Saturday, March 10, 2007

Marin Headlands: Georgia 1-1 Florida

Today was Ice Cube.

First morning in almost 3 weeks with no alarm clock - slept in until 10: perfecto. Coffee, read some on-line, then clean up the apartment a good deal before grabbing lunch from the corner store and settling in for El Clasico at 1 p.m., and what a match it was.

After that is was time to get out and enjoy the sunny, beautiful 68 degree day. I packed up the rucksack and rode my mountain bike down to the water, over to the bridge, across the Golden Gate Bridge, up to the Marin Headlands, and down a fire road to perhaps my favorite place of all around here, and one of SFs best kept secrets, Kirby cove.

Best kept secret in SF

Black sand beach just west of the Golden Gate, somewhat sheltered from the wind by the surrounding cliffs, and never busy because you cannot drive down to it - you either have to bike or hike. And the views? Absolutely amazing. Foreground: waves crashing into the black sand at your feet. Mediumground: sailboats, cargo ships, luxury liners, and oh yeah, the Golden Gate Bridge from below, but still pretty up close & personal. Background: the city of SF. On a warm sunny day it is as good as it gets.

Stress Level about to be zero

I unpack Son Of Dawg Blanket {legendary Dawg Blanket, which survived a few epic Derby infields, is in the trunk of my car} and settle in for an hour of late afternoon sun, relaxing and reading my Spanish For Dummies book.

That didn't take long

After the sun goes behind the huge cliff to my west, I decide to pack up and bike back to the road and then bike all the way to the top of Hawk Hill and watch the sunset. This bike ride is no joke, from 0 feet to 980 feet, but I am very familiar with it. Although fairly out of shape, I manage to make the mondo climb with a full rucksack on my back not only without stopping but without resorting to my Granny Gear: felt like a total badass until right before the top some dude on his feather light road bike blows past me like I am standing still. But not even Lance dusting me could get me down, as the views and vistas on the way up are pretty amazing.

Looking East from the top of Hawk Hill:
GGB, Alcatraz, SF bay, SF

Furthermore, the sunset from the top of Hawk Hill was just incredible. There was a bank of fog across the mouth of the bay on the oceanside of SF, and it went out to sea and then transformed into a really cool low cloud/fog bank all the way across the horizon, which the sun set into shortly thereafter.

Looking South from top of Hawk Hill: Twin Peaks, Outer Richmond, Baker Beach, Seacliff

If you ever are in SF on a nice sunny day and have a car, definitely go up there to watch the sunset - it is amazing because on one side of Hawk Hill you have the view of Point Bonita, Rodeo Beach, the ocean, and the sunset, and on the other side you have an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz, the bay, and SF itself. It is as good a 2 for 1 special as you will ever find. Actually, 2 for free.

Looking West from top of Hawk Hill:
Point Bonita, Rodeo Beach, Pacific Ocean

Trippy refraction of El Sol

So I am dorking out watching the sunset...

My not-so-great-at-videos camera really didn't do it justice

...and feeling high on life when a family walks past me and the mother says "University of Georgia?" to me. I quickly figure out that she sees Son Of Dawg Blanket, rolled up and tied on to the back of my rucksack. "Absolutely" I reply. Turns out the whole family is from Athens and moved to Phoenix 3 years ago. We chat for a few minutes and then they are on their way. I am left to smile, because the last time I was in the Marin Headlands, over on my way up Hill 88, was a whole different story.

Fog Tsumani over Lands End, Cliff House, Ocean Beach

Biked back down in the dark and it looked like I finally bit off more post-sunset reflection time than I could chew. The west side of the bridge- the side for bicycle traffic - has been closed off. The hours are posted as 3.30 to "dark", and I have cut it close before, but "dark" is not an exact time and on this day I am too late. Shit. So I do a hike-a-bike down the steps and on the pedestrian bridge over to the east side {pedestrain side} just to see if by some miracle it is open, although I am assuming that that gate closes at the same time that this one does and I am therefore fucked. I start thinking of what to do: probably bike down to Sausalito in the dark and see if there is a late ferry that I can take back over to Fisherman's Wharf or the Ferry Building inn SF, or maybe try to call Solon and see if he is up for a rescue mission.

I get to the gate and it is indeed closed, and there are about half a dozen frustrated pedestrians who clearly are stuck and who missed their chance to walk back. Before the frustration of the situation fully sets in, somehow the gate starts to automatically open in a total big brother fashion and I see pedestrians on the inside of it basically exiting out to where we are - they must have parked on this side and are walking back to their cars.

Before I can even decide whether I should try to sneak in or not as they are coming out, an even more big brother voice suddenly comes over a loud speaker:

"No pedestrians are allowed to enter the gate! Only bicyclists are allowed to return. If you are a pedestrian I repeat: do not enter the gate! Only bicyclists may return."


I even say "NICE!" out loud I am so happy, probably to the extreme consternation of the walkers left behind. I cross the bridge on my bike in the dark for the first time, and it is pretty beautiful as I am able to look long and hard at the view of the now dark bay and now lit up city, whereas when you cross the bridge in the car at night it is a series of occasional brief glances in between making sure that you are staying in your lane and not crashing into the car on front of you, whose driver is doing the exact same thing.

Rode home in the dark to complete a really great day.

Do this with your S.O. if you are in SF on a sunny day.
Trust me, many brownie points will be yours.

Oh, and the forecast for tomorrow is even better: Sunny and 72. Might have to go back to the beach after my soccer match tomorrow.


MEW said...

Sounds like a fabulous day! I was able to relax just reading about it and not having to bike up the hill! And an intersting trip back across the bay - loved it.

Unknown said...

Nice! Sounds like a perfect day in SF. Your sunday was electric. big props for getting up hawk hill in the mtn. bike and esp not on granny gear! Wow, your legs must be in glorious shape. That beach looks like a perfect place for some asthanga yoga. Next time, right? Great pics and esp of the sunset. very romantic indeed. the top of hawk hill during sunset is a perfect place to scoop with your loved one.