We flew from Winnipeg to San Francisco for a day or two's relaxation and fun before the big hop across the Pacific and home. The second leg from Calgary was an international flight, of course, but we were delighted to be able to save time by completing USA immigration formalities in Calgary (i.e. at a time when we had time!) so we could be a domestic arrival in San Francisco. This civilised system is available at a number of Canadian airports, we think. We were surprised that the Air Canada international flight was in a flying cigar, a Bombardier CRJ900, but we later realised that this 90 seat Canadian manufactured regional jet could be a perfect choice for a low volume route, as this one apparently is.
Art installation at Calgary Airport is so evocative of the Canadian countryside. 'Where The Mountains Meet The Prairies', by Jason CARTER, 2016.
For days, we had been reading about wildfires in California, especially in Sonoma County at the north of the San Francisco Bay area, and that the local electricity utility, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), was being blamed for causing some significant fires due to obsolete equipment. PG&E's incredible response was to shut-down power widely across its network, including in Marin County where our San Francisco hotel was located, in Sausalito. On picking us up, our driver told us the worst - Sausalito was still totally blacked out. We girded our loins for no lights, no television, no internet and no restaurants for two days, but (and we took the credit for this!) at the very moment the Lincoln Navigator limo backed into the hotel driveway, the power came on and stayed on! We put the candles away and enjoyed a normal stay.
As we arrived in Sausalito, a deliberate blackout had been imposed by PG&E to prevent its equipment starting wildfires.
Sausalito sits on Richardson Bay in San Francisco Bay with direct views to the Bay Bridge and downtown.
In retrospect, natural disasters seem to follow us in the USA. Several years ago, we endured the polar vortex, extreme cold weather, during our entire zig-zag drive down the Mississippi River, culminating in a State Of Emergency in New Orleans preventing us leaving for Miami. Then this year, the US101 Pacific Coast Highway was closed by landslides on the day we needed it to get into Los Angeles. This put us back maybe 6 hours, hardly a big deal, but memorable nonetheless.
Brilliant blue sky despite the nearby fires, and with the power back on, the Taste of Rome was a very popular spot for breakfast and good espresso.
Richardson Bay is home to many small boats and houseboats. This pic taken from a bar where we enjoyed a sunny afternoon.
Sausalito is a "city" just north of the Golden Gate Bridge with a population of only about 7,000 and a land area less than 5km2. It is bounded by the Bay and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The name is from the Spanish for a small willow grove, the first known European arrival being in 1775 looking for safe anchorages and reporting "friendly natives and teeming populations of deer, elk, bear, sea lions, seals and otters" (Wikipedia). Most of those have gone now, starting with development of the area around 1825. In the prohibition era, the town was a centre for bootlegging and rum running. Now, it is a tiny but popular tourist destination (many of whom arrive by bicycle across the Golden Gate and catch the ferry back) and an out-of-town residence for wealthy families. There are 400 houseboats docked in Sausalito and Otis Redding's Sitting On The Dock of the Bay was composed while he was staying on one of them.
We were in San Francisco only last January, but this time was to be a bucket-list ticking splurge by staying in The Inn Above Tide, a boutique waterfront hotel in Sausalito. It was fabulous - our room's balcony overlapped the water, and only about a meter above the high-tide mark. We did nothing here but relax and drink and eat, and walk around. A ferry ride into downtown San Francisco gave us some fresh air and wider choice of restaurants. The balcony of our room was a delightful place to relax and drink wine as we enjoyed (and photographed) smoky sunrises and the spectacular late afternoon skyline view of San Francisco to the south-east. A fine way to wrap up our crossing of the North American continent.
Dappled reflected light makes for a nice view of the beleaguered Pacific Gas & Electric Company building.