Day Seven

Trip Start Aug 06, 2010
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today was all about exercise!  We knew before we came to San Francisco that one of the activities we wanted to do was 'Bike the Bridge'.  Once we got here, we saw tons of people riding bikes and realized it is super popular.  So, off we go early on Sunday morning to get a bike.  We stopped at Blazing Saddles, which is one of the more prevalent bike companies...and one of those with a location nearest the pier, meaning less time on the busy San Francisco streets.  First thing is to pick out a bike.  I admit, we WERE awfully tempted by the electric bike..basically a normal bike, but when faced with a San Francisco hill, just flip a switch and the electric motor takes you effortlessly up the hill!  But, good sense prevailed, and for just $36 each we rented a bike and off we went.

Our route took out down by the pier and mostly off of the roads.  We went along the beach for a way, and then discovered that we have apparently lost the ability to read maps.  We thought we had missed the turn off to the road leading us to the bridge path, so we backtracked, only to find out that we just hadn't gone quite far enough and we actually only about 200 yards from the right path.  Oh well...we just saw more of San Fran that way!  Up a huge hill (darn...where were those electric motors?) and then suddenly we were on the bridge.  It was beautiful!  On weekends, the pedestrians take the east side and bikers are given full reign on the west side (sidewalk, so not having to ride with traffic), which is also the ocean side.  It was spectacular, and we loved the views while we rode the 1 mile route across the bridge.

Crossing the bridge took us down in to the seaside town of Sausilito..very cute, but very rich!  It kind of reminded us of Banff with all the shops along the main drag.  We also noticed the drastic weather changes.  All along the San Fran part of the route and even along the Bridge, it was cloudy, misty and overall kind of dreary.  The minute we hit the road to Sausilito, the skies opened up and it was HOT!  Sunny skies across the bay, and yet SF remained clouded in.  Weird!

We found an amazing deli for lunch where we purchased Italian sandwiches and went across the street and sat by the water to eat.  It gave us some spectacular views of the Bay and San Francisco.  A little more window shopping and we decided to head for home.

Fortunately, our bike rentals included a $10 ferry ticket, so we got in line for the ferry and headed back to the Wharf area of SF.  It was about at 20 minute ride and was spectacular!

The biggest problem came with unloading the 88 bikes on board.  I got mine first and had to disembark first, while Ryan was a few behind me.  We got separated on the Wharf and couldn't find each other.  Ryan finally found some high ground to stand on so I was able to see him.

After our 5 hour bike excursion, it was time to head back to the hotel for a quick shower and then back out we went as I was meeting a friend, Rinku, for dinner.  While I've known Rinku for almost 9 years, we've never met before, and she and her family live an hour south of San Francisco in Santa Clara.  We were to meet in a restaurant (Cha Cha Cha) in the Haight Ashbury district of SF at 5:30.  Again, my ability to read a map seems to have been seriously compromised by the SF least, I'll blame it on that!  Trying to find the NE corner to catch the bus was confusing,but thankfully Ryan's internal compass is much better than mine, and we got it figured out.  Our bus took us through the Presidio, the former US military police complex, which was kind of interesting.  We also passed through Pacific Heights, which contains some of the pricier homes in SF.

Finally, we arrived in Haight Ashbury, which is famous for having been the centre of the counter culture revolution in the 60's.  It was the home of hippies, peaceniks, beatniks and others of that type.  Today, it is seriously underwhelming and over commercialized, but it was still fun.  It is definitely cashing in on it's former reputation and full of tie-dyed t shirts and such, but has a neat vibe and atmosphere.  We were to meet Rinku at Cha Cha Cha's...a tapas style Caribbean place.  Tapas is where you have small dishes and eat family style...lots of heat and lots of fried foods.  Not a place to watch calories!  We got there a little early, but with no table available, we were ushered into the bar.  There, we discovered Sangria...pitchers and pitchers of sangria!  Yummy!!  Rinku arrived with her kids and's like we had known each other forever!  It was an awesome visit and the food was fantastic!

Since Rinku refused to let us take the bus home again (it was dark, we weren't going to argue), we got a night time tour of San Fran including the steepest hill (on Divisidero St.....or maybe Fillmore), and the crookedest street on Lombard st.  8 hairpin curves...crazy stuff!  It was fantastic!  We finished off the night with dessert at Ghirardelli Square with ice cream, but they won't serve allergic customers, so I got to watch everyone else eat their ice cream and chocolate sauce (and I was totally fine with that). 

It was a great last day in San Francisco for us!
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