October 4 – Thorough Tour of San Francisco
Our group of 8 were driven to San Francisco in a small bus by a very knowledgeable guide/driver, John, who had lived in San Francisco as a youth. His stories of growing up in Haight/Asbury were very interesting and gave life to the city stories.
We visited parts west, north, east and south of SF and were shown places that only a native would know and tell stories about.
One of the stories was about the building of the Liberty Ships for the WWII in San Francisco. The owner of the company pushed his assemblers/welders to reduce the build time and eventually got the time down from 4 months per ship to an average of 2 weeks at the Kaiser shipyard. The fastest Liberty ship build was the Robert E. Peary in 4 days, 15 hours, and 29 minutes as a publicity stunt.
My dad was a metallurgical engineer and told me about how and why the Liberty Ships broke apart in the North Sea. To reduce the welding time for the large fillet welds, the welders laid down welding rods in the corner and then welded a skin over them. As the welds were stressed in the rough seas and the cold temperatures made the welds brittle and the ships literally broke in half. I shared the story with our tour guide. It was a story that he had never heard.
The view when we drove over the Golden State Bridge in the morning was perfectly clear – our guide said that it was one in 13 days per year that it was that clear – tour guide myth? ; )
We stopped for lunch at the wharf at 2 PM with over an hour to tour and/or dine. We chose a restaurant with a view of Alcatraz Island and a great smoked salmon sandwich.
Before we headed home, we stopped at China Town, the largest Chinese populated city other than in China. We walked around a block and viewed fortune cookies being made (see video). The folks did not seem to take pride in their city as it was less than tidy and clean.
Our last visit was to the Presidio to a site under the Golden State Bridge which was encased in fog. As we went west on the bridge on our return to the KOA, the north end of the bridge was clear of fog.
We left the KOA at 9 AM and returned at 7 PM. To ensure that Martha had sustenance, we used two timed, flip-up dishes that provided her mid-day snack and her 3 PM half-supper. She seemed to have survived the ordeal but we will not leave her for that long again.
We considered returning to San Francisco by taking the ferry but we both felt that we had seen all that needed to be seen and experienced.