You can tell by the grin on my face that I am starting to get used to driving the Bug and am happy to be on the open road.
Our day in San Francisco was – how shall I say? Interesting.
To be fair – I’m sure San Francisco is a great city to visit and we would have had a lot more fun there had we not been faced with our time constraints (and re-learning to drive a manual transmission Bug on San Francisco hills!).
Getting back to Victor’s stress from highways – we felt that as we approached San Francisco. Remember – this was NOT a weekday either – it was Saturday. I’d hate to think what it would have been like on a weekday during rush-hour!
We managed to grab some shots from the Oakland Bay bridge which was pretty much stop and go all the way to the city.
By the time we got downtown and found a parking spot – both Sara and I needed to find a washroom. “No problem in a big city.” I thought. Wrong.
First we tried the Greyhound Bus terminal. “Do you have Bus Tickets?” the security guard asked. “Well no.” we said. “Then you can’t use the washroom – it’s for customers only.” he flatly stated.
OK. Welcome to San Fran. Pretty friendly to tourists so far.
“There must be a McDonald’s or Cafe or something near here.” I told Sara.
We walked about six or seven blocks past lots of closed office buildings until I finally spotted a Starbucks. I was even willing to buy a coffee (which of course would have made my washroom problem worse.)
“Washroom”? I asked.
“Sorry – they are out of service today.”
We plodded on, getting more eager to find a pit stop. I didn’t want to literally pee on their ‘hospitality’.
We got down to Embarcadero and I saw a sign for a Public Washroom. We followed the sign and found what can best be described as an over inflated TARDIS-like structure with instructions on the outside.
We tried to follow the instructions to press the button to open the door, but it did not want to comply. By then my patience was thin, so I grabbed the sliding door and ‘hulked’ it open – went in, pressed the ‘Close Door’ button which did nothing, so ‘hulked’ it closed and proceeded to complete my business.
I opened the door in the same crude fashion to let Sara in. She closed the door and started to use the toilet, which then decided to work and implement a self cleaning cycle, which locked the door, moved the toilet into the wall and spray down the entire interior.
I’m not sure how Sara even finished what she was doing and escaped, but we left there quickly, borrowing some hand sanitizer from a poor woman who was waiting to use the toilet.
OK – next stop – Alcatraz Tour.
We drove the entire length of Embarcadero looking for parking and finally found a spot. We parked and walked to the Alcatraz Tour dock, only to find that they were fully booked for the day.
“OK – Let’s find a Cable Car.” I suggested, trying to be cheery.
I’m not sure why it took walking back the entire length of Embarcadero and halfway back to find the Cable Car, but we finally did, experiencing a Pink Gorilla Flash Mob on the way. (Well it IS San Francisco right?)
Riding the Cable Car was fun and something I have always wanted to do. We jumped off at Chinatown. By now, a simmering sinus headache was growing. Of course my Tylenol Sinus was back in the car.
We tried to enjoy Chinatown, but my headache kept getting worse so we looked for a Pharmacy. Of course we could not find one. We ended up walking all the way from Chinatown back to Embarcadero and then the whole length to the parking lot where the car was.
In all the ‘excitement’, we had forgotten to pay for parking. Our first luck of the day was that we did not have a parking ticket.
I downed a couple of Tylenol Sinus and then said “Let’s go find Haight-Ashbury”.
We headed out of the parking lot and into the Streets of San Francisco. My headache might have disappeared sooner, but it became worse due to the fun of driving the manual Bug up and down the streets, where invariably there would be either a Stop sign or Red light at the very top of a steep hill.
We did find Ashbury Street, but somehow missed Haight and by the time we realized we were several blocks in the wrong direction, the traffic, the hills and my headache meant I had had enough of San Francisco for this visit.
“Let’s get out of here.” I said to Sara, heading the car for the highway out of the city.
We were supposed to hook up with the Pacific Coast Highway just out of San Francisco, but in my haste to escape, we ended up on Highway 101 South.
At least we were out of the city.