Day 9: San Francisco

(January 28, 2017) In the early afternoon on Day 9 of my 17-day ride to the west coast and north on the Pacific Coast Highway, I arrived at the Harbor Court Hotel on Steuart Street in San Francisco to meet with my cousin Ray. Ray is fluent in Spanish and that proved very helpful when he negotiated a deal with hotel staff for me to park my motorcycle after hours at a parking garage down the street.

It was a wonderful coincidence that I was able to meet Ray and share my first time in San Francisco with him. He is very familiar with the city and knows many people who live in the area, including many who are very wealthy. This proved helpful when he texted one of them and asked for a recommendation where to get good Italian food for dinner. If I remember correctly, we got an Uber car to take us from the piers into Little Italy and we ate at Tommaso's on Kearney Street.

The waitress was an enchantress and the food was really good. The combination led us to eat far too much. I did manage to stop myself from finishing my tiramisu and took the half I didn't eat with me. Because we were so stuffed, we decided to walk all the way down Columbus Avenue to Ghirardelli Square, in spite of my aching hernia. I needed to push that food through my system that badly.

A great bonus from the long walk was being able to look up Lombard Street and see the sharp curves on the steep slope of the street, a popular landmark.

I was so full, I could not bring myself to even enter the Ghiradelli chocolate store. I am glad I saved that tiramisu, because it made for a quick and convenient breakfast the next morning as I hurried out of town on my way north to Oregon. 

My Cousin Ray 

Because of the dangers involved in his work, I'm not going reveal Ray's name or any closeup photos of him or discuss why we was even in San Fran. However, I will say that he made all the difference in making my visit to San Francisco fun and I'm grateful we had that time together. He and his older brother have always been my favorite cousins. I look forward to spending more time with him in the future.

Our hotel room cost $200 for the night, so I was glad to split the cost with him. San Francisco is an expensive place. I'm glad I was there only one night.

Here are some more photos with captions from my visit there.

That's the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

That's Coit Tower in the background.


Ray looking very contemplative at the piers by Fisherman's Wharf.

The Ghirardelli building at sunset


Sunset over the Bay

A view of the Oakland Bay Bridge from our hotel room at sunset




San Francisco - Riding North on 19th Avenue


Riding through San Francisco on a Beautiful Saturday Morning


Harbor Court Hotel on Steuart Street in San Francisco


Sunset over San Francisco Bay


View of Oakland Bay Bridge from Hotel Room Window


Daily Log

Here's a copy of my daily log for that day, which I posted on Facebook:

Day 9 of 18 - Mike Uhl's Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Ride  

(June 18, 2016) I slept very well in my fancy bed in my expensive hotel room. I tried to stay in bed late, but the sun yelled at me to get up at 6:45 PDST. I enjoyed moving slowly, standing in a hot shower and letting the water soother my sore shoulders, and then make myself a tasty cup of coffee. There's definitely upside to staying in a really nice hotel room. 

My hotel room is so big, the king-sized bed looks small and there's actually a couch in front of a large bay window with a westerly view. I can see mountains. It's kind of cool being near Menlo Park, Palo Alto, etc. where the great Tech Boom in America got started.

My ride into town yesterday reminded me how much I appreciate living in a less-crowded, less-hectic place. Unfortunately, the RTP area seems to be looking more and more like Atlanta all the time.

In the morning, I rode CA 84 to CA 1 through La Honda and San Gregorio. I stopped for a cigar and photos at Half Moon Bay. I saw many, many motorcycles (and bicycles) on my ride to La Honda, San Gregorio, Half Moon Bay, etc. It's a rider's paradise.

From Half Moon Bay, I continued on CA 1 and then through downtown. Using my onboard navigation system, I worked my way slowly across the city to the Harbor Court Hotel where I met my cousin Ray, around 2:15 p.m. Traffic was slow and the hills treacherous, but I'm grateful it was a Saturday. It must be brutal trying to move on a weekday. 

We have got our luggage into our room and my Harley safely stored in a nearby parking garage, Ray and I walked through the Fisherman's Wharf and got a little something to eat. Then we continued walking from pier to pier until we arrived at Pier 39, where got some ice cream and looked at the seals lying on the docks.

Ray wanted a real dinner and texted a friend who lives in the area for a recommendation for an Italian restaurant. We got one and Ray got us an Uber car ride to the restaurant in Little Italy. Uber is great; our ride was there to get us in about two minutes and cost us (Ray) about $6 to get us to our destination.

After a dinner in which I ate way too much -- the food was fabulous -- we walked to Ghirardelli Square where Ray got a treat. Our timing was excellent for arriving there as we were able to watch the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge. What a great way to end a really fun day! Also, we could see the Bay and Oakland Bay Bridge right outside our window. It was beautiful lit up at night!

Ray and I talked almost constantly as we discussed our family and our personal histories. It was very therapeutic and enjoyable.

In spite of the hernia I developed in May from exercising too vigorously (I suspect), I managed to do a lot of walking with Ray. We then got an Uber ride back to our hotel. I went to bed immediately and was asleep very quickly. Ray had to make a call for his work but returned after a short time and after a shower was also soon asleep. He had a long day and I simply had a busy one.

It was complicated getting my bike in and out of the parking garage, but Ray's fluency in Spanish helped smooth things out because he developed such a great rapport with the bellman. In the end, it cost me only $10 total to store my bike overnight, and $5 of was tip to the bellman because he had to walk over to the parking garage with me and use his access to get me in. And Ray gave me $5 of that $10 as a gift.

I rode only about 65 miles. I didn't record the mileage for the day, so I'll estimate it with tomorrow's numbers.


Keep the shiny side up and pray for a short winter! -The Long Rider

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