Clang Clang Went the Trolley! Ding Ding Ding Went

Trip Start May 25, 2014
Trip End Jul 09, 2014

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This is the cable car story from yesterday.

Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, May 29, 2014

Howdy Ya All!

It doesnt matter that the title above was from "Meet Me in St Louis", cos San Francisco had em first (thats using poetic licence you see)

Anyway the story about the cable car ride is this.  But first of all let me digress for a wee minute.  There are four cable car routes in SFO, and each has  steel tracks like a tram, with another "groove" in between, where the cable is running.  You can hear it Clacking when you cross the street. ("Clacking" is not Chinese for "cracking" by the way!).  To me that is the sound it makes.  The cable is moving at about 9.6 miles per hour, and the car grips onto this and is pulled along. The man operating the car is called .......what do you think.....a "gripman".  He has a couple of big levers amidships which he operates - back or forward for the brakes, and the other one is a gripper.  (Wonder if the operators name was Herod).  His offsider was the conductor.

Yesterday we were on the way back from the Wharf, and for some reason it seems that the cars stop across intersections. They all seem to do it.  But we accepted that there must be some valid reason for this, after all this is America! Anyway we were half way across (it was peak traffic) and another car coming up the hill was also half way across.  Both didnt take off again, and it became obvious that something was amiss!  A gripper and the conductor went into urgent conference and contacted the powers that be, and both decided that we had to wait for a superior force to move both cars.

In the meantime, passengers were hopping off to take photos, drivers of cross traffic cars and buses seemed to be getting more agitated and started pointing and throwing their arms up in the air, perhaps praying for a miracle.  They all seemed to be quite religious!  After all, this is America!

After about 15-20 minutes of this religious fervour, a miracle occurred.  This monstrous truck with a humungous bumper bar came up behind the other car, and lo! It was moved out of the way and went merrily up the hill.  We didnt need pushing and procceded to roll down the hill to our destination (and relief!)

That added to our cable car experience.  But wait!  There is more!  There is a cable car museum which I thought would be a bit dreary with old wrecks inside, perhaps a few stories of people who had fallen off the running boards, etc etc.  But that wasnt the case.  It was great!  But you will have to wait for that for a day or two.  Yosemite story first, AND I HAVE PHOTOS ON MY TABLE.

Catch you soon.

Regards  John and Helen.
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Barry and Elizabeth Slore on

Hi, John & Helen, your exploits are starting to sound like the script to a good story " Norfolkians in New York " has been a suggested title, be careful with all that Americarna stuff, they are not looking in good shape, keep a few Aussie dollars in your wallet to get you back home, enjoy ,
Barry and Elizabeth

Chris on

All sounds like a B grade movie - be careful you could appear as an extra!

Gerhard on

Sounds like you are having fun in the USA . We are glad we survived the bus trip from sorrento to amalfi and positano. Narrow windy roads with buses passing each other inches apart and 100m cliffs on one side straight into the ocean. Luckily the Italian drivers controlled their temperament with constant double parking and giving way to oncoming traffic. In Australia we would have a number of road rage deaths each day in conditions to what we saw today.
Enjoy the rest of your trip and stay safe.

Glenn on

You really need to get a hire car and take to those streets! From what I see on the movies it is totally logit to get airborn across the intersections.......and being in the USA is you do get caught they cant take an demerit point off you!!

Have fun!

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