Daily Archives: May 14, 2018

SF Part 3

Grey Whale Cove State Beach

We took another day off from touristing but did not exactly relax. Grey Whale Cove is about three miles south of where we stayed in Pacifica. It is right on Rt 1. The parking lot is across the highway from a cliff looking down on the beach. No traffic lights or stop signs. You’re on your own crossing.

After you’ve won round one of Frogger, you probably want to get to the beach. Whale watching would likely be better from up on the cliff. We’ve been doing that since we got to the Pacifico rv park. It’s the tail end of the grey whale migration north and we have both been lucky enough to see whales spouting and breaching. Still wondering what the big deal is and that people spend money to get a chance to see these big fish jump out of the water. Oh, I know they’re mammals, shut up. I can’t wait for the nightly news to report on the big tragedy when a boat full of tourists out whale watching gets split in two by a leaping, mammoth fishie and then they all get eaten by sharks. Just nuke some popcorn and watch the National Geographic Channel. You don’t have to take a fucking picture up close. We believe you….hold on, no we don’t believe you and furthermore we don’t want to see your goddamn pictures. But, I digress, and where are our whale pics? We were watching, not clicking. Anyway, up on the cliff you could set up a chair, pull out your binocs, and whale-watch away, but, hey, it’s a beach.

To get down the cliff, the state has provided a path that goes down about forty feet and then this:

Maybe that chair up on the cliff wasn’t such a bad idea.

148 steps. Yeah. I counted. Twice. Our relaxing day of non-touristing.

But it was a lovely beach. Beautiful location.

I could watch the surf pound those rocks all day.

Over and over.

And watch the waves roll in.

And then we had to go back up.

If it weren’t for that drain pipe in the wall I might have been prone to provide an alternate fact for what looks like an ancient culture’s ruins. Right? And no, I have no idea what those stair-like things are.

So we had one more day to finish up touristing. We had a small checklist of places to go. One of them was not really a tourist destination. Andrea paid a visit to a business acquaintance of our brother-in-law. While she was in there, I called the number of a guy who is listed in the “odd things to do in SF” lookup. You could only visit his oddity by appointment. He is the “Institute of Illegal Images”. You know, I think I’ll just leave that subject up to your imagination, and, why would I be interested, anyway? Or, for the curious:
We didn’t go, so nothing to report. Maybe next time. I’m so sorry we missed it.

Balmy Alley

Our final tourist stop was Balmy Alley (though the camera recorded it as Florida Street). You had to park and walk down this alley. Quite a number of homes and buildings in the neighborhood were adorned with similar artwork. Welcome to Balmy Alley:

Great stuff.









I love all the little things going on in this one:

Really – look closely at that rivery kind of thingie to the right – it has jumpers.

This is one of my favs:

Kudos to all the artists.

Most are on garage doors. Pretty damn cool. These are just a few. Go see it. FREE!

The sun did not set over the Pacific that night. The clouds and wind rolled in and it was nasty. As we packed up I noticed the amount of rust and corrosion, mostly on the bikes, that 10 days on the ocean will cause. No wonder so many ocean front houses in Pacifica looked like shit. And they still want almost two million for them. But, we did have one decent sunset a few days ago.

Still, you can’t beat those Phoenix sunsets.

Good night, San Francisco. Cool city.

Back to CO for family time until May 14. See you in Bodega Bay then.

SF Part 2-1/2 The Wave Organ Concert

Not sure how this is going to work on the website, but here goes. I held the phone up to a Wave Organ pipe and recorded a video. On hindsight, an audio recording would have used up fewer megs and perhaps the entire symphony could have been reproduced. This is just 11 seconds of one of nature’s masterpieces. Please excuse the background commentary. I felt like I was in the middle section of the Pink Floyd opus, ‘Echoes’ – “everything was green and submarine”. In the last second of the recording, Luna started freaking out – she might have ingested the brown stuff at Woodstock and seemed to be having a flashback. You know the name Luna was my subtle suggestion to sneak in a Dark Side of The Moon reference. Time is, as Einstein proved, and as many of us experienced, relative, so don’t tell me that because she’s only four years old, she wasn’t at Woodstock.


It didn’t work. WordPress wouldn’t allow a video, at least through the phone. Ah – it wants a ‘wxr’ file, whatever that is. So, in light of the absence of audio, please get in your best ocean mode – think wave splashing up against rocks with a kind of hollow sound:

“Whoosh, splash, whoosh, gurgle, splash”, and repeat for 10 seconds. Oh, in the background pretend you hear my voice softly, “Whoa, far out, it’s water!”


SF Part 2

Sometimes it is best to take a step back, take a deep breath, and consider plan B.

Chew on that.

It was the 11th Commandment, recently discovered on a piece of sandstone found among the remains of a Nepalese guide and several hiking tourists on the north face of Everest. The Aeitheist Society commented, “Perhaps your God is now in such a position”. The Pope added, “What would Jesus have done!” Democrats wondered, “Plan B?”

OK. Perhaps the 11th Commandment is an alternate fact. But when IS plan B being implemented?

San Francisco is quite a city. Now we need some R&R out in the boonies, which is where we are right now, with no internet, prompting my recitation of the 11th Commandment when attempting to send this. Thus, these next couple of postings are a couple of weeks delayed – no plan B. I’m tired so let’s can the talk and go right to the pictures.

Where were we? Chinatown? Well, we came back to town a couple of more times.

We went up to Twin Peaks. No, not the high-brow restaurant – wait, my editor says it’s a high-bra restaurant and there aren’t any in San Francisco. You ever go to a Twin Peaks? Nevermind. In this town it really has to do with geography and altitude. This is San Francisco, after all, with a lot of hills. Probably a lot of transmission shops, too. Also the location for that car chase scene in Bullitt (spelling? No internet). You know, Ford built a 2019 Bullitt Mustang to commemorate Steve McQueen’s car. I kind of liked the bad guy’s Charger. But, I’m wandering. Let’s go up to Twin Peaks.

Do you feel high? After all, it is San Francisco.

You can see Alcatraz from here.

Look, there’s the red bridge. Either it rusted or the guys who named it were smokin’ something from Acapulco.

I spotted the real Twin Peaks. Wonder if there are any employees in that building wearing plaid.

The top of that hill – you know, perspective is something that doesn’t get enough credit. I think about the Earth being just an atom in a molecule, like our solar system, just a piece of a cell in a giant organism, in a – you get the drift. Perspective, right? And there we are, on Twin Peaks, with a thousand other tourists, like bed bugs crawling around on Stormy Daniels’…..(That’s dot, dot, dot, dot, dot for you Colbert fans).(Dot)

Speaking of all the tourists up there, I accidentally got Ariana Grande and her body guard in this shot – I swear it was accidental, the camera was in wide-angle mode and I couldn’t really see what I was shooting with the sun glare:

Hold on. My sharp-as-a-tack staff just pointed out that it was not Ariana Grande but that teenager we had seen up there with so much glittering make-up on that four people were treated for temporary blindness when they looked at her. One of those alternate facts.

Next stop that day was to one of the oddities on our agenda, The Wave Organ. No joke. Some guys who survived the perspective-altering era of San Francisco thought it would be a good idea to build pipes into the end of a jetty so we could all listen to the sea play music. Hey, we didn’t realize that the Audium experience (you can look that one up) was only available on the weekends – and sold out, so we settled for this:

They did seem to gurgle a bit and for a second I thought that they may have all had some of those Nova Scotia Oysters, the ones we heard the CDC says are making people sick. These poor dudes and dudettes tried to calm their bellies with a whole load of Pepto-Bismol, and it worked for a couple of them. The guy on the end, not so much, and asked if we’d leave him alone.

At least the northeastern part of this thing is low and out of the wind.

To Andrea’s left is the plaque the certifies the creators of this place. Certifies them as….(dot, dot, dot, dot)

The reflection of an old guy with a cane and camera really screwed up this one up.

We asked Luna if she was ready to go but she was grooving on sounds from those holes in the wall behind her – more organ pipes.

One of the organ pipes was getting married and got dressed up:

Just so that you don’t miss the experience, in case you never make it to this example of the confluence of art, nature, and science, we recorded a few moments of this achievement.
Here’s Andrea taking a video of a pipe.

I’ve chopped my own video down to 17 meg. With all the photos, I can’t send this to the website via email in this post, but it will go in a separate post, SF Part 2 & 1/2 – The Wave Organ Concert. And, with no internet right now, I can’t look anything up so I just hope you can access it. Riveting stuff!

From this little point in the harbor, we had a view of a barge that gave new meaning, or perhaps clarity, to the term “poop deck”.

The best time for experiencing the haunting rhythm of the Wave Organ is high tide and we arrived right at the peak on a full moon day. The parking lot got some of it as the sea wall was breached.

Something caught my eye moving under the bridge. That bubble right in the middle and under the bridge is the sail of a windsurfer. Cool location to do your thing.

(If you didn’t find Jesus in the Banana Museum, you might not spot this guy either. By the way, you can find Jesus in the International Banana Museum photo on the second shelf to the right of center. If you didn’t find him then, go back and look. I don’t want you to go through life and not be able to say you found Jesus. Here’s another clue:

Now if those people down at the VA ask if you found him, you don’t have to give them the Forrest Gump wise-ass remark, “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him.” But I digress.)

A short walk back in from the Wave Organ is The Marina Lighthouse:

That’s kind of funny because we are now in The Lighthouse Marina and RV Resort in the Delta Region (with no internet and thus providing me lots of time to extrapolate on what’s going on). Just to the left of the lighthouse is a freighter coming into the harbor. Just to the right is Al Capone’s old home, Alcatraz.

So, there you have Twin Peaks and The Wave Organ. We skipped Fisherman’s Wharf and a billion tourists but just at the edge of that mania we stopped at a small place called Crabsters and picked up a lobster/crab roll and clam chowder. When we were in Chinatown we brought home what the shop called “dumplings” but we call them big, fat rolls stuffed with some meat that tastes like moo shoo. And in Haight-Ashbury,

because parking was limited and we had Luna, we ate a slice of really good pizza in the car. I went into a rock & roll stuff shop, no records, and almost bought a 1000 piece puzzle of this:

I thought it might be too easy and passed.

Leaving town we passed by city hall. I thought the architecture was cool from pictures I’d seen. You gotta be high – altitude – to get a good view of the whole complex. Down below, too many buildings get in your way. There’s a lot more to it than this.

I really do have an appreciation for man-made structures. Just a bigger appreciation for Nature Made. That reminds me, I need vitamins.

We took a rest one day and drove a mile or so down to the Pacifica Municipal Pier. It is the only pier on the West Coast (I think that’s what a campground dude said) that you can fish off without a license. You may have noticed it in a previous photo:

It’s about a quarter mile long. Looked like they were catching stripers (funny how spell-checker wants to make that stripper now) and crabs (funny how that word works better with stripper than striper). Dungenous Crabs are the rage here. Anyway, the pier was neat. Big waves relentless. The ocean is relentless.

We were warned about swimming near the pier:

At the end of the pier we could see our RV on the waterfront:

And, of course, there was a sunset.

Take a break. I know how exciting this is. Part three soon, but don’t miss Part 2 & 1/2.