GRAND TOUR, ON THE ROAD AGAIN
16 September 2008
I'm sure I say this every time, and I'll probably continue to say it every time...but I love giving the grand tour of San Francisco.
They were on a tour of the southwest and had already been to the Grand Canyon and some Arizona locations, spent a horrendous 111-degree couple of days in Palm Springs, when their bus broke down (another was not readily available because they had all been sent off in preparation for evacuations for Hurricane Ike).
Two days ago they were apparently in Sacramento, but didn't realize how close to me they were and then they landed at the Cathedral Hill Hotel (which I will forever call the "Jack Tar," because that's what they called it when it was first built, two blocks from my high school).
I left Davis at 7:30, stopped to get money, and then headed toward the city. I was pleased to see the weather was lovely. Well, it was lovely until I saw the thick fog bank resting on the Vaca Mountains. That is usually a very pretty sight for me because it means that it will be cool in SF. But when you are heading in to show people sights, it's not what you want to see.
Traffic was pretty light, but bunched up at the toll plaza and I decided to take a picture while I was stopped. That's when I realized that though I had very efficiently remembered to charge my battery, I had forgotten to put in a card so had nothing onto which to record photos. Damn.
I managed to find a shop near the hotel, so ran in and
bought a card and was in business again. I picked the
We did the usual stuff: under the Golden Gate Bridge, out through ritzy Sea Cliff and past Robin Williams' house, through the Lincoln Park golf course with its view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the other side, then past the Palace of the Museum of Honor, with the statue of the Thinker in the courtyard.
Next out to the ocean beach, through Golden Gate park and the buffalo/bison pen, past the new De Young Museum, the music concourse, which is under construction, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the newly remodeled Science Museum (scheduled to open September 27).
Then out through the Haight Ashbury district and finally up to Twin Peaks, where the sun had finally burned off the fog and you could get a good overview of the city. I pointed out some landmarks we had already passed.
We drove down into the Castro district and stopped for lunch at the Firewod Cafe, which a friend had recommended. Sue had side salad, Irene and I each had regular salads and were amazed at the vat of food we were served!
When we returned to the car, we discovered we were trapped. I had politely pulled up close to the car in front of me because there was a passenger drop-off behind me. Well, someone had pulled up behind me and had left me literally ONE INCH between his bumper and mine. There was no way the car could be maneuvered out of the spot.
I went into the Cesar Chavez School and asked if anybody knew who owned the car. Nobody did, but the woman in the car in front of me came out and moved her car forward enough so that I could finally get out. I was afraid we were going to have to spend the rest of the afternoon waiting for the idiot to come back to move his car!
From there we went over to the Marina, past all the civic center buildings -- the opera house, the symphony hall, the city hall, and we ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts, which they found suitably impressive.
Then back along the Marina, up over Lombard St. and down the crooked hill, up Leavenworth St. past the place where I was born and around to go down Filbert St., the steepest in the city.
Next it was through North Beach, past St. Peter & Paul church, where Joe DiMaggio staged a photo with Marilyn Monroe after their wedding at city hall, so he could send it to Mama in Italy and let her think they had a church wedding.
We drove up to Coit Tower to see the view there, down along the waterfront to see the Giants stadium, and then back up to Market St. to show them where they could come to shop tomorrow.
They asked if I had time for coffee before I took them to their hotel and Irene mentioned that Sue would like to check out the Fog City Diner, which we had passed along the waterfront, so we drove over there--by many various routes until I got the right one (shades of Travels with Peggy)--and we finally found the place.
We each had lusciously sinful desserts and felt virtuous because we'd all had salads for lunch.
I finally dropped them off at their hotel and headed on home, over the Golden Gate Bridge (so I wouldn't have to pay a bridge toll on the way home). I was fully prepared for heavy commute traffic but, amazingly, I didn't find heavy traffic anywhere all the way home. Delightful!
It was just a wonderful day and I'm so glad Peggy thought to get us all together. I've made new friends from the other side of Australia.
PICTURE OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 68 miles