San Francisco in 23,747 Steps...

We hopped on the 8:45 AM ferry into the City and departed on the 5:30 PM using only our feet as transportation. We traversed numerous districts and discovered neighborhoods we hadn't explored before. It was an exceptional day by the Bay!

Arriving by ferry just starts the entire tourist vibe!

Our first destination was the Mission District and on the way we passed by City Hall, which was a first.
San Francisco City Hall, built in 1915 to replace an earlier one that was destroyed during the 1906 earthquake, is a Beaux-Arts monument to the City Beautiful movement that epitomized the high-minded American Renaissance of the 1880s to 1917. The structure's dome is taller than that of the United States Capitol by 42 feet.
One goal today was to tour Mission San Francisco de Asís, or Mission Dolores, the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the seventh religious settlement established as part of the California chain of missions. Founded on June 29, 1776, this is the best preserved of all the Missions. Interestingly, in 1957, scenes from Hitchcock's Vertigo were filmed here.
Within the Basilica I found this statue of interest. I learned that it depicts Martin de Porres (1579 - 1639) a lay brother for the Dominican order.  He was illegitimately born to a former black slave and a Spanish nobleman.  In 1962, he was honored by canonization, and he is now known as the patron saint of mixed-race people and all those seeking interracial harmony. Why the broom?  Because he believed that "all work is sacred no matter how menial." Martin is usually accompanied by a cat and a dog, which drink out of the same dish. Only in San Francisco!

I love murals and had read about the Clarion Alley Mural Project, whose vision is to be a space where culture and dignity speak louder than the rules of private property or a lifestyle that puts profit before compassion, respect, and social justice. It is one of those places that demands to be visited often since the murals change frequently.
This was on a store front and just had to be captured!
Lunch was at Tacolicious' Mission District location and it was truly delicious.
No trip to San Francisco can be complete without the famous Cable Cars.
While we have been here before, we were still amazed by the historic Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse, where visitors can view the actual cable winding machinery from an elevated gallery, as well as the path of the cable entering the building and leaving underneath the street in the sheave room viewing area. So cool. And the history of this means of transportation is pretty intriguing as well.

Every cable car is pulled along it's hilly track by an underground cable. The cable is gripped with a vise-like mechanism that is operated via the grip lever in the front of the car. Today, we got to see the grip having to be replaced, mid-trip. Everyone was very intrigued. Very interesting stuff.
Steve is enjoying the Transamerica Building, an iconic sight visible from all over the city.
City Lights is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics. Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, City Lights is one of the truly great independent bookstores in the United States, a place where book lovers from across the country and around the world come to browse, read, and just soak in the ambiance of alternative culture's only "Literary Landmark."
We ended our day is this amazing green building at a neat little cafe. Named for Francis Coppola's venerable production company, American Zoetrope, Cafe Zoetrope is located in the majestic Sentinel Building, a San Francisco historic landmark in the heart of North Beach. The building was completed in 1907 and is a very distinctive copper-green Flatiron style structure. It was a really great space to have a drink before heading back to camp. It gave us time to pause and remember all the cool San Francisco sights that exploring 10.68 miles of the City afforded us. What an amazing day.

An added highlight was seeing the sun set behind the Golden Gate Bridge. Wow.

 "What I like best about San Francisco
is San Francisco."
- Frank Lloyd Wright

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♪♫ On the Road Again ♫♪

Our current travel plans were established before Tahoe's snowmageddon and the timing couldn't be more perfect.

We finally get to see our children to celebrate Christmas, belatedly, and to explore the uniqueness of their neighborhoods. First stop on the road trip was to see son #1. Besides presents, dining well and family fun, we also got outside (where there was absolutely no snow).
We found ourselves at an amazing park for what turned out to be a Nature hike!

And we delighted in the early Spring.

During the neighborhood explore, we found one of the sweetest and saddest "Little Free Libraries" I have seen. It is dedicated to the memory of three year old Caemon who was lost to leukemia in 2013. This C is for Crocodile library is an wonderful tribute to a sweet little guy.
After saying our goodbyes, we headed south to camp in the town of Greenbrae, near the Larkspur Ferry. This will be our home base for going into San Francisco tomorrow. In the meantime, our view is of San Quentin State Prison (1852), the oldest prison in California. Interesting sights abound. I can't wait to get out in it all.

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Winter Trek: Snowshoeing at 9,000'

After taking last year off, I am back as a volunteer for Winter Trek, a 5th Grade Environmental Education Program. After greeting the students at Explore Tahoe: An Urban Trail head, we hopped on the Gondola to travel to the top of Heavenly (I can't think of a better name for it).

This incredible outdoor school lesson takes place at 9,000 ft elevation at the Heavenly Mountain Resort via a free Gondola ride.

I love it for many reason but one is the fact that I get to become U.S. Forest Service Ranger Denise sharing, with students from California and Nevada, all there is to know about the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The programs lasts a few hours and includes leading the class through the wilderness to learn snowshoe skills and discover evidence of winter adapting animals. Students fulfill science, language, social science and physical education requirements for their 5th grade curriculum. Unbelievable!

A couple of years ago, Bob, Jenny and I were asked to help with the pre-visit video that students watch before embarking on Winter Trek. If you have 14 minutes and want to know more about what we do, it's worth watching. It is truly fun elevated!

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The View From the Truck...

Shopping and a doctor's appointment has us going over the hill to Carson City, Nevada. The view from Steve's truck was exceptional. Just sharing our drive with you!

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GOT Serious Snow...

The accumulation of snow has reached a point that a flat roofed building in town collapsed over night. Why anyone would build a non-peaked roof in the Sierras baffles even me, but prior to 1970, that was a thing here. Here's a great article of what is happening in Tahoe Today!

Steve is standing at our dining room slider. Look how tall the snow mound is on our back deck. Crazy. We will probably have it there until Summer, at this rate.
The previously mentioned article said that we should remove all icicles because the weight of them can damage the roof and help to bring it down. I had to photograph a couple of them. They really are works of art.

Note how much snow fell on the camper in the last 12 hours.
Look at the amount of snow that is on our roof. It's at least two feet of packed snow with a huge layer of ice underneath. Also, the berms are preventing our mail from being delivered to the house. I have never been in so much snow. It's pretty wild.
That is the view of our house from down the street. Can you see Steve on top of the camper?
This is our back deck. The view from the guest room is almost gone.
And there's Steve, blowing a path in the backyard. The excitement continues.

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