Thursday, March 6, 2008

San Francisco

Rice a Roni, the San Francisco Treat.

I see Phaedra gave you the highlights of our trip from Sacramento China Camp State Beach. Shawn and Cathy gave us a headstart on our trip to San Francisco by dropping us off near a place called American Canyon...about 40 miles from China Camp State Beach. Unfortunately, when I planned the trip I did not realize that it had us travelling on a freeway part of the way...with no alternatives in sight. Although we were only on the freeway for maybe 10 miles we were spotted passing a weigh-in station. The State Trooper was very nice and gave us directions to China Camp. As it turns out, we were very close anyways so it was all good.

It was lucky Taran took the day off the next day cause it took quite a while to figure out how to Bike down to SF while not using the Freeway. We lucked out by meeting a fellow in the Camp that was a Bike Planner and he gave us very good instructions. China Camp was very expansive and had lots of trails that we explored. We've started to run into areas where Raccoons are very smart. We've been warned many times that we need to keep our food either locked up in the boxes provided at the camp or hang from a tree. One fellow said that they actually unzipped his panniers and got into his food.

The weather has been ususually sunny and warm. Even the locals are surprised at how nice it is. We biked down to Sausolito and then crossed the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. It is nearly two miles long and in good clear weather was a terrific and almost awe-inspiring experience. We went through a biking/walking path from the Bridge to our Hostel right through the Presidio (a former Army/navy place) and found our hostel (Fishermans' Wharf Hostel) right away. Unfortunately, it was booked up so we had to ride downtown to another hostel. We met some interesting people from Chile (taught snowboarding in Reno NV) and Japan (IT guy going to visit Google and Intel in the silicon Valley). We were able to take our Trailer right into our room so it made things very easy to look after.

Thursday morning we spent in Downtown SF visiting a few shops, Union Square, Visitors Info Center etc. In the afternoon we went back to the Fisherman's Wharf Hostel had lunch and then went to Pier 33 to catch the boat to Alcatraz. It was really cool. Both Taran and I had a great time there. We were lucky enough to catch one of the State Park Ranger guys giving a tour about all of the escape "attempts" that were made during the prison's history. He was a very colourful speaker and even asked Taran a few questions... "How many Canadian citizen's stayed in Alcatraz?" Taran replied "7" he said... "PHZZT...wrong....I'll give you a hint that might help...It's somewhere between 13 and 13".... In fact, the first escape attempt was made by a Canadian.

We returned from Alcatraz and wandered through Pier 39 and the rest of Fisherman's Wharf. Taran liked the Chocolate Shops, the Knife Shop, The Arcade, The Candy Shop, The Magic Shop the most. The sourdough bread we bought at Boudin's was good too. We saw from a distance the old WWll warships and submarines that you can tour on.

Being on bicycles gave us the opportunity to see a lot of the city. I certainly recommend it as a means of travel in a big city. The hills can be a problem in SF.

Being on the budget plan, we have not sampled much local cuisine, but we did try some free potstickers at a Restaurant in Chinatown. Taran was at first reluctant to go to China Town but once we got there he was quite taken with the place. It is sure is big and so much stuff could be bought cheap.

Taran was quite taken with SF...I think he would like to live here!! I don't think he realizes that most of the time it is covered in Fog!!

We've got some heavy duty camping and biking coming up. We're leaving for Half Moon Bay tomorrow and then 6 more nights on the road to reach LA. It is very remote and we need to be careful with refueling and not getting stuck too far from a campground. I doubt there will be much direct news coming from us...we'll have to wait and see.

Wish us luck


Fireball and Fireball Jr.

PS. We eat oatmeal with raisins/apples every morning. We've been eating sandwiches (meat/cheese mustard and WW bread)and fruit for lunch, granola bars for snacks and pasta with sauce and broccoli or carrots for dinner. We've had the odd can of soup/stew as well. Milk is a treat we sometimes indulge. Now that is is warmer, it is going to be harder to plan our meals...

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