Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 17, 2013: A Day Immersed In San Francisco, Part 1

Date: August 17, 2013
Event: A Day Immersed In San Francisco
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: $24 for transportation to SF and a day pass on the transit system
Summary: The Cable Cars are as fun as you hear and Lombard is as pretty as you hear.

This is one of four posts about my one day in San Francisco (yes, just one day, lol). See these other posts if you’re interested.

This post has photos from the first section of my day which involved getting to San Fran, riding the old time trolley car in San Fran, and walking up Lombard Street (the most crooked street in America).

Here’s the territory I covered in this first section (after getting to San Fran).


CalTrain Trip To San Francisco

I was so excited to start my day and I’m so glad I took a chance on the weather (aka, a lack of fog) and took decided to take the early train in. I got to the CalTrain station that was closest to my hotel about 15 minutes before the scheduled 7:40 am train into the city. Yes, I had a rental car available to me. No, there was no way I wanted to drive into San Fran and deal with traffic and parking when I can take a train!

Also it allowed me some time on the platform just anticipating the day ahead of me. And, I’m telling you, when you see this and know the possibilities of a set of rails leading off into the distance and you are greeted with a sky like this, you know it’s going to be a good day. And it was.


Having gotten my ticket I was more than ready when the train arrived. I climbed to the second floor of the two level train (how cool!) and settled in for the ride. After just about an hour, perhaps a little less, we arrive in San Francisco. And I’m immediately confused. I admit it. I was going to take a Muni Train (one of their underground/overground subway trains) to my starting point (the trolley), but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out where to go or how to buy tickets even if I did know where to go. So I pulled out my map and took to the streets on foot. It was just under a mile to the trolley and so I’d cover it on foot.

San Francisco Trolley

15 minutes later, I was at the trolley station. I knew I was because look at all the tourists waiting for it! LOL (I’m not laughing *at* them, I’m laughing *with* them, since they are me and I am them).

After getting my day pass ticket for the Muni system of San Fran (which includes the Trolley, the subways, the street cars, and the busses), a kind local gave me the tip to head up the street one or two blocks before getting on the trolley to avoid the long lines at this terminal stop. Nice tip!

After walking up one block, I was already super excited. I was going to ride this!!!

Another block up and after crossing the street, I wait (with just two other people) to board the trolley. The first one that went by wasn’t the line I wanted so I let to go by. But that provided the opportunity to provide this picture, which I love. Look at that almost-vertical-looking-street-and-tracks that runs along the right side of the photo ahead of the trolley car. And I am here to say that when you’re *on* that street-and-tracks, it’s *feels* almost vertical. I mean, serious hills! (this idea, the idea of ‘serious hills!’ will be a recurring theme through these San Fran posts, heh).

The next train that came by was the one I wanted. I didn’t get on the side board like I’d hoped, but I did get to stand on the rear platform. Which afforded me the view below (when I poked my head around the side!

And it let me take a nice picture of the interior of the trolley. LOVE IT. Really, love it.

While I was riding, I chatted a little bit with the operator who was working the back of the car (he appeared to be setting and unsetting the break as we went up and down the steep parts of the hills). I learned the trolley isn’t just a tourist attraction but is a working part of the San Fran public transportation service and that, yes, regular commuters ride it every day. So impressed with ‘Frisco’s commitment to preserving this wonderful piece of our history.

And when not chatting with the operator, I was singing “Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco Treat!” No, just kidding. I didn’t sing that, not even once, I swear! However, what I *was* doing, of course, was taking pictures. Remember when I said it *felt* nearly vertical, well this is what it looked like. It doesn’t *quite* capture just how non-horizontal it felt, but it gives an idea.


And then there was this. Since I was riding on the back and since the two or so other people on the back with me also had cameras, the guys in the truck behind us at one point decided they’d pose for the cameras. It was like even the residents of San Fran were determined to make me smile today! LOLOL. Love them.

I could have ridden the trolley back and forth and back and forth all day and probably enjoyed the entire day. Alas, I had more on my agenda. But returning to ride it again is most certainly on my agenda.

But, on to the next adventure for the day: Lombard Street.

Lombard Street


One thing I loved about San Fran is that the names of the streets were etched in the sidewalk at most corners. Not sure why I loved this so much, but I did…so I took pictures. :D

This was the view I had when I got off the Trolley – the curvy-durvy part of the street was still blocks away but I could see it (it’s that mass of green and color way up the street that looks like it’s blocking the street). And it was… well, it was a little thrilling. Lombard Street! I get to climb that! Woot!!

But, though it was all beautiful, I would be remiss if I didn’t also post this picture which is a zoomed in version of the above. I mean, San Francisco, get your s*** together and get those power lines underground for they are ruining my pretty pictures!! Also, they are just ridiculous!

Alright, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, we can proceed back to the pretty pictures and beauty of Lombard.

And it really is beautiful. Not just the plants and flowers (which are beautiful) and houses (which are as well) and the road itself (a lovely red brick), and the very idea (a very quirky beauty), but also the people there walking it and driving it. Everyone is all smiles. All smiles. A tour bus full of people dropped at the top and their bus met them at the bottom so they didn’t have to climb it. People literally hanging out car windows (of the passenger seat) to take pictures as they drive down. Everyone posing for pictures with the street. Posing for pictures WITH A STREET. Because it’s that cool and that pretty. :) Yeah, it’s one of those, I don’t know why this is so much fun, but I just know it is!

Some of my favorite pictures below.

Here you can see what it really looks like – I mean you can’t see the road but you know it’s there because of the cars coming down. Amazing how steep it is! And LOL that motorcyclist taking pictures.

And this kid. Yes, I TOLD you people were literally hanging out the windows.

Seriously, the street itself, the bricks themselves, are beautiful. I can’t imagine how they maintain them given the amount of traffic they see.


And the flowers. Man, the flowers. They were just past their full bloom and were starting to wither, and yet were still spectacular.

Hey, it’s me!

A couple views from the top. Here again you can kind of see how steep this is and how far down it goes!

And I just love this sign. Yes, definitely.

And also when you get to the top of the hill, you look out to the bay and see… an amazing view of Alcatraz. Amazingness and awesomeness abound in this wonderland! lol

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