San Francisco Recap

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Since I fell off the blogging bandwagon while in San Francisco, you have to deal with a really long entry now. Sorry!

Night Tour
We started our first night in San Francisco with a Night Tour. We chose the Big Bus Company because they seem to offer the best deal. I’m not too happy with them but I’ll get to that. First off, we were lied to. They told us we had to get on this bus as it was the last night tour bus. That meant we had to sit downstairs and have a crappy view. Well that wasn’t true because there were at least 2 more buses behind us, I think it was a lie to get the bus full. I would have waited for the next bus because I wanted to sit upstairs with the open top but whatever. The other reason I wanted to wait is because what is a night tour if it was not dark at all during the tour?  The tour started at 7pm. It doesn’t get dark for another 90 minutes at the earliest which means that it really isn’t the night now is it? Argh! So I was mad for the whole tour and didn’t take many pictures because what was the point they wouldn’t turn out anyways because we were behind glass. So we crossed the Bay Bridge and went to Treasure Island where we could get our night skyline pictures (even though it was still daylight) and when we got back on the bus somebody had taken our seat. WTF? Some of the people sitting on top got cold and wanted to sit down below now. So I high tailed it to the top and boy that made a huge difference. It was freezing but I got some awesome sunset pictures. And the best part was the traffic was so backed up going into the city that it wasn’t cold sitting on top. Suckers downstairs, you loose. We waited over 30 minutes for a street car back to our hotel. Two street cars that were scheduled never showed up and when one finally showed up it was packed and we were packed like sardines.

Zombie Runner 10K
Don’t really want to say too much here, my full race report can be found here.

After the 10K, which I did horrible in, we went back to the hotel and relaxed. It took a lot out of us, especially those hills. We both crashed on the bed. Eric took a nap and I uploaded some pictures. I tried to nap but it wasn’t happening.

Big Bus Failure #1
Finally after 3 hours I told Eric we had to venture out so after a quick shower we jumped on the Big Bus Tour at the stop across the street from the hotel (the other reason I chose this company).  We went to Alamo square to see the Painted Ladies, the famous house of San Francisco that is shown in every movie ever shot here. It was a beautiful view.  
Painted Ladies from Alamo Square
We managed to catch the next bus (it was a hop on, hop off variety of tour) and decided we were going to ride it to the Golden Gate Bridge Vista point. Again we were relegated to downstairs which sucked. What sucked even more was the fact it took almost 2 hours to get to the Golden Gate Bridge Vista point because the traffic was so horrible. Like MnDot, California DOT thought it was a good idea to close the major interstate that goes through the city on a holiday weekend so all traffic was diverted to the same road the bus tour was driving. It was a nightmare. Eric and I were sitting in the last sit in the bus, on the motor, so it was HOT.  My butt should be smaller because it should have melted off! By the time we got to the vista, we didn’t have time to stop because we had to get back to our hotel for the Giants/Twins game. And of course we couldn’t get upstairs so we continued to ride the bus downstairs all the way back to the first stop. The bus was packed and I had to sit next to an ashtray. Gross! I couldn’t handle the smell of the guy sitting next to me, it was awful. I was so happy to get off the bus.
Best View from Bus
Giants/Twins Game at AT&T Park
So we got back to the hotel, changed into our Twins garb and went to the game. AT&T Park has nice views and was overall a good park, the best one of the trip. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite. The game wasn’t much to speak of, the Twins lost. There were a few kayakers and boats in the water but there were no splash hits for our game. We walked around the park and took in all the views. It was so cold. The windy was whipping and the air temperature was about 50 degrees. It was like we were back in Minnesota! A nice guest services person bought me a Ghirardelli hot chocolate. I was taking pictures and talking with her and the hot chocolate guy came by and she said I had to try the hot chocolate. Well Eric had my wallet so I had no cash on me so she insisted on buying me one. It was delicious. I was very grateful. Prices at this ball park were by far the highest. Almost $6 for a bottle of water?!? And the hot dogs were almost $7. Not a cheap place to visit! Overall it was a good game even though we lost by one. Giants went on to sweep the Twins.
AT&T Park
Big Bus Failure #2
So on Sunday we decided to try the Big Bus Company again. We had a 48 hour ticket so why not. We got down to Fishermen’s Wharf around 11 and hopped on the bus, upper deck, back row. The best spot. The tour was going along well. The only stop we wanted to do was the Vista. This tour was almost as bad as the day before. Thankfully we were upstairs! The tour is supposed to last 2 hours. After 3 hours we still hadn’t reached the vista stop. We were stuck in the traffic again. Our bus driver this time was more aggressive but still we sat for hours in traffic. We got the vista and I was too tired and irritated to get off so we just stayed on the bus and went on with the tour. It was over 4 hours later when we got back to the first stop. We were starving. We missed lunch so when we finally got off the bus we headed to In N Out burger. I was so excited but I forgot that they put a special sauce on their burgers so it ruined it for me. I can’t believe I forgot about it. So my In N Out burger was sour. I was so hungry too so it was disappointing.
I ran down there!
Hills and more hills and then a Tower
We decided the best way to tackle the city is walking. Not an easy task when all you see is hills and they all look like they are going up. We walked to Lombard Street, “the most twisted street in the world” their words not mine. It was interesting to see but coming from bluff country in Wisconsin and having driven in the Black Hills many times, this street was lame. They had flowers on all the switchbacks but “the most twisted road in the world,” I highly doubt it. I will say the walk was difficult, up to steep hills to get there. We walked back down to Washington Square and Sts. Peter and Paul Church. Nice church. We walked up another couple steep hills to Coit Tower. Walking some of those steep inclines sucks the wind out of you and I’m not sure which is worse, walking up or walking down. They were both very difficult. We stood in line to go up to the top of Coit Tower. The view was nice from up there but I don’t know if it was really worth the $7 entrance fee and 30 minute wait. The upper area was encased in glass so you couldn’t take great pictures from up there because there was always the glare. We walked around and snapped some pictures and came back down.
View from Coit Tower
After the Coit Tower we walked the mile or so back tour hotel for some relaxation. It was a very tiring day. We ventured out again close to evening time to finally get on one of the famous cable cars. We decided to try the California Line. One, because it was a few blocks from our hotel and two, it is less busy. The other one is more famous and has better views and always has a queue. There wasn’t a queue for the California Line. We rode it all the way to the end of the line and then came back. It was so much fun. Some of the most fun I had on the trip. I guess I’m easily entertained! We got hang on the outside, a must do. We stopped at Chinatown and walked around. We hopped back on the California line to our hotel and crashed. We had an early morning.
California Line Cable Car Ride

California Line Cable Car Ride
We had to get down to Pier 33 by 8:45 for our 9:10 tour of Alcatraz. The tour itself wasn’t bad. We got to see the whole island and hear the history of the prison. The audio tour was quite good, I’m not usually a fan of them but this one didn’t drag on like others I have done. It was fascinating learning about the various escape attempts, the riots and the lives of the guards who lived on the island with their families. It sounds crazy to me that people would let their kids live on an island with a maximum security prison! We managed to see the whole site and were back on the return boat by 11. We walked around Pier 39 for a bit and saw the Sea Lions but we had to get back to the hotel for the Oakland A’s game.
Lines, Lines and more lines
I never hated the Metrodome, I actually kind of liked it and after seeing where the Oakland A’s play, I really loved the old place. The A’s play at also known as the Coliseum. The Coliseum is old, built in the 60s. It is a football first stadium, baseball second. There is nothing fun to look at. It is a maze trying to find your seat and you have to walk through a restaurant to get to your seats. It is just weird and dumpy. The A’s are having a fantastic year and as a result, it was actually a sellout. Unbelievable! Obviously they are not used to sellout crowds because only half of the concession stands were open and the lines were ridiculous. We got to the game late and stood in line for an inning and a half for a hot dog. On a positive note their food prices are pretty cheap, especially compared those across the bay! We watched a few innings and then Eric wanted ice cream. We waited in line for over 2 innings for ice cream. By that time it was the 8th inning (we missed the 7th inning stretch) and we were tired of standing around. The A’s were killing Detroit and so we left after eating the ice cream. I’m sure glad we did, the BART back to San Francisco only runs every 20 minutes (bad planning!) and we got on one right away. When we were heading out of the station, the bridge that connects to the stadium was packed with people heading to the train. I was so glad we beat that crowd. It was amazing!
Finally we walked the bridge!
So after two failed attempts at walking the Golden Gate Bridge, we finally had our chance. We took the BART from the stadium to Civic Center plaza, connected with a bus to the Golden Gate Bridge. We finally got to walk the bridge. It was cold and windy. I knew that but it is something to feel it! We walked about half way and turned around. It was a great site and I’m glad we finally got there. We took a couple buses back to the hotel and crashed. Our vacation was over. We had an early morning wake up call for our flight and we had crazy shuttle bus driver but we got on our early morning flight, thankfully for another successful vacation.

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