A Sunday in Golden Gate Park

View to the south from the De Young Tower

View to the south from the De Young Tower

Although I knew that part of the park is closed to cars on Sundays so that cyclists, skaters, skate boarders, etc. can freely enjoy the park without vehicle traffic, I did not realize that on Sunday the 12th of January there was a half marathon. We had purchased tickets to the David Hockney exhibit at the De Young Museum, and we set out in two cars, planning to ride our bikes from the Dutch Windmill up to the museum. When we exited the freeway at Octavia Street, we noticed a lot of traffic, but as we entered the park the number of people was astounding. We threaded our way around the closed off part of the park only to be made to exit as we approached the beach.

We could find no way to the Dutch windmill where we were to meet our son and grandson. However, we found several parking places on 37th Ave. just off of Lincoln. Then followed an agonizing 45 minutes of cell phone communication with our son and grandson, trying to guide them to where we had found parking. They finally made it and we pulled out the bikes well aware that we were going to be late for our 11 o’clock entry to the exhibit. But we wended our way up on our bikes, tied our bikes to poles because the bike racks were full, and lined up to pick up our tickets. There was no problem raised about our being late although we were still a bit frazzled when we entered the exhibit. Our group was not unanimous in our opinion of the paintings, but I personally liked the many tree-lined paths through the woods depicted in Hockney’s works. These reminded me of a hiking trip that we did several years ago in the Cotswolds. Our grandson particularly liked the large iPad created scenes that filled one room.

Our lunch in the museum café was satisfying, and we were impressed by the efficiency of the staff in handling the large crowd of people. After lunch we headed for the Hamon Observation Tower where we were greeted by spectacular views without so many people pulsing around us that it was difficult to breathe. San Francisco was especially  clear so we could see long distances.

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After browsing some of the permanent exhibits, we headed back to the bicycles. We started out on John F Kennedy Drive but had to head over to Martin Luther King in order to get back to our cars. Here the car traffic was heavy, so after some discussion we rode on the asphalt path alongside the street. I have no idea whether this is legal, but we saw no signs forbidding it. However, at one point my three companions were ahead of me and I politely asked a man walking two dogs if I could get by him. He moved over, but he swore at me, calling me filthy names and threatened to push me off my bike. Perhaps he had been hit by a cyclist at one time or perhaps he was just crazy, but it was a scary experience, one that cast a shadow over the day. All in all this was a day that we will long remember. It was a difficult day, and we will never go to Golden Gate Park on Sunday again, but there were some high points in the day that we relished.

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Cycling in Golden Gate Park

The Dutch Windmill

The Dutch Windmill

In July on my 75th birthday, my husband and I drove to Golden Gate Park, where we parked the car by the Dutch windmill and then rode our bikes up to the De Young Museum to see the Richard Diebenkorn exhibit.  We followed John F. Kennedy Drive up to the museum and then came back to the car by Martin Luther King  Jr. Rd. because this route is easier than riding in the reverse order. JFK Drive is not as uphill as MLK Rd.

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On the way up, we made a brief stop at the buffalo enclosure.

We parked our bikes in front of the De Young, where we joined the crowds visiting the Richard Diebenkorn exhibit.

The De Young Museum

The De Young Museum

After gliding downhill back to our car, we packed up our Dahon bikes and drove to SF’s other fine arts museum, the Palace of the Legion of Honor. We ate lunch in the café there and then wandered through the permanent collection before our 2 pm admission to the Impressionists on the Water exhibit. What a fine exhibit this is and what a treasure this museum is for the City of San Francisco!

Palace of the Legion of Honor

Palace of the Legion of Honor

View from the Palace of the Legion of Honor

View from the Palace of the Legion of Honor

Please click here to go to YouTube to see a video of our ride in Golden Gate Park.

Riding in Golden Gate Park

Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. To celebrate, we decided to visit the Masters of Venice art exhibit at the de Young Museum, ride our bikes, and enjoy a meal out. We parked by the Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park, a place where it is almost always easy to find a parking spot., and wended our way up to the de Young on John F. Kennedy Drive. There were several uphill stretches, and we did stop to rest a couple of times, but this is not a bad ride. Last time we rode to the de Young, we went up Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr., which is much steeper. The air was cool, but it was sunny, clear, and pleasant, a gorgeous San Francisco day. We parked our bikes right in front of the De Young, where there are several bike racks. The exhibit was not particularly crowded, and we were able to read all the accompanying material easily. The murals of Venice that provided a backdrop for the exhibit made us want to pack up right away to visit this wonderful city.

After a good lunch in the museum cafeteria, we rode back on Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr., which is downhill all the way. Although there is not a bike lane on this road, we did not feel particularly threatened by the traffic. When we are not on bike paths now, we attach our blinking red lights to the back of bikes for safety. Of course, I realize that we should not let these make us feel overly secure.

Leaving Golden Gate Park, we drove around to the Palace of the Legion of Honor to visit the Pisarro’s People exhibit. The traffic is always so bad between our home and San Francisco now that we like to do as much as we can when we visit. At this second museum, since the parking was a challenge we had to make a long uphill trek. And this exhibit was so crowded that the visit was less pleasurable than the one earlier in the day. Nevertheless Pisarro’s paintings are  a visual treat, and we were glad that we went. The views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the area around the Palace of the Legion of Honor are always spectacular unless some of the SF fog has drifted in.

A Distant View of the Golden Gate Bridge