Thursday, August 20, 2009

Road Trip: San Francisco without the Flowers

Our story today begins with shoes, more specifically one missing shoe. When getting ready to leave, Tyler went to put on his shoes and discovered one to be missing. Both of us had showered at this point and Nate was taking his. We searched in the dirty clothes, under the mattress… everywhere, but the shoe remained missing. Finally, I opened my suitcase and discovered the shoe was there. I knew I had not put anything into the case that morning, so naturally I was puzzled. At this point, Nate came out of his shower and it turned out that he had thrown the shoes in the general direction of my suitcase and one had gotten stuck. Go figure.

Around eleven, an hour later than we had intended, Nate, Tyler, my cousin Chris and I left for our visit to San Francisco. Along the way we entertained ourselves by trying to be the first in the car to spot groups of cows. About an hour later, we arrived in San Francisco, and rather than simply looking for parking and seeing where we’d end up (which worked so well last time), we used the GPS to go first to Fisherman’s Wharf and afterward went to the nearest parking structure. Being close to Fisherman’s Wharf, the parking was naturally outrageously expensive, running $2 for every twenty minutes (with a$38/day maximum). While finding a spot to park in the structure, we noticed a bizarre vehicle, but missed a chance to get a good look, and we made sure to get a closer view on the way down. What we saw, was a bicycle designed for seven people to ride. The seats for the bikes were arranged in a circle around a central hub, each having a pedal that connected into a single drive system. The driver of the vehicle was like the others, but also had a steering wheel. The wheels of the bike were, of course, oriented to the driver's seat. The thing reminded me of an octopus and reminded Nate of something out of a Dr. Seuss. I only wish we could’ve seen the thing in motion.

After viewing the Octoseussmobile, the four of us set out to find affordable but interesting (not In n’ Out) which proved to be quite a quest. There were, naturally, a multitude of food places along the wharf, but they tended to either be food we could get just about anywhere (including at least three separate Boudins), or wildly expensive. Along the way, we of course saw lots of cheaper parking than the one we’d found. Oh Well.

Finally, we came to Pier 39, where we found a nice affordable restraint. Our waitress was a friendly woman with a thick, rich Irish accent, and my friend’s and I had a good hearty meal of Fish and Chips (Nate also had fried shrimp, clams and calamari with his meal). After lunch, we continued to walk along the Pier and view the various shops there. We saw a couple shops dedicated entirely to magnets, a souvenir shop with various signed memorabilia and a hat shop where Tyler found a cap that perfectly matched his jacket (naturally, Tyler bought that hat). The real treats, though, were at the end of the Pier. First, there was a double-decker carousel, and it even ha d a dragon. Now, I don’t particularly care about carousels myself, but my sister has developed a bit of a hobby finding and riding on Carousels, so it was neat to get to see this one and take pictures for her. However, carousels not being my hobby, I didn’t ride it. The end of the pier also had a stunning view of the bay and a fun spectacle of barking and jostling sea lions.

Finally, we took a look at the World War II liberty ship and submarine docked at the bay, though we decided not to pay to actually go onboard. The sheer size of the liberty ship was impressive to see, especially when you consider how fast they built them. Of course, Nate pointed out that one of our modern submarines, the Ohio class, is longer even than the liberty ship. That’s one big submarine.

On the way back from to Santa Rosa from San Francisco the traffic was abysmal, but Nate and I made up for this by getting truly intense in our cow-spotting and the time went by well. At last, we arrived in back and Chris and Tiffany’s place, where we had pizza and started watching I-Robot, which we’re still doing as I type. I’ve seen the movie before, and it’s pretty entertaining, though from what I understand it has little to do with the actual Asimov story, and wasn’t even originally intended to be “I-Robot”. Anyway, during the middle of the movie my Aunt Sheri and my uncle Chuck showed up, and we got to spend some time catching up with them, which I’m very glad of.

Tomorrow, Nate, Tyler and I are leaving for Portland, and I’m very excited – this is going to be my first time in Oregon.