Sunday, November 11, 2007

Puddles were Stomped

For an upcoming trip to Switzerland, we are buying presents for a couple nephews and some other little ones we'll be visiting. It occurred to me--how about some cute, touristy, San Francisco F line shirts? The Market Street Railway has a nice little Museum/Gift-shop at the foot of Market. So my daughter and I decided to pay them a visit.

Since we were getting a late start, my plan was to drive (quickly!) to Millbrae, take CalTrain to the City and BART back. We've done this plenty of times before. The itinerary has the advantage that for the trip in you get the speed and scenery advantages of CalTrain's bayshore line (plus with my monthly pass, it's a free ride for me), but on the way out you can just go to BART at your convenience--the unpredictability of Muni combined with CalTrain's hourly service on weekends makes getting home on CalTrain sketchy.

It was not to be this time--an accident (it just started raining, so no surprise) shut down the 101. Stuck in traffic, I mused that having been let down by CalTrain last week, and now unable to get anywhere by car, I am probably up for a flat tire on my bike next. Eventually we got to Millbrae and took BART.

I'm still annoyed that the Peninsula BART Extension was built as a subway, underneath a perfectly serviceable inherited railway right-of-way. Mostly, it was a colossal waste of money. It also deprives passengers of scenery--some one it bucolic. Apparently, in what may be the most ridiculous case of NIMBYism ever, BART was undergrounded through Colma to avoid disturbing residents--of cemeteries, that is! Mostly, it's just annoying because riding BART trains through tunnels is loud (can't they spray something on the walls to dampen sound?). We invented a new game--cover your ears, mouth words, and try to lipread!

The Market Street Ry's museum is small, but nice. My daughter got expert instruction in operation of vintage streetcars:

And was soon ready to start work as a Motorette:

There are also some nice large scale models of various vintages of streetcars and cable cars, and we peered at a collection of transit tokens under a magnifying glass.

With T shirts bought, we ventured out into the rain. The Bay Bridge and downtown buildings were spookily disappearing into the clouds. What to do? It was a little bit too soon to head back, but I didn't want to take on any really big adventures (Pier 39 was suggested) at the end of a rainy day. We decided to cross the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building, to pick up coffee and hot chocolate a Peets (a cinnamon twist was added to our order). More practically, we bought some produce from one of the organic vendors in the Ferry Building Market. Along the way, puddles were stomped.

Then we headed home.

Using BART TVM's--an important skill for every Bay Area kid to learn!

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