For as long as I can remember I’ve ALWAYS wanted to travel to San Francisco. I absolutely love being a tourist in a big city. The daily newspaper was put on hold, bags packed and parked by the back door 10 short minutes after hubby casually mentioned, “Dear, I’m attending a seminar next month for a few days in San Francisco. Would ya like to tag along?” “When do you leave?” I gushed. My trusty “Top 10 San Francisco” travel book with pull-out maps didn’t quite prepare me for actually being there. Oh sure, the famous sights like Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz Island are still in the same exact spots they have always been. I was sorta glad since our reservations to tour Alcatraz were made on-line before we left. And the sea lions … well … they are still hangin’ out at Pier 39, annoying residents with their unique aroma, while delighting tourists with another San Fran photo opportunity. Darn if I forgot to pack the clothespin for my nose. It’s been a long time since I was as prepared as when I wore a Girl Scout uniform. Oh, and they still craft sourdough bread into adorable turtles, scary alligators, and my absolute personal favorite, cranky crabs with giant claws. I wondered, with my nose pressed flat against the Boudin bakery window, watching an alligator “rise,” if anyone had thought to bottle the savory fragrance … that is, of San Francisco sourdough bread … not the stinky sea lions. A couple of drops of vanilla extract behind each ear will always be number uno in my book, but sourdough extract, if there is such a thing, would definitely rank right behind. One of the things that surprised me the most about the amazing city was all the different ways for tourists to get around. The guide book writes about the ferry boats, cable cars, street cars and all the usual suspects, like airport shuttles, buses and taxi cabs. However, there was no mention of double-decker buses, antique fire trucks, little yellow go-carts, bike rentals and even Segways made ever so much more popular by Kevin James in the movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” My guess is if San Francisco has thought about it … they got a tour company that will gladly, for a fee, supply the thrill. The first day while hubby slaved away in his seminar, I hopped on the top of a double-decker bus to get an overview of the fair city. The very funny and informative tour guide’s name was Richard. Except for the thick fog hugging ever-so-tightly to the Golden Gate Bridge, the day was a picture-perfect sunny 70 degrees. I befriended an elderly couple from England on their very first visit to the United States. They were retired after running a pub back in Cambridge. By the time we hopped off the bus two hours later, we were all most impressed with the city. Not that it woulda made much of a difference, but my only issue was I wish Richard had warned us of the gale force winds and 20 degree drop in temperature when we passed over the Golden Gate Bridge. I was NOT having my best “hair day” after that leg of the trip. I spent the rest of our time in San Fran strolling, seeing the sites, and along the way, amusing myself with lots of chuckles over the clever ways tourists saw the city. For instance, near the old Del Monte Cannery, now full of restaurants, shopping, and even a hotel, there was spot to catch an antique fire truck for a trek across the Golden Gate Bridge. With sirens blaring, the shiny red fire truck full of laughing tourists pulled away as I trudged up the street. I also passed a pack of helmeted tourists, along with their trusty guide in the lead. They were buzzing their way on Segways along the waterfront in a perfectly straight line like they were following their elementary teacher to the cafeteria for lunch. It was my first time to see a Segway in action. Not sure if I’d be brave enough to try one out. Segways are kinda like two-wheeled scooters that you stand on. Too far to fall is my only concern. The cutest and most unusual, to my way of thinkin’, were the little yellow go-carts. These teeny vehicles-for-two travel on the actual streets of SF. The GPS-guided go-cart tours looked like the most fun. Turns out they are interactive and provide guided tours in five languages. After riding the Rice-A-Roni cable car, I’d consider the go-carts the number-two fun form of transportation in San Francisco. I can’t wait till next time hubby wants to go to an educational seminar. He doesn’t know it … but I gotta bag already packed in the closet … just in case. Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location