Bonus day! Playing my cards right with Delta, I managed to score a free day in San Francisco, completely unplanned. Interestingly enough, the hotel they put me up in was the same hotel that I was put up in, ten years prior when I gave up my seats flying back from John's wedding. Everything is cyclical...
After a hearty (free) breakfast, I wandered outside for a moment for the view. Then promptly went back to the room to putter around until checkout time, 1pm. I know it was a waste, but it was nice to just relax for a bit, before heading out to meet Steph.
I took the BART downtown, and it was a nice easy 30 minute ride, with free wifi.
Coming out of Powell Street Station, at the top of the escalator, the person in front of me took three steps and stopped. I veered to the right, only to promptly trip over his rolling suitcase. I went down on both knees, my right hand and my (heavy) backpack clonked me in the head. Even though it was totally his fault, I felt like a moron.
Seeing cable cars in action made it all better though. Not know how to get on one, I decided to walk all the way up Powell street to meet Steph for lunch.
Along the way I saw a small shop that had license plates for sale. The I found ONE Rhode Island plate, and was surprised to find it!
It was another beautiful day, with temperatures in the low 70's, the perfect day to hike up and down SF's famous hills.
I loved the art-deco style buildings that abounded.
The cable-car tracks were also something else to see, and to hear the thrum of the cable underground.
I finally met up with Steph, and we had lunch. I felt like I was back in Hong Kong, for certain.
I look like I know what I'm doing with those chop-sticks!
Even the architecture was reminiscent. With similar weather, the steep topography and proximity to the ocean, I can see why many people from Hong Kong settle in San Francisco.
One of the places I love going most is the Cable Car Museum. It's a neat place to learn about the history of the cable cars.
More than the history, it's also part of the actual working life of the cable cars. You can see the giant spools of cable, the electric motors that drive them, and the big sheaves that make it all work. The noise is deafening but it is truly amazing.
Of course I bought us a day pass so we could ride as often as we wanted.
We both enjoyed it immensely.
Where else in the world can you hang off the outside of a public transportation vehicle legally?
Watching the cable car crew turn them around on the turntable has always fascinated me.
I then suggested to Steph that she ride the scoot down the short section of Lombard street that is famous for it's brick paved turns. I hiked up Lombard street while she went to fetch the scooter, and prepared for photos. She got the better end of that deal, for sure.
So I climbed partially up the rest of the way, and watched people drive down Lombard Street.
Any questions of allowing scooters on the street were put to rest when I watched this guy come down.
And finally, in the last moments of daylight, Steph made her way down.
By this time we were hungry again, so she went off to park the scooter and I walked towards the bay. Nice view of Alcatraz from here.
We ate an unremarkable dinner in a touristy spot, and then walked down to the water so I could see (sort of) the Pacific Ocean. All this time in California and I hadn't really seen it yet.
Out onto a jetty into the water for a better view of the sunset, and I got a little closer to The Rock.
And then this.
There are a few more pictures of my trip, on the plane, flying over New York State, but I feel this is a fitting end to an amazing trip. All the miles, the camping and the friendships, and in these few moments, watching the sun set over the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge, my life felt pretty amazing.
So amazing, in fact, that I barely made it back to the airport for my 10:30 pm flight! Needless to say, thanks to an expert taxi driver, I made it with time to spare. I slept for awhile on the flight to Detroit, then sprawled out on the floor at the boarding gate at Detroit airport. A few short hours later, I was home showering, washing away the grim of an overnight flight, and still marveling at the amazing trip I had just finished.