San Francisco, California

Trip Start Apr 12, 1992
1
25
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Trip End Jun 15, 1992


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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, May 7, 1992

Don't trust a government that doesn't trust you to own a gun.
5-6-92
Half Moon Bay, California

Cool, heavy overcast
Half Moon Bay might easily be the most attractive town I have seen on this journey. In many ways it resembles Fairhope, Alabama, on Mobile Bay. It does appear to be slightly larger. However, my map index indicates each had slightly under 8,000 population in 1989.

Note: It occurs that I may have created some confusion regarding our home town and our place of residence. Helen was born and attended grade school in Fairhope, Alabama. I grew up in Birmingham. We met in the Fairhope area after I located there to operate a farm machinery dealership. Helen worked for me for about a year. I closed the business and we married and left the area together. a couple years later we relocated in Huntsville where we lived and worked until the year 2000. We had both attended classes and retired from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and decided to return to Fairhope in 2000. The two cities are totally different, both pleasing and exciting places to live and work.

Like Fairhope, Half Moon Bay sits perched on a bluff overlooking the water. Both have a wide strip of undeveloped and beach area along the shoreline extending north and south.

This morning fog prevented my seeing very far up or down the coast. The beach here curves out toward the ocean up at the north end, forming a distinctive half-moon shape.

The beacon from a light house was barely distinguishable out on the point.

A girl and her dog, a setter, materialized out of the fog. They walked briskly past, the girl huddled against the damp. They disappeared again into the fog. Nothing else was visible except a patch of gray sea. The gray fog and a few mist shrouded old Victorian houses at the town's edge. Such is the stuff that Gothic romance novels are made of.

Half Moon Bay has a very attractive downtown, It consists of small, neat shops and stores housed in very old buildings, with a few mew ones scattered about. It is clean, well tended, and like in Fairhope, flowers grow in scores of neat plots and boxes. Most of the homes are old, modest, neat cottages. They mingle with a few more modern structures. The town appears middle class, though I did note one town house development with prices "from the mid $200,000."

I attempted a few pictures before leaving. The fog made it almost impossible. Some shots of small homes with flower filled yards turned out well.

California-1 is much like US-1 in Florida in that it runs close to the waterfront and connects numerous small beach side towns. The next stop was El Granada. By 10 a.m. the fog had lifted a bit. This is a beautiful place. I wish I could have seen it better.

For several days I found myself less inclined to drive. I was content to find a satisfactory place to just sit, and walk, and look. Yesterday afternoon I even parked overlooking the ocean and enjoyed about a two nap. At this moment I am parked in the Marina at El Granada, watching the boats move in and out of the harbor. I can breathe the unique harbor smell and listen to the gulls squawking, a fog horn off in the distance and the rat-a-tat of a pile driver somewhere in between, the deep throated rumble of a large boat slowly moving out to sea.

This harbor is a study in blue and white. Most of the boats are white, a few are blue. Most of the white boats have blue trim and the blues are trimmed in white. Canvas work, sail covers, curtains, etc are all blue. Because of the overcast the sky and water are blue-gray.

California-1 took me to Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Each town is different, and each is attractive in it's own unique way.

I have been having some apprehensions about being able to obtain more cash when I need it. I still had about $ 150 of the $400 I started with, but I had visions of running out of cash and not being able to buy beer. So I stopped into a branch office Bank of America at a shopping center in Pacifica, confidently presented my A T & T visa card and my drivers license, told the nice lady I wanted $300 and she promptly made out a debit slip, obtained my signature. counted out 15 twenty's and wished me a good day. Ain't high tech wunnerful when it does something for you instead of to you.

I marvel at how you can travel the world, taking care of your needs simply by presenting a little plastic card. I can even call home by dialing in my card number.

I entered San Francisco from the south side along the coast, up from Pacifica. An exit off the expressway led me directly into Golden Gate Park, an island of serene calm amid typical large city Pandemonium. Every metropolis should reward itself with this kind of opportunity for relaxation and refreshment.

Later I drifted over to the Embarcadero (pier) area, which suffered so much damage from the 198? earthquake that destroyed the Oakland Bay Bridge. Reconstruction is still underway.

I also drove down Market Street where the riots recently spilled over from Los Angeles. It was peaceful and all cleaned up. I spent most of the daylight hours cruising around, just a redneck rubbernecker. This is a difficult city to see the sights while driving. That and making photographs really do not mix with maneuvering in traffic. When there is something to see you find yourself in the middle lane of traffic with no possibility of stopping. Nevertheless I crisscrossed San Francisco, up and down, and saw it all.

The derelicts here are even more troublesome than they were a few years ago. I understand the new mayor is asking people not to give money to them and he is determined to get them off the streets. Sometime ago, maybe 10 or more years, I saw a photo essay of the new Civic Center Plaza. It featured a fantastic array of pools, fountains, lights, etc,, covering about three square blocks in front of city hall. Today I visited there.

The pools are dry, filled with trash, the fountains are not running, and of course there are no lights.Instead the whole area is full of street people, drunk, drugged, lying on benches and the ground, soliciting handouts, relieving themselves on the few spots of grass they haven't trampled dead.

It would be hard to miss the irony of city leaders sitting in their plush,paneled, polished brass, marbleized, carpeted offices, guarded against invasion by their subjects in the park. Every day, in order to come to work. the "leaders" have to run the gauntlet they have allowed to fester right outside their workplace.

Think of all the work that needs to be done in our cities, from simple clean-up, to major rebuilding and repairs, and then think of the terrible cost of providing social services to a large population of idlers. It fills me with disgust for the lack of initiative by our so-called leaders.

We currently have two things going which guarantee there will be no relief from the problem. One is the extremely generous dispensation of various welfare benefits which make it possible for people to live, receive medical attention, etc. Without any reciprocal requirement to do anything in return.

The other is a minimum wage law which guarantees these people will not be hired. They are not economically worth minimum wage.

If we severely curtail welfare for all except those who are actually unable, for whatever reason, to work and then use the saved funds to hire people to work on needed public works projects, paying no more than open market value for their labor, at least we would get something for tax money spent.

Also, allowing labor to seek its own value in a non-regulated market would tend to bring down the costs of production, allowing us to compete with other economies. To some extent lower wages could reduce our reliance on high capital investment for tools and equipment, thus creating more jobs. For over forty years well meaning people have tried to help low paid people by supporting minimum wage legislation. It hasn't worked.An increase in the minimum wage is always followed by price inflation. Another group of low paid workers become unemployed, and a few more jobs are shipped to low wage nations. Domestic production drops and welfare rolls grow. I think it's pretty bad medicine.

It doesn't make sense to suffer dire needs, for road and bridge repairs,street beautification. etc. while large numbers of able bodied people are rewarded for sitting around idle. Nor does it make sense to make large numbers of people un-employable by setting a minimum wage that is more than they can possibly be worth.

Early this morning I took a long nostalgia trip. I revisited places where Helen and I visited when we arrived here via Amtrak some years ago. We had a layover for several days and toured the city extensively via cable cars.

Tonight I ambled around the Fisherman's Wharf area until dark, has a beer in a bar overlooking the Golden Gate, and much later disposed of a huge broiled shrimp dinner in one of the waterfront's excellent Italian seafood restaurants. The fancy menu called them "prawns". This was my first good restaurant meal since Espanol, New Mexico. It was great, though perhaps a little too rich for my proletarian belly. It exhibited mild rebellion. I was slightly ill with stomach upset the following morning.

The entire Wharf area has become a tourist trap. People mill around, buying souvenirs, eating and drinking international cuisine, riding the ferry out to Alcatraz, etc.
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