Someone should have reminded me that San Francisco is a massive city & very very hilly.
After spending $39 on food for our next 2 breakfasts yesterday, Jackie decided she didn’t have time to have any before we left for the day. We walked 15 minutes to the Larkspur Ferry to take us on a 35 minute ferry ride to the Port of San Francisco.
Although cloudy, it was fairly warm & the ferry took us past San Quentin State Prison, Angel Island State Park, Alcatraz Island & then into the Port of San Francisco at Ferry Building. A very pleasant morning commute into the city, but it should have been at $24 each for a return ticket!
After disembarking, I was puzzled by the statue of Ghandi, then we took a stroll through the Ferry Building that was full of classy eateries & stalls. With a little difficulty we located & took the Muni Metro out to Church Street to begin my tour of Upper & Lower Haight. The Haight locality is famous for Painted Ladies & as a rock ‘n’ roll hangout in the 60’s & 70’s. My route was showing as 9 miles, but that had to be wrong...surely!!
At Church Street station we got out, got our bearings & headed to my 1st stop - The Tornado Pub, supposedly a lively bar at night, unfortunately not so in the day. The only thing of note was a nutter woman was walking up & down outside effing & blinding. We moved on quickly to my next stop, Charles Manson’s House. I followed my guide, but none of the houses looked anything like it. A quick google & I discovered it was about a mile away. This was not going well!!
Next stop was the Painted Ladies at 710 - 720, Steiner Street. To get to them we had to cross Alamo Square, which was a steep hilled park with a dog play area in the middle & public toilets. I thought I’d use the gents, but opened the door to find it was crammed with youngsters & looked like there was some robbery or drug deal going down. I’d wait.
The park stank of cannabis & we joined hordes of others taking photos of the Painted Ladies from the best vantage point in the park. I was slightly disappointed, because they were currently painted in very pale hues.
Next we marched to Janis Joplin’s 2nd home at 112, Lyon Street that she moved into after she shot to fame following her success at the Monterey Pop Festival. Quick photo, then we passed Buena Vista Park, which was crawling with ageing homeless druggies with dogs. Several had top hats & clearly tried to model themselves on ‘Slash’ from Guns ‘n’ Roses. I did contemplate taking a photo, but there was a slightly menacing atmosphere.
We hurried on to the Patty Hearst hideout at 1235, Masonic Avenue for a photo. This address was where she hid out, whilst wanted by the Police for a bank robbery after originally being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
Next was the Sid Vicious Party House at 32, Delmar Street, where in 1978 he took an overdose at a party following a Sex Pistols gig at the Winterland Ballroom. A woman in a car was viewing us with suspicion, so we didn’t hang around.
Just round the corner was the Grateful Dead House, occupied by the band in 1967 at 710, Ashbury Street & immediately opposite in 719, Ashbury Street, was the Hell’s Angels House, the home of the motorcycle gang, the Grateful Dead employed to be their protection.
Next was finally the. Charles Manson Home at 363, Cole Street, where Manson lived with his family at the time he was recruiting members to his cult. Note : he had moved to Southern California by the time his cult went on their infamous ‘Helter-Skelter’ killing spree. Manson later claimed the Beatles subliminal song ‘Helter-Skelter’ inspired them to kill.
As one might expect from the characters that have lived here, Upper & Lower Haight felt edgy. There were dodgy characters at every turn & Jackie was keen to call it a day in this suburb, so I cut short my tour & headed for one final place. It was the Jefferson Airplane House at 2400, Fulton Street which also doubled as a recording studio. (My song of the day could be one of many!).
With my tour now complete we planned to visit the Cable Car Museum, just 3 something miles away. I had now pushed my luck, so we plotted the best route to get there. We sussed it, by taking a 1/2 mile walk downhill we could catch a bus that would take us to just yards from the Museum.
Another smug moment when we sat down on the bus, but not so smug when we got off 0.7miles too prematurely. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t already walked miles & the 0.7miles were virtually all uphill. Our patience was tested as we both looked to blame the other for this balls up.
Perspiring profusely we finally arrived at the Cable Car Museum. It was fascinating, revealing the actual workings of the cable car system, the only one of its kind in the world. An engineers paradise!
The Museum included lots of exhibits & photos particularly of the events during the 1906 earthquake. If I recall correctly the earthquake was over 1400 times more powerful than the atom bomb at Hiroshima. Somehow we ended up leaving with a snow globe.
Next must do stop was Lombard Street that we didn’t see on our previous visit. I worked it out on the map, just another 0.8 miles. Not too bad, but when we got there we found up ourselves at the foot of one very very steep road. In the distance at the top was ‘The Crookedest Street in the World’ & in between were hundreds of tourists all trying to take that perfect selfie & dodge the tourists cars weaving down the road.
This was the point where tempers got slightly frayed. Jackie wasn’t that bothered to scale the road to the bushy bit of Lombard Street, but I was adamant I was going up regardlessly. Jackie stormed off up the hill, leaving me lumbering up behind. The selfie was a bit strained to say the least.
Lombard Street ticked, it was now on to my final destinations, unfortunately it was all the way back we had come. That went down well!! Through ChinaTown, the Italian Quarter & we arrived at the famous City Lights Bookstore & Publishers. It came to prominence following the obscenity trial of Lawrence Ferlinghetti for publishing Allen Ginsberg's influential collection Howl and Other Poems (City Lights, 1956). It is a beautiful bookshop & I purchased a 60th Anniversary Edition ‘City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology’ Edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
After we passed The Beat Museum, I popped my head in the door, but by now we were done in. We walked back to the Ferry Building looking for somewhere maybe to stop for refreshments, but nothing took our fancy. Instead we jumped back on the Larkspur Ferry & headed home with all the commuters.
At Larkspur, we rested our weary limbs & ordered a couple of beers. Jackie had buffalo wings & mac ‘n’ cheese. Finally it was back to the RV, Jackie packed her rucksack & I typed up my Blog.
FITBIT = 25, 863 steps / 12.01 miles!!!! And that was mainly up & downhill.
Song of the Day - Helter Skelter by The Beatles.
Bonus Songs of the Day :-
San Quentin - Live at San Quentin State Prison by Johnny Cash
Piece of my Heart by Janis Joplin
My Way by Sid Vicious
Friend of the Devil by The Grateful Dead
White Rabbit by Jefferson AirplaneRead more