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A Foggy San Francisco California

June 11, 2006

We arrived in San Francisco late in the afternoon on Thursday. Too late to really do anything so we just stayed in the motorhome and relaxed after the drive up.

On Friday, we drove into the famed "City by the Bay." The first stop was the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a cool, foggy, and windy day with temperatures somewhere in the 60's. With the wind chill factored in, it felt like it was in the low 50's. We drove up US 101 and crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge stopping on the North side at the overlook parking area. With all the fog, you could barely see the tops of the towers.

Because it was so cold, ok so it wasn't extremely cold but we had been accustomed to heat for so long we forgot how to dress for cold, we quickly moved on. Driving north on the 101, we reached I-580 and turned east crossing the Richmond San Rafael Bridge down to Oakland and the Bay Bridge. There's a lot of bridges around there.

By this time it was after lunch and hunger was getting to us. We had been driving up and down hills, over bridges, and just circling around the town. San Francisco was a very crowded and congested place. We drove through China town, but I don't think we were on the right street because nothing looked that appealing to stop for. We ended up down by Fisherman's Warf, found a parking spot, and began walking around. There were so many restaurants down there we had a hard time choosing which to try. Finally we choose one and ate.

We walked around a bit after eating but because there were so many people down there and the traffic was so bad we decided to come back another day.

Yesterday, because it was Saturday, we thought it would again be crowded downtown. So we decided to take a drive south to visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. This strange mystery house was the creation of Sarah Winchester, the Winchester Rifle heiress. After her husbands death she went into a deep depression and was told by a psychic that she was being punished and haunted by the souls of those killed by the rifle. The psychic also said the only way she could find relief was to construct a house 24/7 for the rest of her life. And this she did for the last 38 years of her life!

Construction began in 1884 until her death in 1922. She kept 10 to 15 craftsman employed at all times throughout those years building 160 rooms for a total of 24,000 square feet and a cost of $5.5 million (back then!). The reason this is called the Winchester Mystery House is because of the bizarre and unexplained reasons for her designs. There is a staircase going up to the ceiling, doorways to nowhere, stairways that go up, down, up, down, and up again just to go one floor. Taking the tour reminded us of being in one of those carnival fun houses. There were priceless Tiffany windows and excellent craftsmanship in the woodworking, but it just didn't make any sense. Anyhow, here's the link to their website so you can read more about it.

After touring the house, we left there along Hwy 85 to Hwy 17 which we followed all the way to the Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1). We followed it north back towards Pacifica and the RV park, enjoying the views along the way and taking some photos.

This morning we thought we'd give another try downtown. It's Sunday and it had couldn't have been as busy right? By the time we made it down to the Fisherman's Wharf it was noon, but we were still able to find a parking spot pretty quick. After looking at the different restaurants again, we decided to eat in China Town. After finding the cable car depot and discovering it would have cost $40 for the four of us to ride it, plan B quickly came to mind. We decided seafood was a better option. After eating lunch on the wharf the crowds had picked up again. We walked down the pier to get the ferry over to Alcatraz Island. Just our luck, all the ferry's over were already booked and the next available tour would be tomorrow. We're leaving tomorrow. Oh well, we'll have to skip it. A photo from the pier will have to do for now.

We then got back into the Blazer and drove around town. We found the famous Lombard Street and drove the zigzag down the steep hill. Then off to China Town again and found the more popular tourist area. Afterwards we drove back across the Golden Gate Bridge and headed up north on the Pacific Coast Highway as far as Point Reyes before turning around.

Tomorrow we leave here to go east over to visit the capitals buildings in Sacramento and Carson City, NV.

See you soon,