Friday, May 29, 2015

Cable Cars with Hannah

Hannah came to visit last weekend for the long holiday weekend.  We managed to mark off a few things on my bucket list to-dos. Including riding a cable car!!! I don't know why I haven't done it before, probably because you had to stand in line, its always crowded and it costs $6.  Well, lucky us, if you wait until Sunday evening, there's generally no line! And while we were waiting, a nice gentleman gave us his day pass that he was no longer using. SCORE!! 

At Powell and Market streets, there is a cable car turntable which serves as the beginning stop for two lines, the Powell-Mason and Powell- Hyde lines. The Powell-Mason line begins at the Powell/ Market turntable, and the line runs from there up and over Nob Hill and down to Bay Street at Fisherman's Wharf. The Powell-Hyde line also begins at the Powell Market turntable and runs over Nob and Russian hills before ending at Aquatic Park near Ghiradelli Square. Both these lines end near Fisherman's Wharf, but at different areas, and the routes are significantly different. 

The California Street line runs East-West from the Financial District, through Chinatown, over Nob Hill and stops at Van Ness Avenue.

Hannah on the empty car

According to wikipedia, the San Francisco cable car system is the world's last manually operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. Of the twenty-three lines established between 1873 and 1890, three remain.  While the cable cars are used to a certain extent by commuters, the vast majority of their 7 million annual passengers are tourists. They are among the most significant tourist attractions in the city, along with Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman's Wharf. The cable cars are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In budget year 2012, sales of $6 Cable Car Souvenir Tickets totaled $4,125,386. $6 single rider tickets sold by the cable car conductors totaled $9,888,001.  Based on both tickets only, daily ridership of the cable car system is more than 6,400. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bay to Breakers 2015

The Bay to Breakers course goes from the Ferry Building (the Bay) straight through the city to Ocean Beach (the Breakers). Which sounds all hunkey-dorey until you remember this is San Francisco....THE HILLS.  Below is the elevation map of the course. Needless to say my quads were super happy we were just walking this race as opposed to running it!

But I finished Bay to Breakers again this year, and that's all that matters, right?  Thankfully I walked it with a fun group of people!  It was much more enjoyable to walk because this way I could see all of the shenanigans....such as the completely naked family with a child (fully clothed) in tow.

Packet pickup was farrrrrrr across town at Fort Mason.  It really is a beautiful spot, great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and lots of views of the bay.

Oh hey there Alcatraz!

And then it was race day.....

I'm so glad I did the race this year with a group of fun (clearly awesome) people!  Steve is the only crazy one who wanted to run the race.  We had such an awesome time!  However, I think we all concluded afterwards that we'd marked that off the bucket list and didn't need to do it again!

So so so many people waiting around to get started...

And we're off, finally the race opens up a bit 

First naked man spotted of the day...

Then I turned to the right and BAM a whole naked family!!!

Thankfully there were plenty of actually clothed people in great costumes!

Along the race path, there were plenty of people having a great old time partying at their house, throwing house parties and playing booming music in the streets.

This awesome lady's sign said "Age 82 and still going strong". I wonder how many years she's been doing this race. I saw another group of ladies who had stitched coats with years that they had been doing the race...first date I saw was 1982.  

Jamie had a camelback of liquor pasted to her body the whole race.  We couldn't bring bags in so this was the next best thing!  This is Jamie taking it off after it was finished and Laurie putting it in her fanny pack.  Awesome.

Did you know there was a waterfall in Golden Gate Park?

Um..and a wind mill?

It was crazy windy that day and I actually saw the blades moving, and they were moving FAST!

And just like that, the race was over! It ended along the beautiful ocean!

With our badass metals after finishing!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Yoga in Grace Cathedral

Today I did something totally granola crunchy...what you ask may that be? I went to yoga in Grace Cathedral in Nob Hill! This has been on my bucket list for the past year and I'm so happy that I finally did this!  And to top it off, I met up with another East Coast girl that is friends of a friend.  She moved here last June and I've been meaning to meet up with her. Two stones, one bird! We both had wanted to try this, so we both had a great time.

It was totally surreal to do yoga in a church that was built in 1928! You can't really tell from the picture, but we all placed our mats around the labyrinth that is built into the ground.  Its been said that   if a visitor walks the path of the labyrinth it will bring them to a meditative state.

This place is just magical

It looks very similar to Notre Dame :)

This was still a good 40 minutes before it started, this place was PACKED by the time it started! Such a SF thing to do, go to a yoga in a non denominational church.

I took my shavasana looking up to these gorgeous windows!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Transamerica Building

The Transamerica building has become as large of an icon in San Francisco as the Golden Gate Bridge.  Its become a symbol of San Francisco and its unique architecture. The building is the largest skyscraper in San Francisco and was built in 1972 and is the 37th tallest building in the world.  I mean, just look at that unique shape!

View from Top of the Mark while drinking cocktails

View from the bottom...and you can see the crescent moon to the left!

Here's 10 fun facts about the building:

  1. At 853 feet tall, it is currently San Francisco’s tallest building — that is, until the Salesforce Tower (which will be 1,100 feet tall) is complete.  
  2. There are 48 floors, 15 passenger elevators, 3 freight elevators, and 3,678 windows.
  3. Because of the shape of the building, the majority of the windows can pivot 360 degrees so they can be washed from the inside.
  4. There used to be a public observation deck on the 27th floor, but it was closed after 9/11.
  5. The conference room (with 360 degree views of the city) is located on the 48th floor and can be booked for $400-600 dollars…an hour.
  6. The beacon at the tip is 6,000-watts and lit on special occasions, while the red aircraft light is a 1,000-watt high-voltage neon lamp required by the FAA.
  7. It was designed by architect William Pereira and faced a lot of controversy while being built, even called “Pereira’s Prick.”
  8. The shape of the building is in part due to Transamerica CEO John R. Beckett wanting to allow more natural light on the street below.
  9. Construction began in 1969 and the first tenants moved in during the summer of 1972 and the building is covered in crushed white quartz, giving it its pure white color.
  10. The Gold Rush ship The Niantic is located underground just a few feet away from the base of the Pyramid.
If you'd like to learn more and find out where I got these facts, click here.

Its so so tall!

An observation deck on the 27th floor was closed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and replaced by the virtual observation deck. So this is all you get now :(

And then I found this cute little park next to it! Such an oasis in the heart of Chinatown/Financial District!

I'm not sure if this is creepy or cute....

A plaque for the park

Its so tall compared to the rest of the buildings!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bay to Breakers....On Repeat

I can't believe it, I'm running Bay to Breakers again. I said I'd never do it again because there were just too many people running the race and too many drunks you had to literally run around and over.  And too many naked old men....YES, naked old men!!!  You can read my post from last year here.  Well, when a couple of friends said they had signed up, I figured what the hell. They won't be running it for time, just to have fun.  And there's lots of fun to be had in this race!

I had to get new shoes for this race because my old ones needed to be retired.  The only good thing about this race is that the start is only 3 blocks from my house!  This is the 103 year the race has taken over the streets of San Francisco.  Here's a little background about the race, I just love how everything in this city has this incredible history:

At 5:13am on April 18, 1906, a devastating earthquake destined to become one of history’s most notorious natural disasters rocked San Francisco.
The subsequent fire and destruction were unimaginable, and many feared the City would never fully recover. But San Franciscans, displaying their typical fortitude, immediately began rebuilding the city and orchestrating events to lift civic morale. One of those events, the Cross City Race – better known today as the Zappos.com Bay to Breakers – was first held on January 1, 1912. It was intended as a precursor to the world-class athletic events being planned for the 1915 Pan Pacific International Exposition. There were 218 registrants, 186 starters, and 121 finishers. Robert Jackson “Bobby” Vlught, a St. Mary’s College student, was the first runner to cross the finish line, with a time of 44:10.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Oh SF How I Love Thee: Munchery

I really, really love living in San Francisco sometimes. Ok, no actually I always love living in this city. 

I had absolutely no food in the house because I was leaving for Dallas for 6 days and I was feeling so lazy, who was to come to the rescue? Munchery!!!! I know its a weird name, but its AMAZING!  Each day, chefs around the city cook up meals that get delivered to your door with directions on how to heat up the meal. Dishes are cooked fully but can be heated up in less than 10 minutes.

Choose from main dishes, sides, salads, desserts and drinks and menus change daily.  Meals arrive when you want them to and you can schedule delivery up to a week in advance....SCORE! And their customer service is phenom, a couple of weeks ago I ordered a meal and they automatically credited my account because feedback suggested that the serving size was smaller than normal. While mine was not, they credited everyone's account who ordered it.

This time, I ordered Mom's Meatloaf and this is how it comes:

Less than 10 minutes later and this is the final product! 

If you live in the San Francisco area, your first meal is free with code SF423NEW. If you already love it (like I do!), then here is $3 off, use code SF423OFF.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pony Express Plaque

I passed by this sign yesterday and I was intrigued by the Pony Express and wanted to research more about it. I had heard about the Pony Express and I wondered how this helped shape San Francisco's history here.

From wikipedia:

The Pony Express was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, mail, and small packages from St. Joseph, Missouri, across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada to Sacramento, California, by horseback, using a series of relay stations. Officially operating as the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company of 1859, which in 1860 became the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company, this firm was founded by William H. RussellAlexander Majors, and William B. Waddell all of whom were notable in the freighting business.[1] During its 18 months of operation, it reduced the time for messages to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to about 10 days.[2] From April 3, 1860, to October 1861, it became the West's most direct means of east–west communication before the telegraph was established and was vital for tying the new state of California with the rest of the United States.

In 1860, there were about 157 Pony Express stations that were about 10 miles (16 km) apart along the Pony Express route.[6] This was roughly the distance a horse could travel at a gallop before tiring. At each station stop the express rider would change to a fresh horse, taking only the mail pouch called a mochila (from the Spanish for pouch or backpack) with him.


There were 184 stations along the long and arduous route used by the Pony Express. The stations and station keepers were essential to the successful, timely and smooth operation of the Pony Express mail system. The stations were often fashioned out of existing structures, several of them located in military forts, while others were built anew in remote areas where living conditions were very basic.[19] The route was divided up into five divisions.[20] To maintain the rigid schedule, 157 relay stations were located from 5 to 25 miles (8 to 40 km) apart as the terrain would allow for. At each swing station, riders would exchange their tired mounts for fresh ones, while "home stations" provided room and board for the riders between runs. This technique allowed the mail to be whisked across the continent in record time. Each rider rode about 75 miles (120 km) per day.[21]

Friday, May 8, 2015

Buried Ships in San Francisco

I was walking along the Embarcadero the other day and passed this sign but then quickly doubled back to read the sign because it intrigued me. I had heard about ships that were buried under San Francisco as I was watching a documentary once about the city. I had no idea just how many were actually below the surface! After some digging around, this is what I've found:

From this website, some information about the buried ships:
During the Gold Rush of 1849 and 1850s there were no railroads, airplanes, or automobiles. The fastest mode of transportation to the first stop for the gold fields, San Francisco, was aboard a vessel. By the summer of 1850, over 500 vessels were recorded as being anchored in the vicinity of Yerba Buena Cove. After they had arrived, whole crews abandoned their ships, along with the passengers, to make their way up to the gold fields. Many of the vessels were eventually left to rot, others were eventually used for such purposes as storeships, saloons, hotels, jails, and some were sunk purposefully to secure water lot titles (property that was originally underwater). As wood was scarce at the time, due to the many fires that swept the city and the increasing need for building material, many of the vessels were also broken up for their timber as well as other parts such as the metal plating.
By 1851, the wharves had extended out into the cove and numerous buildings had been erected on piles near them. Over the next two decades, under various waterfront extension bills, Yerba Buena Cove was filled with sand from the downtown area. According to Bancroft, a local historian, "As late as Jan '57 old hulks still obstructed the harbor while others had been overtaken by the bayward march of the city front and formed basements or cellars to tenements built on their decks. Even now [1888] remains of the vessels are found under the filled foundations of houses." The cove was eventually enclosed by a seawall which was built from 1867 to 1869, and which followed roughly along the same path as The Embarcadero.

This image below from google shows the buried treasure under SF.  The green shows the original shoreline and the added land to expand the city's surface area.  How freaking cool is that?!?!?!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dining Out for Life

The GLOBE and Allies (my LGBT & Allies) group at work got together the other day for Dining Out for Life at Sauce.  That's a great looking group of folks right there!  We got together, gossiped, drank and most importantly, ate great food!  In case you don't know,  Dining Out for Life is a local fundraising initiative for HIV/AIDS service organizations throughout the United States and Canada. On April 28, 2015, over 100 top Bay Area restaurants donated 25% of the day’s proceeds to support the free and local prevention and support services at San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jet Setting Lifestyle

Let's play a game of "Where in the World is Amber" Carmen Sandiego style.  I'll be racking up a lot of points the next few months. I'm in Dallas now and here is my travel itinerary over the next few months:

KC next week
Dallas early June
Seattle late June
Dalls in July
VA in July
Ohio in August
Dallas in August
Dallas in September
DC in October
Dallas in October
Omaha in November