Ben and Tony are off on the annual kindergarten camping trip, so this weekend it’s just Eli and me, on our own, playing tourist in the city. This morning we made a long-promised trip to the Cable Car Museum. It’s open 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and yet somehow the 6 1/2 mile drive across town seems like too much to traverse most days, in our short window between school drop off, nap, and school pick up.
But today we made the trip, driving across town to a part of San Francisco that feels like we’ve driven back in time: this is the San Francisco of picture books, of Fly High, Fly Low and Maybelle the Cable Car. It’s narrow one-way streets, steep hills, and small apartment buildings. You can hear the cable cars’ cables ringing underneath the sidewalk, even when there’s no car in view, and you can hear the bell clanging from several blocks away.
We explored the museum, where you can go below street level and watch the huge gears turning the cables, and then we took three (because Eli’s three) short rides on three different cable cars, sitting inside, outside, and then finally standing outside, hanging on to the pole. None of the conductors would take a fare from me, all of them complimented Eli on his stripey engineer’s hat. The last ride brought us right back to our car, and we got home in time for lunch and nap.