Traveling Thursday’s Post
June 21, 2018

December 2015, Scott and I were browsing the airline websites when he located an amazing deal. Two flights to San Francisco for under $200; that would be for both seats, not each. Normally these flights are over $200 each so there was an electricity in the air as we daydreamed about taking the flight out and visiting our friend Barbara while taking in the sights of the Bay area. Laughing, I said, “I dare you.” He did.  I have never been so stunned and excited before like I was at that moment.  We were definitely outside our comfort zone, our box.

Most of our travels had taken place within the Texas borders, but definitely never had we ventured far enough to need airline tickets. So much planning had to be done now that we had two, non-refundable tickets to California.  We called Barbara and commenced to making plans. So many opportunities, so many things to do and see. Of course, there would be a Yosemite trip, drive along the Coast Highway 1, and somehow a venture into San Francisco proper.  What would we do? What would we see? Did we have enough money? Was there going to be enough time?  So many questions. We decided we would spend 24 hours in the City by the Bay, but what would that entail?

Because we are trying to visit all the National Parks & other sites listed with the National Parks Service, this seemed like a good start.  In San Francisco alone, there are four locations: the San Francisco Alcatraz, the Golden Gate, the Presidio of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Maritime. We were there for a short time and money was tight so we opted to visit one of these. We would visit the Golden Gate Bridge because not only was it cheap, but it was one of the items on my bucket list.  I don’t think Scott has a “bucket list” per say, but it was one of the places he wanted to experience.

Because we decided to enjoy the public transportation (yes, it was cheaper than renting a car), we took the bus to the Golden Gate Visitor Center. It made it’s way slowly through the streets of San Francisco giving us a prime opportunity to see many of the places we would otherwise miss being on foot or in a private vehicle. If you ever decide to do the public transportation system within San Francisco, look into the MUNI system. They have 1-day, 3-day, and 7-day visitor passes that are not very expensive.  It would actually cost much more to pay per each ride. You will see so much more if you take one of the MUNI’s and it will enable you to meet some interesting people. We chose to go with a 3-day pass due to our need for the system being a bit more than 24 hours. We used one day of them and passed them on to some other visitors who were standing at the kiosk trying to make some decisions.

The bus we took did not actually drive across the bridge but went to the visitor center. We were able to experience the tunnel and see the massive line of cars waiting to pay the toll. This is definitely not one of the items on my bucket list.  Seeing how just driving across the bridge required payment, I began to worry that I would not be able to walk across the bridge.  My anxiety was high being so close and the possibility of failure so near.  We arrived at the Visitor Center and saw so many things that made the Golden Gate Bridge such an amazing piece of grand construction.  Here you could watch a short video on how the building crew was able to build the bridge, see models on the movement of the bridge and hear about the men who worked so diligently.  We were able to get a passport stamp for our NPS passport and a patch, the requirement we have for our travels.

Finally, it was time to cross the bridge of my dreams. We found out there was no charge for walking or biking over the bridge so we were ready to cross, but with my knee acting up, we decided to stop at the first archway.  As we started towards the bridge, people whizzed past us on bikes and cars drove alongside us heading to the other side. At first, it was extremely overwhelming, but once you saw there was no danger in the cars sideswiping you, the feeling subsided.

Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge began January 5, 1933, and was opened for people to start crossing on May 27, 1937; however, the concept of this bridge was thrown about before the 1900’s.  There were many ideas, but none took hold until approximately 1916 when an engineering student wrote an article asking bridge engineers if a bridge over the one-mile straight between the city of San Francisco and the San Francisco Peninsula could be built for under $100 million.  Joseph Strauss responded with a drawing of a cantilevered suspension bridge.  This idea took hold and the process of planning this marvouls bridge began.

Once we approached the first tower which had a large observation type deck we were able to see Alcatraz in the distance. As we stood on the deck, large ships passed under the giant bridge.  It was a bit shocking to see these very large shipping vessels with shipping containers passing directly below us, but with 754 feet above the water, they had plenty of room to manoeuvre.

I must admit, I was becoming quite emotional as we stood under the first tower. This was truly the first time I had actually been able to mark off an item from my bucket list and the feeling was amazing.  It has caused me to realize that I can accomplish the things I thought I would never do.  I just have to dream a little more and be ready to dare Scott to do something.  That will get me out of my comfort zone rather quickly.

What has been your greatest adventure? Did you learn anything new about yourself? What realizations did you learn about other people and cultures?  Please tell us in the comments or head over to our Facebook page and tell us there.  Scott and I would love to hear about your favorite travel story.

Safe travels everyone.
Ren