Saturday, August 14, 2010

13/8/10-14/8/10 From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Here's a pro tip: if you're going to be on a 5 hour, overnight flight from one side of a country to another, it is not advisable, to go for a 30km bike ride on the day of departure.How do I know this? Well, I speak from experience.

After checking out of our hotel, Peta and I began Friday with a bus ride down to Fisherman's Wharf. The bus ride was devoid of interesting characters, for better or for worse.

We had decided that today would be the day to tackle the Golden Gate Bridge. We decided to bike ride it. The ride was great, I totally recommend it. It is the best way of seeing the bridge by far, but be prepared for a sore arse.

The bike track begins at Pier 39, in the very heart of the tourist area. It then follows the bay around to the headland near the Golden Gate Bridge. The views are spectacular, and it really makes it apparent what an amazing engineering achievement the bridge is.

That being said, the wind that blows at you as you travel along the harbour really slows you down. Still, it could be worse, and the views more than make up for the battering winds.

We stopped at the last pier before we began the long, uphill climb to the bridge. Just off the pier, there were Sea Lions playing in the water, watching the fishermen on the pier, waiting for them to throw some scraps their way. One of the Sea Lions even rolled onto its back and stuck its fin out of the water, in an attempt to gain more attention... I swear every performer in SF is after tips...

After a brief photo stop, we began the ascent to the bridge. Even though the bridge was a good 100 meters above sea level, the incline wasn't all that steep, and while you were still puffed when you got to the top, you weren't about to keel over and die.

Like the previous day in SF, the weather was actually fairly nice. The sun was out, and the weather was a pleasant temperature. BUT, the bridge was still shrouded in fog, like the elusive monster it is. Cycling across the bridge was no exception. You couldn't see the very top of the struts due to the perma-fog, but the views of the rest of the bridge and the surrounding bay were spectacular.

The bridge itself is long. Longcat long. Seriously, it was at least 2km long. Maybe it's shorter, but I can't be bothered to go on wikipedia and check right now, so there.

Riding across it was lots of fun, and definitely the smart option, as it would've taken a good hour to walk on foot. The walkway is certainly crowded, but as you get towards the middle of the bridge, the number of pedestrians decline, as they realise just how damn long it is.

On the other side of the bridge, there is a fantastic viewpoint. A great place to stop and take photos. So great in fact, that I got asked at least three times to take photos of other people! Of course I was more than happy to oblige, being the friendly Aussie that I am.

Our bike ride then took an exciting steep descent into the quiet (and very, VERY upmarket) town of Sausolito. I would love to live there, as the views are fantastic. I don't think that the houses would be within the "uni student" income range, though.

We stopped off at a small Italian restaurant for some lunch/dinner. I had a massive cheeseburger, and Peta had some spaghetti bolognaise. Their food was really tasty, and the lady who served us was very kind and caring - we left her a big tip :p

After our food, we waited down at the marina for our ferry to take us back to the mainland. Clearly we weren't the only people who thought the bike riding thing was a good idea, as there were at least 200 cyclists on our ferry back.

Our cycling adventure was over. It was a really memorable experience. It wasn't without its pain though. I mean yes, the views, the ride and the bridge were all fantastic, but it wasn't without the drawback of major backside pain. I suppose this is god's way of telling me to exercise more often, I suppose.

Anyways, after returning our bikes, we went back to the hotel, picked up our bags, and caught a transfer to the airport. It was with a very heavy heart that I left San Francisco. When funds permit, I intend to return there. Soon.

Delta Airlines Flight DL2340 San Francisco - New York (JFK).
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Seat: 37B
Class: Economy
Pushback: 2235
Arrival: 0705

Remember that butthurt I was talking about a paragraph or two ago? The 5 hour flight sure didn't help. Peta, being the narcolept that she is, fell asleep before the safety video had finished playing. I however, got the privilege of staying awake for the whole time, trying to get even a few moments shut-eye. I think I scraped through with maybe 10 minutes of unconsciousness.

I will say this though: on this trip, I brought a pair of ear plugs with me. Best idea ever. If you can't sleep on flights, this will help you somewhat. They're the only reason I was able to get so much sleep on my flight to America.

We touched down at some ungodly hour... About 4am SF time, or 7am New York time. We drearily made our way to the airport transfer shuttle, and took in what we could of our journey from JFK to Manhattan.

Manhattan is massive. No other real way of describing it. It is overwhelmingly huge - every block has skyscrapers stretching off in every direction as far as the eye can see. It is somewhat intimidating.

Unfortunately, check in at our hotel doesn't open until 3pm, and we are desperate for some sleep. Peta has managed to grab a few hours sleep in the lobby, but once again, I wasn't so lucky. So now we're just chilling in Central Park, waiting for time to pass.

I think I'm going to leave it there for this entry. I can spoil the ending of today for you if you'd like... We'll go to the hotel and sleep. Fascinating stuff.

Tomorrow: New York! Not under sleep deprivation! Broadway play! Avenue Q!

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