People ask us how we do it.  “How do you travel like this, did you win the lottery?” or “you must have saved for years.”.  Actually we work, and when we do, we work HARD.  We submerge ourselves in it, then after 8 days we are asking ourselves, “Why are we so tired?” Duh!  So when we finally take a day off, we like to have FUN.   The job we are on now is no different.  We arrived in San Francisco on June 2nd.  By the 5th we were hard at it.  We worked 8 days and took a day off.  Just rested though.  The next week was longer than the first, by the end of it we were ready for some serious R&R.  So, we planned our day off.

As we crossed the Richmond bridge the next morning, the traffic is tight and the construction is endless, we wonder how long it will be before they add another lane to it.  At least we only have to pay a toll northbound.  I look over, Donn is scrambling around trying to find something, “what are you looking for?”.  He doesn’t hear me.  He grabs a postcard(one of the many we have purchased and NOT sent), and approaching the toll booth he hands the postcard to “Tollbooth Willy”(that happens to be anyone in a tollbooth).  and sez, “Thought you would like something pretty to look at while ‘ur working.”, The man returned with a smile.  Every time we go through a booth Donn is ready with a question, or a nice gesture.  We almost traded a casserole for a toll once.

Our morning was starting off great, no real traffic issues, and our navigation, which we affectionately call Roberta, was taking us right where we need to go.  We started our day in the heart of Sausalito.

IMG_2318 Ben Snead, a long time friend, has lived in the Bay area a number of years(some of that time on a houseboat), he suggested we check out the area.   After window shopping and touring the village, as much as our empty pockets could stand, we headed to Waldo Point Harbor.  As you can see by our picture it is B.Y.O.Basket in this community.

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First off we toured the Kappas Marina East pier.  The walkways were like small forests of beautiful plants.  From bird of paradise, lilies, to posies.  A handful of fruit trees; lemon, orange, maybe plum. Even oak and Pine trees growing in these ridiculously over-sized pots.  The residents have built natural barriers for their .  What great privacy screens.

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While enjoying our tour we met a VERY informative utility worker.  He quickly filled us in on anything we might need to know(and some we didn’t) about the marina.  He informed us each houseboat has a sewage pump onboard.  All the utilities, water, sewer, and electric are all(individually piped to and from its proper place) running from each vessel to the bay, then under the dock to land.  Each residence is built on a concrete hull(it looks like a big concrete tub), this allows them to rise when water rises.  At the same time, it allows them to sit FLAT when water is low.

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He also told us not to miss Issaquah.  Telling us, “if we like this one, you have to walk Issaquah pier.”  We walked through the covered entrance into a little floating neighborhood,  entering their unique world.

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We also visited a pier we think was called Gate Co-op.  A 38 resident shanty town.  This hodge-podge of recycled barges and old houseboats.  As I walked the rotting decks wondering do they pay for this?   I am surprised by a few gems among the dilapidated dinosaurs.   These places are definitely unique, and beautiful to look at, but respecting the residents is top priority.  They have very little personal space, so please let them have it.

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I did a little research and found out some facts about  The Gates Co-op .  I don’t have enough time to write it all down, but I can lead you to it.

Every time we go over Golden Gate Bridge one of asks, “wonder if we will ever walk over this bridge?”.  Today was no exception, except today we were headed to Chinatown!!!!  We have wanted to visit Chinatown San Francisco since the last time we came through on our tripp.  We did some research, so we were prepared.  Chinatown is 30 square city block  with 70,000 people living in it.IMG_2113

If you don’t know what to expect you can get overwhelmed.  The Urban Assault Vehicle circled the neighborhoods like a Kamikaze pilot in search of a target(which happened to be a parking spot),dive bombing in front of Golden Gate Bakery.    Donn grabbed some cash and ran in.

IMG_2118IMG_2117 IMG_2114 IMG_2115IMG_2116  A pastry before lunch sounds great!  Well, $16. dollars later we have two Moon cakes.  One black bean, and one white lotus flower. Granted they were FABULOUS, and they did lasted us 3 days, but $8 bucks? Ouch  Shopping in Chinatown is tough, but window shopping is a blast! and comical.  At least it is when we do it.

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Ordering food on the other hand is a mastered art.  As you stand in line(more like volatile mob of hungry people shouting in chinese) weighing your choices. Hoards of people buzz through like bees in a hive.  Finally you know. Yes!  You are ready!  I step up to the counter, “lunch special please.” all smiles.   ‘Ur in wrong line, this Dim Sum line.           DaaaMn It MaN !   back in line.  A little late on lunch we are hungry, but happy with our choice. We grab our chopsticks and look for a place to eat it.  Settling for a nice wall on a side street, we got our lean on and munched on some lunch.

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Finished with the hustle and bustle of Chinatown we continue our tour, and make our way back home(what has been one of many homes) via Berkley.  We have visited the Berkley area a few times since we have arrived. Love the shops, the thai food, and we have met some cool people down there.  See ya next time……….