A WEEKEND OF FIRSTS
20 May 2002
What a lot of firsts in one weekend. In fact, there were too many firsts to fit into
one page, so this will be a two-page journal entry (that in itself is a first for me!), if you are up for reading that much
(too many pix to stick all on one page).
The first "first" took place here in Davis. Since it was Saturday, and no
health club day, I decided to go out for an early morning bike ride. I started to head to
the greenbelt, but instead decided to try a different way. I biked up to a park Peggy and
I had walked to and through when she was here. When we walked, we made a big loop, through
the park, and then back home again. This time I turned in the other direction after I
crossed the freeway and discovered a greenbelt I didn't know existed. It was a huge
expanse of green, nice bike path, rolling hills, a tunnel, and ending up on the far side
of Davis. By the time I had gone exploring and returned home, I'd clocked 5 miles for my
The next "first" occurred, unnoticed by anybody else, as I was sitting at a
table overlooking the Golden Gate bridge. I had gone to San Francisco to meet CompuServe
friends Mary, Tricia, Pat and Judy, along with Pat's daughter and son-in-law, and Judy's
husband. Mary was visiting from Seattle and had ordered good weather, and we Californians
had come through in spades. It was sunny and clear and the perfect kind of "tour San
Francisco" kinda day.
Greens is my favorite San
Francisco restaurant to out of town visitors because it has such a tremendous view of the
bridge and though the food is vegetarian fare (it's run by the Buddhists), forget any
negative preconceptions you may have about vegetarian cuisine. Mary and I both had grilled
tofu sandwiches--something I normally wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, but it was
So anyway, we're all sitting there around the table, having finished our meal and still
enjoying each other's company. I had my arms crossed, hands on the upper part of my arms.
What was that strange thing I was feeling? My god--it was biceps. I actually am
starting to feel muscles. It's the same feeling I get when I happen to touch my legs and
discover that the muscles in the lower part of my leg are starting to tighten up.
I really am becoming a Babe on an Outrageous Bike.
The next "firsts" kind of blur together. Judy and her husband have no car,
and travel around San Francisco either on foot or using public transportation. She knows
more of the back doors to San Francisco than I ever knew growing up there. We took a
shuttle bus from Greens all the way out to the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. From there,
we followed a trail I never knew existed down through tunnels and along deserted bunkers
to a steep set of stairs that took us all the way down to bay-level, a short walk to Fort
Point, built in 1875, the last brick fort built in the United States. It's also a great
place to take visitors, because you are directly under Golden Gate Bridge and a fantastic
place to take pictures.
Mary - Pat - Tricia
Since 9/11, they have fenced off the road that takes you around to the back of the
fort, so you can stand directly under the bridge. Now, if you want to stand under the
bridge, you go inside the fort and climb to the third level. This wasn't exactly a
"first" for me, but it sure was a first in many years. Before this new
"lifestyle," I could haul myself up one flight of stairs without too much
trouble, but a second flight left me breathless, and forget trying to go up a third. But I
made it to the top only slightly out of breath and was very impressed with myself when I
looked down at what I had just climbed.
Pretty impressive, eh?
When we left the fort, Judy took us on a forced march through the Presidio (2-3 miles).
We stopped to watch what was described as "the zen rock guy." This is a man
whose talent is balancing rocks on top of each other. The creations (made without glue or
anything else) are pretty amazing. But we discovered this was no "zen" artist.
He had a sign requesting donations, and when people didn't give him money, he had a
tantrum and accused us of taking pictures of his work without paying him for them, and he
knocked all the rocks down! (I would have given him a donation, but I was put off by his
demanding it! Pat's daughter, on the other hand, bought one of his photos because she felt
it was "the right thing to do.")
When we finally got back to the car, we said good by to Pat et al., Judy
and Joe headed off to their house, and I took Mary and Tricia on a mini driving tour of
the city. Tricia specifically asked to go to Twin Peaks, which is my very favorite view of
the city and I was happy to take them--and very pleased that we had a clear day because
the view was spectacular.
We also drove through the Haight-Ashbury District, through more of the
Presidio, through ritzy Pacific Heights and out through Sea Cliff, where Robin Williams
and Susan Stone live (not together, I don't think!). Tricia moaned a lot.
She's decided she's living the wrong life and really was born to be a rich woman living in
San Francisco. She's picked out several multi-million dollar homes which would make
her very happy.
Ultimately, we ended up at the ocean beach, a restaurant called The Beach Chalet, where we met Walt (who had been
at a Giants game) and Judy & Joe for a delicious dinner. I'd seen this
place all of my life, but it has been closed for years, and this was the first time I'd
ever been inside to eat. We were sitting at a table where we could watch the sunset
behind the tents that had been set up for today's Bay to Breakers race.
After dinner, since table conversation was so difficult, due to restaurant noise (and
the music combo which had just begin performing), we went back to Judy & Joe's for a
bit. It's a new place, since I last visited them, and this was my first time to see
it. Joe and Mary had been discussing the finer points of M&Ms and so we stopped
at a supermarket en route to pick up supplies.
(do we have class or what?)
The supermarket experience was particularly noteworthy because of two guys standing in
front of the wine shelf. They were dressed in leather from head to toe. Everthing visible,
whether leather or skin, was pierced and studded with metal studs (and I don't want to
think about things I couldn't see). One guy had a mohawk with hair that stood straight up
in about 8" tall spikes. They were trying to decide "which is it that makes you
puke? Is it beer first and then wine, or is it wine first and then beer?"
Ahhh....to be young again....