We loaded up our remaining belongings into a rental truck and said goodbye to our little Olde Burien bungalow. It was then time to head south to the San Francisco bay area and a 12 day visit with Roger’s family and some old friends. We stayed at Roger’s mother Alice’s house in Concord during our visit. My mother in law is 96 years young and still living on her own. A true marvel of a woman and mother who made Roger and his siblings the wonderful human beings that they are. I love to sit and listen to her stories of growing up in South Dakota and how life was in the early 20th century and during the depression years. It puts life truly in perspective, how difficult everyday living used to be before we had all of the conveniences that we enjoy today.
We spent a terrific afternoon with two of Roger’s oldest and dearest friends, Stan and Ava. They have known each other since the late sixties in San Francisco. That make almost a half century of close friendship, the kind that even if you don’t see each other for a few years it seems like you can pick right up like it was yesterday. They suggested that we join them on a city trolley tour. Even though the three of them have been in the bay area their whole lives, they had never done an escorted tour. I was all for it and we made our way on the BART to Fisherman’s Wharf for the start of the tour. They chose Hornblower Classic Cable Car Tours for us. Located just across the street from the wharf we arrived in plenty of time to grab a crab cocktail and walk around a bit before the tour started.
You hop aboard a motorized cable car in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. As the historical vehicle makes its way past Ghirardelli Square, home of the namesake chocolates, you listen to live narration about San Francisco and its notable sights. Your first stop is the Palace of Fine Arts, an architectural treasure dating back to the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. You get to disembark for a close-up look and snap photos of this magnificent structure that reminds you of an ancient Greek temple.
Continuing on, the cable car arrives at the Golden Gate Bridge, an engineering marvel built across San Francisco Bay in 1937. You’ll step foot onto the famous suspension bridge and listen as your guide shares stories of its art deco structure. The trolley stops at the H. Dana Bower Rest Area and Vista Point on the Marin County side of the bridge. There you disembark to stroll around and take photos from the vista point or walk down onto the bridge walkway, I decided to stay on solid ground at the vista point.
After re-boarding the cable car we headed for Fort Point, which offers a close-up vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge. Looking at the bridge from directly underneath shows just how massive a structure it really is. Fort Point is a masonry seacoast fort located at the southern side of the Golden Gate at the entrance to the bay. This fort was completed just before the Civil War by the U.S. Army, to defend San Francisco Bay against hostile warships. The fort is now protected as Fort Point National Historic Site and run by the National Park service.
On the way back into the city the trolley makes it’s way through Crissey Field and the Presidio. The Presidio is now a National Park, but was a fortified military installation from 1776 to 1994. Now a mix of park and commercial use it has many scenic vantage points and the national cemetery.
Then on to Pacific Heights — one of San Francisco’s most affluent neighborhoods — and take advantage of photo ops as you pass by the home featured in the blockbuster film Mrs. Doubtfire, before drop-off at the starting point. There are many magnificent homes along the way from Edwardian and Victorian to Modern Mansions. Make sure that you wear a jacket on the tour, some of the locations can be quite windy and chilly, even in summer!