Wednesday, June 30, 2010

3.4 miles in the Tenderloin

The Tenderloin. 
Final Analysis: It wasn't so bad (in broad daylight).

According to this sign, we should focus on the historic buildings.

This is a very good idea.

You can tell that these buildings had many past lives.

They just don't make signs like this anymore.

And look at the brickwork!

A few points of interest:

1.  The Great American Music Hall

2. The two block stretch of Larkin Street between O'Farrell and Eddy called Little Saigon

3.  The future home of the Tenderloin Museum


4.  The Magic Dollar Store!

And here is a little light reading for your day.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

3.1 miles in West Portal

Here's how this walk went down: I decided I wanted to watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at the little indi theater in Stonestown but a friend could only drive me as far as Noriega and 19th Ave.  So I walked the difference, getting a little side-tracked along the way.

The weather could have been nicer.

But I'm not complaining because the walk was fine.  I take a picture of this wall every time I walk past it on 19th Ave.  It begs the question: Could the original graffitti have been any worse to look at?

This is becoming a theme.

I really like the West Portal neighborhood.  It has a nice mix of stores and restaurants.

It also ends the ongoing debate of fake v. real grass.

Fake: 1
Real: 0

I think some poetry should be written about this scene.  Something like:
Cat's cradle of electricity,
Stops dead in the tracks. 
Houses blue with envy,
As fog rolls in fast.

It needs work.

This place is a little spooky and mysterious to walk around.  I googled it and learned that it was built by Christian Scientists in 1930 as a nursing facility.  Since 1973, it has been called Arden Wood (  Very interesting...

You know what else is very interesting?  The walking conditions on Junipera Serra and Sloat.

While I was trying to figure out how to navigate through the construction work on the sidewalk, I spotted the Waldorf High School, sunken back from the road.

I made it to the theather just in time to watch the 8pm movie.  And, I must say, that I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Subtitled, and all.  Oh, and this theather by Stonestown is FUNKY.  You need to go watch something there!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2 miles in La Lengua

 I ride BART alot.  It's my primary mode of transportation.  On more than one occassion, the train has stopped or broken down at a station, necessitating a walk to another station to complete my journey.  What I have learned is that all BART stations in the city are within an easy walk of each other.  For funzies I decided to walk from the station at 24th/Mission to the one at Glen Park.  Let's call this series of walks B2B (BART to BART).

By now you should be familiar with how muraltastic the Mission is.  The BART station at 24th and Mission is the epicenter of this artform.  Mission Street itself can be a bit overwhelming.  So if you want a calmer walk, head west, my friend!

I decided to take Guerrero Street down to San Jose Ave.  I thought it was a nice stroll.

Know this address:  688 San Jose Ave. (corner of 29th Street).  While the flavors aren't as edgy as those over at Humphry Slocombe (home of the balsalmic vinegar ice cream), they are REALLY good.  I went to Mitchell's this week and got the Italian Fig.  Yum!

The walk down to the Glen Park BART is pretty intuitive.  Once you get to the corner of San Jose Ave. and Randall Street, you will instinctively want to cross over to Arlington Street that actually has a sidewalk (and isn't a six lane highway).

At one point, Arlington Street crosses above San Jose Ave. so you can look down on the traffic and smile at your decision to not walk down there.

And here is your angst-laden political phrase of the day.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

39.3 miles in Chicago, IL (AVON WALK)

This is it, folks.  This is what I've been training for since September, 2009.  The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is a 39.3 mile charity walk spread over two consecutive days.  26.1 miles on Saturday (about 11 hours to walk) and 13.2 miles on Sunday (6 hours).

It's a bit of a story so I'll spare the details, but my friends, Colin and Christine and I ended up registering to do the Chicago Avon Walk even though none of us actually live in Chicago.

At the time we registered for the walk, Colin and Christine lived in Hawaii so we gave our team the Hawaiian name, Hele Kokua (which means "walking for a cause.")

DAY 1: Saturday, June 5, 2010
26.1 miles
Before walking, we did stretches and listened to some inspirational stories from survivors/victims of breast cancer.  We also learned that the newest Biggest Loser, Michael Ventrella, would be walking with us!

For security purposes, Avon doesn't really dig us sharing the walking map, but I can share the main points... The walk started at Soldier Field, past all the museums...

Navy Pier...

and Lake Shore Drive.

At about mile 4, it started to rain.  And proceeded to pour until about mile 13.  Fortunately, there was a break in the deluge while we ate our lunch at mile 9.8 so our sandwiches didn't get soggy.  Because of the rain, I didn't take pictures for half the day.  I also didn't take many pictures during the boring part of the walk which zig-zagged us through residential neighborhoods of Skokie, IL.

After the rain stopped, the walk was humid but manageable.  I loved walking through this park.  There were deer running around.  Too bad I don't know where this was. :/

Day 1 was horrific.  Our smiles are all lies. By about mile 18, we stopped talking because it took too much energy to form words.  We were muddy, blistered and limping.  I never wanted a bath so badly in all my life.

DAY 2: Sunday, January 6, 2010
13.2 miles
Yes, 13.2 miles is half the distance of Day 1.  However, you have to factor in that Day 2 is twice as painful to walk THANKS to Day 1.  This is what my feet looked like going into Day 2.

Day 2 was so scenic.  We went past the zoo, this nature museum...

Loyola University (one of the most sensational physical campuses I've ever seen, btw)...

and all over downtown.

Despite our legs howling in pain, we actually did make it to the finish line.  And just in time too...minutes after we got to our car, the sky opened again and it rained the rest of the day.

I know this post is long, but I want to show you a few of the volunteers who helped make the experience fun:

This guy helped us cross busy intersections.

This lady filled our water bottles.

This group got us through last leg of Day 1.

And this couple was all over the place!  We saw them at multiple corners.

Thanks guys!  And thanks to all the Chicago Avon Walkers for raising a total of $7.7 million to fight breast cancer.  Whoot!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2.4 miles in Diamond Heights

Diamond Heights.

The key word is Heights.

I enthusiastically climbed to the top to take in the views.

Unfortunately, the homes hog all the views.  You can't see much from the street up there. (Side note: this style of house seems to be unique to Diamond Heights.  I can't say I've seen this style anywhere else in town.  So maybe these houses are the diamonds - rare and vintage.)

The one cool feature a pedestrian can enjoy is Glen Canyon along Berkeley Street.  If you recall, I walked down inside and up the other side of the canyon on my recent Miraloma walk. 

This canyon has a way of making you forget you are in San Francisco.

But then you find things nearby to remind you that you are still in this crazy, beautiful city.