Chapter 6.15: AirTrain SFO Blue Line, Rental Car Center to Garage G
The same car reversed direction, leaving at 5:28 PM. We were now just 15 minutes later than our schedule since I had allowed a five minute layover at that end.
In this direction, we had to circle the airport a little more than we did on the outbound trip. After we passed International Terminal G where we had originally boarded this car, we got off at Garage G. We walked downstairs to the BART station, and entered the paid area.
Because we had skipped riding the AirTrain's Red Line, we were now pretty much on schedule. In fact, we would catch the BART train we were supposed to catch on our itinerary.
Chapter 6.16: BART Dublin/Pleasanton-Millbrae Line, San Francisco International Airport to Powell Street
The final official BART trip of the day would bring us full circle to downtown San Francisco, where we had started our day together. Our train left the airport at 5:54 PM, two minutes late. We detrained at 6:23 PM at Powell, and headed for dinner at the adjacent Westfield Shoppingtown San Francisco Centre, which we were able to access from the underground BART/Muni concourse.
Chapter 6.17: Dinner at Westfield Shoppingtown San Francisco Centre
Lou left us before dinner to return to the airport and his hotel near there. Grace and Alan also left us here to meet some of her friends for dinner.
There was a small food area right inside the mall where we had entered. However, we came upon a much larger section that had upscale eateries. The ten of us sat there, and had different delicacies of our personal choice. Michael and I opted for a pizza place we had passed upon entering the mall, so it took us some time to get our food before we returned to the group.
Chapter 6.18: End of Tuesday's travels
After we all ate, we split up for the day. Jishnu elected to remain downtown for a bit and would return to the airport and ultimately our hotel later on. Skip, HaRRy, and Eric had to catch a ferry back to Oakland, so they were soon on their way in that direction. John had to catch a CalTrain back to his hotel in South San Francisco, so he left us to go in another direction as well. Lynn, Mike, and Steve would take BART back to Walnut Creek.
Michael and I would return back to our hotel (via BART and the airport) soon, as it was our laundry night. Before we headed for BART, we went into a Walgreen store. Inside we met Lynn, Steve, and Mike again. Apparently many of us had used up various toiletries on our transcontinental trip, and it was time to replenish our supplies!
Chapter 7: Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Wednesday was Muni Day. We would ride every cable car, streetcar, and light rail line that Muni had, all in one long day.
Chapter 7.1: Meeting at Powell & Market Streets
We began our day by meeting at the surface at the corner of Powell and Market Streets. Our thirteen participants, all now experienced at getting there from their respective hotels, were all there at the designated meeting time.
We had decided that of the many transit activities of the day, the Powell cable car lines had to be first, since by 9 AM they are known to generate long lines of tourists. Encountering a long line could seriously affect our ability to ride everything we wanted to ride during daylight hours, so we agreed to take our first rides of the day on these lines and begin our day at around 8 AM.
Regarding the cable car lines, the only difference between our plan and what actually happened is that we rode them in reverse. Originally we were going to take a Powell-Hyde car to Fisherman's Wharf and a Powell-Mason car back. But after we all got together and watched the ritual of turning a cable car on its turntable at the Powell/Market end of the line, we jumped on the first one we could.
Chapter 7.2: Muni Powell-Mason Cable Car, Powell & Market to Taylor & Bay (Fisherman's Wharf)
We departed from Powell & Market Streets at 8:10 AM, just seven minutes later than originally intended.
The Cable Cars are run by the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), as are the buses, electric trolley buses, light rail vehicles, and streetcars. They remain a tourist activity, while providing needed transportation over two very large hills. The cable cars survive because of the hills, as they don't have to worry about acceleration or braking since they instead grab onto a moving cable under the streets.
The cables are controlled from a power house at the corner of Mason and Washington Streets. This building also serves as the barn where vehicles are stored. Part of this facility houses the Cable Car Museum. If we'd had more time in our day we might have visited this attraction.
Our car arrived at the Taylor & Bay terminus at 8:28 AM. Now we had to walk one block north and about six blocks west through the Fisherman's Wharf area to get to the other line.
Chapter 7.3: At Fisherman's Wharf
We had a nice, healthy walk over to the other cable car turnaround at Hyde & Beach. Some were able to stop for coffee or to use the facilities at stores along the way and then catch up to us.
We left the Hyde & Beach terminus at 8:54 AM, headed back for Powell & Market. We got there at 9:15 AM. All told, and despite doing the cable cars in the opposite order, we were only nine minutes past our itinerary.