ADVENTURE TIME // MY FIRST TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO
Katie, my fiancé, had time off from work so we decided to take that opportunity to head up north for my first adventure in SF. I've never traveled north of LA, so this was pretty cool for me on multiple levels. Here's an abridged recap of our time in the Bay Area. (P.S. I'm Finn and Kt is Jake. Also, all photos taken with an iPhone 5s.)
- •Fisherman's WharfWe started our SF adventure with a lengthy stroll along the Embarcadero. The pier was hectic due to Fleet Week, an annual event where ships of all shapes and sizes post up in the bay. As we got to Fisherman's Wharf we noticed a parade welcoming the many visitors. I jumped out in the street risking life and limb to snag this shot. The wharf was full of tourist traps, but the couple restaurants we ducked into were worth the time and money.
- •The Golden Gate BridgeI've seen this bridge in pictures and movies and everywhere else since I was a kid, but nothing could prepare me for the real life version. It was awesome to finally see it with my own eyes, especially sharing the view with the one-legged sightseer who snuck into this shot.
- •Muir Woods ...This was the most peaceful part of our trip, and easily one of my favorites. The woods were serene and somewhat surreal. They reminded me of the woods I would run around in as a kid in the South, except there's no trees this big over there. The redwood trees are as impressive as they are beautiful.
- •And Muir Beach (Kt's Photo)The path we took through the woods led us to the beach which, while not as impressive or unique as the trail that led to it, was beautiful in its own right. I climbed up a small cliff to do some soul searching, hoping I would discover my spirit animal. Surely, I would encounter a sea otter or a coyote. Nope. I faced off with a seagull who had his own small cliff across from me. Katie captured the epic showdown.
- •The HundredsI've been a fan of The Hundreds for a long time. I'm fortunate enough to count myself among the contributors of their blog. Prior to the trip, I'd only been to their LA flagship. Needless to say, their location on Post was a spot I HAD to visit during our stay. Little did I know how easy it would be. The store was a block up from our hotel. The experience turned out to be everything I'd hoped it would. Incredible store, good duds, and cool guys running it. I can't wait to go back.
- •Alcatraz ... (Kt's Photo)The island prison that was Alcatraz that is now a tourist destination was equal parts impressive and depressing. Impressive in its history, stories, and odd appeal. Depressing in the sense that it's beaten up and falling down. I understand that everything comes and goes, but there's some cool stories here that I hope live through the ages...
- •And Bill Baker, A Former Alcatraz Inmate (Kt's Photo)One of those stories belongs to Bill Baker. Bill was an inmate at Alcatraz during its heyday. He did time for counterfeiting and various escapes from other penitentiaries. I was fortunate enough to meet Bill, buy his book, and have him sign my copy. When I say fortunate, I mean it. Bill is 80+ years old and is one of VERY FEW surviving inmates. He's a walking, talking, writing piece of American history.
- •Jack Kerouac AlleySeeing as how SF was the home and haven of the Beat Movement, I knew I had to get into some literary history while we were there. Kerouac Alley is not only dedicated to the author and poet, but it rests between two places he frequented and supported...
- •Vesuvio CafeThe cafe resides on one side of Kerouac Alley and was a local haunt for Kerouac and his circle of friends, writers, musicians, etc. The place looks like it definitely served as a bohemian hideout for the many famous faces that grace its walls. Katie sipped a vodka water, I drank a Shirley Temple, and we enjoyed taking in the scene as I'm sure many have before us.
- •City Lights Books & PublishersOn the other side of the alley, City Lights Books lives and breathes as one of SF's cult landmarks. The store is the last of a dying breed. It's shelves are filled with (almost) anything you could ever need/want. Not only that, but City Lights is an established independent publisher. They're probably most known for publishing Allen Ginsberg's "Howl", but they've published various beat material and more in the years since they began. City Lights is a small, but powerful piece of SF history.
- •The Beat MuseumAcross the way from City Lights and Vesuvio Cafe, The Beat Museum is a cool little trip through SF's contribution to the writers who changed the literary landscape. There's paintings, journal notes, letters, pictures, clothing worn by beat writers, and more. They even had a letter Kerouac had written to Marlon Brando about making On The Road into a movie. It was a fun and informative experience rounding out my Kerouac-inspired trek.
- •Coit TowerI didn't get a cool picture of the actual tower, so you'll have to settle for this view FROM it. The tower gives a 360 degree view of SF. It was a great view of a great city. I'd love to live here, but like a large percentage of American citizens, I could never afford it.
- •Cable Car Rides ...I had to take part in some one of a kind SF transportation. San Fran's cable car system is the only thing like it in the world. Watching the operators run the brakes/controls was interesting and hanging off the side of one of the cars as it coasts down SF's crazy hills was another kind of interesting. It almost felt like I was traveling back in time, but the Starbucks every fifteen feet kept me planted firmly in the 21st century.
- •And the Cable Car MuseumSeeing the inner workings of the cable car system made me realize just how simple the tech is, but how complex the system is. The whole system is comprised of just cables, wheels and pulleys - BUT these cables, wheels and pulleys are laced around and through SF to help people get where they're going. The system is antiquated, yet it's still one of the best ways to get around. Throw in some bonus points for the nostalgia, fun, and Eco-friendliness.
- •The End (Kt's Photo)After 5 days, our trip ended how it began : Us wanting to see more.