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Pictures of San Francisco, part 1

2012-10-25T13:29:33+00:00

Okay, I dug out my backup drive to resume where I left off in California several months ago.

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  • The golf ball is the Pillar Point Air Force Station at Half Moon Bay, California. Its AN/FPQ-6 and AN/MPS-36 radars are used today to track missile launches coming out of Vandenberg Air Force Base hundreds of kilometers to the south, as well as to track satellites.
  • The striped rocks are the very tip of Pillar Point. Beautiful.
  • Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco was once a series of chocolate factories and warehouses. Now it’s all shops. They have pieces of chocolate-making equipment on display in the various plazas between the buildings, like this cocoa bean grinder (the two stone wheels with the plow blade between to stir up the cocoa).
  • The Balclutha is a three-masted, steel-hull, square-rigged ship built in 1886. She has sailed all around the world. She’s a museum now. That’s Alcatraz Island in the background.
  • Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, and lots of other things are near the foot of Powell Street. The cable cars run up and down the hills of San Francisco. Unlike trolleys or trams, cable cars are unpowered. They grab onto a continuously-moving, endless-loop cable that runs in a groove underneath the street on each hill. The cable pulls them up and down the hill, and the driver lets go of the cable when the car should stop. When the street is empty and quiet, you can hear the cable whirring under the pavement.
  • At the bottom of each hill, a wooden turntable lets the cable car operator push the car off of the track, turn the car around, and then push it back onto the track.
  • The San Francisco National Maritime Park, at the foot of Powell Street, has all sorts of old ships. Volunteer boatwrights work on restoring historic wooden boats.
  • I like the old steam-powered tugboats and the Chinese junk.

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