US Road Trip Travelog: 24th March 2005

Taking the advice of the Flowerpot Men, let's go to San Francisco. (I'm disappointed, by the way, that the list of songs doesn't include Charlie Rich's 'San Francisco Is A Lonely Town'. I think I'll have to drop them an email.)

Decorated BMW
Decorated BMW seen in traffic. I have no idea what's going on here - too many drugs probably. The front and sides are just as weird.

Riviera and lighthouse
Riviera and lighthouse. Do you think if I did a calendar showing photos of the same car in different settings it would sell? No, thought not.

Once off the Interstate at Santa Cruz the Pacific Coast Highway is a lovely drive. On the way it passes through Half Moon Bay, which I seem to recall as an old Mott The Hoople song. Always wondered where that name came from, and the answer is a mighty long way from Hereford.

The Pacific Coast Highway through the rocks
The Pacific Coast Highway through the rocks. Ok, how about a calendar with the same length of hood but different scenery in each picture. No? Maybe I'd better give up on the whole calendar idea.

I'd spent a long time on the internet trying to find a motel in San Francisco. The problem isn't in finding one - there are hundreds if not thousands - but I want one that's a reasonable price and hasn't got any hidden charges. A few looked reasonable until the small print revealed a $30-40 per day parking charge.

I eventually booked at a Comfort Inn on Polk Street. This place has free parking, but not enough for the number of rooms and it's first come first served. Luckily I'm early enough to get a spot - a spot barely big enough for a Riviera, granted, but a spot nonetheless. For $150 for two nights this place is an absolute bargain, newly refurbished (upgraded from a dreaded Econo Lodge) and with working wired internet access. Searching the internet I find a gig that sounds promising for the evening.

Time to head off for a walk around then. The first stop is to get a ticket for the gig tonight, but after that it's a good long way in the other direction down the rolling hills to the wharf.

San Francisco cable car
This is my attempt to catch all of San Francisco in one photo - steep hill, cable car, waterfront and Alcatraz.

Walking up and down these hills is great exercise, and every street corner seems to provide another photo opportunity. It is a beautiful city.

After a brief rest back at the motel it's off to Slim's to see Louis XIV. I'd heard about this band back in the UK and the opportunity is too good to miss. The only drawback is that all the normal tickets are sold out and the only option is for 'dinner and concert' at $34. That isn't a fortune so I go for it.

This is probably the oddest way of seeing a band I can remember. The dinner area is an upstairs balcony, separated from the hoi polloi by a bouncer and with waitresses to bring the food and beers. The dinner - I chose a steak - is nothing special and the support band sound like refugees from the 80's New Romantic movement.

When Louis XIV come on all that is forgotten. I've seen them described as glam rock but I don't think that does them justice as they can go from sounding like a 60's pop band to AC/DC to country-rock, often all within the space of the same song. They also aren't too cool for a bit of showmanship - ok, it may get a bit Spinal Tap at times but it's all good fun.

A great live act and I'll try to catch them again. May have to invest in a CD as well. I don't think I'll be doing the 'dinner and concert' thing again, though. It was fun being treated like an honoured guest on the balcony but the atmosphere up there wasn't as good as down on the floor and I think I know my place.

US Road Trip Travelog: 25th March 2005 >