Vacation in San Francisco, October 2010: Sunday in Golden Gate Park

We got up way too early (still on Iowa time), got ready and headed over to the Lori’s Diner on Powell St. around 7:45. I ordered the Cable Car Pancakes, described as “Two Large Cakes, Two Slices of Bacon, Two Links of Sausage and Two Eggs.” Lori had the Short Stack with sliced bananas. Just the thing to fuel up before a day of riding bikes in the park!


Day Two Loris DinerLori is, naturally, a big fan of “her” Diner


After breakfast, we headed to the Muni kiosk at the Powell cable car turn-around to pick up 3-day passes for $13 each. Just as we activated our passes, our bus, the #5 route, was arriving so we hopped on that. The bus wound past the Civic Center and took us to the North side of Golden Gate Park. We got off the bus at Fulton St. and 6th Ave. but were too early to pick up our rental bicycles from Golden Gate Bike and Skate so we walked along JFK to pass some time and take some photos.


Day Two Golden Gate Park 01Golden Gate Park, Mist in the Trees


Once 10:00 rolled around, we picked up our mountain bikes, helmets and bike lock for a total of $50 for the day. We rode around the park, sticking close to the East end at first. After tiring of that, we decided to venture further and take JFK all the way to Ocean Beach. The beach area was very foggy and the surf was up. Several brave surfers were going out in this, but you couldn’t see them at all as they disappeared beyond the breakers. Very dangerous!


Day Two Crazy SurfersOcean Beach: Crazy or Dedicated Surfers?


After walking the beach for awhile, we headed over to Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant. It was packed, so we ate at the bar to avoid waiting for a table. I ordered the Dungeness Crab Louis Salad and Lori had a bowl of their Clam Chowder New England Style. I had a Dee’s Bitter Ale and Lori had a V.F.W. Light.


Day Two Beach Chalet BarView from the Beach Chalet Bar


Fueled up and rested, we then rode uphill back toward the East end of the park. We stopped to take a stroll through the Japanese Tea Garden ($7 admission each), making sure to take plenty of photos to get our money’s worth.


Day Two Japanese Tea GardenJapanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park


After that we took a walk through the park between the museums. There was an art fair going on, and The Blue Angels were flying around as part of Fleet Week, so we got to see them flying overhead, too.

By that time it was about 3:30 PM and we were both getting tired. We decided to turn in our rentals and head back to our hotel, again via the #5 bus route.

Back at the hotel we freshened up a bit then headed to the deck on the 6th floor to hang out and play on our laptops a bit. Lori’s laptop ran out of battery too quickly, and it got cold up there so we did not stay very long. Back at the room we got ready for dinner at The Chieftain. I had their Fish and Chips with two Prohibition Speakeasys (a local brew). Lori had a salad with grilled shrimp and a glass of wine.

We headed back to the hotel room and crashed for the evening.


Please check back for more photos I’ll be adding to the set for this trip on my Flickr page.

Vacation in San Francisco, October 2010: Travel Prep and Travel Day

Travel Preparation

Lori and I both took off the day before our flight so we could pack, prepare the house and pets, and get some rest before getting up early. Our flight was scheduled to leave Des Moines around 6:30 AM, and Lori’s father was going to pick us up around 4:30 AM so we could get t the airport early.

I packed a small suitcase with about 4-5 days worth of clothing and my Lowepro camera/laptop backpack. We were to have laundry by mid-week when we got to our rental home in Point Reyes Station, so I was able to pack lighter than usual.

I drove Ruffy to the kennel around 16:00, dropping him off around 16:30-16:45. As usual before a bit travel day, neither of us could get to sleep. I did not get to bed until around 23:45, and Lori was up much, much later trying to decide what to pack.

Travel Woes

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare before our flight, only to be met by a long line. Overhearing a few of the other passengers’ frustrated discussions, I surmised that our flight had been canceled. The line was full of other passengers waiting to get re-booked on another flight, and it only got longer as we waited for our turn at the counter.

Once we got to the ticketing counter, I could tell the poor lady working there was quite flustered after dealing with a few difficult people in the line before us. I tried to be extra patient and friendly with her to make her day a little brighter. She got us booked on a 10:30 AM flight to Denver, and re-booked our connecting flight as well. In all, we would only arrive about one hour later than our original itinerary. This worked out OK because we would still arrive prior to the hotel’s check-in time.

Luckily we brought our laptops and the MiFi. We hung out in the cafe drinking coffee and eating breakfast croissants until our flight to Denver boarded. We had a one hour layover in Denver before boarding then next flight in to SFO — just enough time for a quick restroom break and some leg stretching. Fortunately, our flights were uneventful, and we even got a little bit of light napping done in transit.

Arrival and Photos

We arrived in SFO around 13:00, picked up our bags and took the shuttle in to downtown San Francisco. Our room at the Intercontinental San Francisco was not ready so we checked in, left our luggage with the bellhop, and went for a walk to get some exercise and search for some afternoon snacks.

We walked around the Yerba Buena Gardens for a bit, taking some photos. Lori tried to capture the Blue Angels (they were flying over the city because it was Fleet Week) in this one, but they were just too fast.

Day One Me on the Yerba Buena Bridge

I also caught Lori under the archway of the bridge over Howard street by Moscone Center.

Day One Lori on the Yerba Buena BridgeWe ended up at The Thirsty Bear for some tapas and a couple of beers. Lori had her usual, the Polar Bear Pilsner. I tried their seasonal Oktoberfest followed by a Meyer ESB. We ordered the tortilla española of the day (sun-dried tomato), gambas al ajillo (prawns, garlic, pinot gris) and empanadas (braised pork & queso fresco, roasted squash romesco & spiced pepitas). All of the dishes were excellent. Lori liked the gambas al ajillo the best, while I preferred the empanadas.

As is now our travel tradition, we snapped a photo of each other enjoying our first beverages.

Day One Me at The Thirsty BearDay One Lori at The Thirsty Bear

Our appetites satisfied and enough time passed to have a room ready, we headed back to the hotel to rest and plan our next activity. This was the view from our room.

Day One The View from Our Room

After considering several different dinner spots, we decided to try out Sanraku Japanese Restaurant at Metreon for some sushi. Lori had Teriyaki Salmon with a glass of white wine. I had a combo meal with 5 pieces of sashimi and the Teriyaki Beef with a cup (180 ml) of Ozeki sake. Although their Website isn’t much to brag about, the food and service were excellent. Here are a couple of photos Lori took at Sanraku. She got a kick out of the “One Cup” sake.

Day One Sushi at Sanraku

Day One Sake at Sanraku

After dinner, we returned to the room and crashed for the evening. Since we were still on Iowa time, it was technically after midnight for us even though it was only after 10 in San Francisco.