Alcatraz, North Beach & Green Street

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

On the 8:45 Staff Ferry to Alcatraz

Today is Wednesday, and on Wednesdays I go out to Alcatraz to weed the gardens. I brought my camera along this time so that I could get photos of the island from the boat, and here is the result. I’m not too pleased with them, but I guess they’re okay.

The Rock

The Rock

The Bay Bridge in the morning

When we finished, I went to have coffee with a couple friends in North Beach and then wandered my way home. Along the way, I passed by Al’s Attire on Grant Avenue. I was in dirty gardening clothes, but I went in anyways. The shop is tiny, but the clothes are beautiful. Everything is hand tailored and has a certain strength, but is still delicate. I couldn’t leave without touching almost every piece, and my mind started whirling about having them design and tailor my wedding dress….so we’ll see!

Al's Attire

Women's Blouses

Button Selection

Then I walked east along Green Street through Russian Hill and then detoured to Union and stopped by Past Perfect, a great antique & mid-century furniture and nik-nac store. All in all, it was a great day!

Green Street between Montgomery & Polk

Ducts & Spires

Blue Dodge

Green Street

Restoration in progress

Weekend Getaway to Point Montara Lighthouse

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Point Montara Lighthouse

Nik and I took our first adventure out of the city this weekend, and it was extremely nice!! We booked our Zipcar on Wednesday, a private room at the Point Montara Lighthouse on Thursday and packed our bags on Friday. Montara is only 25 miles south of our apartment in San Francisco which means that we could take our time Saturday morning and still have plenty of time to settle in for the night.

Our first stop on Highway 1

Fishing line cast in search of Dungeness Crab

Watching his lines

Gear for the dayÂ

Having time meant that we could stop whenever we wanted to take it all in, and that is just what we did. We pulled into a few little viewpoints before hitting the jackpot at the Pacifica Pier where at least 30 fishermen had cast lines in search for Dungeness Crab. I made the mistake of wearing a skirt, and as soon as I climbed out of the car it was blowing in the bitter cold wind. While I tried to maintain my decency, I chatted with the fisherman. A few were having good days, one guy was competing with a sea lion for his catch and a couple guys were packing up disappointed in the day. They explained how their lures worked by catching the crabs claws in lasso-like plastic rings when they went for the bait, and one man mentioned that a “good day” was 10 large crabs. Everyone was nice and didn’t seem to mind answering my questions at all. Then when we got back in the car Nik told me that he was certain they were more interested in seeing my skirt fly around than they were with my questions. I didn’t believe him, but I did change into jeans!

Surfer at Pacifica State Beach

Pacifica State Beach had more surfers than I had ever seen in my entire life AND there is a Taco Bell. Perhaps the best Taco Bell location in the world.

An artichoke farm along Highway 1

Purple Iris

Wildflowers at Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

We bypassed Point Montara to go through Half Moon Bay and to visit another lighthouse within spitting distance of San Francisco: Pigeon Point. This one also has an International Youth Hostel on its grounds, but they were booked for the weekend. Pigeon Point Lighthouse is more impressive than Point Montara, but the hostel wasn’t nearly as quaint and the staff wasn’t as friendly. We were happy to wander around, but were also happy to get in the car to begin our backtrack.

Moo Cows

Baaaa Sheep

Nay Horse

Rather than take the costal highway, we drove inland through the farmland on the way back. The vistas were amazing on the twisty, turny roads, and we were one of very few 4-wheeled vehicles.

Cyclists relaxing on the straightaway

Banana Slug

Mystic Redwood Forest

Private Room

We slowly made our way back towards the coast and checked into our room. I honestly cannot say enough good things about the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel. The guy who checked us in was extremely nice and patient. The room was spotless. The view from the room was breathtaking. The shared kitchens and living rooms were comfortable. They have their own private beach with rocks and tide pools on one side and sand on the other!! Honestly, it was heaven!!

Exploring Tide Pools


When we made it over to the sandy side, I started collecting little things.

Beach Collection

Meanwhile, Nik made a lasso out of seaweed.

Nik's Lasso

The beach cowboy in action

The running capture

Then the lasso was turned into a compass!

Beach Circles

After playing on the beach, we went out for an early dinner at Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay. The chowder was delicious, the bowl was huge and our view of the harbor was perfect! We left with full stomachs but stopped to pick up dessert for later. Once we got back to the room, we never left. We opened the window to let the sound of the ocean fill the room and relaxed reading until we were lulled to sleep.

This morning we woke up early to rain pounding on the windows. It was not what we had hoped for, but we made do. We drove back to the city without any detours and had a heavy breakfast at Louis Cafe overlooking the Sutro Baths. Again, we had a meal with a view that left us completely stuffed. The food this time wasn’t as good, but the view and experience was worth it.

Since we had the Zipcar for two full days, we took Val out on a quick night time ride to Treasure Island Friday evening. Fortunately, the evening skies were crystal clear and our view of the city was beautiful.

San Francisco Skyline

Night time explorers

Leidesdorff: Between Clay & Pine

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Lapse in security

Saturday morning, Nik had to go into work. After a quick breakfast together, I rode the bus into town with him and walked him to his office door. From there, I explored his street a little and then made my way slowly up to Pacific Heights. The morning was pretty grey, but as I left downtown, the clouds burned away and blue skies made their way in.

Nik pumping himself up for a weekend work day.

Gas and Electric


Black Pipes

Knights on guard

The carriage

Golden Eagle

Fire Escape

Reflecting Door

Structural Problems

Looking up California

You are welcome to stroll with me down more San Francisco Streets.

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