Friday, January 12, 2007

If You’re Parking In San Francisco…

I really hope that San Francisco doesn’t float off into the Pacific, because it’s an amazing city that was kind to the bioTrekker. Well, other than finding parking. The streets were actually wider than most of Portland’s, but a free parking space is a mythical creature there, like trolls or Republicans. There was no way I was going to chance too much city driving in the hills or triangle-shaped intersections, so after a brief stay at a campground across from Candlestick Park (I’m calling it that forever, I don’t care how many companies plaster their logos on it), I headed back to the East Bay to enjoy a wide asphalt swath in front of a local “mom and pop” general goods store by the name of Target. The Targets weren’t around (it’s pronounced Tarshay, I think they’re French), but the store manager informed me that, yes, as long as it was only for a night or two, I was welcome to bask in the sunshine on their paved paradise. So after a few nights there, I scooted over to a space next to a vacant corner lot in Berkeley. Sure, the lot was fenced and topped with enough razor wire to ward off a legion of Trojan footsoldiers, but maybe the property owner had buried some gold ingots in there. My only concern was that the resident street artists who had done such a lovely job on the buildings would whip up a free “Biodizzle My Nizzle” mural on the outside of the coach. I like to be able to pay for that sort of thing.

There is a place to park oversized vehicles on the Embarcadero, but it’s $30 a day … for pavement. No hookups. No sewer station. No affable Chinese manager who tells you that the best restaurant nearby is called the Clam Shack. But for the last night, I splurged and parked my tourist attraction on Pier 30, right in the shadow of the Bay Bridge. It was almost worth it, just for the view. I never imagined I’d find parking in downtown San Francisco on a pier, three feet from the bay, although at one point, a tugboat was heading straight for me. I thought maybe I’d be torpedoed or asked to move, but instead, the tugboat docked next to a van. A guy got off the tugboat, gave a package to the guy in the van, got back on the tugboat and tugboated off. I would’ve taken a picture, but I was afraid that I might have just witnessed a Russian Mafia weapons exchange.

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