Day 142-144: Our San Francisco Treat

41 miles

Tall trees north of San FranciscoThursday, we left Olema Campground and set out for San Francisco. We got one last view of giant redwood trees as we rode through Samuel P. Taylor State Park. The park was originally the site of Taylor’s paper mill, and according to the park web site “the mill produced newsprint and the worlds first square-bottomed paper bags—a novelty at the time.” We followed Sir Francis Drake Boulevard from the park to Lagunitas, where we stopped for a mid-morning snack. After Lagunitas, we entered the orbit of San Francisco, cycling through a number of charming small towns that all blend together at the outer reaches of San Francisco. Forest Knolls, Fairfax, San Anselmo, Ross, Larkspur, Mill Valley. In Larkspur, we enjoyed burritos at Burritoville Cafe before riding up and over a big climb, dropping us into Sausalito and our approach to the Golden Gate.

It is a steep, challenging climb to access the Golden Gate Bridge from the north end. We had to navigate a few switchbacks and steep grades to make it to bridge level from the park down below. The west side opens to bicyclists only at 3:00pm, and we arrived at the gate just a few minutes before. We waited with a few other roadies waiting to cross, until the gate auto-magically opened at 3:00, allowing us to ride without having to dodge pedestrians on the west side of the bridge. We stopped a few times to take in the view of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean from the bridge. At one point a small helicopter zoomed underneath the bridge, right below us.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

Us and the Golden Gate Bridge

Us and the Golden Gate Bridge

At the south end of the bridge, we turned into the Presidio and stopped to enjoy the view and plan our navigation to Mary Kay and Ryan’s apartment in the city. Daylight was waning, but finding our way across the city wasn’t too difficult. We used bike paths and bike lanes nearly all the way to their apartment. City riding is challenging, but I actually prefer riding in busy city traffic to having RVs zipping by me too closely at 67 mph on the highway. MK had arranged with the doorman of her building to let us in, so we used the service elevator to bring our bikes up and get settled until we met her later for dinner.

Keith Haring exhibit

Keith Haring exhibit

Friday, MK and Ryan had to work, and Alan and I were content to be lazy, hanging out in their apartment. We went out for breakfast and hit the grocery store to pick up supplies to make enchiladas for dinner. Saturday we walked over to the ballpark neighborhood and had a delicious breakfast at Town’s End Bakery and Restaurant. The muffins and scones they serve to start were terrific. After breakfast we walked along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building. On a Saturday morning, the shops and farmer’s market of the Ferry Building are mobbed, but its a fun part of the city to walk. After a bit of discussion, we decided to spend the afternoon at Golden Gate Park, seeing the Keith Haring exhibit at the DeYoung Museum. The De Young has a tower that affords a 360 degree view of the west side of San Francisco. Floor to ceiling windows allow for unimpeded views of the city. I thought this was really cool. After a snack in the neighborhood, we hopped a bus back to MK and Ryan’s apartment.

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

Water lillies at deYoung museum

Water lillies at the De Young museum

After a little siesta, MK and I walked over to a salon, called Blow Out, to get our hair done. This was a fun way to get ready for a night out, especially since I haven’t had the luxury of styling my hair all summer long. We picked up a pizza to take home with us and share with Alan. After having my hair done, MK lent me some clothes and we went out to a bar to celebrate a friends birthday. We talked with a lot of fun people before heading home for the night. Tomorrow we’ll have brunch with MK’s sister Eileen, who just returned from France, and then hit the road again.

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