No, not the film.......San Francisco, the final stop on the US leg of the trip. It was a long drive from Portland to SF, but we got to see some of the autumn colours in full swing:
At one point I overtook a long silver bus which T speculated as to whether it might be Neil Young's tour bus, given it had the licence plate "Zuma". A little bit of research after we arrived in SF hours later confirmed that it was the very same, and that we were going to be in town for the Bridge School Benefit so we snapped up some tickets.
We ended up at an abandoned naval base on Treasure Island on our first day there. I'm a big fan of abandoned buildings:
Sausalito and Golden Gate National Park were next up:
We dined that night at Herbivore, this time at the Divisadero location. This time we even managed dessert, a strawberry & rhubarb pie for me, and a chocolate cupcake with vanilla bean icecream for T. A couple of the ginger-infused vodka cocktails with pineapple and pear juice were a nice (and strong) companion to the meal.
The following day was the Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, about an hour or so from SF. We were a bit late, but the highlights of the night were Wilco (for T), Norah Jones (!) (for me - she covered War on War by Wilco that I thought was better than Wilco's version) and Neil Young. Jack Johnson played just before him, and after he played, a good third of the crowd up and left. T and I had had a nap during his set, so we were happy to wake up and be able to move much closer to the front. His set was so incredible that it made T cry, and I got pretty close myself, during "Old Man". He brought everyone back on stage for "Comes a Time".
A trip to Alcatraz was scheduled for the following day, following a two-part lunch at Cha-Ya, a vegan Japanese place, and Weird Fish, a semi-vegan fish and chip joint. For some reason they also serve vegan pancakes, so I gave those a go, and T tried the vegan fish and chips. I wasn't a big fan of the "fish", but my pancakes were fantastic.
While it was a bright sunny day in SF, it was cold, grey and damp out at Alcatraz Island. When lining up for the audio tour packs, the guy looking after them said to us "English?" T said "No, I'm Australian, and my wife is a New Zealander." I said "But we do speak English though," as he was trying to find out what language we wanted our guides in. The three of us had a good laugh about that for a while.
It was a fascinating place though, so incredibly bleak, and not just because of the weather.
We had returned our rental car, so the rest of our time in SF was spent walking or getting public transport.
Our last order of business was going to visit the sea lions that live at Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf. There were hundreds of them lying on pontoons sleeping, swimming around and trying to get up on the pontoons. They were so entertaining (and noisy) that we watched them for over an hour.
Our last 45 minutes in SF, and the States, was spent by T in the Apple Store, and me buying some jeans. We flew out that night to Auckland for the first leg of the family wedding celebrations.