America 2017: Day Six (26 October)

I’ve been stop
I’ve been go
I’ve been yes and I’ve been “oh, hell no”
I’ve been rock ‘n roll and disco
Won’t you save me San Francisco?
I’ve been up
I‘ve been down
I’ve been so damn lost since you’re not around
I’ve been reggae and calypso
Won’t you save me San Francisco?

– Train

Thursday 26 October 2017

Oakland, California

This blog is brought to you with all possible haste thanks to my auntie who is following along at home, and questioned whether I’d been too busy to post? Never! So, enjoy this one, Helena.

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Because we enjoyed today. Six days in, and the best day yet. After breakfast, we walked the mile from our house to Fruitvale, the site of the nearest train station. San Francisco’s subway/metro is called the BART – for Bay Area Rapid Transit – and it was exactly that, whisking us from Oakland right to downtown San Francisco, near the iconic Ferry Building, in less than twenty minutes.

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The weather today was amazing again. We’re living this heatwave in California whilst the rest of the nation is dealing with early cold snaps – snow today in Denver, Colorado and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul in Minnesota. Hardly seems possible, out here on the west coast.

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It was about twenty-five degrees Celsius today, which was perfect for being out on the water. We took a Blue and Gold ferry cruise out across San Francisco Bay to the Golden Gate, under the bridge of the same name, then a lap around Alcatraz Island, home to the infamous federal penitentiary, and arrived back at Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 41. It was a wonderful way to pass an hour and, as you can see throughout this post, the pictures we took were amazing.

Back on dry land, we hired bikes from Blazing Saddles and rode down towards (and then under) the San Francisco Bay Bridge, looping around AT&T Park, home of San Francisco’s baseball team, and had lunch in a great café opposite the ballpark.

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After lunch, we headed in the opposite direction, back towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Whilst there are a couple of short, sharp hills on the way, it’s mostly flat until you’re pretty much right beneath the bridge. Then, it’s a hellish seven tenths of a mile run up a steep hill to get onto the bridge proper. We crossed on the eastern side, which gave us astounding views of the city and the bay. There are few better views anywhere in America than the ones you’re treated to on a fine day when riding across Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re ever in San Francisco, I highly recommend hiring bikes and heading out. If the weather’s even half good, you won’t be disappointed by what you see.

From the far side of the bridge, in Marin County, we wound our way down to the pretty seaside town of Sausalito, from where we would catch the ferry back across to Fisherman’s Wharf. But not before a well-earned beer. We went to a place called the Barrel House Tavern (it was actually shaped like a barrel) which seemed very nice…but imagine my shock when I went to order two Bud Lights and they told me they didn’t sell Bud.

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On the Golden Gate Bridge

Don’t sell Budweiser? What the heck? I know we rode a long way, but we didn’t cross the American border. Almost unforgiveable! I had to settle for something called an American Lager which was nice, but it wasn’t Bud. They gave it to us in a wonderfully large glass, and that first sip, after many miles of bike riding, was about as good as it gets. I guess I can forgive them for the whole “No Bud” thing.

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The ferry ride back to San Francisco was uneventful, as was returning the bikes, but we ran into a few train delays on the BART back to Oakland, and didn’t get back to the house until after seven-thirty. We’ve just had dinner, I’m watching some football, and I’m pretty sure we’re all going to sleep like logs tonight.

Tomorrow? Off to see the giant sequoias at Muir Woods.

 


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