Day 48 – Exploring The City By The Bay

Saturday, October 9, 2010
Miles To Date: 
7 071

Today was mainly spent completing the 49 mile scenic drive around the city. We started out heading to where we joined the drive yesterday, and going in the opposite direction around the loop (which actually turned out to be the correct way). This firstly took us through Golden Gate Park, which is the Hyde Park/Central Park equivalent for San Francisco. Its a really nice park set right in the city, and it has the usual water areas with pedalos, cycling paths, and well tended gardens you would expect. The pleasantly warm 70 degree weather made it even better, and we spent quite a bit of time just relaxing by one of the park’s lakes.

As the day went on we began to learn that the scenic drive isn’t well signposted at all, and we soon got lost. To begin with this wasn’t such a bad thing, as we ended up driving up to a residential area on one of the city’s many hills. Near the top of the hill we encountered the steepest road we have ever seen. Some research online shows it is one of the steepest in the world at 33% – the car wouldn’t even go over 10mph on it. It seems in San Francisco they didn’t bother with winding roads to go up hills, they just built them going straight up! At the top we found a park on the hilltop which had great panoramic views of the whole city. The neighbourhood was clearly very affluent, with most houses having balconies overlooking the view, and some very quirky house designs including one panelled with blue corrugated iron.

After the short detour we found our way back to the scenic drive (with a little help from the GPS), and took the winding route up the Twin Peaks. Like in Cleveland, there was an air show going on today and the viewpoints on the hills were crowded with people watching the fighter jets perform tricks over the city. We caught a few and they were very impressive. Soon after we got lost again and found ourselves in an area which we later found out is the ‘gay neighbourhood’. Houses were painted in bright pinks and purples and most had the rainbow flag hanging outside!

Moving on we ended up back in Downtown and stuck in Saturday afternoon traffic near the piers. At this stage we lost patience with the scenic drive because there weren’t signposts anywhere (apparently vandals steal them to confuse tourists – thanks!), and just drove right to the Golden Gate Bridge. We walked around near the fort by the bridge and managed to get a few pictures without getting eaten by seagulls and seals. We then walked up onto the bridge as the sun was setting which provided some great views.

For dinner we went to a packed restaurant on the Pacific shore where we had some very tasty food. There were lots of people having bonfires and partying on the beach which created a nice atmosphere outside.

Photo(s) of the day: the view of the city from one of the hills, Golden Gate Bridge and a friendly seal nearby.