Trip to the USS Pampanito

Yesterday I braved Fisherman’s Wharf to go see the World War II submarine the USS Pampanito.  The submarine is tucked away and I would have never found it just by walking around I’m sure.  I don’t spend much time down at the wharf because of the tourist but I thought this would be interesting to see.  I mean growing up in the middle of Ohio you don’t get to see many ships of any size.

If you’re going and you have an iPhone I would HIGHLY suggest that you download the self guided tour/podcast.  The podcast is done really well and it was very informative.  You can find a link to download the tour on the Pampanito’s website.  Plus a lot of other information about the USS Pampanito.

The USS Pampanito is almost 312 feet long.  It held 80 seamen (70 enlisted and 10 officers).  I’m not sure how they all fit in there and I sure can’t imagine anyone over 5’11” finding it very comfortable being a crew mate. As you might imagine it was pretty tight quarters.  The mentioned that the submarine made its own fresh water but that it wasn’t much.  The guys would only shower and/or bath ever 7 to 10 days.

There are tons of factoids that I learned while touring the boat.  I would highly recommend downloading the podcast and taking the tour.  Visit the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association’s website and find out more details about the USS Pampanito, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien  and other historical boats docked there at Fisherman’s Wharf.

It’s important to know where we come from and out countries history.  This was an important part of World War II which many people alive today don’t know anything about.

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Views from the San Francisco Bay (Estuary)

The Kitty Kat
So my latest travel was with San Francisco Whale Tours.  It was a ninety minute tour out on the San Francisco bay and Eva was the marine biologist that was with us on the trip.  Being from Ohio it just amazes me every time I go out on the bay.  This is my 3rd trip out on the bay I believe and I still love the view from the boat.  This boat in particular is named the Kitty Kat.  The boat takes you out and under the Golden Gate Bridge and returns going around on the back side of Alcatraz island.

While we were out on the water we saw some Harbor Porpoises playing in the water, some seals swimming and sunning themselves, and various birds.  The Harbor Porpoises are a smaller version of a dolphin and they are black.  The seals were all in the water so the best guess is that they were harbor seals.  The birds I saw were sea gulls, pelicans, and a black bird that looked like a loon.  Oh and I shouldn’t forget about the famous seals that you can see at the end of Pier 39.  I have some pictures of them below.

Growing up as a kid we were only two and a half hours from Lake Erie, which would rival the bay in some sense but we never went there.  In case you don’t know Ohio is surrounded by land (the Ohio river on the southern edge) on 3 sides.  Only the northern side of the state is about 75% lake front.  So now that I’m living next to the ocean again (I was living next to the Gulf of Mexico while living in New Orleans) I just love being able to go down to the piers or even out on a boat like this.

If you live in the city or you’re coming to visit I recommend going on a boat ride.  It is a great way to spend an afternoon.  You can take MUNI down to Pier 39 and then have a nice casual lunch at any of the restaurants along the piers.  Then take the cruise at 3:30 PM and be back at 5 PM.  There are a lot of tourist that go there but I think the boat ride is well worth it.  The boat rides are fairly inexpensive and if you go down to Fisherman’s Wharf there are some that you can do on the fly so you don’t have to schedule ahead.  The one trip I took was only $15 a couple of years back and was on a smaller fishing boat.


Wait Wait My Heart Just Skipped a Beat…

Today I was walking down 11th Street here in San Francisco when what did I come across? The Soma Streat Food Park!  I’m sure it’s no great surprise to anyone that food is what got my attention.  The food trucks here in San Francisco have such good food though!  This place looked really nice.

SoMa StrEat Food Park

The trucks were all lined up along the outer edge of the parking lot and they’ve even built a shelter in the middle for people to sit under.  There were picnic tables too scattered  through the lot.  Being from Ohio it reminded me of going to the fair and all the food trailers.  Oh those are some good eats

So I didn’t stop tonight but you be assured I’ll be stopping at some point.  It’s not really in a part of town that I would normally go to BUT I love the thought of supporting the food trucks.  If anyone goes to it please leave us a note and let us know how it was…

Weekend Get Away to Lake Tahoe and Reno

Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe around the barge li...

Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe around the barge line and terminus of the flume (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past weekend I took a road trip to the Lake Tahoe region.  I say region because I drove around Lake Tahoe.  On my driving extravaganza I spent the night in Reno.  I have to say the views and majestic beauty of Lake Tahoe is breath-taking.  This I could see by driving highway 89, winding my way around the lake.  I took the time to stop at the vista points set up for tourist like myself.

While in Reno I stayed at the Silver Legacy Casino.  The hotel was nice and like many casinos it was a complex that you could walk around which was nice because it was in the upper 90’s outside.  There was a BBQ festival or some such thing going on outside the casino.  I went out once the temperatures has started to drop but I didn’t see much.  There was a pretty cool rock climbing wall on the outside of one of the casinos.  You can see it in my pictures on the photographs page.

The trip wasn’t so relaxing as I was trying to see as much as possible in basically 1 day.  I do know now that it will be a place to go back to for maybe a long weekend.  For anyone who knows me, I won’t be going back during winter either.  Unless I fly or someone else is doing the driving.  Those mountain passes were bad enough during the summer.  I can’t imagine driving on them with snow and ice.

Oh and I don’t know if it was because it was a ‘holiday weekend’ or just normal Sunday traffic but getting home took far longer then driving to Lake Tahoe.  That might be another thing I consider the next time I go.  The driving home went through the Sacramento area which was over 100 degrees.  I was actually worried that the poor rental car might break down since there was so much sitting in traffic.

All in all it was a good trip and I got to see some amazing views.  Be sure to check out my Photographs page to see the pictures I took.

A Trip back to Ohio

Adapted from Wikipedia's OH county maps by Catbar.

Adapted from Wikipedia’s OH county maps by Catbar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So in two weeks I’m going back to Mt Vernon, Ohio.  It’s been 1 year, 1 month, and approx 6 days since I’ve been in Ohio.  The move was bitter-sweet but I don’t regret it.  I miss some of my dear friends from the central Ohio area.  I even miss sometimes the people who don’t have opinions.

So I’m taking a red-eye flight that leaves Wednesday night and will get me into Columbus bright and early Thursday morning.  I’ll get my little rental car and spend Thursday and Friday in Columbus, Ohio.  Thursday I’ll hang out with my friends Brian and Stan. While Friday I’m going to spend the evening with my buddy Mark.  I would have made some party animal joke but that would be a bold face lie.  So I’ll hang out and get some Jeni’s Ice Cream.  Who am I kidding I’ll be stopping there several times!  Maybe find a pool if the weather is nice and lay out and relax some while everyone is at work.

Then Saturday I’ll travel up to the hills of Knox county and stay with my fabulous friend Toni.  She lives maybe 5 miles away from my parents so it will be close to them.  It will be good to catch up with her and other family members.  I’ll try to make a quick visit up to Butler, Ohio to visit an Aunt and Uncle.  They’ve always been encouraging so even though I’m not their kid to claim I would like to them to know that I’m doing OK.

So it could be a pretty busy weekend. Hopefully I get some patio/deck time to chill out and reall

y hang out with some friends and family.  Life has been fairly busy and the next month is especially busy with performing and parades.  Hauling that Tuba around is no easy task!

A great Saturday hiking through McLaren Park

View over the neighborhood

Saturday I did something I hadn’t done before.  I went for a hike to McLaren Park here in San Francisco.  It was an amazing day outside.  The temperatures were amazing.  The sky was a clear blue.  Not a cloud in the sky really.

View over the city

View over the city

Sometimes I find it strange and amazing the things you can see.  Sometimes you find these views in the most unexpected places.  I was warned about this park being a dangerous place.

The view over my house

The view over my house

This picture was taken next to a water tower overlooking the neighborhood where my house is located.  Actually if you see that green field on the left side of the picture then my place is only a couple blocks from there.

View over the San Francisco bay

View over the San Francisco bay

Sometimes great views are a small glimpse between some trees.  This was exactly how I saw this view.  Walking through the park I viewed the bay between some trees.   I love it when I can see views of the San Francisco bay like this one.  This park is located in an area that has some great views.  You can believe I’m going back and take more from some other areas of the park.

Have a great day everyone.  Take some time to get out and see what’s around you.  We all have amazing things to see around us.  Have you taken time to smell the roses?

A day at the zoo

San Francisco Zoo

Image via Wikipedia

Saturday was a magnificent day here in San Francisco.  The sun was out and the sky was blue. My friend Assen and I went to the San Francisco Zoo.  I have to say I’m very glad he suggested it as we had a great time.

The zoo is out by the ocean here in San Francisco.  I thought this might make it kind of windy and chilly but the weather was great. I just had on a T-shirt and that was enough.  In the shade it was a little on the cool side but not bad enough to actually put on my coat.

As we walked around I couldn’t help thinking it looked a lot like Disney World. It just wasn’t as clean I but then again Disney has all those people around there cleaning like a person with an OCD compulsion.  I really enjoyed the habitats for the animals. The African Region was very nice and it was great seeing the animals out in the yards.

after our time at the zoo we took MUNI back downtown and grab some dinner in the Westfield Mall.  We at the Korean BBQ restaurant which I had never eaten at before.  The food was good and the portions were large.

All in all it was a great day.  It was nice weather and I got to spend the day with a good friend.  If you get the chance I would recommend that you go check out the zoo here in San Francisco.  I think you’ll be pleased.