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Personal Narrative: The Golden Gate State Park

We stopped again closer to the bridge at Fort Point to take more pictures. Then up we went! More steep hills awaited our climb as we followed the bike path. Finally at the top we learned bikers were only allowed from 3:30-6 PM. Again we were blessed to have waited to ride later! The path onto the bridge had a blind spot for any riders coming off the bridge. One of the seasoned bikers yelled at all us tourists for staying in the blind spot (whoops! ) As Brendan put it, “Why do they ride when all the tourists are? ” The ride across was about 20 minutes across and extremely windy-as shown by Sarah’s hair!

The other side consisted of a large parking lot and seaside views. Many tour buses were parked in this area. Once we were back across we stopped at the Golden Gate State Park store. Sarah found really cute things that were too expensive, but ended up purchasing a button that said “I biked the Golden Gate Bridge. ” Brendan bought a t-shirt that said the same thing. The ride down was much more enjoyable! Brendan had us make a stop at the Palace of Fine Arts—pictured on the next page. It was gorgeous and the sun was beginning to set, adding to its beauty.

Everyone who walked around the area seemed peaceful. As we made our way back to the pier we stumbled across the food truck party the backpacker had mentioned! It was called “Off the Grid”, was set up each Friday, and featured a plethora of food trucks. Lights were strung up throughout the area and it was packed with millennials. Only the center booth sold beer for $7 so we declined. Slowly studying each booth, Sarah decided on Macaroni with Bacon and Brendan ate Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich with Cajun fries. Sarah was jealous of his meal.

The place was so packed we had a hard time finding a place to eat. Eventually we ate with another couple on a standing table with heat lamp attached at the top. Deciding we didn’t want to keep our bikes overnight, we returned them. The rest of the evening we adventured around the pier. One stop was at Ghirardelli Square. The ice cream was outrageously priced so we settled for samples of blueberry chocolate. It was delicious and Brendan was able to obtain more of these (as he does. ) We headed back to our place again in a packed street car.

This seemed to be the norm in the evenings, heading from the pier back into the city. Early Saturday morning we rode back to the pier to ride a cable car. We stopped at Starbucks first and each had a plain bagel with cream cheese. The Starbucks was the biggest we have seen and very quaint. As we go outside to get in line for the cable car, we realize it will take several hours for our turn. After some research, we learn the cable cars in the financial district have fewer lines so we opt to wait. Instead, we walk up to Lombardi Street. Another vertical climb!

Gasping for breath, we make it to the top of the famous street. Many cars and motor bikes are waiting in line to drive down the road, making us thankful we are walking it. Following stairs down the side, we take in the beautiful architecture of the houses and watch a hoard of motor bikes descend. At the bottom, the street is crammed with tourists taking photos in the middle of the street while angry drivers try to get through. Our next stop is Coit Tower. There were a couple times we had to wait at a sketchy bus stop in the middle of downtown with bars on the windows.

And we had encounters with a new bus driver and Asian bus drivers who don’t give hoot what others think. This ride, though, we had a very pleasant woman driver! She drove us up the winding road to the tower where the parking lot was filled with the same motor bikes we had encountered at Lombardi Street. She apologized for the wait to get through (not her fault) and was just an angel. We waited in another long line to get to the top ? it was $8/person to get in. When we purchased our tickets to the towers we all received hand stamps that said “I Heart SF. The wait was very long and we started at the art work on the walls. Finally, we made it to the vintage elevator that took us up. It was the perfect weather for this as it was outside! We were allowed to stay up as long as we liked and had the volunteer guide take our picture (As shown to the left. )

The view was incredible! Sarah wanted to see China Town. We lunched at “Sam Wo Restaurant” on 713 Clay ST, for it was rated #1 on Yelp. It was delicious, authentic, and the servers spoke English! (I know this is sad, but it was a little scary eating in China Town. We walked through the streets filled with fresh produce and dead fish everywhere. The BEST part was the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. We watched two old Asian women take the fresh cookie circles and place them on shapers. Then we were given samples of the fresh fortune cookies! It was down an alley and felt secretive. We also visited a few souvenir shops and Sarah found a cheap t-shirt for her mom. Cable cars were next. There were several cars sitting and the attendants were very rude about what we were supposed to do. So we baked in the sun for 10 minutes before a car came.

The rule is only one car can operate at a time (STUPID! ) The ride was a lot of fun because the hills were so steep. The City Pass came in handy as one way up was $7 normally! We rode the cable car up all the way and then took it part way back down to the free Cable Car Museum. Brendan loved seeing the actual gears that pulled the cars up and down the tracks every day. We were both tired at this point and when Sarah sat down to watch repeating TV movie, she almost fell asleep! Brendan was getting a headache, so we headed down to the pier to Walgreens for medicine.

Afterwards we went to In-and-Our Burger for unlimited soda and the cashier was very confused that we only wanted a small soda! The long week had caught up to us, but Sarah had more souvenirs to get. We hung out around the pier a while longer and then headed back to our Airbnb. Our final treat was Peanut Butter Pie a la mode. We ate this at Chile Pies Baking Co. -an expensive bakery a bus stop from our place. The place was hipster, but yummy! NP had been gone for a few days and had returned on our last day. She offered to drive us around the city for a local tour that evening!!

We saw the projects and went across the Oakland Bridge to Treasure Island. It was beautiful to see the city from across the bay at night, but so windy and cold we weren’t out for long. On the way back we saw the top of the Lyon Street Steps. NP was a great host and we finished the evening with another hangout. Early Sunday morning we packed our bags and took the bus back to the BART. As we walked to the BART, a taxi driver confronted us saying the BART didn’t open till 8 AM on Sundays and we would miss our 9:50 AM flight. We were caught off guard and for $30 it was a little unnerving.

After researching online, it did appear he was correct. Thankfully, God blessed us with two old sisters also taking the BART for their flight. We were able to split the cost of the cab and it made us all feel much safer with the aggressive taxi driver. The rest of the day we flew back to Denver and made it to Wichita by 5 PM. The Denver airport was boring because of a 1 and 25 minute layover. There were some circus actors practicing in the hallway. Once in Wichita, we met Brendan’s parents and ate a buffet dinner at Pizza Hut. Overall, it was a great Honey Moon trip with memories to last a life time.

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