Wednesday, February 18, 2015


On September 26, 2003 we left our Marine and the heat in Twentynine Palms, California and moved north to visit our oldest son, AJ in San Francisco. We spent two nights at the Yermo/Barstow Calico KOA and two nights at the Visalia/South Fresno KOA on our way to the Petaluma KOA.

We really enjoyed seeing all the greenery – crops and dairy farms everywhere. North of San Francisco, I remember all the billboards along the highways were agriculture related. Something was different driving the roads in California, compared to Texas. In Texas you get on a highway or county road and drive for hundreds of miles without changing highways. In California we changed highways about every twenty-five miles. We found it confusing and relied on our GPS a lot more than we do today. I was perpetually lost.

It was October 1st when we got to Petaluma. There were haystacks and pumpkins everywhere. The Petaluma KOA RV Park had big trees at every site in the park and water sprinklers running continuously. They had farm animals on display at the park for Kids to view and pet. We were in awe of the scenery, but more happy to get to see our son in San Francisco.

We unloaded all the musical gear and a lot of AJ’s clothes from the motorhome into the car to drive it into San Francisco to deliver to AJ and move it all to his new apartment. After delivery of the equipment we took AJ and drove around the city site seeing. We took a driving tour visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, Nob Hill, Pacific Heights and Chinatown. Traffic in the city is different than what I am used to seeing. I spent my life in the suburbs, not inside a big city. One of the first things you notice driving in San Francisco is that pedestrians have the right of way and they act like there are no cars on the streets. There is constant jaywalking. With Kathi’s encouragement I paced myself and relaxed. Like I had a choice. Pedestrians set the pace for me. There are never any parking places, so delivery trucks double park along the street – they really have no choice.

AJ loved San Francisco and still considers it his home. He will move back there if the opportunity ever arises. AJ is visually impaired and the public transportation in the city gave him a lot of freedom he never experienced in the suburbs of Texas. He took us for rides on BART – the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. It is like a subway, sometimes three stories down to catch a train.

Flowers at Fisherman's Wharf

Pumpkin patch in Petaluma. Corn growing on the left.

More pumpkins

Another pumpkin patch

Red tree at Raley's in Rohnert Park north of Petaluma.

Tin Man at Fisherman's Wharf
The first time I was in San Francisco was 1963 when I was in the Army on the way to Korea. At that time we were able to catch the cable cars while they were moving and pay the fare to the operator. On this trip we found you had to buy cable car tickets before you got on and had to catch the cable car after it stopped. It really did not matter, because most of the day the cable cars were packed with tourists and there was no room for three more people to get on. I am not sure how much longer this service will last. The bus and BART systems can get you anywhere in the city and I am sure cable cars are expensive to run. It is fun and unique. San Francisco is a blast for a tourist, but Kathi and I would never live there.


  1. I do not think the street cars or trolleys are going anywhere. I am surprised people do not talk about the streetcars in San Francisco as much as they do the cable cars. The streetcars each came from a different city in Europe and it is fun to get on and read where your train car has been and learn where your particular car ran. Barcelona or Rome or wherever. I never take them any more. Two trains/subways, the MUNI and the BART plus the buses are the best.... unless you like walking super steep hills. I bet you don't want to walk these, unless you are walking back down of course. The west coast is where I will live out my days unless my brother, parents or someone needs me. The Clarks, Morris or Joe Wray needs me for some reason. In that case. I take care of my people first. In any other case you can find me at the water on the west, downtown at night.

  2. Thanks for the comments, AJ. Good information.