Day 4-San Francisco, Menlo Park, Palo Alto

On what was supposed to be our relaxing day off we walked the entire city of San Francisco. Okay, so not the ENTIRE city but we did cover a fair amount of ground. Once making our way from the CalTrain station downtown we headed for the Ferry Building (not “Fairy” Forrest!) and poked around some.

On our way to China town we walked by a Universal Studios movie filming…oh the costume truck! Once in China town we walked around looking for somewhere not too touristy to have lunch. We found a nice little restaurant a block up from the main tourist street and were entirely too fascinated by the menu with pictures and 270-some different food choices. After lunch, bellies stuffed, we started exploring some of the butcher shops. And boy did we find some interesting things: poultry (live) in back rooms, snails, sharks heads, turtles (no joke…we saw one being butchered), frogs (live), frogs (skinned), and about a million and one kinds of fish.

Next we found ourselves in North Beach (the San Francisco version of “Little Italy”) and really wanted to get dessert (okay, we really wanted to eat all over again) but I was so stuffed that food sounded awful. (Next time!) Then we walked up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower (chose not to pay the $8 each to go to the top). I did convince Forrest that I needed to check out the Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf scene–as expected it was a tourist madhouse. The smell from the sea lions? Unexpectedly AWFUL. No trip to Alcatraz this time…next time for sure.

Next we wondered up Russian Hill following the cable car line. We stood at the intersection of two lines for awhile so we could hear the “distinct San Francisco sound”…I wasn’t that impressed. The cable car museum though was awesome! It’s actually in the cable house so you can see the giant wheels spinning so so so fast. It’s crazy!

From there we started to make our way to City Hall but after passing through Gucci-Prada-Armani land we found ourselves in the Tenderloin district and abandoned our quest to head for the train station. Then we continued through some classy classy area (ha ha ha…I think I saw a more than a couple drug deals go down) on our way. This is what I get for deciding to take a different way to “see different stuff” (typical Beth) and was very glad to have Forrest with me.

The train ride back was uneventful as we were both pretty tired (Interesting note…if you sit on the second level of CalTrain there’s seats at each end that face each other but there’s not enough leg room for two tallish people’s legs to NOT interlock. I don’t recommend it unless you like the person you’re sitting with.) We got off the train in Menlo Park and had a pleasant walk back to Lucy’s house poking fun at the Californians.

After our showers and a yummy dinner (thanks Lucy!) we headed to NOLA, a cajun themed bar in Palo Alto. I put in a call to James, a friend from high school, who lives in San Jose and he joined us there. We had a fabulous time–the moron bowl definitely got things off to a good start–it was great to catch up with old friends.

Forrest managed to fix the air mattress so we got a much better nights sleep…which we well deserved after our long day in the city.

Day 4: 0 miles (on the motorcycle)!, 5? 8? 10? miles (walking in San Fran)

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Day 3-Mendocino to Menlo Park

We woke up and broke camp without eating breakfast. It was chilly and we were anxious to get on the road. We cruised down to Point Arena where we ate breakfast in a cute cafe before riding out to take a look at the lighthouse. It was pretty sitting way out by itself (it was only 8am but the lighthouse wouldn’t open for tours until 10…story of our mornings!) but I was more taken by the kelp forests visible below us.

We didn’t make too many stops on the way. I wish we’d have stopped at Fort Ross State Park to check it out but I haven’t quite perfected the art of looking around Forrest on the bike to see good places to stop before they’re going by. We did make a stop in Marshall at Hog Island Oysters where I tried one raw. I was unimpressed with their “Sweetwaters” that supposedly are “slightly salty” with a “smokey-sweet flavor”…I got “bitter” from them.

We made a pit stop at Muir Woods National Monument. The parking situation was intense! Good thing we were on the motorcycle (greatly simplifies parking) and had a National Parks Pass (hurray for not having to pay the admission fee!). I’ve never seen so many people stop to look at trees at one time. I’ll admit they were some of the most beautiful woods I’d ever seen–lots of light reaching the forest floor–but there were just SO MANY PEOPLE! I’m glad we checked it out but I was also ready to move on.

The next stop was the Golden Gate viewpoint. It couldn’t have been more perfect–I liked that there was a little fog but not enough to obscure the view of the bridge. After a quick photo op we crossed the bridge and because we had some time to kill before going down to Lucy’s so we drove through Golden Gate Park and a little bit into the Russian Hill neighborhood where we got some killer ice cream at Swenson’s. We decided to check out the Castro and Haight-Ashbury as they’re a bit far from downtown for the one day walking tour we were planning for the next day. Just like Golden Gate Park we were pretty sad that we had all of our stuff on the bike so we couldn’t get off an explore both areas. For all the pluses of the bike not being able to lock it up is a major downside…

After devouring a couple slices of pizza we headed for Lucy’s house in Menlo Park. We got a little turned around and missed the turn onto highway 1 so we took a little detour through Daly City. Our timing in getting to Menlo Park was perfect, we only beat Lucy to her house by about fifteen minutes or so. After a well deserved beer (for all three of us!), she and her roommates had to go to a meeting with their landlord so Forrest and I took advantage of the time to take some much needed showers.

After Lucy got home we headed to the “Oasis” for burgers, beer, and baseball. I was in heaven! Back at Lucy’s house we were all crashing…Forrest and I were pretty happy to have the air mattress and not be in our sleeping bags until it deflated on us midway through the night…but such is life!

Day 3: 207 miles plus a motorcycle tour of the Castro and Haight-Ashbury

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.