When in Rome...Mixing Business with Pleasure - Day 2

So yesterday I decided to visit one of the classic American cities...San Francisco - known for it's neighborhood character, cultural diversity, cable cars, steep hills, sourdough bread, bridges, Full House, Mrs. Doubtfire, and great people watching. It's right up there with the Atlanta airport and Jacksonville's "Dancin' in the Streets" festival.

View of Lombard St. from above...can't really see it but it's one of the most crooked streets in the world. Eight sharp turns!

My fav! A Chia Pet building!
I took BART (Bay Area metro) into the city, since I figured driving there would be a bit hectic, and it worked out great. Took me right into the Powell Street station and Powell St. cable car turn around. In true tourist fashion, I patiently waited in line and took the cable car all the way up/down to Fisherman's Wharf. Waiting in line was fun too, I made friends with Mr. & Mr. Jones...we shared photography tips and ideas on how to get around the city in a day. They were a lovely couple! Took my picture too...

The ride was quite something. I got a good spot in the back of the car, next to Pablo the conductor. Pablo said it was a perfect spot to take photos and sightsee along the way. He was right. However, he failed to mention the fact that he would be yelling in my ear the entire way "NESSS ESSSTOP Lombard St.!!!!!!!!! Sorry sir, cable car full, get next one!!!! Hol' on' mam we go downhill!!!"

About 30 minutes later I made it down to the piers, where I walked along the bay and Ghiradeli Square, got windburned, had some fresh Salmon on the Wharf and proceeded to rent my bike. Originally, I had planned to just walk around and take the ferry over to Sausalito...hang out there for a few hours and head back to The Ferry Building for a glass of wine in the afternoon. But then I saw Blazing Bikes and I started feeling a bit adventurous. Five minutes later, I was signing a release and strapping on my bright yellow helmet. Oh and I rode on the sidewalk which is prohibited so I got yelled at right off the bat!

Alcatraz from Pier 39

I pedaled by the bay and got some momentum going before reaching the first of many many hills where I soon discovered I should join the Y with the rest of my coworkers. In true core value fashion in persevered up the hills and made it to the L shaped pier where I took a break before heading way up to the GG bridge.

Almost there!

As I pedaled and panted up the hill I soon realized it would be best to just walk my bike up. After all, mini vans and pro bikers in their spandex were making me pretty nervous on the windiest 2-lane ever. Victory! I made it up and pretended I was enjoying the view…but I was really catching my breath and debating whether to continue or turn around. But I figured, turning around would mean going back down the hill…pretty scary, therefore not an option.  So I willed myself on the world renowned Golden Gate Bridge, zig-zagging through Asian tourists, grandpas, moms with babies in their baby Bjorn’s, strollers, pro bikers, shitty bikers, walkers, kids…you name it, they were on the bridge

The bike!
Here we go...

Biking over the GG Bridge is by far one of the most rewarding, yet nerve-wracking experiences I’ve ever had.  As a random girl I met on the ferry put it - “I ride my bike to work here every day, and going over that bridge is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”  

Windsurfer and a bird down below...I was on a bike, higher than a freaking bird...geez, what was I thinking!
Thirty minutes later I was on the other side. Finally in Sausalito, the worst is behind me…or so I thought. I had forgotten the basic law of gravity “what goes up, must come down.”  The ride down must have taken a maximum of 5 minutes, but it seemed like an hour straight downhill.  As I looked down on the road ahead all I could say was “SHITTT this bike better have good breaks!” I gripped my handle bars tightly and hoped for the best.  Once again, pro bikers, cars and kids zoomed past me. I was having a mini heart attach at this point so I no time to even think about pictures. I'm sure you can google it though. Or just think of a Tour de France type hill. Get it?
I followed the bike path/road and finally reached the pier where I proceeded to rip off my helmet, park the darn bike (did not tie it down, I said Fu** it) and found a cute little cafĂ©. I opted for a big scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream.  That helped calm my nerves. As I looked back up the hill all I could think of was the dude who rented me the bike, who failed to mention minor details like “remember if you go up to the bridge, you have to come down a Tour de France like hill.” Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to walk around Sausalito…it looked very cool! Maybe next time....in a car!

View of the Golden Gate from the ferry
This time the worst was really behind me, a few minutes later I hopped on the ferry boat back to San Fran where I relaxed, looked back at the bridge, and caught a glimpse of spooky Alcatraz.  Would have been cool to take a tour of Alcatraz, but hey maybe next time. About an hour later I was back on dry, flat land. I strolled around The Ferry Building, taking photos and catching my breath. This building was very cool, loved the architecture and surroundings. Tons of cute restaurants too.
The Ferry Building...very San Franciscoish
Twenty blocks later I was back at Blazing Bikes...I made it...alive!

FINALLY, time for a drink! Found an Irish pub on the corner of Jefferson and Powell which did the trick. After a nice cold Stella I hopped back on the cable car and headed to the BART station.
Adios San Fran!
An hour later I was back in the rental car…dead tired, my feet killing me and my legs numb. I topped the evening off with drive through IN-N-OUT Burger and a chocolate shake.

A day in San Fran…Another one for the books…I was able to capture the city’s unique character and feel, while seeing everything I wanted to see in just a few hours. All in all, awesome day! Highly recommend the bike tour…just make sure you read my post beforehand. You'll  know the truth.
There’s a kayaking rental place here in Monterey, I’m highly intrigued…might want to go explore the kelp, but my arms might not be up for it. The beach, a blanket, a summer scarf, and a book sounds better. Stay tuned.


Day 1 - Mixing Business with Pleasure

So my lovely pat down by TSA airport security was followed by a girl puking into a barf bag and a man clipping his finger nails...All of this within 10 ft of me, on a Boeing 7fortysomething in route from JAX --> DFW. But looking on the bright side, no crying babies! After a shitty morning I knew the rest of the day would end up being a good one. My speculations were correct...the drive down from San Jose to Monterey was quick and painless. My hotel accommodations are not too shabby and 17 Mile Drive is definitely something to rave about. Here's a sneak  peak:

Mission Ranch @ Carmel...gorgeous hotel!

The 18th...took me a while but I eventually found it...let's just say I "almost" crashed a wedding rehearsal trying to get there...It was worth it! Simply, amazingly, awesome!
The Lone Cypress
Oka off to get some zzzz's...Buenas noches!