After checking in our hotel last night i headed out for a quiet dinner with Dave K and a few friends, Id spoke to Dave a couple of weeks ago about getting together while we were here and Jackie, Wendy, their husbands Chris and Dave and my friends James, Matt and Eric all met up at a nice Italian restaurant in the North Beach area around 7pm. It wasn't a late night but the company was great and we all had a good laugh.
Dave and Wendy on the phone to Kami
I was feeling 100 times better than i had been when i woke up in the hotel in the morning, my flu symptoms were well on their way out and id finally got used to the jetlag and had a great nights sleep.
James and Matt were heading out to Alcatraz this morning, Wendy was going to see some work friends and Jackie and Dave were out shopping in Union Square. I called my friend Greg from Philadelphia and arranged to meet him at his hotel, he was waiting for Phil and Laila to arrive so i said id walk over and hang out with them. They were staying at the very far end of Lombard Street, a well known street for having part of it being the crookedist street in the world!
It was a good two mile walk and i arrived around 10am, i hadn't seen Greg and Linda since the shows in 2010 so we caught up and chatted a little and 20 minutes later Phil, Laila and Phil's friend Dave arrived in a taxi after just landing in San Francisco from Las Vegas where they had been vacationing the last few days.
The six of us headed out to walk down the curly part of Lombard Street but first of all we had to get there, it was a good 30 minute walk and like most streets in San Francisco they are mostly uphill, and when i say hill i mean HILL!
Walking uphill on Lombard Street
As we got to the top we could see a few people gathered and taking pictures of the street going down the other side of the hill which as i said before is the crookedest street in the world and one way single file traffic going down.
At the top heading down From the bottom looking up. Most photo’d street in the world ?
Matt had booked a table for lunch for us all at a pub on Fishermans Wharfe which was a further 20 minute walk away, James called to say him and Matt had just got off the ferry from Alcatraz and we all met at the pub around 1pm. Wendy and Chris made it over too and we had a great lunch with everyone.
View from the bar!! Matt, Phil, Dave, Chris and Wendy Matt and James
We had all talked earlier about maybe walking across the Golden Gate bridge and this was still the plan till we saw the bike rental place and thought it would be great to cycle over! Matt, James and i got a single bike each while Wendy and Chris decided on a tandem. James was able to get us all $10 discount due to working for United Airlines, this brought the daily rate to $26 each which was fantastic. After getting sized up for bikes, the guys giving us a quick briefing over how to operate them, where the bells and whistles were and showing us a map as to where to go the five of us headed off down the street ringing out bells and singing bike related song!
As you know, things in the US are big, i mean BIG and bridges don't get much bigger than the Golden Gate one! so when i say we cycled for what seemed (and turned out to be) miles and that damn bridge never looked to be getting any closer you then realise just how big it is!
Matt was riding like a crazed man, zipping in and out double back to pass us and he was having a ball, James was peddling away steadily and as much as Wendy and Chris were doing well they were also having a few problems with the chain on their bike.
As much as i don't really look it i am indeed normally a pretty fit guy, however, after not running for a week, being laid up in bed for the best part of four days and not eating much while I’d been ill i was feeling a little worse for ware after a few miles of peddling! The idea was to cycle across the bridge to Sausalito and you can then get a ferry back to the Wharf and drop off the bikes. What we didn't realise was if you do do it this way, its mostly uphill getting to the bridge! apparently the best way to do it is get the ferry out to Sausalito and then cycle back! Anyway, as i was peddling more and more i could feel the flu that i still had “sweating out” of me! by the time we got to the centre of the bridge i was totally beat and told the other i was gonna turn round and head on back. As we stood there in the middle of the bridge i was having hot and cold sweats and felt a touch dizzy.There was no way i was gonna mess myself up for the sake of a bike ride so i left the other four and free wheeled most of the way back to the bike shop.
Picture of me that Matt took half way along, i really was struggling!
Panorama of the bridge and the bay area.
View back over the city Alcatraz in the distance Matt, James, Wendy and Chris
On returning back the girl was telling me from the bike shop to the middle of the bridge was exactly 6.5 miles, so that was a 13 mile round trip that I’d just done, not much but mostly uphill and with flu it seemed like 113 miles!
Id arranged a dinner in North Beach for tonight and there were about 20 friends due to attend, some whom i hadn't seen for nearly 10 years, i was looking forward to it and i headed back to my hotel to rest, shower and change and get ready to head back out in a few hours time. I got a text from Wendy to say they had biked to the end of the bridge and were turning around to come back, it was too much for even fit people to go all the way to Sausalito! We all joked along the ride how sore are butts were gonna be tomorrow! little did we know just how sore and how quickly they would become sore! The name of the bike rental place was aptly called blazing saddles! and i was slowly starting to feel the blaze in mine now!
As i headed out of the hotel, James and Matt were just arriving back, they were walking down the street like they still had the bikes between their legs! Matt said he was going back to the room to moisturize his butt and would catch up with us at the restaurant.
Post to be continued…….