Thursday, November 12, 2009

When the lights go down in the City....

Captions from the top: The city from across the bay at night, Greg and Dani on the ferry, the Golden Gate bridge from the ferry, shots from the ferry.

San Francisco
Day 27

Today we actually slept in a bit! And we woke up and did not need to put away a wet tent or pack sleeping bags. We lazed about for awhile and looked at the views of the bay from the condo we are staying in in Larkspur, CA. Dani's aunt Sue picked us up in the morning and showed us some of the very nice houses she has worked on as an architect. We had a good time checking out her projects and getting a better overview of the area at the same time. Then Sue took us back to the house and fed us some breakfast so we could get ready for our day.

After a bit we loaded the bikes onto the car and drove down to the Larkspur ferry station. This was my first time on a ferry so I was excited. We were able to just wheel our bikes right on. The ferry goes from Larkspur across the bay to the Port of San Francisco downtown. We were lucky enough to unknowingly get on one of the ferries that hydroplanes. The hull is deigned so that a majority of the boat comes out of the water at a certain speed reducing the amount of drag but increasing the overall speed. It was like riding on a huge speed boat. We went past Angel Island and Alcatraz and we saw our first glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge from the bay. It was a pretty cool ride.

We got off the ferry and found ourselves right in downtown San Fran. We had to find the train station, but luckily it was only a few blocks away. During off peak hours, bikes are also allowed to be rolled onto the train. We bought our tickets and rode the train out to Walnut Creek far to the south past Oakland. We rode all of the way out there to go to Rivendell's store so we could pick up the wheel that Rich had built for me. We actually found the place easily enough, and started talking to some of the employees about our trip and bikes.

We ended up hanging out there for awhile and they even let Dani and I ride a few of their bikes to test out new saddles and just for fun. They measured me for one of their frames and I found that my bike is a full 7-10 cm too small. I should be riding on a minimum of something like a 67cm up to a 71 cm. That's huge! No wonder why my bike feels much too small. After we left we found a nice Vietnamese place to grab some food and then headed back into the city.

We found out a few things about large cities this evening. First, public bathrooms are incredibly hard to find when you need them. (I had to buy coffee at a Starbucks just to use one). Second, Dani absolutely loathes riding her bike in big cities especially at night. I was having fun but I heard her moan "I am riding for my life!" Third, navigating and traveling in a big city that is unknown takes much long than expected. Every place we were trying to get to closed before we got there. Fourth, in San Francisco, more than a tee shirt is needed at night. We were in the city until 10:00 pm and then we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Some locals told us, especially me due to a t-shirt and sandals, that we were going to freeze to death on the bridge. It actually was not bad. We got a bit chilly, but being on that bridge at night on a bicycle was very cool. We could stop and look back across the bay at all of the lights of the city, and also check out the bridge which is also lit up at night.

We were going to ride all of the way back to Larkspur, but when we left the bridge and rode through Sausalito we could not figure out where to go. We weren't lost we just had no direction. So Dani decided to call aunt Sue. Thank goodness she was able to pick us up (come to find out we weren't far from her house) around 11 0'clock. By the time we got home and took much needed hot showers just to get all warmed up, it was very late. What a day.


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