San Francisco, Here I Come

January 4, 2020

San Francisco, Here I Come

san francisco

Mark Rubin

I arrived as a corporeal being on September 14, 1957, at 10:35 p.m. I suspect I’m the avatar for Boomers, for 1957 represents, even now, the year in which the US experienced more live births. And, for reasons I won’t address here, a baby birthing bump occurs in September. (I want to link to Baby It’s Cold Outside, but I’m PC.)

My birthplace? Letterman Army Hospital, located at the Presidio of San Francisco. Truth be told, the hospital in which I was born was torn down about 10 years later. The replacement hospital no longer exists, and the dirt hosts the Letterman Digital Arts Center, the home of Industrial Light & Magic, LucasArts, and part of Lucasfilm. I can hear my stepbrother Stephen: How cool is that?

My residence in San Francisco lasted about two months. Thereafter, my parents took me to Napa for almost four years, and then to Tucson. I’ve been back to San Francisco many, many times, but never with a focus on my past, or my origins.

I have a conference in San Francisco at the end of the month. Great agenda … including speaker Doris Kearns Goodwin. Anyway, after I decided to attend, I saw this article in the New York Times, introducing the SF Crosstown Trail. The Crosstown Trail? Seventeen miles, starting at Sunrise Point at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, in the southeast part of SF (along San Francisco Bay), and ending at the Lands End Lookout Visitor Center, facing the Pacific Ocean.

The Trail (first, I typed Trial, which may be more accurate) offers wilderness at the outset, with urbanity thereafter. Except, it cuts through plenty of ‘hoods in the early miles—traveling from southeast to northwest, which is my plan—and urban wilderness in various parks. A good mix, based on what appears on the maps.

Near the end, I will approach 2725 Clement St., the “usual residence of mother, per the California Certificate of Live Birth. If Trulia offers correct information, my parents rented in a pretty new four-plex in Outer Richmond.

So. I’m juiced! In addition to a cool conference and a visit with my aunt in Napa, I’m going to experience my hometown in a way unknown to me, so far. And see the usual residence of my mom, where I must have spent my first 50-60 days, slumbering away.

Candidly, I thought 17 miles was a piffle. Nonsense! Nothing!!! Then, earlier on January 4, 2020, I walked more than 13 miles. My home in Blenman Elm (near Speedway and Campbell) to Evergreen Cemetery—a brief visit to my mom’s grave, which doesn’t get visited often enough—to Tucson Mall, to Trader Joe’s on Campbell (via the Rillito River Park Trail, to my home. (I can hear one of my forebears: Vat is dis with the walking? The car is broken?)

The 13 miles went well. Leigh mentioned shin splints. Nope. Feet? Yes. They hurt for an hour or so. Then, nada!

I’m all in! I know my 17-mile walk leaves me way behind my compatriots who marathon, ultra, and Ironman. For me, though, walking 17 miles through the city in which I was born represents a big deal. That said, the opportunity to experience a city through its day, from southeast to northwest, represents an opportunity I can’t imagine ignoring.

Concluding, has anyone done the Trail? Anyone want to walk with me? Anybody know someone who knows anything about the Trail. Thanks in advance for any insights.


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