Sunday, November 28, 2010

4.4 miles in Outer Sunset/Sunset

I don't normally do this, but I crossed a dividing line between two neighborhoods with my walk today.  Sunset Blvd. divides the Outer Sunset to the west with the Sunset District to the east.  There is no notable difference between the two, but it still felt wrong.

The housing in this area is mostly single-family and varies from stark stucco... cozy craftsmans. 
This row of craftsmans, btw, reminds me of the house in the film, You, Me and Dupree.  The only thing I really liked about that movie was the house.  Next time I'm down in LA, I think I'm going to find that neighborhood. 
Sooooooooo cute.

You know what else is cute? This monstrosity of a flower bed.  Adds so much color to the neighborhood...

The flowers aren't the only color in the neighborhood.  A-1 Liquors has a really nifty mural by the artist, Tino Olsen.

As I approached this corner on Irving, I noticed that the cassette drawer was open.  Three guesses what tape was waiting inside...

Are you ready?

Ta-Dah! The Chipmunks Munk Rock!

On that note, have a great week!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

3 miles in Mt. Davidson/Miraloma

This is my second pass through this neighborhood. I was on Mt. Davidson in January, and in Miraloma in May.  It was nice to be back.

Instead of parking on Myra Way and walking in near the top of the hill, I got the brainy idea to park on the dead end of Rockdale Dr. and climb up the north face of the hill.  Yikes! It's intense. 

After some serious huffing and puffing, we made it to the top.  The views are so worth it.

Aw, Kelly and Sam looking sweet.  The sunset was pretty sweet too.

Of course, the center of attention at the top of Mt. Davidson is a 103 foot concrete cross.  Always fun to look at.

Also fun to look at:  the yard decor in the Miraloma neighborhood on the north side of the hill.

I'm especially fond of giraffes.

Santa on a motorcycle, eh?

With access to free news on the internet, it's amazing to me that people still steal newspapers.

For funzies, here's a video from Mt. Davidson.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

3 miles in the Richmond District

Yep.  I'm still plodding along in the Richmond District.  In the dark.

This section of the neighborhood is pretty sleepy after dark, so the brightest spots were the corner stores and restaurants.  The Royal Market on Geary looks like it offers standard fare from the outside...

...but the labels say otherwise.  This is the place to go if you need any eastern European goodies.

As I was walking past this Korean restaurant on Balboa, it occurred to me that I have yet to eat in a single Korean restaurant in San Francisco.  This place looks really nice, but is it the best place in town to try for the first time?  If not, where should I go first? I need suggestions!

I didn't have time to stop in, but this place looks like it can make a dandy chai.  So, I think I'll stop in for one the next time I'm in the neighborhood.

4.8 miles around Lake Merced

This walk is reposted from my column over at Ocean Beach Bulletin.  If you're bored, go check out the comments about the lake over there since they offer a cool discussion about the salinity of the lake, the breeds of fish swimming in it, and some cool buildings in the area.  Or not.  You can just look at the pictures below and draw your own conclusions about the salinity, etc. 

Here’s a little trivia about Lake Merced brought to you by the Western Neighborhoods Project: Lake Merced was originally inhabited by the Ohlone Indians, who fished the lake and plied the nearby Pacific for fish, seals and the occasional beached whale. The Spanish arrived in 1774, scouted the area as a possible mission site and named it The Lake of Our Lady of Mercy – which later became the corrupted Spanish/English “Merced.”
My brother, Kelly, came along for this walk and took most of the pictures. Thanks, Kel! Since he joins me frequently for walks, I guess I should introduce him: He’s a musician who performs under the name of Hotel Eden. You can say hello to him on Twitter @hoteleden. He’d like that.

Wrapping around the perimeter of the lake is a paved walkway. Parallel to said paved walkway is a rough-hewn dirt path, if that’s your thing. There are also a few dirt paths that cut through the woods and down to the shore of the lake, for a more organic experience. The whizzing traffic just feet from the paved walkway can detract from the transcendental experience.

In addition to walking past the lake itself, the path also leads you past – among other things – the campus of San Francisco State University and the Olympic Club Golf Course.

If you are anywhere along the east side of the lake, you can’t miss the Parkmerced property. The neighborhood is ridiculously large by San Francisco standards. It has high-rises, townhouses, 12 fitness centers and even a Montessori School.

The wild card of the walk was definitely discovering the Pacific Rod and Gun Club, where anyone (membership not required!) can shoot guns toward the lake. This club has been in existence since 1928, so I’m sure they have plenty of safety measures in place, but it seems a little dangerous to have random people firing guns in close proximity to lake visitors. A reader has informed me that shooting is limited to specific times twice a week and is very controlled, so have no fear when visiting the won't get shot.

After completing the full loop around the lake, we were HUNGRY. So Kelly and I stopped at the first place that served gluten free food: Jitra Thai on Ocean Avenue, just east of the lake. I guess I should tell you now, I eat a lot of Thai food and I consider myself somewhat of an authority on this cuisine. So when I say that this was some mean Thai food, stop what you’re doing and go there immediately. Be sure to order the Toasted Coconut De-Lite appetizer.

Okay, for funzies, here are a few bonus pics from the walk that didn't make the Ocean Beach Bulletin column.
The sun was starting to set, so I got a bunch of back-lit shots.

This one is my favorite.

And, while I'm in the bonus-giving mood, here is a little video we made about our walk around the lake.  It's short.  Let me know what you think.  I may make more videos if you like it.  Or not, if you don't.  Be honest.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

1.8 miles on Russian Hill

 This course may look short and easy, but it wasn't. 
Okay, it was short.  But it wasn't easy.

For starters, it was dark and my first block was up a steep hill.

I was using this walk to fill in some gaps I left on previous walks.
I didn't realize how hilly it was actually going to be...

...then again, the name should have given it away.
The "Russian Hill" part, not the "Liquors" part.
(Yes, that is a man digging through the recycling bin.)

 Fortunately, there was enough cool stuff to distract me from the pain in my calves.  Like, for instance, this insanely creepy doorway...

and some suspended bananas...

 this window of adorable puppies...

and this window full of chickens. 

On a related note, have you read about the new pie bird rage?  Martha Stewart says every home needs one.  The idea, I understand, is that you put this little ceramic bird in the center of your pie, then while baking the bird will whistle, indicating the center is hot enough to release steam.  Pie birds have been around for centuries, but are making a comeback right now.  I don't personally bake pies, but thanks to Martha Stewart's brainwashing techniques I now kind of want one.  Either one: a pie or a pie bird.

Monday, November 1, 2010

OCTOBER STATS: 15.2 miles

OCTOBER: 15.2 miles
SINCE I STARTED: 431.9 miles

While I walked 15 miles this month, I covered very little new ground.  The Glide Bridge to Bridge course was the same as last year so it didn't turn any new streets red.  It's okay.  The race raises funds for the Special Olympics so I don't consider the miles wasted.

October stood out in a few ways:
1)  I ran part of the Bridge to Bridge race;
2) I ran part of the Niketown 4 mile course; and
3) I FINALLY walked inside Golden Gate Park.

I'm looking forward to walking in November because I'm a sucker for holiday decorations.  I can't wait to see what everyone is doing to their front steps for Fall!

1 mile in the Presidio

My family's in town and the weather was incredible in San Francisco today so we took not one, but two walks! After brunch at Park Chow (yum x infinity), we meandered through GGP (which I'm going to write about over at Ocean Beach Bulletin later this week).  Then at sundown, we took a guided "Haunted Presidio" walking tour.  oooOOOOOoooohhh.

Our guide and docent were great.  This and a bunch of other guided tours are totally free, provided by the Golden Gate National Conservancy.  Check out the calendar of events and take one of the tours.  Seriously, do it. You won't be disappointed.

This walk was entirely in the dark.  My camera doesn't take good night-time pictures.  Sorry.

We started at the old Army hospital, stopped outside a few haunted houses, went inside the Officer's Club and then... 
The last stop on the tour was the basement of Building 102 on Montgomery Street.  Yes.  The basement.

Super spooky!

Aside from the ghost stories that made everything feel spookier than they were, the Presidio is really a lovely place after dark.  The buildings are fairly well lit and the streets are pleasently quiet.

Graduate school in the Presidio.  Go figure... Did you know that there are over 300 buildings in the Presidio? Yep. It's going to take me several more walks to see them all.  Can't wait to come back.

In the daylight, of course.