21 June 2011

The City

With the southwest on fire, taking New Mexico based trips can be very daunting. Arizona's largest fire ever has now moved into New Mexico and charred over 10,000 acres; the town of Luna, NM dodging a bullet. Fires shut down Carlsbad Caverns this past week, Interstate 25 was closed between Raton, NM and Trinidad, Co due to fire and a fire north of Santa Fe has doubled in size. To top it off, trails in the Sandia Mountains over Albuquerque, including La Luz, the most popular, are now CLOSED until October unless we get some rain.

Since January the jet stream seems to have parked itself over New Mexico and all we seem to get almost everyday are howling winds fanning these fires, it really sucks.

Cold fronts seem to fear dropping below the Colorado State line; however, there is a glimmer of hope as monsoon season officially started this weekend and get this, the peaks above Taos got SNOW yesterday.

So it is no wonder I decided leave the Land of Enchantment to begin my annual adventure I call WANDERLUST.

My buddy T-Rob, out of Oklahoma, joined me once again for our fourth annual adventure. This year we headed to San Francisco and Yosemite NP in northern California.

We were in search of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, a valley that was flooded in the early 1920s after the San Francisco earthquake to provide water to the city and surrounding communities. The effort to stop the building of the O'Shaughnessy Dam was led by Sierra Club founder and environmentalist John Muir...

But first, the adventure would start in the city by the bay, San Francisco!!

This would be my second trip the 'the city' and this time T-Rob and I had a different approach to staying here. Last time we were here we booked a room at the Hotel Bijou downtown near Union Square. This time we used an online service called AirBnB [airbnb.com]. Man, what a great first time experience we had with this site.

Basically you can rent anything from a bedroom in someones private home to an apartment to a house! Why rent a hotel room when for the same price you can have a private flat, as we did, for about the same price as a cramped hotel room?

Our flat was in the Mission district, a quiet, safe neighborhood near restaurants and commuter lines.

We had a two bedroom, two bath private flat with private entrance for $200 a night.

Our hosts recommended we NOT rent a car while in the city and it turned out great. Public transportation in San Francisco proper worked very well for us. The F-Line [$11 for a three day pass] took us to the wharf and around town and the double decker tourist line [$35 for a two day pass] took us to all the main attractions, from Golden Gate Park to Union Square. Hop on hop off wherever you wanted.

One of the places we wanted to visit was the Haight/Ashbury district; home to 'the hippies' back in the 60s. Needless to say the remnants of that era are long gone. All we found there were tee shirt stores selling 60s prints, used clothing stores and homeless kids smoking pot in the park. The area just felt 'old'. There were a few buskers on street corners but outside of that not much to see. We did swing by Amoeba records, a place I love to visit in Los Angeles as well. I could spend hours there looking for CDs and old movies.

San Francisco is a gorgeous city and I plan on returning.

My reason for being here; however, was to search for the Hetch Hetchy Valley, and man what an adventure that was as you will see in my next post.

I'm out.

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