Make my Trip

On November 17, 2009 · 4 Comments

The Twelve Mile Circle traveled to San Francisco, California this week. I don’t have much time to enjoy many of the sites, thought. The sun sets early this time of year and that gives me maybe an half-hour each afternoon after a full day stuck in an office building.

My touring record isn’t very good on this trip even within those constraints. Work has completely taken over any opportunities to explore. Today it was already nearly dark when I trudged from the office, snapping cellphone photographs along the way. That explains the poor quality and lighting on the images below.

San Francisco Cable Car

What would San Francisco be without its famous cable cars? Well, lots of things actually, but surely these endearing throwbacks to a bygone era come to mind as iconic images of this city. These particular cars are queued up at the base of Powell & Market preparing to enter the turntable so they can head back uphill. The spot where this happens can be seen as the circular feature in the middle of the road in this satellite image.

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Cable cars in San Francisco date back to the 1870’s and these are part of the last manually-operated system in existence anywhere. It’s quite fascinating. Cars are pulled by cables running under the street. This means that they run almost silently so I’m being extra careful when I cross the streets. The gripman moves a lever that grabs the underground cable when it’s time to move along the route, and unhooks from the cable when it’s time to stop. I guess it’s good that a cable car line runs right by my hotel or I might not have gotten to see anything touristy today. I know, quit whining.

Union Square in San Francisco

Union Square is a couple of blocks further up Powell Street. It was starting to get pretty dark by the time I got up here so I snapped this photo without delay. It’s not yet Thanksgiving which means it’s time to put up the Christmas tree. I guess I shouldn’t complain — most of the store back home put up Christmas decorations even before Halloween this year.

Actually I rather enjoyed this. Nothing says Christmas quite like palm trees and a giant conifer. One the other side of the park and out of sight of this photo sits a temporary outdoor ice skating rink. I kid you not. It got well up into the 50’s today and yet they’ve got ice skating like we’re in New England or something. Contradictions like these put a smile on my face.

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This is how it would look in daylight

I’m possibly going to have a couple of daylight hours to wander around on Thursday. I need your help. I’m having a tough time finding appropriate geo-oddities and the search engines are failing me. Attempting to search of phrases like Weird Places in San Francisco provides decidedly different results than what would normally come up in other cities. San Francisco is noted for weird people (and I say that in an endearing, complimentary way) so that’s what I’m getting back in my results.

If you know of odd geography in San Francisco, please feel free to add a comment or send me an email. Otherwise you’ll get things like Fisherman’s Wharf in my next posting. Oh, you might also get that crazy squiggly section of Lombard Street too. I guess that counts as weird geography… and I kind of want to see it.

On November 17, 2009 · 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Make my Trip”

  1. Greg says:

    I assume you’ve highpointed San Francisco County? Or is it out of reach, practically speaking?

  2. Mike Lowe says:

    I recommend Lombard street. I’m a twisty-road sports car guy so it’s heaven to me. 🙂 The surrounding area is nice too. After riding the cable cars, my wife and I walked there and then down the street. I imagine it’s also good to do when other areas are fogged in.

    We ate at a sourdough restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf. The place was really nice. I had a Pyramid beer and I’m a fan of it’s wheat beer now.

    You can’t go wrong with a cool view of the Golden Gate bridge if the weather is right. We went under it in our cruise to Vancouver.

    If I ever have a full day in the area, I will visit the Muir Woods. I’ve never seen redwoods.

    I researched the Coit Tower before our SF trip. We didn’t have time to visit it but I hope to sometime. I love high places. I live in flat-land League City, Texas.

    I have to say I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now. You helped me realize I’m a county counter (620 now). Thanks and keep up the great fun work!

  3. Matthew says:

    Filbert Street is one of the steepest street inclines in the western hemisphere. When I was in my teens I used drive south on (I think) Leavenworth St. then make a left turn (east) on Filbert and drive down that huge decline. Unbelievable. You must check it out if you have a rental car. That’s near Lombard which is fun too — I’ve driven that many times. The Golden Gate Park panhandle between Fell St. and Oak St. might pique your interest — check it out on Google maps. Sam Wo’s in Chinatown isn’t strange geography in the traditional sense, but the layout of the restaurant is strange in the sense that you have to walk through the restaurant’s kitchen, past the cooks, etc. in order to get to the seating area. Hope these ideas help!

  4. Randy says:

    22nd Street Between Church and Vicksburg Streets in the Noe Valley neighborhood is, I believe, tied for steepest in the city.

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