We returned home October 1st, 2013 after 13 months, and 40,000 miles of travel in our 17 ft. Roadtrek. After a great month at home in Albany, we moved across the Bay to San Francisco for two months…to live on one of the 20 San Francisco houseboats (“Floating Homes”). Sally’s brother is a cruise ship physician…let’s see if you can guess the cruise line: 1) picture the whale tail smokestacks in red and blue; 2) recall the company with the stupidest Captain, driving his boat onto the rocks to show off for a friend ashore; and 3) the company with the cruise ship towed to shore in Mexico after an electric fire that wiped out all systems, escorted home by an aircraft carrier. Carnival! Fortunately, the last instance was my brother’s ship, and there were not only no medical emergencies, but passengers remained healthier than usual as passengers did not go ashore to eat and drink themselves into illness. With my brother at sea for months at a time, we were invited to housesit on the water in San Francisco. How sweet is that?
That last building at the far end of Mission Creek, sits on a big lagoon with water views out two sides. We are always pleased to see the CalTrans divers checking out the concrete pillars as we are the only boat…sitting…directly…under…the massive concrete freeway bridge. During an earthquake, if it goes, we go. Living on the water in a spacious home allowed us to entertain old friends, including those who arrived by boat.
The bird life is extraordinary, and the neighbors friendly. It is easy walking distance from our boat (below on right in the shadow of the freeway) to AT&T Ballpark seen behind our boat. Humm Baby! Go you Gi-dogs! Let’s see a little bingo round the bases!
That means the entire Embarcadero is available for strolling, filled with sculpture, great restaurants and bars, views of the Bay Bridge with a nightly light show from LEDs set in the suspension cables…
…and of course, the tourists and citizens, in all their diversity of fashion and attitude, the best of City Life.
Our first few weeks involved walking 40 miles each week getting to favorite sites: Coit Tower on its’ 100th Birthday, Golden Gate Park with redwood trails, fountains, tea gardens, and museums, the Beach, Twin Peaks and 5 other hills, and favorite neighborhoods where we lived as young adults.
We walked with Steven’s nephew Mike, 13 miles, along the Bay and over the Golden Gate Bridge, along the water into Sausalito, taking a ferry back to a favorite cocktail place on the Embarcadero. We really earned those appies and Lemon Drop Martinis!
We also got extra lights for our bikes and our bodies and became San Francisco bicyclists, trying out new bike lanes, “The Wiggle” (a meandering ride from GG Park to Downtown, avoiding hills), “The Green Wave” (miles of an urban commute street with lights timed for bicyclists traveling at 14 mph) and valet bike parking at public events. Sally trained to be an Ambassador (eg. fundraiser extraordinaire) with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and enjoyed volunteering weekly. Sadly, four bicyclist deaths last year, in our SOMA neighborhood, requires sustained political action to ensure that San Francisco becomes just like Copenhagen, with 22+% of the populace commuting to work and school on bikes, with cars and taxis trained to “giv’em a brake”. The Coalition’s goal of a hundred miles of bike paths across the City this year is ambitious, but doable. As Captain Jean Luc Picard of Star Trek said, “Make it so!”
The Drought, punishing California terribly this year, has made for warm days, and little rain this winter… perfect for biking. Lety, R.I.P., our darling dog pal, loved being outside all day on the dock, entertained by the neighborhood seals, night herons and egrets, requiring her constant supervision of course…almost as entertaining to her as the flying monkeys at the San Francisco Exploratorium, sent swinging only with rhythmic drumming by the participants.