Thursday, March 21, 2013

Adventures in San Francisco

   On the morning of the 11th of February 2011 I awoke somewhere outside of Oakland. I elected to spend the night outside of Oakland for obvious reasons. My first move was always to find a coffee shop. I was a fervent believer in quality coffee, I wouldn't like to be caught with something as pedestrian as Folgers in my cup. Instead of fine wine. I was more  a 'coffee' connoisseur. Needless to say the 'Cafe Strada' impressed me. I recall the  rich heavenly aroma that arrested my senses, the walls seemed to be belching fumes of java. I used to put down ungodly amounts of coffee. I should have just hooked my arm to an IV and do away with the hassle of having to pick up a mug. However as of late I've been attempting to wean myself off the heavy doses of coffee and pursue a less caffeinated lifestyle mainly for the safety of my liver but for other reasons as well.

   Berkely appeared to be to be a very unique destination. The layout of the town was  similar to that of a giant strip mall, not the run down with outlet stores type, yet an antiquated and appealing one. With  much culture, ethnic diversity and class. It was a perfect college town with international appeal. I met up with my cousin Brent who was touring the campus as a potential destination for Grad school. My cousin is a mathematical genius and lives and breathes in mathematical formulas and equations, so needless to say they wanted him. After His meeting with the University's faculty we then got in my car and sped out of the city limits to a park overlooking the San Francisco Bay. We had a small dispute over a eating destination. I being used to Subway five dollar foot long's and Wendy's was looking elsewhere after seeing the lines outside of the Berkely shops extending into the streets; the culture there was different people would wait patiently in line for an Asiago roast beef with alvacodo and tomato basil croissant. We ended up leaving hungry. On the ride over I reached back and found a bag of peanut M&M's; soon we were both pounding them down to satiate out hunger pangs; when we realized how idiotic this was, we both started cracking up, that memory still resides with me. It was one of those moments where your not quite sure why its funny but it was.

   Upon arriving at the Bay Overlook Brent erased any doubt about this place and said his mind was made up. The overlook was especially scenic as it was a clear sunny day, the Pacific Ocean was visible to the right and the bay as well as the Golden Gate bridges and islands in front. After touring around town, hitting the 'Fishermans Wharf' which was similar to Seattle's 'Pike Wharf' and taking some pics above the Coit tower, Brent had to catch his train on out; as I was delivering him to the train depot he looked at me and said "Kyle, I think your car is smoking" rolling down his window and verifying he looked at me again and said "yep your car is definitely smoking" My engine gauge was way past normal and I parked to investigate upon popping the hood and being engulfed in fumes of smoke Brent got out and said I gotta catch the bus man, wish I could sty and help, best of luck! yeah great, I was stranded in San Fran with an overcooked car. I slammed the hood and sprinted over to the nearby mini mart, grabbed a gallon of water and inserted it into the anti-freeze, peering down underneath the car I realized the hose had indeed sprung a leak and the water was being pee'd all over the sidewalk. 

   Grasping for answers, I remembered I had AAA and called them for 'roadside assistance' a tow truck was soon in route and I waited bemoaning my bad luck. I was parked next to an alley and saw drag queens and rowdy bedraggled looking people coming in and out of a large door, not the cozy kind of venue you want to nod off in. The tow truck soon arrived and I asked him to tow me to the nearest coffee shop. He at first asked if I wanted to be parked behind the coffee shop since there was a sort of junkyard there, I said no I'd prefer to sleep in the illuminated locations, feeling like discarded  baggage or tsotchke to be filed away. The sleep that night was unpleasant, it was unusual due to the inability to wake up and blast some heat to warm me from the bitter cold. And if I were to be fiercely apprehended I was a 'sitting duck' with a dead car and no 'getaway'. When I did wake up from a restless night I stumbled into the adjacent Starbucks and ordered a straight 'dopio shot esspresso' to rejuvenate my numb senses. I sat down and considered my desperate plight. I was perusing the options on my GPS looking for a mechanic. The closest one was a Shell station I assumed the price wouldn't be cheap but beggars arent choosers. I had a 'ruptured water pump' and the price was 'astronomical' to fix. Having a new appreciation for a functioning car I finally left San Fran heading north in the direction of the Pt. Reyes Nat'l park. With that being said for sake of brevity and time I write the last leg of the trip of the redwoods and the trip up the Oregon Coast another time.



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