Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another San Francisco Walk-About And a BIG Fire

Thursday: (09/09) Lou dropped me off at the Caltrain depot on California Avenue where I caught the 08:11 train toward San Francisco for a walk-about. Since there is no real plan on my walk-abouts, I actually got off in San Bruno looked around on "The Avenue" which is old San Bruno then walked South to Millbrea stopping for pancakes at Camino Corner Cafe in San Bruno.

then back North through the Tanforan Shopping Mall then on up to South San Francisco, the next train station North of San Bruno possibly a seven mile walk. On the way I stopped for some pancakes for breakfast in San Bruno at Camino Cafe. That walk was just an appetizer. I then caught the train on to San Francisco arriving after noon.

Golden Boy Pizza In North Beach San Francisco's North Beach
I caught a bus on to the North Beach area in the City looking around on Columbus Avenue. Most of the restaurants in the area are too high priced for my comfort but I did find an excellent place for some outstanding Chicago style pizza on Green Street just off Columbus. Above left the Golden Boy Pizza is about the size of a wide bus, corrugated tin roof with counter and wall table seating. Really quite nice. The pizza was great.  Of course cable cars pass by in the street.

I continued on my tour by catching the bus on to the Marina area and walked on to the Presidio along Chestnut Street, a street with lots of shops that parallels Highway 101 or Lombard Street through San Francisco.

San Francisco's Presidio
I looked around on the Presidio near the Old Letterman Army Hospital which is now a digital arts center where Lucas Films has offices. They did a good job of making the new buildings look like the old army buildings. As I left I hiked up the hill to Pacific Heights and walked back toward downtown along Pacific Avenue. Some nice views from there. I then walked up Polk Street a few blocks then back toward the Presidio on Union Street, a ritzy shopping area known as Cow Hollow.  Above the Palace Of Fine Arts seen from The Presidio.

San Francisco Aquatic Park San Francisco's Coit Tower In Fog
I then returned to Van Ness Avenue and walked on up to the waters edge at Aquatic Park by Fort Mason. Aquatic Park was clear but Coit Tower was hidden by fog.

I walked from there toward Fisherman's Wharf via Ghiardelli Square, The Cannery and Fisherman's Wharf.

San Francisco's Mechanical Museum At Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco's Mechanical Museum At Fisherman's Wharf
I had to stop at the Mechanical Museum. They have all sorts of interesting mechanical entertainment devices. I like the player pianos and music boxes. I exercised several machines with my quarters. Actually they do a lot more than sound like pianos. More like the whole band with drums and bells.

San Francisco's Mechanical Museum At Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco's Mechanical Museum At Fisherman's Wharf
More pianos. I had to listen to them all.

I then thought it was time for dinner so I returned the few blocks back to Golden Boy Pizza for more. As I was enjoying my dinner at 6:30pm a news flash interrupted the football game on Golden Boy Pizza's TV. A high pressure gas line had burst and was burning up the town in San Bruno. 38 homes destroyed, 7 damaged. My morning walk was near this area. It's a good thing I was there in the morning. Timing is everything! Fortunately it was far away from the rail line so the trains were running normally. Interstate 280 was closed for a while. As I passed San Bruno at 9:00pm on the train I couldn't see the flames but evidently it was a lot more tame than when the gas was still on. News reports said it was a 30 inch high pressure gas line. A number of years ago we worked near the same gas line as it passed through the Stanford University Campus, though the lines there were an 18 inch and a 12 inch line side by side, as i remember. We had to install a new traffic signal standard and had to hand dig the hole for the foundation because we were within a foot or two of the lines. No explosion then. It will be interesting to find out if the line just failed or was persuaded to burst by someone digging.

On another occasion, an 18 inch high pressure water line burst under one of our roads. That caused water to shoot over 100 feet in the air and bury nearby cars under three feet of water. It also made a crater 20 feet deep and eliminated a four lane road. However there were no flames and most people swim more easily than they burn. It was really rather amusing that that water line was in front of the water district offices and it was their cars that were damaged. There is nothing amusing about loosing your house or life though.

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