Monday, Jan 18, 2016
When I woke up, it was slightly overcast and there was still a lot of evidence of the rain from the day before. The temperature was warm ( about 15 C, 60 F ).
I was staying at a hotel near the airport and after a breakfast of crepes at the adjacent IHOP, I drove to a Hertz Rental car location and made changes to my rental agreement before picking up Cheryl in downtown San Franciso.
We drove around the bay area, specifically the section of Lombard street referred to as the “ crookedest street in the world “. Its a fun ride with tires squealing at each turn even though you are barely moving. Once you are on it, there is only one way out.
From the bottom of this section of the street you have a view of the steep hills in San Francisco and in particular, Alcatraz, in the background.
Since San Francisco is built on hills, many of the roads are on steep hills and that is why it has been used for chase scenes in so many movies. When you are driving down a steep hill, it isn’t so bad. You just need good brakes. When you are driving up, you have a hard time seeing over the front of your car at intersections because the front of the car is much higher than the rest of the car.
After driving through the “ Fisherman’s Wharf area, we headed north to go hiking in Muir Woods. We arrive in Muir Woods, at noon, but since it was a holiday (MLK day) and everything was free, the entrance was packed. After numerous attempts to find parking spots along the side of the road we decided to forgo the hike and go for lunch in the nearby town.
We found a wonderful restaurant called Cafe du Sol, which has wonderful soups, salads and fresh fruit drinks. After a very nice lunch, we headed back to the San Francisco airport, only to stop at an overlook near the Golden Gate bridge to take some pictures of the bridge, San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz.
We then continued to the airport where we dropped off the car and took the air train to our terminal.
We attempted to check in, but the agent would not give me a boarding pass, because I didn’t have a confirmed flight leaving New Zealand. I had booked my flight home from Australia but the agent wouldn’t use that as confirmation that I would eventually leave New Zealand. So I had to step aside, decide when I wanted to leave New Zealand and where I wanted to fly to Australia and then book a flight online. Fortunately I had done some investigation prior to my trip and I was able to book a flight from Aukland to Melbourne, show the itinerary to the agent with my laptop and get my boarding pass.
We left San Francisco on Monday night at 7:45 pm, PST.