Saturday, November 1, 2014

Riding the Cable Cars

After walking the Golden Gate Bridge, we also got to drive across it on our way south. We stayed in South San Francisco so we could really see the town.

On our first day in San Francisco, we decided to see as much as we could riding the cable cars. Ever wonder how they turn around at the end of the line? A very low tech system of manually-powered turntables.

And how do the cable cars work? This grip lever grips the cable to travel, or releases it to stop.

Here's a selfie of me and Phil, taken while hanging on for dear life on the edge of the cable car with one hand, taking a picture with the other.

Wheeeeeee! Our first stop is Fisherman's Wharf, at the bottom of the hill.

We didn't know where we were going, but our first stop ended up being the San Francisco Maritime Historic Park, where you can tour several historic vessels, for a fee, or free if you're old. The first was the Hercules tugboat, built in 1907.

The next was the Eureka, a ferryboat built in 1890, which was an essential part of US Highway 101 before the Golden Gate Bridge was built.

And the best was the Balclutha, a steamship built in Scotland om 1886 for the San Francisco grain trade.

The ship actually had three careers. The first was was transporting the grain harvests of California to Europe, and returning with bulk goods, a 14,000 mile trip around Cape Horn.

The second career was delivering lumber to shore up Austrailian mines. In return, she delivered coal back to San Francisco and the Puget Sound of Washington.

And her third career was delivering salmon from Alaska to San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest.

I even got to drive!

Nearby are several more historic ships - the SS Jeremiah O'Brien -

And the submarine USS Pampanito. Both were built in 1943 for the WWII effort. And both were built largely as a result of the efforts of women like Rosie the Riveter.

While riding the cable cars was a unique experience, I wouldn't really recommend them as a way of touring San Francisco. There is a LONG line at each of the stops, so you can't really see a lot in a day.

But on the way back, we stopped at the Cable Car Museum, where you can see how the cables that run the cable cars are driven.


  1. Thanks for the info about the cable cars. We're only going to be there for five days, so don't want to waste much time standing in lines!

    Nice Tilley hats!

  2. I loved San Francisco, though I was last there about 30 years ago. Be sure to take the ferry across to Alcatraz - it's very cool over there.

  3. I would have to have at least one ride...the Wharf looked very interesting.

  4. We love San Fran's cable cars, worth the long lines. So unique.

    I think you were looking the wrong way driving that ship. Or is that the way you always drive your truck? :cD

  5. Great pictures as always, Love those old boats and looks like a really fun time to be had there. Adding to our list, thanks.


I love comments!