2015-08-16 - Northwest Road Trip - San Francisco - Part I
My mother, father, brother and I drove to San Francisco on Sunday, my brother's last day before starting work. We drove from Millbrae into San Francisco and parked near Sutro Baths in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It was fun climbing around the ruins, walking into the cave, and being so close to the ocean. Sutro Baths was originally a large, indoor swimming pool and bath complex built by Adolph Sutro. Sutro was a wealthy entrepreneur, investor, and former mayor of San Francisco. Despite his best efforts at marketing the largest indoor swimming pool in the world and improving public transportation to the site, it never proved to be valuable. Today, as ruins free for all to come and enjoy, and much easier to get to, it attracts more visitors than it had when it was open. To learn more about Sutro Baths, check out the 99% invisible podcast episode on the subject. It is where I originally learned about it. The visitor's center is great as well and shows more of the history of the site and area of San Francisco. http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/young-ruin/
In San Francisco, we parked near the Ghirardelli Factory. My mother and brother went in and got lots of free samples while my dad and I visited the wonderful Maritime National Historical Park Visitor Center. A huge place filled with historical exhibits and short film on the maritime history of San Francisco, it is filled with things to do and enjoy while also completely free for everyone. It was well-decorated and unexpectedly awesome. After leaving the visitor's center, my brother joined us as we checked out the nearby historical ships at Hyde St. Pier. The audio guide via cell phone led us through tales of the various ferries and boats. With the sun drawing low, we ended our day with great views of San Francisco at Treasure Island. An artificial island originally built for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, it served much of its subsequent life as a military base. Now owned by the city, it seems in ruins due to a nearby oil spill in 2007 and radioactive contamination from the military ships that had docked there after Bikini Atoll atomic tests. Many buildings are closed and fenced off, some removed due to the threat of tsunami damage. It is hard to say what the future will bring to this place, well known for having the best views of San Francisco.