The City by the Bay

Trip Start Jul 02, 2010
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12
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Trip End Jul 16, 2010


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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, July 10, 2010

To make the most of our short time in San Francisco we had scheduled an excursion with Mr. Toad's Tours for about three hours in the afternoon for the day we were there. The tour start time was in the mid-afternoon so it allowed us to catch some extra Z’s and relax while we continued to do laundry at the hotel. We left around noon to head for the Fisherman’s Wharf where the tour started to grab a bite to eat before gathering at the meeting point.

Our tour guide – Proctor - was a bearded tanned man who looked like a cross between Earnest Hemingway, Rip Taylor, and that guy who plays the most interesting man in the world in the Dos Equis beer commercials. He had grown up in San Francisco and lived in various places around the world before returning to settle here. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the city was expansive and his love and pride for his town was evident. Coincidentally, the tour took place in a fully restored open air 1924 Yellowstone Tour Bus. We began our ride and hit all of the highlights of San Francisco with Proctor giving suggestions on what restaurants were the best and adding anecdotes about his childhood or some local character. The tour was awesome and I would recommend anyone start with Mr. Toad’s if visiting San Francisco because when you are done you will have a long list of places to eat and neighborhoods to visit and the knowledge to navigate them with ease.

San Francisco is a town as diverse as America itself and the attitude, kindness, and approachability of its citizens was inviting and positive. The neighborhoods are wonderful little enclaves of tradition and culture. We passed through Italian, French, Japanese, and of course Chinese (the largest Chinese population outside of China lives here in the largest Chinatown in the U.S.) sections of town and many others, each so unique and authentic with an American twist that you could spend days just exploring these singular places while in San Francisco. I could go on for pages about the wonderful sights, sounds, and smells that the city conjured, but it is just too much for this journal. Needless to say Hannah and I will return and immerse ourselves a little more in this wonderful place.

We also hit all of the highlights like Alcatraz, the Presidio, The Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Heights, Nob Hill, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Transamerica Building, Telegraph Hill, and on and on. . . . Neither Hannah nor I had expected the temperature in the Bay Area to be so chilly in July, but as Proctor reminded us Mark Twain had once said the coldest winter he experienced was the summer he spent in San Francisco.

Back at our hotel we took a walk on the bluffs beside Rockaway Beach and the views from the top of ocean cliffs was stunning. We took our time walking all the trails that meandered through a thick carpet of wildflowers of blue, purple, yellow, and orange as they hung on to the rocky shores plunging into the Pacific. We had expected only to take a short walk but it turned into an hour and a half hike. Despite taking up precious time that we could have relaxed or finished our laundry, the extended and unexpected hike will remain a gem in our San Francisco visit and it was almost dark before we trekked back along the beach to our room. As we crossed the small beach a staggered line of about a dozen fishermen all decked out in waders and rain gear cast heavy fishing poles into the rough surf as they fished for the Striped Bass that schooled right off shore this time of year. We finally settled in for the night and, although we were looking forward to heading down the Pacific Coast Highway the next day before turning back east, there was a small feeling of disappointment that we were leaving San Francisco so soon.
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Comments

Kevin Etheridge on

Thank you so much for posting this video on Youtube.

I can really tell you guys are having a great time. I had no idea Justin liked rainbows so much...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI
Double Rainbow Guy

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