SF & Napa Trip Run Report
The Blonde and I recently got back from a trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley.
One of our goals of the trip was to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Our plan was to do it our first full day in the morning. We are used to getting up at 4:30 where we live to go run due to the heat and humidity. Obviously, in SF we did not need to get up that early.
However, when we got up to go run, The Blonde was not feeling too swift. It was most likely due to dehydration due to our flight and walking around the day before. Because of that, we decided to go get some breakfast.
We ended up at little breakfast place by the start of the cable car. After breakfast, we decided to just go for a ride as the lines were short. We ended up touring around SF including Chinatown. By the time we got back to the hotel around 11:30, The Blonde was feeling much better, so we decided to attempt our run.
We started from our hotel and ran down to the frontage road along the wharf. Since it was later, the tourist level had picked up quite a bit. This was slightly frustrating, but to be expected. I originally had some concerns about finding our way to the bridge correctly. However, there are hundreds of people who rent bikes and do the same route as we wanted to do. I figured they were instructed by the bike rental places to go the correct route. So, I figured we would just follow the crowd.
So, we headed west. First we had to get out of the wharf area. This required we run over a hill near Fort Mason. Then we ran through the Marina area. This is where some very well off people live, waterfront properties with Golden Gate Bridge views and access to their boats. After that we hit the Crissy Field area. Lots of professional dog walkers were here getting some exercise. This is also the Presidio area. We wisely chose left at a fork in the road which led uphill.
This was a significant hill for us since we are not native San Franciscans. The good news about this hill was that we were passing bikers. That is always a good feeling. We were hoping that we were going the right way because we really didn’t want to backtrack at any point. We kept on keeping on. We finally hit the summit. However, we didn’t know how to get on the GGB. Again, we came to a fork in the road and again we chose left (for all of the Dr. Who fans, you will understand why). This took us near a building which looked something like a museum or information center. We finally found a set of stairs which took us back to the bike path (which would have been the chose right at the fork decision). That led us directly to the start of the GGB. We were finally here!
There is a nice sense of accomplishment having run the 4 miles uphill to the GGB. After that, there is a great sense of accomplishment running across the bridge. It is cool thinking you are running across a world renown landmark. The only thing that would have made it better would have been not to have so many annoying tourists around. Can you imagine the nerve of those tourist screwing around with my tourist experience?? 😉
We finally avoided enough of the walkers and bikers to get half way across the bridge. At that point, I asked The Blonde if she wanted to turn around and go back or continue on to Sausalito. I got a “Hell no, then it wouldn’t be running across the Golden Gate Bridge!” So, we continued on. We finally got to the North end of the bridge. The second half of the bridge run was a bit easier as there was less people who had made it that far.
At the North end of the bridge was another information center with buses, etc. We were a little confused as to where we should run to get down to Sausalito. I saw some bikers continuing on the road. I figured we should keep on following them as I remember this side was not nearly as pedestrian friendly as the SF side. We ended up running down Alexander Ave.
Alexander Ave was an interesting experience. It is a somewhat narrow, winding two lane highway. And there was not much of a shoulder to run on. So, we had to avoid cars going 40-50 MPH and we were getting passed by bikers who got to cruise down hill. Also, the shoulder was pretty cambered, which was awkward at best. After a mile or so downhill, we finally started seeing some civilization. We ended up on Bridgeway, taking in the sights on this side of the Bay. Bridgeway eventually goes downtown. So, here we were, hot and sweaty runners negotiating routes in between all of the shopping tourists. Again, there were some beautiful million dollar houses on the hill with their million dollar views. I decided that if we ever won the lottery, we would look for a place along Bridgeway.
Eventually we went far enough that we found the Marina with the ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf. We stopped at the Information Desk to confirm that the ferry sitting at the dock was going to the Wharf, we headed up the walkway. Turns out, the ferry was leaving in 10 minutes. Phheww… That was lucky. Had we missed that one, we would have been waiting around for another hour and a half or so.
We paid our fare and then started eying the refreshment bar. The Blonde got a bar of something healthy or other. I got myself a much deserved beer. We sat on the lower level watching the gentle path back to the Wharf. We got back and fortunately we ended up at the door we were disembarking from. We hightailed it off of the ferry and we were just a couple of blocks from our hotel. At that point, we slowly WALKED back to the hotel victorious having conquered the Golden Gate Bridge.