Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cali: Day 1, The Crossing

Photo by Dominque Palombieri

Photo by Mila Sinkova
     Dave and I arrived at the Oakland airport and hopped a cab to our hotel in Brisbane, which is south of downtown San Francisco on the east side of the Bay. It was early enough in the afternoon that we had time to explore, and because it was unseasonably warm (mid-70s) we couldn't resist doing something I've always wanted to try...
Photo by Dominique Palombieri, Flickr
   So we hopped another cab and headed north to the piers. Along the way we saw Giants stadium and countless sculptures lining the Bay, including a large silver rocket and an even larger bow & arrow ("Cupid's Span") by Claus Oldenburg. I've been an Oldenburg fan ever since I first visited Kansas City nearly 15 years ago and saw his Shuttlecocks at the Nelson.
    We rented a bicycle built for two because, after all, this trip was a team-building exercise and how could that possibly be a bad idea? Okay, just kidding. We took this photo just so we could tell people at work that this is what we rode. Suckers!
    We rented mountain bikes and trekked from Pier 39 & Fisherman's Wharf, along a beautiful and winding road through a park along the Bay, and then across the Golden Gate Bridge, down into Sausalito (8 miles total). It was sunny, clear and warm with a pleasant breeze: an ideal afternoon for a ride! But we hadn't exactly dressed for it: Dave had on his button-down dress shirt and khakis, and I opted not to change out of my sweater and slacks, in solidarity with him (although I did have my hiking clothes in my pack). So we looked a little funny, got a little warm, and had to endure a little mocking from some other tourists. (Ouch!)
First view of the Bridge
The Rock
Close-up of Alcatraz
Dave, looking especially tall
   It was exhilarating to ride across the bridge, one of America's most recognizable landmarks since it was completed in 1937. There are narrow paths on the east side for pedestrians, and on the west side for bikes, ensuring our safety. There were emergency intervention phone boxes all along the bridge's 1970 meters (1.7 miles including approaches); apparently there are more suicides are committed here than at any other site in the world. Perhaps we'd return Thursday night to do ourselves in if our meetings didn't go well...
It's tough to get all 746' in frame!
Here I come!
There I go!
We made it!!!