Archive for June, 2008

Biking SF

June 29, 2008 4:30 pm

This past week has brought a more or less end to the second project I have been working on at NVIDIA.  I am just finishing up testing it with operating systems other than XP.  This week should bring the start of a new project baring any big problems with the last bits of testing.

This weekend I planned out a bike ride up around San Francisco.  I woke up early yesterday to catch an early train up to the city, but took a look outside my window and decided to go back to bed for an hour.  The weather was one of the weirdest I have seen it out here.  It looked kind of like it was going to pour, but it was kind of foggy, but quite dry all at the same time.  I’m quite sure it was some type of weird interplay between the smoke that has been ever present for the past few weeks and the fog from the ocean making it over the hills into the valley.  After another hour or so of sleep I got up and headed over to NVIDIA to check the weather and pickup my jacket that I had left there.  When there I also checked some web-cams in the SF area and confirmed that they too were socked in with fog.  I killed another hour or so,  keeping an eye on the cameras which were showing things slowly clearing up.  I decided to catch the 10am train north. 

The weather slowly got better as we headed north, but as you’ll see from the pictures, things never really cleared up all the way. 

About this time in the story a map starts to help, so here it is:

I started out at the CalTrain station and proceeded around in a counter clockwise loop. 

Overall I took much fewer pictures on this expedition than my previous excursions to SF because it is alot more hassle to stop and pull out your camera while on a bike than it is while walking.  Also, the weather wasn’t great and there’s only so many times you can take pictures of buildings etc.. (friends are alot more fun to take pictures of… but unfortunately that’s not something I had with me on this trip).

To give you a sense of the weather on the “good” side of the city (the east side that is most protected from the ocean fog) the bay bridge:


This first part of my trip brought me along “The Embarcadero” which is a road with a wide sidewalk (visible in the above picture) that runs along between the city and the piers. This stretch proved to be packed with people attending a farmer’s market, as well as the usual attractions: fisherman’s wharf, an aquarium, a section of historical ships etc.. It proved to be much busier this time than the previous two times I have been along this stretch, even though the weather was much worse this time.

Things got much nicer (biking / walking your bike through a lot of people is not much fun) when I got around to the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, although the farther west I went the worse the weather got. At about this point I could catch my first glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge:

And look back towards Alcatraz:

A little further along (at the Golden Gate Promenade) I stopped to eat lunch and watch a bunch of crazy people sail in tiny sail boats against a wind that must have been >30 mph:

I also snapped a quick – sweaty – cold self portrait with about as much as could be seen of the Golden Gate Bridge:

As I got closer to the bridge the fog became less of an issue with seeing it:

Despite the wind, I decided to take a ride across it:

And look back from the other side:

I thought this sign was funny on the start of the way back across the bridge… I did think twice about heading for Mexico, but I decided against it.

On my way away from the bridge the fog moved back in:

From this point I headed off in a direction that I had not yet explored: West. The plan was to follow the coast around to “Golden Gate Park” aka: the Central Park of SF.  It is the huge rectangular park visible in the bottom right of the map posted above. The problem is, the fog / wind / coldness was blowing in off the ocean, and going west meant heading right into that. This picture sums it up nicely; the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge:

Regardless, I headed on, kept warm by steady hill climbs. The other thing that was not obvious from the maps I used for planning was that the last little stretch to the coast was actually a gravel / dirt bike / walking path that didn’t look like it was a good idea for a road bike like I was riding. That, combined with being rather cold and starting to get tired convinced me to turn south. The houses in this area were crazy expensive:

After a nice coast downhill, I bumped into the park.

The park was a complete beast in and of itself. It was crowded full of people having various parties, playing various sports and you name it. On my way through I passed several gardens (far to full of people to interest me in stopping) and a butterfly conservatory.

The home stretch brought me down some of San Francisco’s famously steep roads. I didn’t get any pictures of this as I was having too much fun flying down them 🙂 At the bottom of the hills I was back down smack into the middle of the city which was super filled with people to the point of being claustrophobic. This was the most open space I could find to pull off the road and take a picture:

It was quite crazy. It was like a different festival was happening on every other street, definitely not my thing.

And of course, there were trolley cars:

That was my big Saturday adventure for this weekend!


PS:  My sister got a camera and a blog this weekend!  Check it out: !!

Fires Update

June 26, 2008 9:47 am

Just a quick post to share a link with you to show the area where we were heading this past weekend. This site has several maps of how large the fires are as well as a nifty picture that more or less sums up why we turned around instead of going on our planned hike.