26 August 2014: San Francisco

Betsy arrived at SFO as planned. The plane was a little late due to head winds over the Rockies. But other than that there were no problems.
After getting back to the room and getting Betsy settled we headed down to the beach.

From where we are there is no practical way to take public transportation to the northern Ocean Beach/Lands End area. Since there is plenty of parking we drove and were there in about 4 minutes.

Click on the photos below for a larger image.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Today was even sunnier and the sky even bluer than on Monday. What good luck for us!

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

In the background is the new Cliffhouse. The old cliff house burned down in 1907.

Cliff House - Original

In 1896, Adolph Sutro built a new Cliff House, a seven story Victorian Chateau, called by some "the Gingerbread Palace", below his estate on the bluffs of Sutro Heights. This was the same year work began on the famous Sutro Baths in a small cove immediately north of the Restaurant. The baths included six of the largest indoor swimming pools, a museum, a skating rink and other pleasure grounds. Great throngs of San Franciscans arrived on steam trains, bicycles, carts and horse wagons on Sunday excursions. Sutro purchased some of the collection of stuffed animals, artwork, and historic items from Woodward's Gardens to display at both the Cliff House and Sutro Baths.

Source: WikiPedia

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Note surfer to the right. This is a popular surfing spot for young and old alike. And I do mean old. Why, I think I saw boarders that had to be Betsy's age!

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

This will not deter the Water Sprite!

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Ocean Beach as seen from the Cliff House viewing area.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

At the National Park Service visitors center we picked up the Lands End Coastal Trail. During the 1880s, millionaire Adolph Sutro constructed a passenger steam train from downtown to Lands End for the affordable fare of 5. This old corridor is now part of the coastal trail. The trail is famous for its fabulous view of the Golden Gate bridge, the cliffs and rocky coastline. All this is just minutes from the busy, noisy streets of San Francisco.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

This area used to be famous for the seals. Then for some reason they all moved to Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf. This is the first time I have seen any here at Lands End since the 1960s.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

There is one spot on the trail which is shady and always moist. Here lives the Giant Horsetail (Equisetum telmateia). It often grows 6 feet tall and taller.

After our beach and trail walk we headed back to the room to rest up and clean up and then headed out for dinner. We walked the four blocks to the N Judah streetcar stop and rode it up to 9th and Judah. We then walked down the block to the Social Kitchen & Brewery. On a couple of previous visits I stayed with my buddy Ed who lives not too far from Social so I had been here a couple of times before and that is how I knew about it..

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

SF has very strict smoking regs. YIPPEE!

We sat at the bar and ended up talking with a couple of 30 somethings for nearly two hours. One of them was local, the other from good old Duluth, Minnesota.

Betsy and I shared an appetizer of tempura batter fried sweet potato sticks and beers. For dinner we ended up sharing a Social Burger which one of the guys kept raving about. It was Ok but not outstanding.

We finished up our dinner, said our farewells and departed Social around 7:30. The 2 hours there had flown by quickly!
Now we started the climb up to Golden Gate Heights Park to catch the Sunset over the Pacific.
It is a bit of a climb to get to the top and we barely made it in time for the sunset.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

You can just make out the windmill in the middle of the frame. There are two of them at the very end of Golden Gate Park near the section of Ocean Beach that Betsy and I had walked earlier.

Now it was down the south side of the park and to the famous Moraga and 16th Avenue steps.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project was completed in 2005 and is indeed a sight to behold.

Artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher led the creation of the 163 mosaic panels that were applied to the step risers, over 300 neighbors joined us in making them, and over 220 neighbors sponsored handmade animal, bird and fish name tiles imbedded within the mosaic. The City permitting process was completed on August 18, 2004. KZ Tile, a major San Francisco tilesetting company, generously agreed to set the mosaic panels into the risers and tile the step treads with rough, nonslip tile. We completed the installation of the Project in August 2005, with the exception of the caulking, which will be done in early September 2005.

Source: tiledsteps.org

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Then it was down to the new tiled steps - 16th Avenue steps between Kirkham & Lawton. This is known as "The Hidden Garden" and is not nearly as well known as the 16th Ave steps.

Now it was back down to the N Judah. Our MUNI transfers were still valid so we were able to make the round trip for $2.00 each. That will change to 2.25 on Sept 1st.

We got back to the room around 9:00. A long day, especially for Betsy who was still on eastern time. For her it was midnight and she had been up since 4:45 am.

A good first day with the Lovely Winky. What will tomorrow bring?

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27 August 2014: San Francisco

We both slept in until about 7:00 and then enjoyed a leisurely morning drinking our coffee, planning the day and working on our journals.

When it started to clear we decided to head down to the beach which is just two blocks away.
Betsy was ready for a dip!

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Off come the clothes as Betsy gets ready to sample the cool waters of the Pacific.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

My Senior Hottie!

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Here we go!

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

The Water Sprite is ready...

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Ahhh... Cool and refreshing.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Waiting for the next wave.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

This beach is notorious for its undertow and Betsy decided that deep wading, not actual swimming was the way to go.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

We were delighted to see a large flock of Royal Terns and Dunlins overhead and hanging out on the beach near us.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

There were tons of sand dollars. Betsy said she could feel them hitting her legs when she was in the water.

We then headed back to the room, cleaned up and then walked down to the N Judah train stop which we took to Church Street. Here we transferred to the 22 Fillmore and were soon heading up to my old neighborhood.
First stop - lunch in Japan Town.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

When I first "discovered" Mifune back around 2007 I was delighted. Why? A restaurant with the same name as one of my heroes, Toshiro Mifune, was the place for me.

Toshiro Mifune in Sanjuro

Toshiro Mifune in Sanjuro

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

There is lots to choose from. This is but a small sampling. But were going to get a big meal later so we ate simple and light.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Here Betsy enjoys her udon noodles in hot broth. Tasty! We split the bowl and each had nice portion.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

This is from 2007 when I visited the bay, mountain and desert areas of Central California.

Now it's time for a trip down memory lane. But first I needed something to eat. The noodles and broth had not even made a dent in my hunger. We had passed a Japanese grocer earlier so that's where we headed.

Cuttlefish

YUMMY! I developed a taste for dried cuttlefish many years ago and it hit the spot.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Here I am at 2381 Bush street where some of the Breiding family and others lived for several years in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
At that time it was part of a run down old Victorian row house owned by slumlord John Pappa. Now the area is being called by realtors as "Lower Pacific Heights" and is now far from being slummy.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

When we lived here the glass light over the door had a psychedelic hand drawn "2381" written in the Fillmore alphabet.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Across from 2381 is St. Dominic's Catholic Church. I had seen the shrine last year and now wanted to get a couple of pics. It now sits in the middle of the church parking lot.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

We then said good-bye to Mary and headed up the hill to Alta Plaza Park.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

In the 1960s a then teenage Steve Lion occasionally crashed at 2381 and spent a fair amount of time there. Betsy and I visited with Steve and his wife Shannon last summer. I had not seen him in over 40 years. While talking about the old days Steve mentioned one of his regular spots to sleep (when not at 2381)was behind the hedges at Alta Plaza Park. This I had never realized before.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

I plan to make prints of the two photos above and send them to Steve and Shannon.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

From Alta Plaza we walked the couple of blocks to Pacific Street to take in the views of the bay. We then got back on the 22 Fillmore bus and took it down to the Marina Green. From there we walked over to The Palace of Fine Arts.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there. One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is the only one still situated on its original site. It was rebuilt in 1965, and renovation of the lagoon, walkways, and a seismic retrofit were completed in early 2009.

Source: WikiPedia

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

This is an amazing place and I always enjoy taking a few snaps here.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

The wild looking plant in the foreground is Gunnera. It is planted all along the reflecting pond. It is a native of Brazil and Chile.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

What a wonderful surprise - Joe-Pye weed! This is a very common plant of fields and roads back home in West Virginia. It was mighty nice to see it.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

 

By now it was time to head back to the Sunset. We had a dinner date with our friend Ed. Ed has graciously hosted me several times on past visits to San Fran.

The walk back up to the 22 stop seemed to take an eternity. We then waited for the 22 bus to arrive which seemed to take an eternity. We then rode the bus back to the N Judah stop at Church Street which seemed to take an eternity. Now it would not be long. The N train made pretty good time and we got off at 9th Ave.

Being a bit ahead of schedule we decided to have a beer so we got an outdoor table at Park Chow and enjoyed the last bit of sunshine while having our drinks.

Shortly before 6:00 we paid up and then walked down the block to our dinner spot - Pacific Catch.
We got seated and while waiting for Ed had another drink - imagine that. Ed arrived shortly after 6:00 as planned. He had never before met Betsy and now had that pleasure.

We had a nice leisurely supper. Betsy and I split an order of Poke and Shrimp Ceviche which was delish. Ed had the wild caught salmon. The time flew by and soon we were back at the N Judah stop. Although as Ed pointed out the 71-Haight/Noriega would have been a better choice. Oh well, live and learn.

When the N arrived it was packed and the going was slow. Finally we got to 45th Avenue and then walked the 4 blocks to our room.
After some playtime we turned in for the night, both of us were pretty worn out!

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28 August 2014: San Francisco - Our Last Day

This is our last day in SF. We both got up around 6:30 and after coffee Betsy headed down to the beach on her own to enjoy one last visit and also work on her journal. I stayed at the room to work on my web journal.

When Betsy got back we got ready to head out to North Beach. Today we were on a mission - the North Beach Cannoli Hunt. This started with an email from Dental Don. He wrote if we were going to be in SF we should not miss the cannoli and espresso at Caffe Greco. Don and Susan are well traveled and I often get emails with ideas and suggestions of places to see and areas to visit when on the road.
Normally I would not go out on a foray in search of cannoli but I knew Betsy would enjoy the treat so we decided to head on up to North Beach.

We walked up the block and caught the 71 Noriega/Haight and rode it downtown to Market and Stockton. The plan was to walk up Stockton so Betsy could see the "real" Chinatown, not the tourist trap Grant Street just a block away.
We started the walk up Stockton by navigating our way through the so called "Central Subway" contruction area.

The Central Subway is an extension of the Muni Metro light rail system under construction in San Francisco, California, from the Caltrain commuter rail depot at 4th and King streets to Chinatown, with stops in South of Market (SoMa) and Union Square.

The subway is the second phase of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Third Street Light Rail Project. The first phase opened to the public as the T Third Line in 2007. With the addition of the Central Subway, the T Third Line is projected to become the most heavily ridden line in the Muni Metro system by 2030.

Source: WikiPedia

Then it was through the Stockton Street Tunnel where, for a moment, we walked in the footprints of the famous private-eye Sam Spade.

On the north side of the tunnel one door up from Stocton and Sacremento we slipped into New Fortune dim sum for a snack. I had been here before and remembered the tasty Cha siu bao - steamed buns with a spicy pork filling. I orded one for us to split and then paid the 60 cents. This is indeed the land of cheap eats!. Thus fortified we made our way through the throngs of shoppers clogging the sidewalks. These folks were not tourists in seach of cheap trinkets, but locals out doing their daily shopping.

We made our way up to Columbus Street, took a right and soon were on the doorstep of Cafe Greco.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

By now it was 12:30 and we were ready for something a bit more substantial than cannoli and coffee.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Lunch! On the right is pannini with proscuito, fresh mozzorella and roasted red peppers. On the left is a mixed greens sald topped with tomatos, fresh mozzorella and roasted red peppers.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

YUMMY!

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Now our meal is complete... Or is it?

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

Now it is complete! I had a little nibble of this jumbo cannoli and then Betsy devoured the rest with obvious gusto.

Cannoli are Italian pastry desserts. The singular is cannolo (or in the Sicilian language cannolu, plural cannola), meaning "little tube", with the etymology stemming from the Latin "canna", or reed. Cannoli originated in Sicily and are a staple of Sicilian cuisine.[1] They are also popular in Italian American cuisine. In Italy, they are commonly known as "cannoli siciliani", Sicilian cannoli.

Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta. They range in size from "cannulicchi", no bigger than a finger, to the fist-sized proportions typically found south of Palermo, Sicily.

Source: WikiPedia

After this rather robust lunch we waddled back to the bus stop and head out to the Sunset. When we arrived we set about the task of reorganizing our stuff and packing the van. We were planning a 6am departure the next morning and wanted to get as much done as possible.

The packing done we headed out the door and back to the MUNI stop. On our way we stopped at Win Fook for another bao. This one was a combo and much bigger. We dowsed it with soy and hot pepper sauce and then snacked on it while walking up to the N Judah stop.

We got off the N at Cole and Parnassus and headed up the hill to 17th Ave. Soon we would be seeing The City from two of its better vantage points: Tank Hill and Corona Heights.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

So far we had crystal clear skies but on this late afternoon the weather had turned very windy and the fog was rolling in.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

The downtown area was almost completely enshrouded in fog. I enjoy the sunny days, but to me this is the San Francisco I know and love.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

The opposite direction we kept seeing Sutro tower peeking through the fog.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

We then walked over and up to the top of Corona Heights for closer look at foggy downtown San Francisco.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

The wind was fierce and we felt like we were going to be blown all the way to downtown.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

I took a couple more snaps before we headed off the summit.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image   Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

When we got down off the top and on to Roosevelt Street the difference was night and day - no wind, blue sky and sunny.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

This house is just a 5 minute walk from the top of Corona Heights.

  Photo by Mike Breiding - Click for larger image

We were able to see the summit of Corona Heights on our way back down the hill.

We walked through Beauna Vista park on our way down to Haight Street. Then it was down Haight street which is nothing more than another tourist trap. When we got to Stanyan Street we picked up the 71 bus again and took it to 9th and Lincoln. We then walked up to Park Chow for supper. Betsy had a Thai style salad with cilantro, chicken breast, chilis, mint, peanuts and lime juice and a pint of her newest favorite beer - Oak Barrel Brown Ale.
I had a medium portion of Fusilli and Chicken & Sausage, mushrooms, tomato & cream. Quite tasty.

After our leisurely and late (for us) dinner we walked back down to Lincoln just as the 71 bus was rolling into the stop. Soon we were back at our room where we flopped into bed. And that is that. The official end of our visit to San Fran and the official start of our trip back home.

Stay tuned...

 

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