Thursday, December 8, 2011

San Francisco 2011

No race report for the North Face 50 Mile Endurance Challenge, although I did spend a few days in the city, which was awesome!

An early flight on Friday put Brittney and I in San Francisco around 8:30am, on a sunny morning in the bay. We picked up the rental car and headed over the Golden Gate Bridge, past the Marin Headlands to our first stop; Muir Woods National Monument. Since we visited the park on a weekday, the crowds were pretty slim, at one point we actually had the trail to ourselves for a while. These Redwoods truly are magnificent, a real natural wonder. The park itself is not all that big in terms of land mass, but the volume of trees in one condensed area will make you think otherwise. We had a little time before check-in at the hotel, so a side trip to Muir Beach sounded like a good idea. The weather was unusually warm (70 and sunny everyday), so the two of us relaxed in the sun and listened to the crashing waves for a while before going back into town.

I reserved a pair of road bikes for us to tour the city on Saturday from Bay City Bike, which we picked up at their shop downtown and rode over to check out Fisherman's Wharf. I'm not going to lie, even though the sun was out, it was a little chilly on the bikes. After riding through the city, we headed uphill towards the main attraction; the Golden Gate Bridge. This part of the ride was quite a rush. The wind whipped across the bridge making the exposure more dramatic. Clear skies made the views of the city and surrounding hills unbelievable, and literally, there was not a cloud in the sky! Finally some downhill as we coasted into Sausalito for lunch and a break from those bike seats! My timing to catch the ferry across the bay worked out perfectly, and we enjoyed an upper deck boat ride back to the city. The day concluded with shopping at Ghiradelli Square and a Sushi dinner.

A vacation to San Francisco wouldn't be complete without a trip to Alcatraz. After breakfast on Sunday, we boarded a relatively crowded boat departing for the island. It wasn't long before we arrived, maybe 15 minutes or so. The group received instructions from the rangers, grabbed our headsets, and ventured into the compound for a 45-minute self guided audio tour of the prison and listened to some of the most infamous escape attempts in Alcatraz history. Pretty cool! Brittney and I explored the island a while longer and then caught a ride back to the mainland. The day wasn't over by any means. We had to keep the tourist streak alive by going for a ride on the trolley. It worked out nicely though, and made short order of the hills leading into Chinatown, where we stopped for a late lunch. Then it was back to the hotel to relax, order pizza (yes, I've been know to eat pizza occasionally), and watch Sunday night football. Wow, now that I really think about it, this was an awesome vacation!

It's hard pick a favorite part of this long weekend, everything we did was so much fun...and way less painful than running 50 miles! Brittney was excited because I believe she is now the un-official "mayor" of San Francisco. I'm pretty certain we'll be back to the bay sometime next year.

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