Heading up the coastline from Half Moon Bay, you eventually take a left turn off highway 35 (Skyline Blvd.) onto the Great Highway. It's two lanes each way, but it's not a highway as we tend to think of it. More than that, it's an arrow-straight promenade right along the bluff of the beach, with sand dunes on the left and in the median. You can see out to sea for miles. The houses of San Francisco march past on the right, eventually taking leave to accommodate Golden Gate Park and the Old Windmill.
The beach is a gentle slope here - there is uninterrupted breakwater at the head of the beach to keep the sea "at bay". I was up here once during the heavy storms in 1997. The howling wind brought the waves up hard against the wall, and the ground would shake every time they hit. I was in full Gore-Tex garb (having driven up the coast from San Gregorio to see the storm) and I was soaked. The water channeled and came up the stairwells to the road like a fire hose unleashed; the parking lot was a market for seaweed and the sand afterward covered the roads in places.
Alas, today it is calm, breezy and cool.
Street art decorates and livens up the vast tract of wall.
Done in mosaic chips
Neat sense of humor. Reminds me of an old cartoon character.
Brisk onshore breeze
Turning at the windmill, we come into the panhandle of Golden Gate Park.
First thing we see but I think she saw us first
Taking a detour past the Fine Arts Museum
A changing impression
There's a crude derogatory expression relating to how useful something is . People might say
"It's as useless as t*ts on a Bull"
Well, the same thing applies to this Sphinx guarding the Modern Art.
It's an interesting comparison. Both these statues are Art Deco and well executed. The one on the right is at the Hoover Dam. When the golden sun beams down and warms you, the vision and power is tangible.
Now we're at the corner of Haight & Ashbury....a different scene today. There's Ben & Jerry's.
Is that a fact?
Everything you need for the office on casual Friday's
Lots of other interesting place to visit as well...
"History remembers 2 kinds of people: those who murder and those who fight back"
"Anarchism strives toward a social organization which will establish well-being for all."
Are these quotes true?
"Before judging a man, walk a mile ......"
Heading over the Bay Bridge, we aim for Berkeley to visit Gathering Tribes, a Native American Artisan shop.
Berkeley still has a bit of 60's and 70's flavour to it.
The Bay Bridge is still holding up, and the new one beside it is taking shape. This is the biggest crane I have ever seen, and if you look closely, it's lifting capacity is 1700 tons. To get a sense of the scale of the thing, you can see the stairs and railings at the top of the mast. Incidentally, a full-sized GT26MC-3 diesel locomotive engine weighs about 130 tons, so this crane can lift 12 of them at once....
As seen from the Embarcadero
Unusual street sign, and a cute moniker on the pole
We went into SF a few times over the course of the trip. Walking along Fisherman's Wharf is always fun - you never know what to expect. I was wondering if we'd see the bush guy this trip, and we did. He surprised a few people with his sudden appearance.
.. .. ..
I chatted with the guy a little. It was pretty funny later on when walking back - he was on a coffee break and there was another guy taking over for him! He was thirsty too so we gave him a couple of soft drinks.
The Boudin Bakery on the wharf makes great sourdough bread. We stopped for a bit, and warmed up with our backs to the fire. There wasn't anyone else outside on the patio because of the cool wind. It was good for blowing big bubbles though!
If you like top-notch vegetarian food in a classy atmosphere, this is the "Place". Down at Fort Mason on the water - just up from the wharf, I come here every trip for a special meal.
Going across the Dumbarton Bridge earlier in the day
Looking toward Mt. Tamalpais and the GG Bridge from Fort Mason and Green's
We had a good meal, saw the city lights and sights. Our next city stop is Vancouver, BC as we start making our way home by plane...
Vancouver, British Columbia
About as close as you can call it, we had a whistle stop here in BC. There was a 4 hour connection so we jumped a train and went into the city for a glimpse or two.
Sunny and actually warm. Amazing!
Now it's time to buzz back for the flight to Ottawa. Oh well...
Time to buy a sandwich and coffee for someone we met .
Can we get some of these in Ottawa?
A fantastic Native carving on the airport walkway
Several hours later (we flew over Thunder Bay Willow!) we arrive home. My dad has come to pick us up in his limo. With all our luggage, it's a good thing there's no front seat!
There is just enough room for the three of us : we're all looking forward to a good night's rest.
Until the next trip, enjoy the wilds of nature and get out hiking. If you live in Ottawa, remember there is always the Gatineau Hills right outside the door!