The City by the Bay that Knows How

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None of the named locations, or anyone for that matter other than my Patreon supporters, are paying me for this entry, and in no way have sponsored, endorsed, or have administered me to have written this post.

Family brought me back west for a week, and I only had a single afternoon (more like less than six hours) to explore all of San Francisco. How does one spend such little time in such a grand and historic city? Well, you cannot, but that did not stop me from trying!

Bonus pre-day

While the week was full of work of moving my family into Sonoma Valley, we were able to take an afternoon to enjoy the natural beauty of northern coastal California. We took the stunning state highway (SR – State Route) 116 that travels along the Russian River, a river that runs through the valley, to its mouth at the Pacific Ocean at Goat Rock Beach.

After spending a good afternoon at the beach, we went to nearby town of Jenner to eat dinner at River’s End, a restaurant on a cliff-side that overlooks the mouth of the river.

Panorama of the Russian River flowing into the Pacific Ocean, separated by Goat Rock Beach. View from River’s End restaurant.

Day at the City

My week ended with several hours able to spend exploring San Francisco. We drove south on the SR 101, which means that my first time in the city ever was introduced by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. True to stereotypical San Franciscan fashion, the fog was so thick that we could not see the towers.

Fog is thicc

The first stop after crossing the bay was the famed Painted Ladies by Alamo Park.

“What ever happened to predictability?”

From there, we drove down the crooked block of Lombard Street.

After that, we decided to stop at Coit Tower. That was a great choice, as we were able to soak in amazing views of the skyline and the bay.

Alcatraz Island, as seen from Coit Tower

We parked a bit at the Financial District and walked around for a few minutes, and then went back to Russian Hill and the Richmond District and stopped at the Russian Holy Virgin Cathedral.

After a prayer service for the sick, we went to dinner at a Moroccan restaurant, El Mansour. Not realising that they also had belly dancers, we were surprised to have a dinner and entertainment.

Thus, my afternoon ended, and I was dropped off at the San Francisco International Airport to go back home.


As I stated above, I really did not have the time to explore for what this place deserves. Since my family now lives in the area, the likelihood of my return is high. And once I return, I will have a lot of the touristy stuff out of the way (minus things like visiting Alcatraz), and can explore more of the local scene. One thing is for sure, I look forward to this future exploration.

Clear skies at Clearwater

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up. Thank you.

A group and I went to Clearwater Beach, Florida. There is so much to see and do on the island of Clearwater Beach that leaving the mainland is unnecessary. We drove down, spent two nights there, and then drove back. Overall, it was a successful trip.

We stayed at a yacht on the south end of the island, which was walkable to everything we wanted to see. That was fantastic.

The first day, we spent all day at the beach. The beaches are of white sand, and stretch for a little more than 2 miles. The water is clear and blue. It is no wonder than resorts line the beaches of the island. We spent a few hours at the beach that day, and then went to dinner at Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill. I highly recommend getting dinner there at least one evening. It is a great place to listen to great live music while having a cold drink and watching the ocean.

Day 2, we spent all day walking up and down the storefront part of town, and engaged in touristy things. After breakfast, some of us went to do parasailing and jet ski. Others found a speed boat tour, and enjoyed a time viewing Clearwater at 40+ knots. Regardless, there is a sizeable dolphin population, so everyone got to encounter a dolphin at least once.

Being on the Gulf of Mexico, the cuisine is heavy on the seafood. It is not hard to find a restaurant with freshly caught seafood. The fresh seafood includes: grouper, mahi mahi, shrimp, and then some. Seriously, it does not matter where you go, you will find fresh seafood. Or just stay at Palm Pavilion. That works too. (No, they are not paying me to write this article.)

Clearwater Beach is renowned most for its famous sunsets. When the conditions are just right, there is even a green flash as the sun sets. Almost everywhere you look, there is a countdown to the sunset. Almost every bar has a sunset special (or specials), and there is even a specific dinner cruise for viewing the sunset. We went to a rooftop bar on Night 2 to watch it.

My only regret for this tour was that it was too short. There is so much to see on Clearwater Beach, and the surrounding area, that 2 days is simply not enough. Not only is there Clearwater Beach, but also Clearwater on the mainland, which has a number of theatres, museums, and an aquarium, and the headquarters of the Church of Scientology, but also Tampa, which is only 20 miles away, is also full of things to see. The next time we go, it would have to be a week, minimum. And I do want to go back soon.