Travelogue: I go out walking

September 19, 2012

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I spent an extra long weekend in the San Francisco area because my friend finally went and got married up. That leads me to believe that there might be hope for me yet. But already I digress.

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The wedding on Saturday was a beautiful beach ceremony near Half Moon Bay and much fun was had by all. I got some ocean time as I arrived at the venue two hours early so as not to be late. The next day my ankles were sore from and hour and a half of walking in the sand. The ever-present waiting bank of fog-clouds obscured the sun for the most part, but that made for some beautiful colors—tan sand to ocean green to cool grey. The wedding party was accented in tealish-blue and it was all just lovely.

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I spent Friday in San Francisco just walking around, from the Caltrain station to Union Square, through Chinatown to the Red Jack Saloon near Coit Tower, then along the Embarcadero back down to the Caltrain.

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I had tried to find a few beer destinations such as brewpubs to visit, but that didn’t work out like I hoped. Why the Red Jack Saloon, you may wonder. Well, the last time I visited, that is where the groom and I ended up for a tasty adult beverage after an afternoon of wandering around. It was there that I had Lagunitas Maximus IPA, and it was the beer that set me on my craft beer journey. I wanted to go back and pay my respects. No Maximus this time, “only” the regular Lagunitas IPA, but it was fun and the bartender got a kick out of my story.

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I got some food recommendations from a local for my walk back and indeed had a nice dinner at a place called the Delancey. Its story, apparently, is that it is staffed by people getting a second chance. The food is good and inexpensive. My food and beer came to about $15.

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Sunday morning, there was a post-wedding brunch for us out-of-towners, which was a nice opportunity to chit chat with the newlyweds. Janeen and Rob, I knew I wouldn’t actually see much of you this weekend so I really thank you for doing that!

That left Sunday afternoon free, so continuing on the beer theme, since I did have a car (please see the other Travelogue entry), I decided to head north to Petaluma to visit the actual Lagunitas brewery. I wasn’t looking forward to traversing San Francisco in a car—there is no freeway through it, it’s all local streets, local streets with narrow lanes, jam-packed with traffic—but I knew I’d regret being so close and not making the effort. I suppose it could have been worse and I did get to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Have you ever driven across the Golden Gate Bridge? I tell you, photos can’t prepare you for just how magnificent it is. Not awe-inspiring and breathtaking the way photos don’t prepare you for the Grand Canyon, but pretty damned splendid. I wonder how many accidents there are because drivers are gawking out the windshield instead of watching the traffic in front of them.

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Anyway, it was a straight shot up to Lagunitas. They have a nice taproom and patio, decent food if my delicious salad was any indication, and live music. I couldn’t get too crazy because of the long drive, but it was still fun and I can say I did it!

Monday was another day in San Francisco. I got off the Caltrain at the 22nd Street Station and walked west to the Mission District.

San Francisco is a beautiful, interesting city, but what the heck were they thinking building it on all those hills?! My walking route took me up Potrero Hill, then down it, and then up and down a few other lesser—but still formidable—hills. I saw a some mail carriers out on the job—they must just be in fantastic shape. The vistas were beautiful.

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A friend of a friend who also came for the wedding told her to track down Rosamunde Sausage Grill. She was unable to, so I went in her stead and did indeed have a delicious, say sausage. But the best part was that the place also had an excellent craft beer lineup. I dutifully enjoyed a Russian River Blind Pig IPA (Russian River is somewhat of a holy grail for us Minnesotans because they don’t distribute to our market).

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I also was directed to visit Delores Park by my friend in London who feels about San Francisco the way I do about London.

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From Delores Park, I headed back toward downtown. Along the way, I found the small Southern Pacific Brewing Company, one of my intended stops. The beer was okay and the bartender a little surly, but it was nice to sit for a while. I was also able to avail my iPhone of an outlet for a little charge-up.

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It was about two miles or so back to my evening’s destinations, 21st Amendment Brewing and the San Francisco Giants baseball game. Before my trip I was advised that 21st Amendment beer is actually contract brewed elsewhere and shipped to the ”brewery” but I didn’t care. It was only a couple of blocks from the baseball stadium. The Giants’ ballpark is a nice, intimate one. I was completely neutral about the teams, other than the fact that one of the Minnesota Twins’ most beloved players now plays for the opposition, but he wasn’t in the lineup so, oh well.

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According to Google maps, I walked about six miles on Friday (blue) and seven and a half miles on Monday (purple). Plus an extra mile walking back and forth twice from my hotel in San Carlos to its Caltrain station.

It was an easy train ride back to San Carlos and my hotel, and now here I am in the airplane on the way home, beginning our descent for landing.

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