E-mail: ajfenton@ajfenton.com

California Road Trip 2013

Day 7, Friday September 13 : San Francisco, Part II

Golden Gate Bridge

I don't ever want to see anyone off this tour waiting in line there
The tour guide / bus driver was quite insistent on this as we pulled around the corner to the Fisherman's Wharf cable car terminus.
That is a three hour wait. If you walk up one block, 25 minute wait.
Jacky, a great tour guide informed us that every third car is sent out from the terminus half empty so as to pick up people at other stops along the line. We used this knowledge to get the cable car back at the end of the day to Union Square and then a short walk along Geary Street back to our hotel. We were grateful to have had the benefit of Jacky's knowledge then when we were tired and just wanted to get back.

Jacky, an African American in his late 60s, drove us on the Golden Gate Bridge tour in his single decker open top bus. He stopped at places that he told us he shouldn't, once we were safely out of sight of the tour company's offices, to let us take pictures as well as telling us about the part of San Francisco we drove through that day. He also informed us that there are around 3,600 restaurants in the city which meant that you could have breakfast, lunch and dinner in a different restaurant for three years without having to go back to the same one. Food for thought.

On our way to the Golden Gate Bridge we also heard about Doggy Day Care and how a dog walker for the rich could earn $80-90,000 per year; how to get multiple free chocolates from the Ghirardelli chocolate company in Ghirardelli Square by going in and out of the various doors, at each door you would be handed a complimentary chocolate; how barrels of red wine were rolled down the hill to the city to help put out fires following the 1906 earthquake, and many other snippets of information.

The Golden Gate Bridge is not a surprise. Everyone has seen pictures of it many times so that it is at once familiar. You take your own pictures of it. The only new thing is driving over it. To say that you have gone over the bridge that everyone knows. On the far shore after a short way is the pretty coastal town of Sausalito, which according to Jacky goes to sleep once the last tour bus leaves in the evening. We considered getting off and wandering around a bit but in the end stayed on the bus to drive back over the Golden Gate and around the Presidio back to Fisherman's Wharf.

We ended our last day in the city there and had a meal in Boudin's bakery, sampling their excellent sour dough bread. The store below the restaurant sold many different bread products as well as other local delicacies, although I'm not sure that $90 for a loaf in the shape of a turtle is a worthwhile investment given it's construction material and attendant lifespan.

Back in the Hotel California for a final night and in the hotel's free Wi Fi zone we discovered that although the Tioga Road was still closed, the conditions in Yosemite Valley were clear. So we decided to stick with our plans to drive to Merced tomorrow.