Road Trip Update: 3 Days in Paradise (read: San Francisco)

I'm currently on a 6,000 kilometre road trip from Vancouver, BC down the Pacific Coast, into California, sideways to Nevada, and then up again through Utah, Idaho, and Washington State. I'm joined by my dad as copilot, and we'll be gone for two weeks. The car we've chosen for the adventure is my Speed Yellow 2000 Porsche 911 GT3 Aerokit Cup.


Tornado clouds en route to SF
Day 3: I let my last blog post end on a bit of a cliffhanger. A result of my sheer writing talents or because I passed out from extreme exhaustion - forehead smashed on keyboard. I'll let you decide. 

Early wakeup at the roadside Baymont Inn meant that we crushed the next 350 kilometres from Redding to San Francisco. This is the bit where the roads were clear and a tank full of 92 octane had me pushing the noisy pedal like it was going out of style. There's a picture I could post, but I wont. I wouldn't want to make my readers an accessory after the fact. You'll have to ask me for "that picture" in person over a beer someday. 

Regardless, once we crossed the Bay Bridge right into downtown SF, we joined the end of a massive traffic jam along the famous Embarcadero, now home to a number of posh restaurants in massive dock buildings. I imagined buying one of the still abandoned buildings and turning into a 20,000 square feet garage / living loft, but before I could give that wonderfully-out-of-reach idea some more thought I was interrupted by my 3.4 litre flat-six that was overcome with emotion of being in the Golden City, that it spontaneously began to melt away. Dials were in the red, and in a matter of seconds I had executed a previously practiced, perfectly executed choreography of button pressing that had the AC turned off, the vents blowing piping hot air out the windows, and all systems turned off. The thermometer began to settle towards a more acceptable kind of hot hot hot, and traffic began to thin out a bit. Disaster avoided. 

Some tourists, two days ago. 
It was about noon when we arrived at our overnight stay - a hostel I've previously stayed at called "Fort Mason - Fisherman's Wharf - where, most importantly, parking was free, and the breakfast was most excellent. I let the Porsche tick cool while we unpacked, and we soon headed for a bike rental place where we hopped on some… bikes, and headed for arguably the World's nicest little town, Sausalito, via Golden Gate bridge and exactly 349 breathtaking photo opportunities. The bridge was windy and the fish at famous Scoma's in Sausalito was divine. 

There's many things I like about California. I like that fuel is cheap. I like that beer and wine is literally so cheap I have yet to figure out how anything gets done around here. I could use a Napa Valley Rosé to shower with and I'd still be out less money than the price of a beer at Cactus Club in Vancouver. I also like that cars are cheaper; especially luxury cars. A Porsche GT3, (bear with me non-car people), is about $18,000 less expensive in the States than in Oh Canada. And the GT3 is already great value as it's only the price of a fully specced base 911 Carrera, which depreciate like a wise guy who side stepped Tony Soprano tied to a bag of bricks and dropped off the coast of New Jersey, compared to the GT3, which has the original owner losing $40,000 grand after the new model buzz wears off, where eventually it'll stick around $100,000 to eternity. Talk about value.
Lombard Street with a Jaaag.
But I digress. There are many reasons why I love California - the cheap liquor, the cheap fuel, the cheap cars. Needless to say I'm a quantity over quality type of guy. Sure, real estate is completely unaffordable this side of that guy in Nigeria running those scams and perhaps the Silicon Valley 1%, but I'm from Vancouver so what's the fuss about? Nevertheless, the thing I like the MOST about California, and this brings me back full circle to the fresh fish we enjoyed at Scoma's in Sausalito, it a beer called "Blue Moon." To me, it's summer in a bottle. And it's best enjoyed with a million dollar view, under the sun, and in great company. Hence why that moment, right then and there, was perfect. 

We then climbed back up and out of Sausalito to join the causeway over the Golden Gate bridge, and rewarded our efforts by hanging out in Presidio park with a six pack of Blue Moon. After returning our bikes with minutes to spare, we hiked back up to the defunct military base called Fort Mason which we were about to call home for a night, and got ready for supper (read: lots of wine with a side of pasta). It was a good day. 
Classic Alfas. Beautiful and unreliable in equal measure.

Day 4: The next day was spent mostly on foot. My dad and I followed Lombard Street up, then down, then up again some more (San Fran really is as hilly as the Steve McQueen movie "Bullet" leads you to believe), and up to Coit Tower on Knob Hill. This was nice. So was the Wells Fargo Museum in the Financial District, and the little Alfa Romeo / Vintage Mercedes dealership we passed along the way. We wrapped the first portion of our day up with a light lunch at Awesome Burger, or something like that, before finding a Cheesecake Factory patio on top of a Macy's on famous Union Square where we had… lots of cheesecake. Filled with calories, we decided to walk it off by taking a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf where we compared stomach sizes to the (also famous) sleeping sea lions. There were hundreds of them, just lounging, and apparently completely oblivious to their own stench. We all kind of stared at them from the pier, us and five thousand other tourists (did I mention this was a famous thing to see in SF?) and collectively "oooh'd" and "aaaah'd" as one sea lion would sneeze and the other groaned, or as one wet sea lion jumped onto a dock from the water and pushed off a few other sleeping sea lions. Surprisingly and strangely fascinating stuff, I tell you. 
Sea lions, yesterday

Evening arrival at Silverado, Napa
We then rushed back to Fort Mason to collect the Porsche and head for Napa Valley where we stayed at the Silverado, a 1,200 acre two 18-hole golf course complete with Colonial Mansion. Dinner at sunset overlooking the 18th was nice, especially since we found no golfballs in our fish tacos or pasta. Not even in our ice bucket. 

Day 5: The next day we had planned to visit a few wineries, including Mumm Napa, Clos du Val, and Beringer. More on that later. Thanks for reading. I'm off to Carmel for lunch and the Hearst Castle in the afternoon. Santa Barbara and LA will follow.