The Mighty Task is Done! Wednesday afternoon, 4/23/14

Here's another one of those bucket list things.  If I had a bucket list, which I don't and neither does Jimmy, crossing the 1.5 mile Golden Gate Bridge on foot or bicycle, would be right up there.  Never thought we'd actually do it, either.  Wrong!  We walked to the South Tower (larger tower in photo below).  We didn't go all the way to other other side for two reasons:  One was we only had a half bottle of water between us, but the main reason is we wanted to visit the Disney Family Museum this afternoon, and we were running out of time (again!)  We live close enough. We'll be back!

Spectacular location, graceful lines, emblematic color = one famous bridge!

 Aw, lovers below the bridge!  Sweet!

The bridge is way up there!  Fort Point is practically underneath the bridge.  We spent considerable time milling around here.  The fort was built between 1953 and 1861.  Now a National Historic Site, it houses a museum (which wasn't open today).

 Yes, we were surprised to see waves like this, and surfers riding the waves!

 Durn critters are everywhere....

It's easy to see why the Golden Gate Bridge is possibly the most beautiful, and certainly the most photographed bridge in the world.  Construction began on Jan 5, 1933 and it opened on Mary 27, 1937.  Until 1964, the Golden Gate was the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, at 4,200 ft.

 Yup, here we are, on our way to the South Tower.  BTW, those towers reach 500 ft above the road.

Looking up:  South Tower from the walkway, with Art Deco details.

No hats up here!  Very windy.  Crowded, too, with walkers, joggers, and bicyclists.  We've decided walking across would be more fun than riding across (unless we rode really early before hoards of tourists got up).  We started walking today from the dinky-looking pier in the distance.
  That's San Francisco skyscrapers beyond.

The subject line refers to a poem written by the Chief Engineer, Joseph P. Strauss.

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We didn't get to the Disney Family Museum, also on the Presidio grounds, until 3 pm.  It was so interesting and so artfully presented, and brought back so many memories, that we closed it down at 6 pm!
Another superb (and very full) day.

(tickets say 5 pm, but closing today was 6 pm)

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 From our room:  A fantastic sunset on our last evening in the city, highlighting the bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts dome.  What a wonderful mini-vacation-anniversary this has been!

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Palace of Fine Arts -- Presidio -- Wednesday morning, 4/23/2014

Jennifer and Matt's second venue for their April 1st wedding pictures was the Palace of Fine Arts, but a steady downpour precluded that.  Jimmy and I had never seen the PFA, so their limo driver ferried the entire wedding party in the rain for show and tell. We didn't get out, but vowed to return.  You can see why in the photos below.  Its beauty is mind-boggling.  The colors are gorgeous.  Look for yourself.

We can see the Palace rotunda dome from our corner room at Cow Hollow Motor Inn!  Actually, we could easily walk to it.  We can also see part of the Golden Gate Bridge -- kinda nice!  If you're wondering where the Cow Hollow name comes from, I can tell you that this area of the city is where dairy cows were kept, chewing their cuds and lounging their days away.  Of course those times are gone -- as fine, beautiful homes replaced moo cows long ago.

Jimmy and I walked around the perimeter, beside the peaceful lagoon, marveling at monstrous fish, carp I guess. We spied basking turtles, and saw some ducks and geese and a lone swan, but there was no sight of the aggressive raccoons that merited a "warning!" sign.  We wandered in and out of the colonnade and craned our necks up under the massive dome.  Every step along the way cried out for a photo op!

The people gathered behind us gives you a good idea of size!

Quit messing up my hair!

I was thinking that one of those homes across from the Palace of Fine Arts wouldn't be a bad place to live....

Next up:  The Golden Gate Bridge, up close and personal!


Returning to the City by the Bay -- April 21-24, 2013

I said in my previous April 1st post that Jimmy and I would like to return to San Francisco, and I wasn't kidding. Three weeks after Matt and Jennifer's wedding, we came back to the "City by the Bay."  This time, thanx to a recommendation from Alice and Tom (Jen's parents), we'd arranged to stay in the Marina District's reasonably-priced (by San Francisco standards, anyway) Cow Hollow Motor Inn.  And were very pleased by our choice.

When we looked online for an extended forecast, this week looked sunny, till a few days before we left. Then the weather people starting yammering about rain both Tues and Wed.  Not good.  We debated about changing our mini-vacation till the following week, but decided to let it be.  So?  Tues and Wed were clear, sunny, and outstanding! (ha ha, don't believe everything they say, right?)

But first (one of my favorite phrases), a phone call from my cousin, Judy, shortly before we left, led us to her and husband, Don's, Oakland home in the hills overlooking the city.  Judy and I grew up in different areas of the country and have only seen each other once since we graduated from high school (long ago!), but recently connected via the Internet.  Jimmy and I enjoyed lunch with them, and Judy took us hiking on quiet woodland trails thru second-growth coastal redwoods in Joaquin Miller Park high above the city.  Thanx, you guys!

Judy and me -- wonder if we've changed since the 1960's?

Jimmy and I had "done" many of the tourist-y things, such as riding the cable car, experiencing Pier 39's bellowing, honking, belching seals, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, Coit Tower, etc.  This time we wanted to explore other areas, do different things.  And so we did.

April 21st was our 13th wedding anniversary, and I wasn't aimin' to cook!  After checking in, Jimmy and I took off, on foot as usual, heading for a seafood dinner at Fisherman's Wharf.  We took the long way around, (made a wrong turn?) walked along the Bay next to Marina Green, past Fort Mason, and wound up at Scoma's on Pier 47. We did good.  Best seafood dinner I've had in forever.  Don't know that I'd ever eaten swordfish before; tonite's was very yummy.  On the long trek back to Cow Hollow, we walked off those delicious dinners! 

 Alcatraz looks as though it has a pier at its base.  Nope.  It's an optical.

 We listened in on the conversation for a while; it was animated!

 May not look like much from the outside, but the food is excellent.

And the view from inside is nice, too!

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We wanted to spend time on Tuesday (our first full day), at Golden Gate Park -- visit the Arboretum and Japanese Tea Garden, and anything else that took our fancy.  This time we drove!  We managed to make our way along part of Scenic 49-mile drive (wow, truly scenic) in the Presidio area on our way to GGP. Today was sunny, cool and windy.  Jacket weather, as you can see by the photo below.

At Golden Gate Park, our first stop was at the Conservatory of Flowers (mainly because we parked across the street from it).  I took way too many pictures, but it was the kind of intoxicating place that induces a person to point the camera!  

California's first municipal greenhouse, completed in 1879, was patterned after London's Kew Gardens Conservatory, and is chock-a-block full of rare and exotic flowers.  If you're interested, you can go to the link above and learn the names of some of the posies you see in this blog.  We spent a couple of hours poking around, and even joined a docent-led tour.

Click on any picture to enlarge.  This one especially!

I can tell you this flower is called "Voodoo Lily," and it's unfurling and beginning to give off its "signature stench of dead rats."  Bleah, it stunk!

Carnivorous plants were featured during our visit.  They had lots of pitcher plants, etc., displayed.  Fascinating.

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On our way to the Japanese Tea Garden, we walked thru the Rhododendron Dell.

Me and a giant rhodie -- it was just that kind of day!

And into the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.  Originally created as a "Japanese village" exhibit in 1894 for the California Midwinter International Exposition, this is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States!

A proper arched drum bridge.  We both made it up and over! 

 A five-tiered pagoda remaining from the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exposition.  Wow, almost 100.

 Very beautiful.  Serene.

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As we left the tea garden (oops, we had coffee), we encountered a block of "sprouting" trees near the de Young Museum.

And just then, this red-tailed hawk flew in for a photo op before taking off for higher trees.
I kinda hoped it was after a gopher.

We ran out of time to tour any more museums, and made for the Prius, wandering into yet another fabulous garden.  I could show you photos, but this has already been a very full post.  Just like our day!

We're aiming for the area right near the water.  Wish this picture could demonstrate how steep this street is.  I wouldn't want to walk either up or down.

Since a granola bar was all we ate for lunch, we were hungry, capital H, and after cleaning up, we set out on foot for a nearby Japanese tapas restaurant.  Nope, not to be; it wasn't open YET.  As you can see by the above photo, Amici's is next to our Inn.  We looked, we smelled, we stayed.  Great pizza!

Superb day.  Wait till you see tomorrow!


Adios, good-bye and good riddance.... April 16, 2014

Have you written or typed the year lately, only to begin with the numbers 19 or perhaps 200, instead of the correct 201 and, for today - 2014?  I don't know why my fingers want to turn back the hands of time, say to 2004 for instance (which is what I originally typed).  That's crazy!  When I was growing up -- back when dinosaurs roamed the earth -- the year 2000 seemed so far away (it was!) and anything connected with the new millennium or beyond was total science fiction in my mind, à la Flash Gordon and spaceships.  Now we are in it.  Some of us are slow to catch up!  However, yards still need upkeep, never mind those pesky Martians! 

I left my last post with the overgrown boxwood hedge in front of our Nevada City house, and the fact that it was time to attack it, way past time.  Give it a haircut or yank it out.  The first photo below was taken on April 2nd, and it shows the boxwood bent in half under the weight of an early spring heavy, wet snow. Literally the hedge was knocked to the ground.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

 The first foray into trimming it, and what might be involved.  A lot!

 The hedge trimmer knocked off maybe half a foot, which went into the yard waste can.  Filled it to the brim!  Then we quit for the day.  For several days!

Five days later, back to it!  All those low-lying brown branches on the ground are still firmly attached, and have to be cut.

 Between hedge trimmer, loppers, and a chain saw, we got into it and after it!

 Made a mess, too.  No chance of all this getting into yonder yard waste can.  We piled it high in the backyard, with the hope of burning it one day.  Not just any ol' day:  our area has designated "burn days."  Calm, no wind, and with higher humidity.

 Getting close to finishing up.  Thank goodness!  Don't want to do this again!

 We cut at least two feet off the dense hedge.  Surprised to discover a hidden dirt planting area that had been completely obscured by the overgrown boxwood. 

We were a bit concerned that the trimmed hedge would be an eyesore.  I don't think so!!!

This pink and white azalea opposite the boxwood has nothing to do it.  I simply love it's color.