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Solo San Francisco Recap: Day 3

September 15, 2010

So far I’ve seen Chinatown, the freaky section of Lombard Street, and Alcatraz. I’m loving my time in San Francisco. What does my third day in this great city have in store?

Day 3

pre 5:00 am My body is still on East Coast time because I’m up. I spend some time drawing up a detailed itinerary for the day ahead. An hour later, I’m in the shower and soon I’m out the door to catch the Golden Gate Transit 80 bus to Marin City.

8:00 am It’s a foggy morning but I’m hopeful that as the day wears on the fog will dissipate. After a short wait at the bus stop and about a half an hour ride, the bus is closing in on the Golden Gate Bridge. My excitement is building since I have yet to see the Bridge in spite of the fact that I’ve been in San Francisco for three days. Highway 101 curves and suddenly there it is—or there it’s supposed to be. I see nothing of the Bridge save the bases of the two towers. I feel gypped. The bus continues and eventually goes over the Bridge but the fog has so completely enveloped the structure I still can’t make it out. Bummer. I can’t believe that I’m on the Golden Gate Bridge and still don’t see it.

8:45 am The bus drops me off in Marin City and I’m pleasantly surprised. The town is quiet except for a few cars and people here and there, so I wait patiently for the next Muir Woods Shuttle bus. I remember that I don’t have any water on me so I go around the corner from the bus stop to a CVS and buy some bottled water and some summit chocolate. Almost half an hour later and the shuttle has yet to arrive. I find out that the first shuttle doesn’t run until 9:30 a.m., a detail I had failed to ask about in my excitement to visit Muir Woods.

9:30 am The Muir Woods Shuttle arrives. When I board the bus, I’m the only person on board. The driver is wearing racing gloves on his hands and I know I’m in for a memorable ride. The road up to Muir Woods is foggy, narrow, and winding but none of that seems to faze the bus driver. I’m holding on to the seat for dear life. Thankfully the ride lasts for roughly twenty minutes and soon, I’m at Muir Woods.

Swallowed by the redwoods

I pay the $5 admission fee plus another $1 for a map. I ask if there are any interpretive programs scheduled for the day and I’m in luck: one on the biology of the redwoods and an hourlong ramble through the Woods. I decide to stroll through the park while I wait for the first program and I spend almost the whole time with my mouth agape. These giant coastal redwoods are unlike anything I’ve ever seen and I feel virtually Lilliputian in their presence.

Both programs are led by volunteers and I learn so much. I particularly enjoy Evelyn Rose who teaches the small group assembled about the history of Muir Woods and a little more about the redwoods themselves. By the time I’ve completed both programs, it’s already 12:30. I had planned to move on to my next stop by then, but I’m enjoying Muir Woods so thoroughly that I decide to stay for a while longer and just be.

2:00 pm I’ve enjoyed myself immensely walking amongst the coast redwoods, but it’s time to go. I visit the gift shop and purchase a little souvenir for my mother but I decide that no t-shirt or chotchke is going to encapsulate this experience for me. It takes a while before the next bus arrives but shortly before 3:00 I’m back on my way out to Marin City and Sausalito. The ride down is twice as harrowing as the ride up—think large bus, overeager driver, and narrow windy mountain roads with no safety rails—and I thank my lucky stars once the bus lets me off in Sausalito that I’ve lived to tell the tale.

3:30 pm I follow the signs to the Sausalito Art Festival, pay the $20 admission fee and I’m in. What fun. Hanging wire sculptures, vibrant paintings and other various art media are everywhere, providing bursts of color on a day where the fog has eventually cleared and the sky is as blue as I’ve ever seen it. I make a beeline for the main concert stage to hear The Fixx perform “Secret Separation.” I’m late to the game and before I know it, the concert is done and the gathered crowd offers enthusiastic praise. The libations are flowing—there are tents set up offering microbrews, wine, and champagne—the place is packed and everyone seems to be having a good time. I find a lamb gyro at one of the food booths and it’s so good. While eating it, I peruse the vendor tents and find lots of things I’d love to buy like the raw-edge silk scarves which are beautiful but at $98 are way out of my budget.

The Fixx performs at the Sausalito Art Festival

5:00 pm I don’t stay too long at the festival. My feet are beginning to throb—I’ve been on them all day—and I’m ready to get back to the city. While waiting in line to take the Blue and Gold Ferry service back to San Francisco, I strike up a conversation with a gentleman from Oakland. He’s impressed that as a tourist, I’ve made use of the mass transportation options and approves my sightseeing so far. I ask him for his recommendations for great places to eat in San Francisco and he gives me four options: Blowfish Sushi To Die For, The Slanted Door, Farallon, and Betelnut. I’m grateful for his suggestions. On the ferry ride back, I chat with a woman who admires the fact that I’m traveling alone. She’d do the same but her biggest reservation is going out to dinner at night alone. I tell her that no one else is really paying attention to you when you’re alone. I really do believe that.

Leaving Sausalito

Once we dock back at Pier 39 I cross over the Embarcadero to wait for an F line streetcar. One comes, but it’s full and that’s when I remember it’s a holiday weekend. I wait for another fifteen to twenty minutes and the line is getting longer and longer. My feet are in agony and it’s gotten cold and overcast. I’ve been in line for about twenty-five minutes when a limo pulls up to the stop and offers rides for five dollars a person. I whip out a bill and say, “Sold!” Ten of us scramble into the limo: me, a couple of guys from Dallas, a family of three from Australia by way of San Mateo, two Russian girls making a three-month tour of the U.S., and another couple of unknown origin. The husband of the couple cracks us up by rolling down the window and offering autographs to complete strangers. We take turns taking pictures of each other and the limo ride turns out to be one of the day’s more fun adventures. I’m the last person to get dropped off—right in front of my hotel, no less—and my feet are grateful.

6:30 pm I call my mom to let her know I’m alright and then fall asleep shortly afterward, only intending to take a brief nap before heading out again for the evening to The Slanted Door but I proceed to sleep through the whole night. I feel like a wuss.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2010 6:18 am

    Who knew – The Fixx are still together? LOL I interviewed them 15 years ago………I don’t think they ever were a one-hit wonder. hahahah
    Thanks for making me smile today.

    • September 18, 2010 6:23 am

      Yeah, they’re together and touring; I really enjoyed them at the Festival. So glad you were tickled by this.

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