Saturday, September 26th
One again I have the good fortune to be able to take a trip most cannot, an indefinite stay in one of the most expensive cities in the US to visit or live in - San Francisco.
Were it not for the hospitality of my host Bruce my stay here would either be impossible, or cost a small fortune. So, I have the luxury of a free and easy place to stay and the ability to move around freely and easily since I know the City fairly well.
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
Source: © New Yorker Magagzine: Condé Nast
You don't have to fly much to eventually discover the same thing Albert has. I happened on this cartoon at Byrd Optical in Morgantown when I was ordering up a fresh pair of specs to take on this trip.
The above elicited this response from friend Martin:
A friend of mine -- I think he now a tenured prof of forest ecology at UC Berkeley -- coined the term "misoseconds." Those are the seconds of misery that one must accept for some purpose. Examples:
* When you are hiking and the black flies are eating you while you set up your tent
* When you are toting a big pack on public transit in hot weather
--and many others.
Ah, the joys of flying. Hopefully these two were dreaming of the camping trip to Yosemite they were about to take.
Flying always puts me a good mood.
The view from my window seat. Almost made me wish I would start seeing gremlins.
Be careful, the mayor is watching.
Our plane arrived at SFO 30 minutes ahead of schedule which made for a flying time of just over four and half hours. It will never cease to amaze me how quickly one can get from one side of the US to the other.
But, as luck would have it that gained time was eaten up by a delayed docking and then sloooow luggage unloading.
Once I got my luggage, an ancient internal frame pack nearly 30 years old I then lashed my Deuter day pack to it and then slung it on my back - or rather, I tried to. The combined weight of both of them was nearly more than I could handle, but, I was finally able to get the shoulder straps on, stabilize the packs and then cinch up the waist belt. After doing so I found I could barely stand with out teetering one way or the other. This made the ride back up the escalators rather interesting.
By the time I got off the AirTrain and to the BART platform I was soaking wet with sweat. I then got to join all the other befuddled people who were trying to get BART fair cards from the machines. Knowing my fair in advance - 8.05 (3 dollars more than in 2007) I had all the cash ready to feed the machine. But, low and behold, you are only allowed to insert 5.50 in cash. Now, who in the hell figured that one out!? The next option? Purchasing $20 worth of fair for an 8 dollar ride using a credit card. How convenient...
Once the BART train finally arrived I boarded only to find out I could not sit down because of the size of the tandem packs. So I straddled a seat the whole way, constantly shifting my weight so I would not bust my butt. Did I mention I also had a clothe shopping bag crammed with stuff I was also carrying?
I disembarked at 16th and Mission and rode the elevator up to street level. I barely able to keep my balance on the ride up. I trundled over to the bus stop, where, fortunately, there was a bench with and empty place.
I plopped myself down and waited for the 22 Fillmore bus to arrive and in the meantime entertained myself by listening to inane cell phone conversation 3,349,759. I am sure it will not be the last.
Good old Mission and 16th. Always gritty, noisy and busy.
This is the bus stop shelter. The temperature was in the 80s and not a bit of a breeze. I bet it was a 100 degrees behind that glass.
The 22 came and I dumped my 8 quarters into the fair hopper and got a transfer. When I was here in 2007 bus fair was $1.25 and I am certain the busses did not have bill accepters. But apparently they do now and I will not have to worry about getting change for bus fair for the next couple of days. After that I will have a Fast Pass, now 50 bucks, which will allow me unlimited riding on both the busses and BART - within the city limits.
The bus was not jammed like they are often are but soon filled up and then nearly emptied out by the time I got to my stop at Texas and 18th, just a block and half from where I would be staying on Mississippi Street.
Bruce, the fella I am staying with is a commercial tour bus drive and gone a lot. When I visited in 2007 he arranged to stash house keys for me since he would be on a run when I arrived. When he agreed to my staying with him on this trip I called and left him a message about leaving the keys in the same place. I never heard back from him. This was a bit disconcerting. I knew he would not leave me in the lurch, but I also now answering machines do not always work perfectly and sometimes messages get accidentally deleted. But, I had to just take in on faith that all was well and the keys would be there waiting for me when I arrived. They were.
I let myself in and struggled up the 3 flights of steps with the pack holding me back with each step.
Finally I was able to shed my load. Both of my t-shirts were so sweat soaked I could almost wring them out. I doffed them put and put them out on the fire escape to bake in the late afternoon sun.
They were dry in a matter of minutes.
I did an inspection and found Bruce's place pretty much like it had been in 2007. The only notable difference was a new TV and digital converter box. This was something he and millions of others were forced into who had older sets. Of course, there is always the other option...
I unpacked a few things, and decided to head out the door for some grub and groceries. My first stop would be Moishe's Pippic at Hayes and Gough. I checked my bus transfer and found it was valid until 2:30. It was around 1:30 now so I had plenty of time to try to get my two dollars worth out of the bus fare.
I headed back up to the bus stop where I recently disembarked from the 22 Fillmore. The bus came and I told the driver I need help getting the correct transfer bus to Hayes and Gough. He pointed across the street to the other 22 bus stop and told me I needed to take that one.
This didn't make sense to me since it seemed like I would be going in the opposite direction I needed to go. But, I crossed the street and was shortly on the 22 heading back the direction I had just come from. I queried the driver about my next bus and he told me to get off at Hayes and then catch the 21 to Gough street. This seemed like a very circuitous route to get to my destination, but, I took a seat and took in the sights as we headed back up to 16th and Mission and beyond.
We rolled our way up 16th, crossed Market Street and then headed up Fillmore Street. All the street names here were very familiar to me so I was ready to pull the chain when I knew we were approaching Hayes Street. I got off and crossed over to the bus stop for the 21 Hayes. I entertained myself by people watching while waiting for the 21 to arrive. It was interesting seeing the latest in 20 something fashions. I am so glad cleavage is back in fashion!
I waited at the bus stop just long enough to start thinking I would be better off walking down to Gough Street, but I was not exactly sure how far it was. I was off the map for the one I was carrying so I could not verify the distance. But, I finally got tired of waiting and headed down into the Hayes Valley in the direction of downtown San Francisco. After about 3 blocks I checked the map and found I only had a few block to go to my destination - Moishe's Pippic.
I ordered the "special" - Pastrami on rye and mustard with potato salad and a pickle. I also had a Coke, which is a rarity form me. But I thought the caffeine and sugar would help give me a much needed boost.
Moishe's bills them self as a "Chicago style deli" and they have been in business for 21 years. Never having been to a deli in Chicago I cannot vouch for their authenticity. But I found my sandwich pretty tasty.
Check out the price of a hot dog - 6 bucks!!!
Oh my, that's a lot of meat.
It wasn't easy, but I did it! I sure wish Betsy had been here to split it with me. I know I am going to saying that a lot over the next several weeks.
I snapped a parting shot after paying up - nearly 12 bucks. Guess I better get used to that while I am here.
My next stop, about a mile away, was Trader Joes for some groceries. This mural was on the side of one of the City buildings. Rather a hodge-podge.
I made may way down to Polk and Market, crossed over and then headed down 10th street. I was planning on stopping at Capricorn Coffees as well, but I could not locate them. I then went over to 9th and then down to Bryant where there is a largish structure which contains both Trader Joes as well as Bed, Bath and Beyond.
It was now 3:30 on Saturday afternoon and, as I expected, TJs was jammed. I played bumper buggies for about 10 minutes, checked out and then loaded my goodies into my day pack and cloth shopping bag which I had picked up at and HEB in San Antonio. Then it was back on the street to make my way back to Bruce's place - roughly about a mile and half from there.
I got turned around for a bit where the freeways (Rts 100/80) dump on to the city streets at Division and San Bruno but a quick peek at the map got me back on the right track.
After unpacking the groceries I spent the rest of the day and evening lounging, reading the latest edition of the Guardian, processing photos and getting a start on my web pages. My goal was to stay up until 9:00 (midnight my time) when Bruce was due to arrive back. 9:00 came and went and no sooner did my head hit the pillow around 10 when Bruce got home. We chatted for a bit. He had a long day and had to get ready to leave again at 5:30 the next morning for a 2 day run to Reno and back. So, we both called it a day.