|Transamerica Pyramid building|
|Oakland Bay Bridge|
|Yerba Buena Island|
We descend the tower and move on to the parking lot where we chat with a few Koreans girls on a visit to the USA. They marvel at the self cleaning public restroom nearby and we all tease my brother as he enters the restroom and presses the button to close the door, we could just imagine the system malfunctioning and the door opening while he is sitting on the lavatory.
Fisherman's Wharf is lined with seafood restaurants ranging from casual, open-air clam bars, to formal indoor dining with views of the bay. Whale watching tours and fishing trips leave from the wharf, and sea lions often sleep on the pilings, buoys, and moored boats in the bay. All kinds of music permeate the area as we stroll through Jefferson's Street and walk up the piers. We admire the old ships on Hyde Street Pier and man and woman dressed in period costumes. We continue down the street through the cacophony of sounds from all the tourist mixed with the loud music emanating from the restaurants and local street musicians. We stroll into an alley after hearing beautiful sounds and music emanating from it to find a solo musician playing beautiful music under a flower covered awning. The place is full of tourists, some just walking around while others are savoring the local restaurants.
|Hyde Street Pier|
|Rental three wheelers|
|Ride the Duck|
We continue along Jefferson's Street on the way to Pier 41 where we would surely see the famous and noisy seals. We weren't disappointed as hundreds of seals were sun basking in between the piers. We were walking along the pier when out of nowhere I hear someone calling my name, I turn around and it's my friend Chris from the Central Jersey Motorcycle Riders Club. Chris and I did a nice bike trip to Gaspe in Quebec Canada last year. What a surprise, he's visiting San Francisco and we happen to be present at the same time on the same pier. We chat for a while and then split up, it was lunch time and we were starving.
We return to Jefferson's Street and start looking for a place to have some of the local seafood that Fisherman's Wharf is so famous for. We find the right place at the Lou's Blues Club. The Blues music coming from upstairs providing the right atmosphere to my Gumbo and Anchor Steam Beer, a local beer from San Francisco. I have never been fond of clams or mussels but I just had to try a local Gumbo and it was really good, so good that I cleaned up the plate with slices of warm bread, I ate it all.
We leave the Wharf area and walk towards Lombard Street climbing up the steep hills passing beautiful homes along the way. Lombard Street is best known for the one-way section on Russian Hill in which the roadway has eight steep and sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being the crookedest street in the world. We walk down Lombard Street admiring the beautiful homes and all the flowers adorning the sidewalk.
We return to our bikes and head out of San Francisco towards the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather was not cooperating with us though, the Pacific fog having engulfed the top of the bridge preventing us from truly enjoying the views from the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed during the year 1937, and has become one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco. We cross the bridge and pull into the observation area on the north end, the strong wind almost blowing us off the road. We take a few pictures and then decide to continue north taking the route 1 exit towards the Pacific coast.
Route 1 winds along towards the coast through Mt. Tamalpais State Park offering beautiful views. We pass a few riders along the way only making a stop at the top of a cliff to take pictures. It was getting late in the day but we decided to stop in Bolinas for a cup of coffee and cake, the temperature having dropped to the mid 50's. I have never had such a huge cup of coffee as I had that day, the cup dwarfing my camera. We sat under a heat lamp eating our slice of cake and enjoying the warm cup of coffee. We later walk along the main street past a few art galleries and make a quick stop to admire the Smiley's Schooner Saloon and Hotel established in 1851.
After inquiring about motels in the area we are told to head inland towards Fairfax as nothing was available in Bolinas. We leave town and stop on the edge of route 1, it was already dark. The GPS pointed us forward towards the Bolinas Fairfax road in front of us, the road didn't look like much, we look at each other and decided to continue straight. I look down at my GPS and all I see is a very long squiggly line. How bad could it be? I have done the Dragon, route 129 from NC to TN but this road was a much bigger challenge. It climbs up steep hills with tight switchbacks and steep descents, we did it at night and with fog throughout the route. Bing maps says it's only 16.5 miles and will take 45 minutes to traverse, they are being very optimistic. It took us over an hour and a half to get to Fairfax. We stopped for a few pictures on Alpine Lake and then continued to Fairfax. We call a few motels in town but they were either expensive or full, we look on the GPS and find a hotel in Pinole, about 21 miles away. We leave Fairfax after 9 and after crossing the Richmond San Rafael Bridge arrive at the motel around 9:30PM.
|Bolinas Fairfax Road|
|Long exposure photo at night|
|Super long exposure photo at the same time|
|Unbelievably twisty Bolinas Fairfax Road|