Monday, September 19, 2011

San Francisco Extravaganza - Day Two - Part Four

I am sure by now people are a little tired of hearing about day two so I will try and make this the last one for Saturday. It might be a little long so I'll make it more pictures, less narrative. Please bear with me.

As we wandered over to the Hyde Street Pier and the Maritime National Historic Park we decided to pay the $5 entry fee since it included touring all 4 ships and also helps support our national parks.

Just before reaching the entry gate we saw what is known as the San Francisco "Ark." A houseboat used for a vacation home in the early 1900's. It is 44ft by 25.5 ft.

It was complete with parlor on each side of the entry door:

(more than one good sized bedroom)


(Tiny bathroom with shower)

Prior to the Golden Gate Bridge opening in 1937, the Pier was the principal terminal for automobiles and passengers between San Francisco and Sausalito.

One of the ships berthed at the Pier is a wooden-hulled, side wheel paddle steamboat called the "Eureka". Built in 1890 and originally named "Ukiah", the ship was owned by the San Francisco and North Pacific Railway (SF&NPR) to carry rail cars across the bay. It was rechristened Eureka in 1923 and launched as a passenger and automobile ferry. It made its last Marin County run in 1941 but continued regular ferry service to the East Bay until her crank pin snapped in mid-crossing one day in 1957 and she was forever removed from service.

The following are pictures taken on board the Eureka:

Great view of Alcatraz from the top of the Eureka:

Next was the Balclutha:

(me with the Balclutha in the background)

The Balclutha, a square rigged ship, was built in 1886 as a general trade ship. In 1902 it was chartered to the Alaska Packers Association and was renamed the 'Star of Alaska' in 1904 when it joined the salmon fishing/canning trade.

The following pictures are taken on board the Balclutha:

(Sleeping berths on the half deck)

(view looking out from the door of the half deck)

Captain's quarters:

It was very dark below deck so the pictures didn't turn out well, but it was really interesting to see the old footage and watch a documentary about it's history.

Next up the tug boat Hercules built in 1907:

Wasn't much to see on the tug so we moved onto the C.A. Thayer, a lumber schooner built in 1895:

The CA Thayer is just beginning restoration and we couldn't do much but stand on deck. The only picture we have is the following one where you can just see part of the hull in the right foreground. The Balclutha is in the background.

From the Pier we wandered towards Ghirardelli Square in hopes of finding good eats.

One of the stores/cafes in Ghirardelli Square:

(The Cocoa building at the square)

(looking for patterns in the buildings)

At this point the crepe and chocolates had worn off and we were starving. The lines at any place in the square were way too long so we opted to walk all the way back to Boudin.

The sourdough bowls of clam chowder beckoned.

We were so hungry we each ate an entire bowl including the bread. There was probably about a cup and a half of soup in each one. Not a crumb remained.

We pressed on backtracking towards Ghirardelli Square and the Maritime Museum. Unfortunately the museum was closed by the time we arrived so we continued towards Fort Mason. The fog was rolling in and as we continued walking a barge was blowing it's horn as it was coming in through the fog.

And as it was coming in out of the fog, another was heading out to sea into the fog.

Right about here is where my new little cannon camera battery died. The rest of the pics in this post were taken with the older Canon SX120 IS. As much as I love the pocket HS 300, I still think the older larger model takes better pics.

From the top of Fort Mason we caught site of the rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts to the west.

On the other side of Fort Mason we looked back towards the South East and had a good view of the fog rolling in over the city.

With renewed vigor we pressed on, stopped at Safeway across the street for Aleve for our tired muscles and kept walking. Sure was chilly along the marina and the wind was pretty strong.

We saw some interesting homes along Marina Blvd. I can only imagine the cost if one were for sale.

When we were a few blocks from the Palace of Fine Arts (the Palace) we decided that after looking around the Palace we would take the bus back to the hotel rather than walk through the Presidio. It was after 5 pm and we had about hit our limit for the day.

We arrived at the Palace late enough that not only was it closed, but so too was the Exploratorium. Several wedding receptions were in progress but we weren't dressed for crashing.

The Palace was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition and was meant to be temporary. It was rebuilt in 1965.

(a pair of white swans swimming in the lagoon at the Palace)

Having arrived at the other side of the Palace grounds and finding the bus route we came to the realization we did not have exact change for the bus. A quick peek around told us we were on Highway 101 (aka Richardson Ave at this point).

We checked our handy map and realized Richardson/101 turns into Lombard. We decided to follow it for a little while in hopes of finding a Starbucks or gas station or grocery store to make change for the bus. So we walked, and we walked, and we walked. Nothing. We decided maybe we needed to go north one street to Chestnut, as maybe there were more businesses. Not so much. Back to Lombard. Did I mentioned we walked? Did I mention I had to use the facilities before we even got to the Palace and found they were closed?

More walking ensued. By the time we crossed Van Ness we said screw it. Why find change and a bus stop at this point. We decided we were just stubborn enough to walk all the way back to the hotel. A certain sense of pride and victory were looming. The Aleve must have kicked in.

What is that up ahead? A giant hill? But on the other side is the "crookedest street". It's only three blocks. We decide it must be done and we can wait at each intersection for the lights to change and catch our breath. Right, left, right left, one foot after the other. I think I can, I think I can.

Made it to the top. As far as you can see down Lombard we walked. Even further actually. We were back in the fog when we started from the Palace.

(view looking out over the crooked side)

There was an interesting looking house covered in bougainvillea part way down the crooked side.

And we finally made it down all the stairs.

A couple of blocks later we made a right turn on Taylor and found out we needed to walk over Nob Hill to get to our hotel on lower Nob Hill. Bollocks. Slowly we made our way to the top and over. Again, right, left, right left. Smooth sailing on the way down. We even took a few photos. Good excuse for a break.

Finally we arrived back at our hotel. Grabbed a few cookies from the lobby, pilfered a big cup of coffee from the dining room and relaxed a bit. I plugged in the camera battery to charge and Troubadour mapped our route. We'd walked 11 miles. Sure felt like more.

How do you counteract 11 miles of walking? More walking for dinner and dessert. We needed sustenance. Off to Chinatown we walked for some late night dim sum. Not as good as the Jade Garden in Seattle but not bad. We did not take the camera with us.

We still hadn't walked enough so from there we walked back down to Union Square determined to have dessert at the Cheesecake Factory. We made it and it didn't seem to be as busy as it was Friday night. We looked and pondered and looked some more finally deciding on our decadence of choice. We purchased it to go and managed to find an open Starbucks on the way back. Coffee and cheesecake at 11:30 at night. Must be a mini vacation.

We ordered our decaf coffees and had a little fun with the barista. He first asked for a name to attach to the order and we said "Brad." And with some chuckles changed it to 'pretty princess'. We laughed at the names on the cups and went back to the room. The camera battery was charged so we took some last food porn pics before turning in.

Apparently the barista wrote my tall latte cup prior to the pretty princess comment, for I was not the pretty princess this night.

(my Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake)

(Troubadour's Tiramisu Cheesecake)

I think we were on a bit of a sugar high, as we didn't get to bed until 1:00 am Sunday morning and you all know the damn coffee smell woke me before 6 am. Stay tuned - only one more day left of San Francisco before we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

- Au Revoir

"After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value." ~ George Macauley Trevelyan .


  1. Great pictures! The cheesecake looks pretty decadent and makes me want some now & I don't have any. I do have homemade peach pie though so it's a fair second to cheesecake. 11 miles that's a lot of walking! I love the crooked road, that would be pretty awesome to learn turns on a motorcycle.

  2. The wagon reminds me of the vintage car museum in Luray Virginia. The museum starts with something similar with an underpowered engine in the front.

    It also looks like you're eating very well. Your last photo has given me a very strong desire to eat a pile of home made whipped cream. There is not much better on the entirety of the planet than a huge pile of fresh whipped cream.

    I'm salivating.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  3. Trobairitz:

    you both sure covered a lot of ground. A lot of years ago we also walked a fraction of what you did but we did manage to walk down Lombard Street too.

    I was holding my gut the whole time you were walking back to the hotel, and the first thing you did was "pilfered a big cup of coffee from the dining room . . .". I would have thought you would have found the facilities first, you know, to make room . . .

    You must carry a notepad with you to remember all the facts as you are so detailed in your descriptions. Glad you had a great "birthday" weekend away.

    and from now on should we address Brad as "Pretty Princess" ?

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. Trobairitz:

    Thanks so much for the most excellent tour - you're making it really hard for us to make vacation decisions, y'know!

    Houseboats are hugely popular in Australia and I've been chewing renting one as a possibility. What a gorgeous boat the Balclutha is! I was curious about the name as we have a town in the south island by the same name and that area has strong Scottish roots.

  5. This is a great virtual tour and, I for one am not tired of reading about your trip. Wonderful pictures of the ships. I am especially interested in the square rigger.

    You both put in a lot of miles and I would have thought it to be a bit more than 11 miles. And you must have a great memory. Those kind of details will vanish from my mind within the hour...

    Richard - My blog

  6. I am so enjoying this. Thanks, especially for the ships. Just great.

  7. @Dar - Homemade peach pie sounds better than cheesecake. It's my favorite pie, beside strawberry rhubarb that is.

    @Brady - Made you salivate? Turn about is fair play after teasing us with the European bread stories.

    @Bobskoot - We got the coffee in to-go cups so that we could take them back to the room. But, the first thing I did in the room was use the restroom. I think you can get away with calling him Pretty Princess. We were back in the same Starbucks the next day and the guy was laughing because he put it on his cup again.

    @Geoff - We do what we can. It would be hard to choose where and what states to visit. The Balclutha was my favorite of all the ships I saw on Saturday. Below deck was great as they showed cargo boxes and movies with old footage. It was built in Scotland. I didn't realize there was a town in NZ with the same name. Way cool.

    @Richard - I am glad you aren't tired of the tour yet. Don't worry Sunday didn't have near as many events at Saturday. Taking pictures helps the memory. We took over 1000 for the weekend.

    @CircleBlue - I am glad you are enjoying the virtual tour. I took a lot of ship pictures so sometime this winter when I don't have anything to blog about I'll post up some more random shots of the boats.

  8. You photographed every single one of my favorite things in San Francisco! Not able to get down there these days, unlike before when I visited at least once a year. When we lived in San Mateo I got dragged aboard the Balclutha every time my dad took me into the City. I like the Eureka better...

    Scootin' Old Skool

  9. My feet hurt just from reading about all your walking! You have some great destinations. I love old ships. Something about the architecture and smells. Weird, I know. :)

  10. @Orin - Glad I could photograph some favorites. I couldn't imagine growing up near such great scenery and fun things to do. I have to agree that the Eureka was pretty cool. I probably took more pics onboard it that I did the Balclutha.

    @BeemerGirl - Funny that my feet didn't hurt, was the darn hips. I too love the old ships. Must be all the historical novels i read.