Day Eight – San Fran to Florida

Remember when Greece was Ruled by drachmas, and when you went there they were friendly and would give you little tips and stuff for free? Then they went into the Euro, and all of a sudden they became unfriendly, all the prices went up and it all became a bit mercenary? Well so far, the USA has been a bit like that. And I mean the cities we’ve been to are a bit like that. In the main. There are little nooks and crannies of normality to be found, but if you are an unemployed pensioner (as of Wednesday) just doing the tourist thingy, then you are definitely fleeceable.

Listen at me, moaning like an old man. We had a great day yesterday. Our bike gives out these free bikes with helmets, and if you’re down at reception early, you get to have them for the day. Mine I tells ya. As San Fran is the flattest place in the USA, with the steepest hills, this has got to be a great idea. Well, for all those people who said “you’ve got to do this and that” here is a guide to what we did and the reality behind it:

Fishermans Wharf. Cycling in the main town area is pretty flat. When you get to the main wharf it’s along the coast, so it’s flat as a witches tit. We cycled along the bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge, which was, and I quote, “Just over there”. There are dedicated cycle lanes that you share with electric trams, so not dedicated, and you’ve to have your wits about you or you may die. As you go past the wharfs (if that’s actually a word) you reach a hill, Fort Mason on The Presidio, and you’re forced up. Yep, push time. Then it’s downhill towards the coast again, and onto the bridge, which, and I quote, is “just over there”. Now, the wind is off the ocean, and we’re going two yards back for everyone forward as its so strong. We keep going, spurred on by the sight of hundreds of women in Lycra showing off their figures as the walk past us at speed. Eventually, the coastal path takes us to the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a huge bridge. The end.

Now, on the way back, the wind is at our back, and so we do the return journey without pedalling, and leaving Bentleys in our wake. Well, not quite, but it was a tad easier. Easier until we got to:

Lombard Street. For all those who said “You’ve got to visit that windy street you see in all the films, you know, near where they filmed Mrs Doubtfire” well forget you. What none of you said was how steep it is to actually get there in the first place. With a bike ! It got to the point where we both said “10 steps then rest”. It was without doubt the steepest road I have ever walked up. And what goes up….. How the Chinese locals and Chinese tourists, all sporting Nikon cameras, laughed as we attempted the windy road on bikes. You don’t cycle, you just control your fall. We did it. Back to the bay area, and to try and find a World Famous burger place, recommended in all guide books, and supposedly the oldest burger place in the USA, where they make burgers as they’ve always done. Red’s Java House. Nikki was expecting a 1920’s themed restaurant. What we actually found was a crumbling shack on the waters edge, next to the Baseball stadium, on game day, under the bay bridge. The home made burger was served in traditional home made sour dough bread, with garlic enthused fries and a Bud, and the owner has stuck to his guns on everything, charging the traditional and original price of $15.95. It was ok, nice, but just ok.

Back to the hotel, for a quick bath and massage before going out to:

The Cheesecake Factory. Quite a few people said we had to do this. It’s on the 8th floor of Macy’s and with great view over Union Square. What nobody said is that it’s $9 for a slice of cake. Cake! That’s flour eggs and water. $9!?! The next thing everyone says is “oh stop being a tight git, you only live once”. You only can live once if you spend all your pissing money in one go on cake! You only live once with this cake anyway, especially if you eat the thing, as it comes with a truck to help you carry it home.

I’ve officially run out of pants now. Think I’ll fly to Florida today. Happy memories of San Fran and Vegas. No money, just happy memories.

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