On our first visit, the place was utterly quiet. Dark clouds hung low over Alcatraz Island, which could be seen from Pier 43 ½, where you board bay cruises and access the ferry terminal. The day looked somber and was close to 50 degrees. It was not a good day to do anything.
On our second visit, the weather was totally in contrast from the other time. It was sunshine and bright. The skies were impeccable. The day was so perfect to do anything. Near to Fisherman's Wharf, we rented a tandem bicycle from "Wheel Fun Rentals" located on 2739 Taylor Street. The congenial owner of the shop laid out a detailed map of Fisherman's Wharf and gave us suggestions for where we could ride. Before we left for our adventure, he reiterated not to hesitate to give him a call if anything unexpected happened.
Not far from point of origin was Pier 39, a few blocks away from Fisherman's Wharf. The distant, boisterous barking of the sea lions was audible. Getting close, the stench of them was even stronger and almost filled the air. A multitude of frolicking sea lions were sunbathing under the afternoon sun while enjoying the sea breeze rolling from the bay. It was a nice big family! Annually, sea lions tend to migrate to Channel Island (350 miles to the south) during summer months, but still, small, loyal groups of them opt to stay in Pier 39. Perhaps it is still a source of trust after all.
At the dead end of Pier 39, there was a bay walk offering a view of Alcatraz Island. The Bay is a busy one. Every interval of 15 minutes, a ferry to Alcatraz Island glides back and forth. Sometimes, Bay cruises sail across San Francisco Bay toward Golden Gate Bridge. Besides these tourist transports, the Bay bustles with other activities ranging from security patrol—police boats and U.S. Coast Guard—to commercial vessels; tankers to container ships carrying millions of tons of oil every year. With luck, you may see racing whaleboats or even colossal aircraft carriers!
Before our bicycle rental was due in another 20 minutes, the numbers of our wheels' revolutions doubled. My husband was peddling fast, and I joined in from behind, doing the job great till we arrived at Pier 14.
Pier 14 may not ring a bell to most people. Comparative to Pier 39, it was quiet. But it has a great lookout to the panoramic Bay Bridge (I-80), which links San Francisco to other part of cities in the east. One of the distinguishable features of I-80 was the exterior coating of silvery gray paints and a double-decked bridge; the lower deck serves vehicles leaving San Francisco, and the upper deck is for oncoming vehicles.
Left with three minutes, we departed for "Wheel Fun Rentals", panting ever harder, and the bumpy roads hurt our buttocks.