San Francisco: Haight-Ashbury and Cruising the Bay

San Francisco skyline. Ferry Building on far right.

I set out again this morning by taking the bus across the new Bay Bridge. Breakfast happened again at the Ferry Building since it was near where I needed to pick up the bus to the Haight. I ate a very good egg sandwich while being stared at by gulls and one interested crow.

TransAmerica Building

A crow in search of my breakfast.

The Bay

Those aren't people planking under that sculpture.

Today I devoted myself to the Haight-Ashbury section of the city. I admit it. I'm obsessed with the history of 1960s America. And the Haight figures into that history in a big way even though it was really only a "scene" for a relatively brief moment in time. But that brief moment in time changed so much in this country. To walk the streets where Jefferson Airplane  (one of my favorite bands, but only pre-1970), Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, the Diggers, and others lived and walked is like some sort of past life meditation for me. Things HAPPENED here. It's the same feeling I had walking the streets of Prague. I'm more me here. And yet, I've never really been here before (except for 15 minutes five years ago). 

The corner of Haight and Ashbury from which the district gets its name. The clock is permanently set to 4:20. There's a reason. Look it up.

The corner of Haight & Masonic.

The corner of Haight & Masonic.

Walking down Masonic toward the Panhandle (part of Golden Gate Park). Make sure to look up at the window.

So I did a really fun thing. I booked a tour with Wild SF Walking Tours. Our tour guide J. Jo was amazing. He was funny, warm, and smart. He also sang and played guitar very well. Yes, this was a musical tour of Haight-Ashbury and it was perfect since the music that was created here can't be separated from the history of what happened here. The music is, in a way, the greatest legacy of the brief few years that gave birth to the Summer of Love. By the following year the Hippie scene here was over. The world changed again with the deaths of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and the escalation of the Vietnam War.

1550 Page Street. Restored Victorian typical of the area. Was the scene of the CBS documentary "The Hippie Temptation". The reason first the Beatniks and then Hippies moved to the Haight was that you could rent an entire house for next to nothing.

J. Jo singing history to us.

J. Jo singing outside one of the houses Janis Joplin lived in. Across the street is where Country Joe McDonald lived.

And what is this disapproving child watching? Us, of course! As we sing and clap outside the Grateful Dead house next door. Apparently, she didn't approve.

710 Ashbury. The Grateful Dead lived here from 1966 to 1968. Today it is privately owned. Across the street lived the Hells Angels.

Love this mural. It feels like its chasing you down the street.

Mixed messages.

This is where, in 1967, Charles Manson lived with Mary Brunner, Squeaky Fromme, and other early members of the Manson Family. Manson probably picked this area as it was an ideal hunting ground for naive runaways.

1524A Haight Street where Jimi Hendrix had an apartment.

Here's a good way to torture your dog. Take to a restaurant, don't let it in, and make it watch you eat...

End of the tour. The photo is San Francisco for me.

After wandering the Haight a bit more after the tour, and falling in love with the shop Loved to Death, I took a bus down to the edge of the Presidio and then walked along the shore until I got to Pier 39 to take a Bay Cruise. I was done with walking. I wanted water, wind, and to watch the fog come and go across the bay. 

Western gulls bathing.

Great White Egret hunting

Black Turnstone

Waiting to depart.

People watching the sea lions on Pier 39

Sea Lions

Wind surfing and Kite surfing

This windsurfer came very close to being hit by our boat. He wiped out right in our path. The boat tried to stop as he swam for his life. He was okay.

Kite surfing. Going toward Sausalito and coming back.

And a seagull shall lead them. Our guide for the bay cruise. The gull stayed with us most of the way.

The Golden Gate Bridge

The city disappearing under fog.

Bad picture of a dolphin. There were several. I was so happy to see them. I love cetaceans.

No trip to SF would be complete without a photo of Alcatraz. See my earlier posts about the night tour.

The prisoners have departed and the birds took over the prison.

San Francisco and it's ever encroaching fog. There's a story in that. Someone's probably written one.


  1. Amazing photos PJ! I am truly impressed. I want to give you my email in case you do not have it. I changed the Meyer to von Meyer in 2000 when my Mom convinced me after 10 years of tracing that was our true last name from Germany on my Dad's side. As I have gotten older I have realized it may not be true as she was a true story teller...I miss her, although our relationship was rocky at times. Love to all your family. Stay in touch. Be safe! Kathy

  2. Thank you Kathy! I've added you to my email list. We do come from a family of story tellers, don't we. :-)


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