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A Day in The City

San Francisco, California: No need to rush this morning. We took our sweet time over coffee, crossword puzzles and emails, waiting for rush-hour traffic to ease before lacing up our NIKE's and driving to the Golden Gate Bridge.

My Goal: to run across the Golden Gate Bridge (and back).

Why? Who knows.

Ready to run! 

I am such a poser.

You would think this isn't much of a run. You would be right. The span is only 1.7 miles... but the walker/runner/biker must fight crowds and try to not freak-out due to the terrible traffic noise... vertigo... or that high-speed traffic is only inches from the walking-jogging-bicycling path.

But the views are extraordinary. This view you will not see from your hotel window or scenic bay cruise. To really experience the Golden Gate Bridge, you must be on the Golden Gate Bridge.

From the Golden Gate Bridge, I had beautiful views to San Francisco and the Bay Bridge.

Not to mention fabulous views of the Golden Gate Bridge itself.

While jogging across the Golden Gate Bridge this morning I saw two F18-ish fighter jets fly over the bridge, do back-flips and return over the bridge. Very cool. A few moments later, a helicopter flew under the bridge.

This is what the Golden Gate Bridge looks like if you are a walker/jogger/biker. Traffic noise is quite heavy! There was very little foot/bike traffic on the bridge this morning, but I had to keep quite vigilant - always on-guard for bicyclists on a mission.

And here I am - nearly finished with my 3.4 mile jog. Isn't it great that I travel with my own Personal Paparazzi?

Every girl should.

After our jogs (DT ran a few miles on trails on the north side of the bridge before returning across the Golden Gate Bridge), we returned to the Magna Peregrinus for long hot showers and Advil. Why doesn't this RV park have a hot tub? I really could have used a hot tub. Then we headed into The City.

We had plans.

Our plans included lunch. We were hungry!

How about lunch at the R & G Lounge in Chinatown? Perfect. San Francisco is one of the few cities in America where you can find Peking Duck everyday on nearly every menu in the Chinatown area. The R & G Lounge is a unique joint. When you walk in the door, you only see a small bar with a few bar stools. It actually looks like a "lounge". The dining action takes place in the basement - which houses several large dining rooms. The decor is a bit mod, uniformed waiters hover and the food is a great combination of Chinese and Taiwanese-style cooking.

Pillowy white steamed buns with perfectly crisp Peking Duck skin, served with hoisin sauce and green onion.

We also had vegetable fried rice. This, Dear Reader, is what fried rice actually looks like. It should not be brown. It should never contain soy sauce. You are going to have to trust me on this.

We also tried the spicy eggplant. This was quite delicious and savory. We were also clever enough to bring along a cooler filled with ice packs - knowing we would have lots of leftovers from our lunch, and knowing we had important business the rest of the afternoon.

Important business?

Yes. We were on a mission to replace a few chipped dishes from the set we purchased in Taipei in 1986. There is only one shop on the west coast that carries the dishes and the shop is in Chinatown in San Francisco. We know this shop well. This is what happens when you use the same dishes everyday for nearly 25 years.

The Chase International Trading Company is basically a restaurant supply store. The place is amazing and if you are any kind of cook at all, you could spend hours exploring the bins, nooks and shelves. We were only looking for one item:

Or six. We needed six luncheon plates. We found one plate and asked the manager if he had six (extra credit because I asked in Mandarin). He went to a loose-leaf notebook and searched through the pages to see that he did, indeed, have six plates. He had nine in stock. I told him we would buy the six plates and he actually used an eraser and changed his inventory to three plates! Each plate was $4.50.

Don't even ask how we found our little luncheon plate amongst the stacks of dishes.

DT settles our bill at Chase International Trading (732 Sacramento Street).

The Chinatown area of San Francisco was very quiet this afternoon.

Next on our agenda was a visit to the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. Built in 1933, Coit Tower offers a 360-degree vista of San Francisco.

I could find no explanation as to why there is a statue of Christopher Columbus in front of the Coit Tower, but Chris looks great standing there, doesn't he? Imagine my happiness when we read the sign inside the tower, "Stairs Closed Today - Please Use Elevator"? Yeah!

This is the view from the Coit Tower to the mouth of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

And here is a photo of the city skyline from the Coit Tower. Every photo today was taken with my teeny little itsy-bitsy tiny Sony Cybershot DSC-T900 (smaller than a deck of cards).

Next we drove to Lombard Street to drive down the crookedest street in America (or The World, or possibly The Universe). Whatever, it is the crookedest street in San Francisco for sure.

It just doesn't get any more San Francisco than this - a cable car at the top of Lombard Street!

Do I need to mention you need to avoid driving Lombard Street in a 45-foot motorhome?

Not getting in enough touristing, we next headed down to Fisherman's Wharf to see the re-appearing sea lions. For years, hundreds of sea lions have been living on the docks next to Pier 39. So many, in fact, the boats are no longer able to dock at the pier. For some unknown reason, a few months ago all the sea lions left. Gone. They actually went up to the southern Oregon coast. Why? No one knows.

But their little vacation is over and they have returned to San Francisco - and they brought their babies too. Adorable.

I still think a few sea lions are still missing. Seems to me, there were many more last time we visited.

And what, exactly, do sea lions need a vacation from?

Pier 39 offers a great view of Alcatraz.

Later we met Lisa's dear friend, Lily, for cocktails at the Buena Vista and dinner at Scoma's. Lily is in San Francisco studying to obtain her doctorate.

This photo was taken of Lisa and Lily (right) in 2007 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Lily joined us for a Jimmy Buffett weekend. Tonight Lily and I tried to re-create this moment from our past:

Close enough - Lily and I enjoy a drink at the Buena Vista on Hyde Street.

Until my next update, I remain, your very tired and very happy correspondent.

RV Park:  
Candlestick RV Park. Located across the street from Candlestick Park. It is a parking lot, but a very well-located parking lot. Most convenient RV park if you plan to spend time in the city. Full hook-ups. 165 paved back-in and pull-through sites. 24 tent sites. Bathhouse and laundry, store, ice, TV Lounge, free wifi, shuttle to downtown and they will also arrange tours. In the season, this park is busy with rental RVs, filled with happy European tourists. We paid $74 per night. Really.