24. Apr, 2016

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FRIDAY 18-04-08 

It was another cold night during which the furnace came in to its own, providing us with hot air central heating. We’d decided to go in to San Francisco using the Larkspur Ferry which is about a 15 minute walk from the campground and although it costs $7.10 each, would hopefully give us a hassle-free journey in to the city. 

Soon after sailing we passed San Quentin prison. All this time, and we hadn’t realise we had a bunch of criminals for neighbours. Only a strip of grass and water divides us. There were a large number of prisoners taking exercise in the yard. The Chef said it was a shame we hadn’t bought the compact camera along to get a picture, at which point I pulled it out of my pocket. I told her that when it came to it I just couldn’t bring myself to come out without a camera. Having taken a few pictures Rosina wasn’t sure if the men wearing bright orange overalls were prisoners she’d photographed until I pointed out that the only people in the prison were inmates and guards, they don’t yet run coach trips around prisons. After passing San Quentin the ferry crossed San Francisco Bay passing Alcatraz, which we had visited only a couple of days ago. Maybe they should call this ferry trip ‘The Prison Cruise’. We arrived at Pier 1 in the city which is on the edge of the Financial District. 

We had a quick lunch in a Chinese fast food restaurant. The Chef didn’t eat much of hers and so further down the road we stopped for a coffee at Lori’s Diner www.lorisdiner.com a 50’s style diner and a great place for a coffee or meal. Afterwards we made our way towards the Cable Car Museum at the junction of Mason & Washington. This was very interesting and somewhere worth visiting, ideally before taking a cable car ride, so that you can appreciate the engineering that goes on behind the scenes. This was more than a museum it was where the current operation was centred. We purchased a souvenir mug from the museum to add to our collection and a postcard to send to my mother. We then needed a 90 cents stamp to put on it, - and only Post Offices sell them, so we made our way slowly towards Chinatown, which we had visited on a previous day, and knew where their Post Office was located. 

Passing the food stalls and shops in Chinatown reminded us of the back streets of Hong Kong where we have recently visited. It was the real thing, basically if it lives it can be eaten, no matter what it is or what part of the body it comes from, there’s a market for it. I understand this goes back to the ‘good old days’ of Chairman Mao who, whilst giving the outside world the impression that everything was going well, millions of his people were starving to death, and had to resort to eating anything, just to survive, though many millions didn’t. 

After getting the stamp and posting the card we made our way home.This is a lovely city; we’re so pleased we came; our ‘extra day’ today yielded so many more pleasant surprises. The city has a nice comfortable feel to it, it feels quite intimate. The people are chilled and friendly (except the bus drivers), the general pace is comfortable, and they have done so much to preserve and maximise what they have. We’d come back again, provided somebody else paid the airfare! 

On our return to the campsite we got our folding bikes out and took a ride to Lucky’s supermarket again, where we bought some bits and pieces that we needed. 

This evening has been spent doing a few chores, as tomorrow we move on down the Pacific Coast Highway. Despite reading glowing reports I have serious reservations about this route as I’ve not been able to identify any suitable campgrounds en-route, so tomorrow I think we’ll take a ⅓ tank of fresh water in case we need to wild camp along the way. 

Over the evening meal we chatted about our experiences over our first 3 weeks here, the unpredictability of each coming day, and how much of an education it all was. 

LOCATION TONIGHT: Marin RV Park, 2140 Redwood Hwy, Greenbrae, CA.