On our last full day in Sacramento, we decided to make a day trip into San Francisco, via Point Reyes and the surrounding forest. We woke up to a wonderful, sunny day and set out just after the morning traffic had died down a bit. As soon as we got off the I-5 onto the smaller highways we were surrounded by peaceful pastureland, green hills where the grass looked soft as velvet and plenty of livestock. As idyllic and restful as it looks, we saw mostly houses standing alone in these fields, with tiny one-gas station towns miles away as the closest infrastructure… so having grown up in relatively big cities, neither of us were quite sure how much human interaction people get living out there, or how far they’d have to go for basic things like groceries or getting gas (which we almost ran out of! 🙂
The forests are beautiful, though – so much green! I guess we were still getting used to the greenery and lush flora all around after having spent quite some time in the dryer areas of Arizona, Utah and southern California. On the bike it feels like the sun is actually shining on my face, like I’m so much closer to the landscape we are riding through; a couple of times I could smell the difference in the air with so many trees.
We didn’t go all the way to the Point Reyes shoreline, opting to spend a bit more time in San Francisco. We entered from the north, crossing the famous Golden Gate bridge, while also seeing other bridges spanning the bay in the distance. Epic is just the right word for it! High, huge and really long; leaving the city we took the Bay bridge, which was equally impressive. Our first stop, which I was personally very excited for, was Chinatown – I’d heard that San Francisco has one of the biggest and most popular Chinatowns in the USA. By this time I had left Taiwan about a year ago, so I was really happy to be surrounded by Chinese characters and snacks again! 🙂 We even saw the taiwan consulate down the road. Kiernan was super happy to find roasted rice green tea, as well and I picked up some tasty salted melon seeds. We spend what felt like ages looking for just the right place to eat. Honestly it couldn’t have taken that long, but looking into every restaurant, eatery and bakery that really did have nice looking food, it was hard to look for just the absolutely right one which we were hoping would be full of locals. We opted for dim sum, so we could have as many small bites of as wide a variety of food as possible :). We ended up with 3 plates of food – rice gelatin pork rolls, deep fried pork rolls and chicken steamed buns (包子).
With stuffed tummies we spent the rest of the afternoon in the Pier 39 area; first walking up the boardwalk and ending at a little park in front of the grandiose Gerrardelhi chocolate factory. Most of the way on the boardwalk we could see Alkatraz across the water… A little island with many peoples’ sad memories, bad decision and regret, but that’s just conjecture. IF we had had time we would have rented a tandem bike because from the look of the bike shops map there were expansive trails along the bay and so much to see, but we only had about 3 hours which didn’t seem enough. We spent the last couple of warm, sunny hours reading in the park, looking out over the bay, before heading back to the bike and riding to Sacramento. One thing that brought it home that this was really the San Francisco from the movies, is seeing the roads curve up and down steep hills. In the ‘valley’ area I looked to either side where roads reached up, almost into the sky like the giant sequoia trees. 🙂