Monday morning we woke early again. Not at 4 am but still before sunrise. We got ready for the day and packed our suitcase for our trip to San Francisco. Again we enjoyed a hardy breakfast before departing the hotel. We took our luggage to the car and the air was filled with a heavy fog. I wasn’t looking forward to traveling in the fog but the visibility was good. We looked at the map on the phone to see how heavy the traffic was on the highway. There was a lot of red. The mapping program wanted to take me in a direction with less traffic and faster but that route would have taken us over the Bay Bridge and not the Golden Gate Bridge. We ignored the phone for a few miles until I got the phone to see it my way. It was a good drive on highway CA-37. CA-37 passes thru the San Pablo National Wildlife Refuge on the north side of bay area. We were able to see lots of wildlife birds in the refuge as we drove towards US Highway 101. We merged onto the 101 and the fog was lifting as we traveled. As we continued on US Highway 101 I was keeping and eye out for the Golden Gate Bridge. All the sudden the bridge appeared over a hill. We drove thru a tunnel and exited the 101 to take a better look at the bridge.
We headed to the west side of the 101 for our first look and photos of the icon of San Francisco. The fog was capping the top of the bridge supports. But what would this icon be without fog? After several minutes we drove to the east side of the bridge. We walked on to the observation pier for a look of the bridge from water level. The pier had several people fishing on the pier. The fish poles were heavy duty and the fishermen were reeling in three fish at a time. The fish were silver and about 10 to 12 inches long. Laurel asked one of the fishermen what kind of fish they were catching. The one responded with Mackerel. The fishermen were filling 5 gallon pails and coolers with fish. We also had the pleasure of watching a sea lion swimming around the pier. We headed back to the car and crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t stop on the south end but we did continue to our next attraction.
As we exited off the bridge we looked for CA-1 south. The destination was the Hiden Garden Steps Project. There are two staircases are located near Grand View Park. The first one we stopped at was on the corner of Kirkham and 16th Avenue. If you love community projects to beautify a neighborhood or stained glass work this is the place to visit. The beauty of this artwork is unmatched. Each riser has its own story and all the riser together tell a complete story. After a short visit, because we had parked in someones driveway, we made the short drive to the corner of Moraga Street and 16 Avenue. These are The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project. This stairway has 163 steps. We took photos and climbed the stairway. When we reached the top we continued to climb the steps on Grand View Park. The name says it all. This vista is a grand view of San Francisco. The sky had cleared and the sun shone brightly and it was a warm climb up the steps. We could see the Pacific Ocean, the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park and the financial district of San Francisco. After a good rest we made the climb down to the car. It was noon and we need to start looking for a place to eat. A few blocks away were some Chinese restaurants. Dim Sum sounded like an excellent choice. As I pulled into a parking stall I spotted a hot dog restaurant. With a name like Underdog how can you go wrong. Side note- some of my beer choices are made on name alone. We were the only customers. We had a good conversation with the store owner. But when we had a bite of his handmade meats, they were incredable. I couldn’t have asked for a better lunch. As I said yesterday, I would like to eat at a small local restaurant and Underdog fit the bill.
Our next stop was the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. When we arrived there was a tour guide just getting ready to lead a tour of the garden. She told us some of the history and enlightened us on the symbols of the plant in the way they were pruned. We didn’t stay for the whole tour. We broke from the group and saw some of the garden on our own. When we finished we went back to the car and traveled to our hotel for the evening.
Our stay was at the Lombard Hotel. When we checked in I asked the desk clerk if we had a good view of the city. He responded with we would be vey pleased. We made our way to the room and entered the room. He was right. We had a small balcony that overlooked Lombard Street. In the distance over the roof tops was the Golden Gate Bridge. We had a great view. We went back down to the desk and asked about the cable cars and places to eat in San Francisco. He gave us some great tips on walking around the city and a list of restaurants in the area. Laurel and I headed off to ride the cable car. We rode on the Powell and Hyde line. We rode about 3/4 of the route before getting off on Bush Street. We walked down Bush Street to start at the Chinatown Gate. We walked the lenght of Grant Street before finding a city bus returning us near our hotel. We didn’t go to the hotel but went on to a recommended restaurant.
Tonight’s choice was The Lemongrass, a small Thai restaurant. The food was very good. We asked for the entrees to have their spices reduced. They still had plenty of spice, so what would would it been like if they were fully spiced? We finished dinner and looked for a small bar to have a night cap before heading back to the hotel. We came upon the Black Horse London Pub. Its a small pub with seating for 8. We enjoyed a little conversation with the bartender and moved down the street to another bar in the area. We wondered into the Black Magic on another recommendation. Had another friendly conversation with the bar tender and headed back to the hotel for a good night sleep. The morning will find us on our final leg of our vacation, Monterey.
To be continued….