San Francisco and Pinnacles NM CA

March 18, 2012

Spring Break – 2012

March 2 – High winds and rain in Dayton caused our flight to be delayed for two hours.  As a result, we missed our scheduled flight out of Chicago.  However, when we arrived we noticed another plane was leaving for San Francisco in 15 min.  We hustled to the next concourse and were able to get on – it pays to only have carry-ons!  Kate picked us up at 9pm and drove us to her apartment where a spaghetti dinner was on the stove.

March 3 – After breakfast we drove to the Ocean Beach by the Cliff House for a walk and to let Casey run.

The Windmill is in Goldern Gate Park

We drove down Lombard St, “The Crookedest Street in the World,” on the way back to the apartment, Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill is in the background.

Had lunch at the Duboce Park Café near Kate’s house – interesting place, note the heart in the coffee and the “Normal” display.

Drove to Martinez in the East Bay to tour the John Muir NHS.  John married into the fruit-ranching Strentzel family in 1880 and moved into the house when his father in law died in 1890.  This was his home until he died in 1914 at the age of 76.

Muir’s second floor “scribble den” where he did much of his writing

Redwood planted by Muir – over 100 years ago!

Persian dinner prepared by our friend Amir

March 4 – Sunday, I walked Casey to the top of Buena Vista Park for a view of the Golden Gate

We had breakfast and then walked to St Agnes (choir and director could have performed on Broadway) to attend mass.   We then walked through the Haight-Ashbury district

Nice (big) legs!       Ate some excellent burgers for lunch at Greenburger’s

Sidewalk Art

After changing clothes, we drove to the Presidio (Spanish for military post) where Helen and I toured Fort Point NHS under the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The first fort here was built by the Spanish in 1794.  The current fort was built just before the outbreak of the Civil War, it never saw action. The Golden Gate Bridge was built around it, opening in 1937.

We then drove through the Presidio and along the Great Highway to Fort Funston Park.  It is a “dog friendly” park on the ocean at the former site of a World War II gun battery that was later used as a Nike missile site during the Cold War.  I have never seen so many dogs in one place in my life!

March 5 – I was awake at 5:33am because of the time change and suddenly felt like a car hit the building, Casey started barking and it took a while to calm her down.  It was only later in the day that we discovered that there was a 4.0 earthquake!   Kate gave us cards for travel on the city Muni system and we used them for the first time, taking the Market Street trolley to the end of the line at Fisherman’s Wharf.  We walked a couple of blocks to the San Francisco Maritime NHP arriving at 8:30.  It wasn’t open until 9:30, so we walked through the adjacent Fort Mason grounds and then had coffee at the Buena Vista Café.  The café is across the street from the Hyde and Powel cable car turn-around.   We had Irish coffee here in 1968, the year we were married.

We spent the morning at the Visitor’s Center with only about a half hour viewing the boats at the dock.  So, we decided to return on Thursday and walked to the Boudin Bakery at the Wharf for chowder soup bread bowls.  All of the bread is made fresh daily and they are noted for the various animal shapes that they make.

Alcatraz – first called the “Island of Pelicans” by the Spanish in 1775.  A U.S. fort was built here in the 1850s and was used to house confederate prisoners during the Civil War.  Afterward it became a military prison and then a federal prison in 1933.  Some residents included Al Capone, Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.  The “Rock” closed in 1963.  Indians took over the island from 1969-71 in order to protest government treatment.  It became a National Historic Monument in 1976.  The audio tour of the prison was excellent.

We took the trolley back to Kate’s apartment and then walked a couple of blocks to the Thep Phanom Thai restaurant for dinner.

March 6 – Enterprise picked us up for a car rental and after about 2 hours of traffic we were at San Juan Bautista Mission.  The mission was established in 1797 and the current church was dedicated in 1812, that’s 200 years ago, and it is located right next to the San Andreas Fault!  It is still an active church and an interesting historic site.

We continued to Pinnacles NM and did the Bear Gulch Cave-Rim Trail loop – a bit over 2 miles.  We needed our head lamps for the approximately 0.33 mile talus cave – unfortunately, my batteries died half way through!

We ate dinner and stayed in a room at the Casa de Fruta complex about 1 hour north of the monument on highway 152.

March 7 – We returned to Pinnacles NM and did the Condor Gulch-High Peaks trail loop – 5.3 miles, gaining about 1,300 ft in elevation.  The rock formations were spectacular.

The trail went up and through the formations in the background behind the frumpy looking guy.

We named it “The Thumb”

Drove back to SF and walked Casey around Alamo Park; the houses in the background are called “The Pink Ladies.”

Kate at the NOPA restaurant on Divisadero.  Kate had short ribs and a glass of wine, Helen had Tagine and water, and I had trout with water.  Kate and I shared a Pecan tart for a total bill of $117!

March 8 – Again took the trolley to the San Francisco Maritime NHP

This boat doesn’t work!

Notice that the ferry was considered part of highway 101 before the bay bridges were built.

Fish & Chips at Tarantino’s on Fisherman’s Wharf

We returned to the Hyde Street Pier and the San Francisco Maritime NHP after lunch.  The Hercules towed huge log rafts down the coast, pushed railroad car barges across the bay, and towed large lock structures to build the Panama Canal.  It was built in Camden, NJ in 1907 and rebuilt in 1922 to serve passengers and automobiles.

The square rigged Balclutha was built in Scotland in 1886.  It carried goods throughout the world and ended its working  life as a salmon fishing supply ship between SF and Alaska.

We took the Powell & Hyde St cable car to the end of the line downtown.

We then got back on the Market St trolley for the ride back to the apartment.  There are more than 35 different trolleys, from various U.S. and European cities, that have been refurbished and are used on Market St.

Our trolley was from Boston

This one is from Detroit

Amir and Afsaneh met us and treated us to dinner at the Maykadeh Persian restaurant on Telegraph Hill.

March 9 – We had breakfast at Le Café du Soleil one block from the apartment.

Again walked along Ocean Beach and then continued to the Cliff House and Seal Rocks

Golden Gate Park


Kate & Helen toured the Conservatory

Had to take a ride on the Carousel!

Manicures and pedicures at Simply Unique Nails

My first pedicure – the best my feet have ever looked!

Ordered an extra large “Haight Pizza” (pesto, spinach, mushroom, tomato, garlic, and fresh parmesan) from Mythic Pizza on Haight.

March 10 – Kate’s ground level garage and apartment.

We splurged on breakfast at the Mission Beach Café on the way to the airport.  Our plane was two hours late leaving San Francisco.  Again, we had to hustle to the next concourse in Chicago to catch our Dayton flight.  I was the last one on the plane!  Unfortunately, our bags did not make the flight and were delivered to our house at 4pm the next day.

March 17th – St Patty’s Day and Heather’s graduation!

Heather graduated from the Nursing Program at Hondros College and was selected for the Florence Nightingale award “For overall excellence and professional attitude academically and climically . . . ”

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