Leaving Gold Country was hard for me, I had a lot of fun playing in the river looking for the shiny flakes. We had to move on, and the Bay City was in our sights. We packed the bus and headed out of the American River valley, climbing a 10% grade just after we left our campground. The bus took it like a champ and we rolled West into the sunset that evening. We drove across the Bay Bridge and through a few tunnels to get to our campground, we all had fun watching the scenery roll by as usual. I was impressed when I discovered Alcatraz in the distance. We had plenty of time to look around going over the bridges since they are all apparently going uphill. The bus is a little slow, so we could take in the sights at our leisure. We didn’t manage to get a good photo of Alcatraz on the trip in due to the passing beams and cables.
We quickly had the bus in our parking spot at the San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica, CA. We headed for a walk to determine how to get our toes in the water. Since the campground, and the entire community we were staying in, happened to be situated on a bluff with a 60 plus foot drop to the water, you had to do some strategic planning to get down there. We walked a short distance from the campground, and discovered a natural sand dune on top of the bluff. Perfect for posing with the Pacific at your back, but stepping back would be a bad idea. We found a steep trail and made it down to the water to satisfy the girls desire to jump in. They were quickly surprised by the temperature of the water, but they had a great time splashing in the sea foam anyway. This is not a South Carolina Beach according to Laini, she expected all beaches to be warm like Hunting Island had been almost exactly one year prior. It took us a year to do it, but we made it from coast to coast in the bus and were proud of our accomplishment.
We decided to drive to Pier 39 on our first adventure downtown. Seeing the layout of this historic city on the hillsides is an inspiring sight. It is amazing how steep the roads are once you are out driving on them, I don’t think the bus would be able to climb some of these hills based on previous experience in the Carolina Mountains, definitely not with Blondie on the trailer.
Pier 39 was a great way for us to get a better feel for the city. It is very “Touristy” now, but I can imagine what it would have been like when it was used for commercial purposes. We headed out to the end of the pier to catch a glimpse of the famous sea lions lounging in the sun. Once you got past the overwhelming fish fart smell, you could enjoy watching them splash and play. One particular small sea lion was particularly entertaining. It would come out of the water enough to bite one of the loungers of the flipper, then dive back down under the floating platforms. Then it would pop back up a few platforms over and bit another unsuspecting victim.
At the end of the pier, you could see Alcatraz sitting cold and lonely in the middle of the bay. I would have enjoyed a tour of the island, but the girls weren’t that interested. Maybe we should watch “The Rock” and see if that would make them want to go next time we are in the area.
We all enjoyed the fresh seafood available in the many restaurants on the pier, the smells of food (once you were away from the sea lions) was incredible. The sourdough bread bowl with clam chowder was incredible, and the calamari were nice and tender. We could all get accustomed to life by the ocean very quickly.
The next day we drove South of our campground a few miles to a public beach access. We all had fun even though the water was chilly, we got some odd looks from the locals in their wetsuits when we wandered out into the waves in East Coast swim gear. The girls had fun catching sand shrimp (I had always heard them called sand fleas, but the locals looked at me funny when I called them that, so sand shrimp they are). We even spotted a mermaid on the beach that day.
In the next post, I will be introducing some new friends we met while in San Francisco, and will also include some videos of our adventures on the cable cars.