Mini-Vacay By The Bay

My Loyal Follower

When my loyal follower said, “meet me in San Francisco” it was all I could do to contain my excitement for the chance to capture some spectacular photos AND for us both to meet The Golden Gate Ambassador, Allan Smorra of Ohm Sweet Ohm. Seriously, the state of California owes Allan some sort of commission for the effort he put into making our visit so enjoyable. Not only did he offer lots of great suggestions before we arrived, but he also greeted us in his fair city by the bay for a behind the scenes tour of the remarkable Golden Gate Bridge. Allan’s passion for this magnificent structure and the city it serves is obvious to anyone who reads his blog. He posts amazing photos of the bridge and shares stories of its history that make you want to see it for yourself.

If you travel even for a short visit, it will not disappoint.

Golden Gate Ambassador, Allan Smorra
Golden Gate Ambassador, Allan Smorra



Section of cable display. Notice how it sags on both ends. Yeah, it's that heavy.
Section of cable display. Notice how it sags on both ends. Yeah, it’s that heavy.
Cross section of cable made up of thousands of steel cable.
Cross section of cable made up of thousands of smaller diameter steel cables.
Cables In Action
Cables In Action


As you can tell from these photos, the bridge was socked in by fog when we arrived, but that did not in any way dampen the experience. With Allan as our gracious guide, we learned a great deal about the construction and maintenance of the bridge. The ongoing efforts to counter the effects of wind and moisture as well as improvements in technology are all part of what makes Allan’s work so important for the safety of those who travel the Golden Gate Bridge every day for business and pleasure.

I captured the bridge from several vantage points throughout the city, even from the rooftop restaurant, Top of the Mark, in the ever fashionable Snob Nob Hill hotel, Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco. Where, by the way, you can get the lightest, fluffiest, most expensive egg white omelet you’ll ever have in your life.

My advice, go for the view.

View from Top of the Mark
View from Top of the Mark




I’ll give you one guess which direction I went after taking this shot.

In addition to our tour of the bridge, we also enjoyed people watching at Fisherman’s Wharf, the sea lions at Pier 39, Chinatown, and much, much more. We filled the weekend with as much fun as we could stand. My feet have the blisters to prove it.



Worlds Largest Jeans
Worlds Largest Jeans


We did leave the city for a day trip to parts unknown. The fog came and went as we made our way around the curvy, sometimes treacherous, two lanes of coastal highway beyond Muir Woods toward Stinson Beach where we stopped to put our feet in the water and have a late breakfast at the charming Breakers Cafe. If you go, try Uncle Pete’s omelet.

Shrimp and avocado. YUM!



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We were like Lewis & Clark in a rental car with no cell service, exploring the scenic coast line all the way to Point Reyes Lighthouse.


Only 202 steps to go! Oh wait, plus 306 back to the top!!!


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Sweeping views took our breath away all around San Francisco. We witnessed the birth of clouds and discovered where the sun goes to sleep. Our last night, we dined at Cliff House on the recommendation of a friend. The service was excellent. The food was amazing. There was no room in my skirt for dessert, but I ordered one anyway.

I did not regret it one bit!


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The entire trip was incredible. Thanks Allan, for sharing your city with us.




Palace Hotel
Palace Hotel



22 thoughts on “Mini-Vacay By The Bay

  1. Hi Honie. Thanks for taking me on a journey of San Francisco. I have always wanted to go. Your photography is stunning, and I love the way you have organised your photos for your post.

  2. Your photos are stunning.

    Having lived for 8 years in the South Bay, I’ve been to many of the places pictured here. I have to say, if the Golden Gate Bridge isn’t socked in with fog, that’s a disappointment. It’s the way it was meant to be seen, and you had the perfect weather for it. Great capture coming out of the tunnel. The Point Reyes Lighthouse brings back great memories, as well – except for all those damn stairs. Best of all, though? The Littering sign. Too funny.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Petruska. The views were stunning. How cool it must have been to live there. The tunnel photos were fun to take. I got a couple of nice captures in the driver’s side rearview mirror that I didn’t post and a series of the approach to the bridge and all the way across looking up where the fog created some great drama. I’m going to try to make a short movie clip with those. Road signage always cracks me up. Especially the signs we have here that say Obey All Road Signs. Seriously? Did we have some extra money in the road sign budget or what?

  3. Gorgeous photos…all of them. What a fabulous trip. We have a photo of daughter #1 and baby grandson with the Golden Gate bridge in the background, then another of them both years later. I love those photos.
    One other thing I love…the larger than life Russian nesting dolls that greet us at the airport.

    1. Those photos are priceless, aren’t they? I didn’t see the dolls, but I really liked the SF airport. Small and clean with lots of comfy seating. I had to stay there for about four hours on my way home. So, it was nice to find a quite spot to relax.

  4. amazing pics — but the two I love the most were very different–love the trees hanging over (leaning over) the road and the palace hotel–both caught my imagination
    loyal follower is one handsome guy to go with one pretty girl btw

    1. Loyal follower is handsome and sweet and funny and aggravating. He’s the real deal. The trees – LouAnn, it was so amazing. Those trees growing in clumps captured my imagination too. The fog, of course, turned to condensation beneath them. It was like the trees were bent over crying. And the Palace Hotel, I couldn’t walk passed it another time without going inside. I’m so glad my loyal follower was willing to humor my curiosity.

  5. Vacations are wonderful. My favorite photo was of the trees you didn’t name. Majestic. And there’s much to learned in the thousands of lines that make the cable. Together is strength. I wish we really understood that as well in humanity as in building bridges. What a metaphor.

  6. Your photos are wonderful, Stephanie, and I am glad that you and LF had a good time. I have heard it said that, “Once you visit San Francisco, it will always be your second home.” Come back again, soon.

    1. Already working on that next commission check I see. Allan, you made our trip memorable. LF says our GGB tour with you was his favorite part. Thanks again for all of the info you provided and for being such a gracious host.

  7. Stunning photos as always, Honie. I’ve never been to San Francisco but that’s on the list of places Mr. Weebles and I want to go. Your post makes me want to go even more. And that Palace Hotel dining room looks so gorgeous, I need to dine there.

    1. Good then, the state of CA will owe me a commission too. Think I’ll ever collect that? HA! The photos don’t do it justice, Madame. When you go, you will love it. Oh, take a jacket. We didn’t dine at the Palace Hotel, but I had to check it out since we kept passing it on our way from our hotel to Market Street.

    1. We passed that campus on our way to Cliff House. It was impressive from the street. I bet he enjoyed his time there. We had a great time. Now, we need to get back to CO! 😉

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