Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hunted: San Francisco, California with a Beltronics GX-65

30 MAY - 01 JUN 09 (Posted 14 JUN 09)

We made our way towards San Francisco Saturday for the weekend as Lisa wanted to visit Alcatraz. Although my wife and I prefer staying at small country bed-and-breakfasts, I decided to go urban for the weekend, selecting a suite at the San Francisco Hyatt Regency.

Although the hotel is relatively older, it still has many ultra-modern design elements to its structure and the lobby area is certainly breathtaking to behold.

We traveled the highways of I-580, I-680, and I-80 west running into a couple of CHP K-band radar encounters which the Beltronics GX65 alerted us to with ample time. However, we did come across one cruiser that was setting up hidden/obscured on the side of the I-680 that may have been a tough challenge, I suspect, had we approached him about a minute later.

We arrived into San Francisco by way of the Bay Bridge and Interstate 80. Fortunately, our Beltronics GX-65 alerted us to the use of red light camera enforced intersections.

This was a very good thing, as we were not familiar with the particular red-light camera systems that were being utilized in town and would have had a difficult time spotting them as a result.

We did eventually see one photo-enforcement sign indicating that the fines being accessed were a minimum of $271 per violation!

As we drove around the city in the evening, we came across a particular Cobra radar detector owner who was clueless on how to properly use it. I have seen improperly mounted Cobras before, but I think this one takes the cake for being the most egregiously mounted. I wonder how many of the 15-bands will actually end-up being detected in ample time with this mount?

During our brief stay in the city, we visited Coit Tower and Fisherman's Wharf. We found a local pizza shop by Fisherman's Wharf that reminded us of a good thin-crust New York-styled pizza.

San Francisco is not a particularly car friendly city. Parking alone at the Hyatt Regency ran us nearly $70 a night including taxes and parking meters only provided 6 minutes per quarter!

During our stay at the Hyatt Regency, Saturday evening, the hotel played host to Kristi Yamaguchi's "Dancing the Night Away." As we entered the hotel for the evening, we bumped into Gilles Marini and some other dancers on the escalator up to the main lobby.

I don't particularly follow pop-culture, but Lisa is a fan of Dances with the Stars and immediately recognized the gentleman. Given that I had a $13k Nikon DSLR and lens around my neck
, I wasn't interested as being pegged as a paparazzo, so we extended the courtesy of privacy by paying little attention to the entourage of dancers, something that they acknowledged as we separated once we reached the main lobby floor.

Although I tend to prefer outdoor and wildlife parks, the visit to Alcratraz on Sunday was a pretty interesting experience and we managed to get some nice pictures without the appearance of the crowds that were there, although it took a tremendous amount of patience to do so.

Having quickly got our fill of city-life we departed on Monday morning, northbound towards the town of Bodega Bay (where Hitchcocks's the Birds was filmed, one of Lisa's old-time favorites) and the wine-country of Sonoma county, by way of the coast.

Our Garmin Nuvi 360 predicted a little over an hour by way of highway 101. By taking the coastal roads, our journey to Bodega Bay took more on the order of six hours.

But the spectacular views of the Pacific coast were more than worth than time spent slowly navigating the treacherous coastal roadway.

Marin Headlands Coastline

Sausalito was a very nice upscale town worth driving through on our way north to a redwood forest.

Along the way we stopped by Muir woods to appreciate and photograph the giant redwoods that flourish there...

The Path Less Traveled

Speed Trap Hunter

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