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…

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?

Driving down the California coast

A view of the Big Sur coast including the Bixb...

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The July 4th weekend I drove down the California coast. It was a beautiful drive because highway 1 goes right down close to the coast.  Some people think that the holiday traffic would be horrifying but in this case it was kind of nice.  It was a nice slow drive down the coast line and I could see the beaches and ocean.

I started here in the southern part of San Francisco and I got on CA Highway 1 outside of Pacifica.  Of course Pacifica has a beach in it and so traffic came to a screeching halt shortly after I got on highway 1.  It took a while to get past Pacifica but then I was able to drive a little more consistently down the coast.

I drove down to Santa Cruz on California Highway 1.  It was nice to see all the small farms along the way.  There was organic farms selling all kinds of vegetables.  I remember seeing Peas and Strawberries.  It was nice to see on one side of the car the ocean and the other side was small rolling hills with the farms.

Once I got to Santa Cruz I started to head inland towards San José.  That was a nice drive because on one side  there was gorge on the passenger side and the other side was going straight up the hill.  It was very nice but again you had to pay attention to the curves in the road.

The trip only took about 4 hours but it was a nice drive that I’m sure I’ll do again and make some stops along the way.  I would definitely like to stop at Bonny Doon Vineyard.  I remember stopping there with my friends on a trip several years ago and it was pretty nice.

Till next time, look for a day trip in your area!  There are tons of things to do in your neighborhood so get out there and find them.

Just a little drive

Cars negotiate Lombard Street's famed twisty s...

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Last night I had a gig with the San Francisco Freedom Band and the function was being held at the San Francisco Art Institute.  I had another band member go with me as my navigator.  So most of the ride was your normal cross city drive but we had some extra time so we drove down Lombard Street.  Lombard Street has the distinction of being the most crooked street in the world.  I have to say the houses on the street were beautiful.  Also you never have to worry about people speeding by your house.

The Art Institute was a nice facility.  There was a beautiful view from one of the terraces.  It was overlooking the bay.  There was a wonderful courtyard.  I would guess that they use the courtyard for events often.

On the way home we drove through the Stockton Street Tunnel.  My navigator told me that the tunnel is used for car chases and movie shoots.  It was kind of interesting driving under Chinatown and coming out next to Union Square.  It always amazes me how things like the Stockton Tunnel are over looked.  I guess it’s like seeing a cow in Ohio.

So that was my tourism in a couple of hours.  Just a drive from one part of town to another.  More to come as I make these little trips around the San Francisco area.

A Day at the Beach

So Thursday I was out riding MUNI and I took the train to the zoo.  Well I didn’t see a zoo but I did end up at the beach.  Ocean Beach is a beach out on the coast of San Francisco.  It was somewhat an interesting ride out to the beach.  There are always a lot of small shops along the streets.  Small coffee shops, restaurants, boutique clothes shops, and every other kind of retail store.

I took some photos while I was at the beach.  It was beautiful and the sand was so soft.  I hadn’t really planned on being at the beach but it was still fun.  I’ll have to go back out on a really nice day.  Here are some pics I took out at the beach.  I’ll have to work on my skills of resizing pictures so that they line up better.

Ocean Beach sign Ocean


Ocean Ocean

I didn’t realize it but Ocean Beach is the on the one side of Golden Gate Park.  I’ve been to the park before and there are some wonderful things to see.  Below are a couple of pictures I took.

Golden Gate Park Entrance Sign On a Large Rock. Wind Mill

Hill Side in Golden Gate Park Hill Side in Golden Gate Park

Hill Side in Golden Gate Park

Something I thought was amazing while I was out walking along the beach was the flora.  There were lots of succulents and they had some beautiful flowers.  I was amazed because they were growing wild all along the roadway and paths.


Flowers Flowers

Flowers Flowers

Flowers Flowers

Garden of Succulents