. Charles Kohl says:

    Great story, Glen! I’m so happy for you and Kim enjoying these adventures. Thanks to you both for sharing your story and your pictures so we can stay connected!

    Like

  2. […] training. I did not want to ever look like a victim walking on the streets. When we traveled to San Francisco this summer and took the public transportation, we applied the same lessons and enjoyed the […]

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