<< Experience Kes Day '05

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San Fran '05 Part I


About mid Feb '05, we wrapped up most of our work in Carmel and then we were sent to downtown San Francisco to help keep a job going through the weekend as a superintendent building an H2O store on Powell and Ellis. It doesn't get much more downtown than this. We hadn't been to San Francisco since the '90s and then had only visited twice for one day each. 

The first time was just Greg and Jenn in the early '90s and they were still repairing damage from the Northridge quake where the bridge collapsed on itself. We had a rented car and got pulled over for making a left turn ~ then the cop made fun of us with our Texas drivers license mocking us (terribly) with a southern accent ~ 'doe'n ya'll haf no doe'n turn leff sines in Teeeexxxuuzzzz?' We humored him and got away with a warning and learned that public transportation is the way to go in San Fran. Then we just had to learn the rules...

This sign is actually posted just outside the cable car depot where they turn them around.

The cable cars were originally built back in the 1870s after a fella named Andrew Hallidie watched some horses get pulled backwards from being overloaded down a steep San Fran hill and dying. Turns out Andrews father had a patent on the manufacture of wire-rope that he also used to build a bridge in Sacramento. He used this rope to design the cable car idea.

The cable cars are pulled uphill through a slot in the street cut between the tracks that moves the wire-rope (cable) under the street through a series of giant pulleys on motors at the tops of the hills ~ think Mario Bros and elevators. When the cars clamp onto the cable below them, they move uphill at the speed of the cable. To stop, they unclamp. They coast downhill with brake pads that rub on the ground. All this controlled through levers by the driver. When they get to the end of their route, they are put on a large carousel where they are physically spun around to go the other way.

Then they are pushed back to where they can grab the cable, are loaded up with people, and do it again.

Above you can see the tracks for the cable cars and the slot in the middle where the cable runs below them. The cars themselves have no power source, they are coasters that are pulled up the hill and stinky brake down.

San Francisco is on the tip of a peninsula. The Golden Gate Bridge connects it to the north and the Bay Bridge to the East. The Sacramento river flows into San Francisco bay and ALL the water from the river and low and high tides pour in through the narrow channel under the Golden Gate. That heavy and intense water flow, coupled with the high winds and fog make the feat of building the bridge such an accomplishment. It held the record for the longest span from its opening in May, 1937 until New York City's Verrazano Bridge was opened in Nov. 1964.

Here you can see the intensity of the downtown area compressed in the lower part of the picture (East) with the Bay Bridge, and the right, top side of the picture with the Golden Gate. Greg was working in the middle of the downtown mess and commuting over an hour to the closest RV park at Candlestick Park.

In February, we stayed at Candlestick and purchased transit passes for the whole Family that got us unlimited rides on any of the San Fran buses, streetcars, and cable cars. Candlestick park and south San Fran is generally the most dangerous areas on the peninsula. It sucked hard living and commuting out there. 

After our first stay there, we went back to Monterey to do the final clean on Kevin's job. When we were in Monterey, our only car (the Thing) broke down to the point of being un-driveable and un-towable. We returned to San Fran in March without the car to help more on the H2O. This time we chose to stay in Marin County which is north of San Fran over the Golden Gate in a much more livable community. The commute became longer and more expensive, but we no longer feared for our lives. Greg chose to purchase passes for the ferry out of Larkspur which was a short walk from our RV site. Golden Gate Transit buses were also available nearby and ran to downtown San Fran.

And so the touring of San Fran begins! (a little work squeezed in when Greg had to).

Looking out at the bay from Fisherman's Wharf is Alcatraz island (which is a man made floating island by the way ~ but the government denies it).

Fisherman's wharf is on the north'ish side of town with the Golden Gate in the background. It's a very cool place accessible by cable cars from the downtown area. The crabs are fresh, juicy, and tasty. Excuse me, gotta shave now...

fitty tooo hunerd.

A really cool museum has been moved to the Wharf from the Cliff House where a fella had collected old games and amusing models. Back in the '90s when we had visited San Fran, we always made a point to go to the Cliff House and wander around their haunted basement looking at these relics. It was disappointing to see they had been taken out of the Cliff House, but nice to see them anyway.

This working model is made from toothpicks and is quite large. Suppose this pic goes with the archive for pix that give no justice to the experience ~ you'll just have to go visit this stuff yourself. Off your ass, GO!

There's Kes digging on the ballroom dancing... Thinking we need a Fuzion!

cuz all of us love a good Ole Barn Dance ya'll.

This we could do without ~ see the goofy expression on the guys face at the bottom? Classic...

The fires of 1906 were devastating to San Fran. They were ignited as a result of the earthquake...

interesting and great info at http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/info/1906/

if the same scale happened today? Yikes.

We'd need more of these...

and less of this...

and more of these...

and naked sculptures on traditionally conservative buildings?

We went here to together to pay for some taxes and acquire some building permits for the job Greg was on.

At this point, we were feeling pretty good about working together even though the commute was long ~ with passes for all of us, the kids and Jenn would come and go as they pleased, often showing up in the afternoon at the job site and touring around until Greg could meet with after work. Greg was leaving around 6am and we'd go home late.

We walked around a lot through San Francisco. The car chilled at Candlestick and wasn't driven at all for about two weeks. We visited Chinatown one day and went off the beaten path to the areas that are lived in and are not so touristy.

We went in and wanted to try something different, but it was just too different and in a different language. Thirty servers here and they had to go to the back for one that could speak english ~ we got the lemon chicken (next to the pig's feet and some other indescribably delicacy).

Then found an alley to eat it in. The locals were passing us and staring blankly. Some even poked their heads out of their windows to see what crazy white folks were doing in their alley...

We then walked aimlessly ~ it felt as if we were in a different country.

It was very cool.

We also saw Lombard street from the cable car ride ~ it was under construction (-;

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Experience San Fran '05 Part II >> 


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