San Francisco, Again, From a Different Perspective

As I mentioned in my last post, I was suffering with some major pain in my left back and hip the morning after we did the Shasta Caverns Tour. I really don’t know if that walking had anything to do with it. It could be sciatica; it could be a worn out hip joint. I was hoping that the pain would dissipate before we reached San Francisco.

We arrived at our reserved spot next to the wall overlooking the beach, at the San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica at 1:00 p.m. on October 21st. This spot is a lot pricier than the one we stayed in the last time we visited, and we had only dry camping (no water, sewer or electrical hook-up), but the view was worth it. The temperature was warm enough for us to don our shorts for the first time. Unfortunately, Pacifica is ten miles away from downtown San Francisco. The plan was to ride the motorcycle to the Rapid Transit Station, and then take that downtown. But the pain in my hip was not letting up. There was no way I could lift my leg over the bike seat. It was all I could do to walk a few blocks to the nearest restaurant for lunch. After ice and pain medication it felt a little better and I could take no more sitting inside on such a gorgeous day, so we decided to try walking down the boardwalk along the beach to the pier that we could see in the distance. It wasn’t so bad going, and we took lots of pictures, but it was much further away than it looked.

Distant Pier

The distant pier along the shore at Pacifica

Shoreline Trail

The shoreline trail where we were camped above the ocean

SanFran (5)ShorelineWe were fascinated with these little birds that scurried in and out from the edge of the waves along the beach’

Birds on Beach

Tiny birds running on the beach

On the pier we watched many different coloured sea gulls that waited for fish or food scraps from the fishermen, and a lone pelican that sat still on the railing.

SanFran (8) Birds on the PierWhen we arrived back at the RV two hours later, I was in agony. From the front of the RV, we watched the beautiful sunset over the ocean, and the moon rising behind us. I was determined to do better the next day.

Sun setting

SunsetMoon RisingI still wasn’t up to climbing onto the bike the following morning, but after sitting on an ice pack, taking more pain meds, and rubbing on some lotions, I was able to walk the few blocks to catch a bus to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Station that took us downtown. The first thing we did was purchase transit passes. For $26 each we got three-day passes to ride any city bus, street car or cable car as many times as we needed. Jim really wanted to do the tour of Alcatraz, so we caught a street car to the Piers where the tour began. He was disappointed to discover that it was booked up until Saturday and we had to leave on Friday. He’d read that some of the City Tours included Alcatraz in their packages, but it took us several tries and a couple of hours to find one that did, only to learn that they too were sold out.


Alcatraz, so near and yet so far

Instead, we purchased a regular tour package, at a discounted price because of the late time of day. We were assured we could use it again the next day too. We took a one and a half hour tour around the downtown, learning some of the history of the different parts of the city. When the tour was done strolled around the Fisherman’s Warf area, and had clam chowder in a bread bowl for dinner before catching the street car back to the BART station.

Seals at Fisherman's Warf

Seals basking in the sun at Fisherman’s Warf

The temperature had taken a plunge once the sun went down, and I hadn’t taken a sweater along. By the time I got off the bus back at the RV Park, I was cold, tired and ready for more Advil.

The next day we did it all again, this time taking the tour through Golden Gate Park and down to the coast for pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. The park is huge, and beautiful. I would like to have explored it more.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

When we got back to the downtown we did get off at the Ashbury and Haight corner to experience what’s left of the” hippy era”. Instead of stepping into the “Glass Gallery” that a friendly, bearded fellow wearing a top hat assured us we’d like, we relaxed with a wonderful Chai Tea at a little café.

Asbury St. Decor

A fine example of some of the interesting decor on Ashbury and Haight Streets

SanFran (16)

Glass Gallery?

We had to take at least a short ride on the cable car before we said goodbye to the city, but I wasn’t up to hanging on the side like we did last time.

Cable Car

Cable Car

It was certainly a different visit than our first, when we took the ferry into the downtown, from the other side, and spent our days walking and hopping on and off streetcars and trolleys. This time we had a new city walking tour app that would have been a great help, had I been able to walk more. Here’s your chance to try it out for free.

Mind Traveler has recently partnered with GPSmyCity to bring you access to one of these detailed apps that will answer all your questions about what to do and where to find it, in whichever city you choose. To get this free app all you need to do is be one of the first 20 Mind Traveler readers to like and comment on this post, telling me what motivates you to travel, and which city you plan to visit next. The codes for the free apps will be sent at the end of two weeks from the date of this post, or shortly after I’ve received 20 responses, whichever comes first. Note: These apps are currently available for only Apple devices. For a list of cities that are covered, visit

Be sure to follow this blog to get notifications of future posts and opportunities.

Yosemite – a Must See to add to your Bucket List

Monday – Day 27

Ahh, it’s getting harder and harder to remember what day it is! If I didn’t write this blog every few days, I wouldn’t have a clue!

We had a late start getting away from Reno on Saturday, despite setting the alarm clock so we’d get up early. We had a couple of stops to make before leaving town and they took longer than anticipated. But it was a nice drive on another sunny day.

We crossed the border into California sometime late afternoon.  We stopped to eat lunch along the road a short time later.  I’d considered having an apple for dessert, but thought I’d have it later.  I should have eaten it when I had a chance.  Just a few miles down the road we had to stop at an “Inspection Station”.

“Do you have any fresh fruit or vegetables?”

“A couple of tomatoes, some lettuce and some apples,” I replied. I forgot about the raspberries I’d purchased a couple of days ago.

“I’ll have to come aboard and check your fridge,” the attendant said.

Of all the things in it, she confiscated only the apples.  They were the only thing left that we’d brought from Canada.

It was nearly four o’clock when we stopped at the Visitors Centre at Mono Lake, a sparkling blue lake that was very photogenic, and only twelve miles from Yosemite.  While there we learned that there were no camping sites within Yosemite Park that could accommodate us. We decided to camp at the nearby Mono Vista RV Park for the night and go into Yosemite in the morning. It’s a small park, with a few permanent mobile homes and small spaces, but there were several RVs there for the night, either on their way to Yosemite or just out. A very strong wind rustled the leaves of the poplar tree above us, sounding like rain. There was no rain though. How many days has it been since we’ve seen any rain? I can’t think of one day since we left Peterborough.

We were on the road by 9:15 on Sunday morning and a half hour later we were climbing uphill towards Yosemite. If we thought that the drive through Yellowstone was breathtaking, this was more intoxicating and even a little bit scary at times. The road climbed and twisted along the side of the mountains and slightly back down into valleys before steeply climbing up again. By the time we reached the entrance to the park, at Tioga Pass, we were at nearly 10,000 feet and we’d already taken fifty or more pictures. It was a slow climb, but the motor home made it without incident. It was cold up there! People were wearing heavy coats – quite a change from Reno.

We stopped to take a photo of Half Dome, and then we climbed 800 feet up a rocky hill, just to challenge ourselves, I think. It was a marvellous view from the top.

We’d planned to drive to Yosemite Village where we could park the motor home and take the bike up to Glacier Point, but we made so many other stops along the way, to snap more pictures, that it was already four o’clock when we got there. Since we had to be out of the park before we could stop for the night, we reluctantly continued through and out the north exit.

Although we couldn’t camp in Yosemite Park, we did find a spot just outside, within the Stanislau Forest. Our only neighbours were a young couple in a tent several metres away from us.  We hoped to see some animals, but no such luck. I was glad that we were inside, just the same. We had no power or internet for computers so we went to bed at 9:00 to read, but the day’s adventure had tired us out and the books were soon dropped and the light out. What a stupendous day!

Today was a day of travel. Another mechanical problem caused a delay in reaching San Francisco, but fortunately it wasn’t an expensive one. It was 6:30 when we finally got ourselves into the RV Park closest to downtown that we could find. It’s small, and maybe not in the best neighbourhood, just across the river from San Quentin. I convinced Jim to lock all the outside storage compartments. Tomorrow, we hope, we’ll get to explore San Francisco.