J. F. Rowan
I wish I had kept track of the number of times I tried writing this post. Primarily because of all the different factors and emotions we experienced. Trying to keep the post short enough, but still trying to fairly convey something, not all that easy. The whole California experience left us with more questions than we had when we arrived over two months ago. The (and I’m being gentle here) quirky people, the cost of living (should be the cost of surviving.)and how it’s driving people out of the state. The homelessness.
The plan was to lay up in one of the surrounding state, private, or national forest parks somewhere within commuting distance of the city. In 4 hours we were turned away from almost every park within 60 miles and the one that would let us in would only do so for one night. But after we checked the showers out and surveyed the parking spot, we got back in the rig and “drove it like we stole it!”
We ended up in a private park in the town of Larkspur, which was on the northwest part of the bay. The good news. A 10-minute walk on the bike path led us to a high-speed ferry that sailed us right to the wharf in the city.
8$ one-way was a pretty good deal. Comfortable, clean and fast. Plus a great view of the bay. But I digress.
The RV park had all the amenities. Showers, Laundromat, and hook-ups. We could even walk for about 10 minutes and grocery shop, go out to eat or get a nice view of the bay…along with San Quentin.
But it was a parking lot. Wall to wall asphalt with loose stone pads. No picnic table, or fire ring and it was located very close to RT 101, so there was considerable road noise outside the rig. But we planned to never be in the park unless it was to sleep or use the facilities. After all, we were here to explore the city and we made good use of our time.
I wanted to see Chinatown, and North Beach (think little Italy). Yvette was up for North Beach, Chinatown and we both wanted to see some of the different gardens in The Golden Gate State Park. With the exception of one day, we left early every morning and headed for the city. The one day we didn't head to the city, we drove to Napa to visit a few of the wineries. Perhaps a separate post is warranted here. Let's just say things have changed since the last time I was here 30 years ago.
North Beach. Great section. Clean. The food was terrific. People were friendly and as you would expect. Did I mention the food was terrific? Below is just a sample of great Italian Cuisine we found both in, and out side of North Beach.
Chinatown. You felt like you had left the country. Great people. So many things to see, I could have spent a week there. Fish, tea and spice markets. Silks and eateries of all kinds. Amazing.
Japanese! Sushi as far as the could see!
Golden Gate State Park- We summoned an Uber to take us from Chinatown, to the Park. The object was to visit two well-known gardens within . Japanese Tea Gardens: Gorgeous, meticulous, and crowded. Too many people compounded by the seemingly uncontrollable desire for patrons (present company excluded) to take dozens, maybe hundreds, of selfies. (Click here for my rant on the subject.) San Francisco Botanical Gardens: Wow! Huge. Lots of walking. Sooo many plants of all kinds spread across several well designed temperate zones.
It would have been nice to spend a few more days here. You name it, they had it. The only downside was the Uber trip took us through neighborhoods that had a higher than an average number of folks who were having a rough time.
We spent 6 nights in Larkspur. Using the purchase of a donut locally ($3.75 for standard, glazed donut) or the price in the city for 500 sq foot apartment ($6K/Month ((minus utilities))), I’m not sure how people survive there. Feel free to ask me all the questions you’d like about this town. In the meantime, we’re off to Pinnacles National Park!