Another destination that I knew so well... From the movies. For that reason it turned out to be quite surreal to see the Bay Area with my own eyes and it didn't go down without surprises. Biggest of them all is the weather. Both of us were expecting a heatwave, it was middle of the summer after all. Instead we were greeted by a cool morning. As we have found out later this weather pattern is normal around here. Cold nights, cool evenings and fresh mornings all thanks to currents blowing in cold air into the Bay Area. This cold air more often than not condensed and creates thick fog enveloping everything under milky mist. Until this day I have not seen the whole of Golden Gate Bridge. We have seen the bottom part, top, left or right. But never the whole thing. Still, the experience can be quite surreal. Nowhere else there is a chance for so much fog on a regular basis. He (the fog) even got himself a nickname. They call him 'Karl the fog'. Later in the day he usually gives way to sun. In the downtown area anyway, where it gets sunny a warm. But that's enough about weather.
One of the first photos I have taken outside the airport was a bunch of used syringes on the pavement. I didn't think of it much, but later it became obvious that 'San Fran' has a massive homeless issue. Most of the homeless also fell into drug abuse and are taking some mix that's seriously messing with their mind. Bums sleeping on the pavement during the day, passed out in the middle of a sidewalk, or just loudly expressing themselves to no one in particular is a sight on almost every step. I am no specialist in frog use or abuse, but the schizophrenic effect this mix has on people is alarming. Of course our cheap hotel turned out to be on a street favoured by all these lowlifes. To my big surprise, as we were just a couple of blocks away from the financial district and just down the road from SFMOMA. One of our first walks took us right to the museum garden. After the overnight flight we were too early at our 'fancy' hotel and we couldn't check in. At first we thought we'll just pull through but by 10 am we had to work out a plan B. Immediate options were the MOMA itself or a movie theatre. Majka agreed on the second option and so we ended up on The Ghostbusters. We were hoping for a nap in case the movie would have turned up boring, unfortunately the theatre proved to be to loud. Possibly to cover up all the snoring, cause believe me it was pretty awful. At least we've killed some time and snoozed in a bed in the early afternoon. From late afternoon it was the bridge, junkies, American diners, trams, architecture, uphill and downhill, walks by the piers and the city, loads of second hand pot smoking... Yeah. I don't think pot is legal in California, but turns out Police are being too busy dealing with serious stuff rather than small offenders. So yes. Smell of weed everywhere. And then more walks, bridge, fog, Twin Peaks, Soho, bums, trams, downhill, uphill, seals, ocean, bridge, beach, bay, pier, streets, junkies, weed, MOMA, and Golden Gate again. Admittedly we have spent far too much time around the Golden Gate. But it is pretty impressive. The design and history behind it. The vivid bright colour in the sun and the faint shadow passing through the milky fog suggesting the presence of this crazy project built one of the best known fault lines.
On our second to last day we have checked out of our not so fancy hotel in the downtown area and went over to Oakland. I've found as a truck that will be our transport and home for our US road trip. An old Toyota Tacoma with a snug top. In the spirit of a 'new' car experience the afternoon was designated to fit it with all the camping gear we may need. The initial plan of getting a tent was eventually out ruled by the fact the truck was long enough to fit an air bed. With that decision that snug top 'coffin' has become our home for the foreseeable future. You may call that arrangement cosy, by my standards it was claustrophobic, but it would have to do, 'no backsies'... with the shopping done we were heading back towards the Golden Gate National Recreational Area. The plan was to sleep over in a car park unless we find something better and wake to a glorious sunrise overlooking the bridge. The evening turned out to be freezing cold. And I mean freezing cold! Temperature was down around 4°C at half past 9 in the evening, so I've Googled us a YMCA. While Majka was snugged in a warm bed I left around 5. I've been freezing my ass for 2 hours hoping that the thickest fog I've ever experienced will give way in the first rays of sun. Frozen to bone, annoyed and tired at 8 I've headed back to the hostel for a hot shower and breakfast. Later that morning we were clocking in miles on our US road trip, heading south on Highway 1.