Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

A Day In San Francisco.

Posted on | October 11, 2018 | 1 Comment

We beat the traffic in San Francisco and parked at Union Square. Even the homeless people were still asleep and none of the shops on the square were open.   So we made our way to Mr Holme’s Bakehouse and by the time we had navigated our first San Francisco “hills,” we were ready for specialty croissants and donuts.  Plus a pic with the famous sign.  I don’t think Little gets it, do you?

Then we entered Chinatown through the Dragon Gate.  When I lived in Chicago I experienced several ethnic enclaves throughout the city.  But Chinatown was not just its own little world, it was its own universe.  We browsed Grant Ave and Stockton Street, saw the Old Telephone Exchange, Sing Chong and Sing Fat, Waverly Place and the Tin How Temple, and the Old St Mary’s Church.  Everyone’s favorite place, though, was the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory where we got to taste freshly made fortune cookies.  Turns out fresh fortune cookies do not taste like stale cardboard.  Who knew?


After Chinatown we made our way through Little Italy, past Washington Square Park, and then took the Filbert St steps up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower.  We did not see any wild parrots on Telegraph Hill even though I looked really hard.  Of course, my vision may have been a bit blurry after all that huffing and puffing up the Filbert St stairs.  The views from Coit Tower were worth the climb, though.  Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge had just emerged from the morning fog and we got some perspective on the hills of the city that we’d been climbing all morning.



Like every tourist to San Francisco we walked along the Embarcadero to Pier 39 to see a small group of sea lions barking at each other in the sun.  I’m not gonna lie—I was underwhelmed.  I may have confused the large colonies of sea lions seen in National Geographic specials with the reality of a little pile of slumbering fatties.  One might even have been dead.  Hard to tell.  Plus the area around Pier 49 was so touristy it reminded me of Myrtle Beach during spring break.  And the Musee Mechanique, a vintage arcade which I thought would be hours of fun for the kiddos, was kinda creepy.  Creepier than the Fortune teller ZOLDAR in Big.  Creepier by a long shot.

We consoled ourselves with a meal at Jack in the Box.  Because like In-N-Out Burgers and Carl’s, Jr  this was a fast food chain that we do not have on the east coast so it’s a novelty for us.  And while we could dump a lot of cash at some of the famous upscale seafood eateries on Fisherman’s Wharf we would have ended up with empty wallets and hungry kids asking us to stop for a burger on the way out of town. It’s a family vacation, not date night.  Why fight it?

By now we were a long way and many hills away from our parking garage at Union Square.  So we looked at Lombard Crooked St but we did not climb the stairs beside it.

We made a stop at The Beat Museum for Pretty to peruse the artifacts of a hippier time.  I browsed their used book section while The Other Half and the boys stood in the doorway staring at a man, dragging a tattered suitcase and screaming obscenities, having a mental breakdown on the street.  They were the only ones watching as the other San Francisco citizens strolled on by, going about their business as usual.  Minding your own business is not something country people understand as well as city people.

Thanks to our horrifically early start we made it over the Golden Gate bridge and out of the city before evening traffic.  Unfortunately, the fog had rolled back in so instead of seeing sweeping vistas from the bridge we only saw the bumper of the vehicle in front of us.  Which would be disappointing but I just consider it a good reason to have to visit San Francisco again.  🙂  On the other side of the bridge, we made straight for Muir Woods and the Redwoods of California. Although the Sequoias are the biggest trees on Earth, the Redwoods are the tallest trees.  I’d show you pictures of the trails through Muir Woods but here’s where we’ve had some mechanical failure.

Pretty captured pictures of our trek through the forest.  But since our return the screen on her fancy camera has cracked making it very difficult to download any pictures off the camera because it has touchscreen controls. As much as I would like those photos they are also a huge pain to work with on the blog.  The fancy lenses and scopes and apertures and blah, blah, blah of her camera makes her photos much higher megabytes or kilowatts or nanometers or blah, blah, blah.  So the image is better but it has to be “scaled down” in order to be posted on the blog.  And scaling the pictures down involves downloading all sorts of software to the laptop which can only be downloaded by typing code in the computer’s terminal.  Because I have Ubuntu because my IT person says using Ubuntu and open source software is the only way to rid of the earth of the evil capitalist pigs trying to own the internet and evade the virus-ridden cyberwars and I would disagree but I don’t really understand what he’s talking about so I just go along and so now I don’t have any of the user friendly photo programs that the rest of the serfdom have on their computers which makes me progressive and vaccinated but ultimately, feeling the need to be drunk before trying to do something simple like scale down a photo.  If I could even get the photo off the camera.

So…we’re just going to leave the Muir Woods up to your imagination.  Or you can Google some images from the serfs with Windows photo editor.  Whichever.  In any case, the Redwood forest was surprisingly different than the Sequoias.  The Sequoias we roamed through were growing on the west side of the Sierra Nevadas and although we don’t have Sequoias at home we do have mountains.  The Sequoia forest was similar to our mountain trails—stands of trees interposed with small meadows or rocky outcroppings.  But the Redwoods were a lush forest of green ferns and loamy paths, shafts of sunlight filtering down from above.  Even on a late June afternoon there was dripping water and sections of fog.  It’s actually that famous west coast fog that keeps the Redwoods thriving and it also gives a more literal meaning to the notion of forest bathing.

Maybe it was the hills of San Francisco plus the hour and a half hike in the woods.  Maybe it was the trees lowering our blood pressure and heart rate.  Maybe it was the knowledge that we were as far away from home as we were going to get that summer.  For the first time in 13 days we’d be heading east instead of west. We were all subdued on the winding path away from Stinson Beach and drove on past our planned hotel reservation; I-80 E back toward my nemesis, the Sierra Nevadas mountains.  ‘Cause you can do San Francisco in a day but the Sierra Nevadas are not that easy.


One Response to “A Day In San Francisco.”

  1. Roanne von Hagen
    October 14th, 2018 @ 4:04 pm

    Uncle Russ has done work near Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada’s. Quite the impressive mountain range. I am enjoying your trip. Thanks!

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