Greetings From: San Francisco, CA

The classic San Francisco experience - standing on the outside platform of a cable car while traveling the hilly streets.

                                                       

by Michael Boyink/mike@douglascountyherald.com

We weren’t big city people.

Holland, Michigan – our hometown – wasn’t as small or as rural as Ava.

But it wasn’t a big city either.

If it wasn’t 5:00 p.m., the other side of town was only twenty minutes away. 

There was public transportation, but it was similar to OATS locally. Useful for some, but having a car was preferable.

Traveling fulltime didn’t change our feelings about big cities. Visiting them usually meant staying in hotels. Costs aside, we preferred staying in our RV. It was truly became our home with our beds, our chairs, and our kitchen.

And we wanted to see natural beauty. 

God’s handiwork, not mans.

So we mostly skirted around big cities like Chicago, Nashville, Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles.

But you can’t set out to “see America” and bypass all the big cities. Some of them are far too ingrained into the fabric of America.

San Francisco is such a place. Skip “The City” and you haven’t truly seen the country.

One of the ways we funded our travels was by hosting software training classes. 

Scheduling a class in San Francisco made sense on two fronts. We could both make some money from the training class and write off the costs as a business expense.

Which helped, because we paid more per night to “camp” just south of San Francisco than anywhere else in the country. I put quotes around the word camp because was less a campground than it was a tightly-packed, paved parking lot for RVs.

But, the campground had three things going for it:

It was right on the coast. We had a view of the Pacific ocean and could hear the sound of the surf from our RV.

It was about a mile from a BART station, so getting public transit to downtown San Francisco was relatively quick and easy.

Harrison Boyink watches a passing Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train in an underground station.

It attracted many international travelers, which made for several interesting  conversations around the campground hot tub.

Once our class was done, we had a relatively typical San Fransisco tourist experience. 

We walked down Lombard Street (the “crookedest street in the world”), ate seafood and sourdough bread on Fisherman’s Wharf, had crepes at the Cable Car Cafe, chocolate at Ghirardelli’s, and (maybe the most surprising) found crazy-good BBQ at a place called The Pub just under the Ghirardelli store.

And then, evidently being too stuffed to walk anywhere, we did what you absolutely have to do when in San Francisco.

Attempting a photo while riding the cable cars in San Francisco.

We rode the cable cars.

There are two main cable car lines in San Francisco – the California and the Powell. 

They are mostly independent of each other.

Each line has its own cables the cars grab onto.

But there is one spot where they cross.

I’m not sure how all this got negotiated, but at the intersection where the lines cross, the Powell cars have to drop their cable and coast. Once past the California cable, they can latch onto their own cable and be under power again.

And just to make sure this all happens without incident?

There’s a little booth. 

With an employee sitting inside of it.

Watching for collisions.

At the ready.

All day.

During our visit, the California line was down for repair.

But the collision-avoidance guy?

Still on duty.

Must be a union job.

MsBoyink takes in the Pacific Coast at Mori Point, just south of San Francisco.

Learn more about the San Francisco cable cars, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate bridge and more at sftravel.com.