San Francisco Bay Area

3 August 2006

San Francisco is one of our favorite towns. Susie has been here with me a number of times and I used to come San Francisco several times a year on business. We drove in mid-morning to avoid the rush hour on highway 101 and parked the truck near Pier 39 and started walking. We visited Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf and walked in and out of the shops, buying nothing.

Pier 39 was one of Rick's favorite places. On one of our visits here, when he was about 14, all he wanted to do is come to Pier 39. The main reason he wanted to come were the street entertainers and a juggling shop that was located there. We would leave him at the shop and he would be juggling with the store's staff and demonstrating techniques to potential shoppers. Once, we came back and found him on the stage juggling fire clubs. Today, the juggling shop is gone and we didn't see any of the street performers, although signs indicated that they still perform there.

Pier 39 has some noisy residents, sea lions. A number of years back sea lions started hauling out of the water onto some of the floating docks in the marina and made themselves at home. Federal law prohibits disturbing marine mammals so their home became somewhat permanent. Usually the docks are full of the sea lions. Today there were only a few. One of the merchants told me they go south in May and start returning in late July and early August. In another few weeks the docks will be full of sea lions.

As you walk through Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf, you notice that there are fewer people here than you might expect in the middle of vacation season. I have been here before this time of year and there were more people. We suspect that the price of fuel is one of the demotivators to travel for Americans. We have see the cost per gallon drop as we left New York and then start up again as we hit California. What we found interesting was the number of foreign visitors we see in the usual tourist attractions. In the campgrounds, particularly around the big national parks, you find a lot of Germans and British visitors. We have bumped into a lot of Israelis in some of these attractions, as well.

I have told people that the coldest visit I ever made to San Francisco was in July and they question my sanity (there may be other factors as well). The temperature in Novato dropped into the upper 50s overnight and the heat came on in the trailer. By the time we left this morning, the temperature was in the low 70s. As we started south, and approached the hills overlooking Sausalito, the temperature started to drop as we drove into some light fog banks. We could not see the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge because they were in the low clouds. The temperature along the bay at Fisherman's Wharf was in the mid 60s. At the Cliff House, just south of the entrance to the Golden Gate, the temperature was in the upper 50s because of the moist air coming off the Pacific. When we drove back north to Novato, the temperature peaked in the mid 80s. Today marked the first day we didn't wear shorts since we left New Orleans.

Sea Lions hauled out on the floating docks in the Pier 39 Marina. The vacant docks will be occupied within the next few weeks.
Alcatraz Prison viewed from Pier 39
Golden Gate seen from Pier 39
Susie and Sam at Pier 39
The hills of San Francisco
Susie talking to a butler. I'm starting to worry about her.
Fisherman's Wharf
Fishing Boats at Fisherman's Wharf
Ghirardelli Square
Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill
Lombard Street, the "crookedest" street in the world
San Francisco Bay as viewed from Telegraph Hill. The Golden Gate (l) and the Marin Highlands are covered by low hanging clouds which drifted in and out. On our return to Novato, I had planned to photograph San Francisco from the highlands west of the bridge. However, the fog obscured our view of the city.
Cormorants roosting on the rocks below the Cliff House. The white coating is a result of their droppings. This surfer was trying to catch a ride on the rough, cold water below the Cliff House. The air temperature was in the 50s and he was wearing a wet suit.