By Colleen Wileman
We left Vancouver on August 12, 2018 travelling to Seattle by bus. From there we caught the Amtrak train to San Francisco. We had never been on a train before so were quite thrilled with the concept. The journey was roughly 24 hours so we upgraded to a sleeper car (aka roomette) which also included free meals. Yahoo! It was interesting to see the different landscape and vegetation as we moved south. Washington has very large evergreen trees which seem to be everywhere. Oregon has more agriculture (though on a much smaller scale than Manitoba) and sand like soil. It appeared that most of the harvest had been done though there were many corn fields that were no further along than in Manitoba.
Our train dropped us at Emeryville, California at about 8:30 AM on August 13. We took a bus into San Francisco via the Bay Street Bridge. Now that’s a bridge!! 4.5 miles long!! We definitely looked like tourists as we were oohing and aahing out the bus window! As we had some time to kill before we got into our BNB we went to Pier 39 aka Fisherman’s Wharf. Our first stop was the sea lions – 92 were counted lying on the docks that morning. Some were sleeping and some were playing/fighting and throwing each other off the dock into the water. It kept us amused for some time. Over the course of the three days in the city, we stopped each day to see the sea lions. One day the count was 202!!
On the second day in San Francisco, we caught a tour bus and headed for Muir Woods. This is a national monument (park) that was set up by John Muir in the early 1900’s to preserve the Sequoia Redwoods a few miles north of San Francisco. The bus trip itself was great in that we had George, our awesome tour guide, fill our heads with many amazing facts about the area and its history. And the park was fantastic!! The trees were so very tall and straight. We walked for about an hour and half, took pictures and videos with our Go Pro and just enjoyed the beautiful day.
The Muir Woods tour lasted about four hours and once back at Fisherman’s Wharf, we decided to take a one hour cruise around the harbour. We cruised under the Golden Gate Bridge and around the island of Alcatraz. Though sunny and warm just a few miles north of the city, the bay was windy and a little cool. However, the fog had lifted, the views were great and it was a perfect way to finish up Day Number Two.
Our first stop on Day Three was the Painted Ladies. For those of you that remember, these were the houses that were shown every week on the TV show Full House during the 1980’s. We sat up the hill across the street in the beautiful park called Alamo Square and took a number of pictures. Though the actual houses were a bit of a disappointment, the park and the surrounding Victorian homes were lovely.
From Alamo Park we started walking up the hill in a northerly direction. When we got to the top – many huffs and puffs later – we noticed a sign that said “Chinatown – 2 blocks east”. Hey, that’s where we wanted to go. Now we went all the way down the hill and as promised, there was Chinatown. Lots of markets, lots of people, and no signs in English! We just kept walking and ended up in Little Italy. We knew it existed in the city but did not realize that it was right next door to Chinatown. We found a little outdoor cafe where we had a glass of wine and shared a pizza. Ah, heaven!!
Once done our lunch, we kept on walking – this time north west. We hit Lombard street and started back up the hill. At this point we came across the Crooked Little Street which is literally one zigzag block up the hill. We kept on walking up the hill, taking some pictures along the way. Once we got to the top, we were right at a cable car stop. A trip to San Francisco would not be complete without a ride on the famous cable car. That was a hoot – hanging off the cable car like a movie star!!
Once back at the point where we had started only a few hours earlier, we decided that we were done with the City by the Bay and headed back to our temporary home. Laundry and packing and early to bed for a very early flight in the morning.
Off to Hawaii!!!
Since July 2019, the print version of the Advocate has been running a series of articles submitted by Colleen Wileman and her husband, Richard Chevrefils (Richard is originally from Pine Falls). The couple left their jobs and sold their home to travel around the world in 2018. During these times when all of our travel plans have been uprooted due to COVID-19, we thought our on-line readers might enjoy the chance to live vicariously through these crazy adventurers, so over the next several weeks we will be posting these articles until we are caught up with the print edition.