Redwood Valley Railway 4, SF 2013

Karin Ott

A close-up of the engine room…

A tip – if you go to Tilden on a Sunday between noon and 3 pm. you can walk the length of the tracks, passed the ticket office and go under the tracks through the tunnel. You will emerge at the home of the Golden Gate Live Steamers. It’s a non-profit museum running a miniature rail way that’s even smaller than the Redwood Valley Railway. On most Sundays they offer rides against donations on their small trains.

Redwood Valley Railway 3, SF 2013

Karin Ott

The Redwood Valley Railway in Tilden Park above Berkeley is just the cutest ride!  You can get a 5 ride ticket for $12 and ride the genuine, small scale steam train through a landscape that feels authentic Wild West. The conductor shouts ‘Aaaaall aboard!, the whistle blows, people holler when you go through the tunnel and the ride is about 10 minutes long – best value for money in the Bay Area!

Redwood Valley Railway 2, SF 2013

Karin Ott

Tilden Park runs almost the length of Oakland, the East Bay. Basically you turn left off the freeway and keep going until you go up, up, up, and you’ll find yourself almost up in the clouds (on some days in the clouds) with all the Bay spread out far beneath you.

The park covers a huge area and include a vintage carrousel, a swimming lake, a small farm and an activity center. Plus the small scale steam trains! If you have children along, take them here for the carousel rather than pay over the top for the one at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Redwood Valley Railway 1, SF 2013

Karin Ott

Being a tourist in San Francisco is pretty boring. Surprised? Well, you walk around with all the other tourists looking at Union Square, try to find a decent meal at Fisherman’s Wharf and miss all the fun. I’m sure I would never have discovered Hyde Street and Polk Street if it wasn’t because I found friends on Hyde Street I could stay with. And we would never have discovered Tilden Park if we hadn’t been travelling with a 2.5 year old toddler. More tomorrow but here is what one of the main attractions of Tilden Park looks like…

Marin Headlands 7, SF 2013

Karin Ott

This is where my husband starting pulling at me and hiss that I couldn’t just keeping taking photos in a bathroom people were using. Duh? Look at those pipes for the flushing. And the light bulbs. How could I pass this up? Even if I did climb on a stool to shoot it. At least I didn’t take pictures of people in the loo (well, I did take a few shots of rows of feet but I’m not posting them…)

Marin Headlands 5, SF 2013

Karin Ott

The large community bathroom at Headlands Center for the Arts was an amazing location. Worn down and ever so photogenic…

It was freezing, though, even in the middle of the summer. San Francisco is not a warm place that time of year and Marin Headlands is often more chilly. I would not want to have to shower in a large concrete room so drafty it was almost an open air shower.

Marin Headlands 4, SF 2013

Karin Ott

I am aware that my family is not always crazy about me being into photography. I wander off, I fall behind, I pose in strange ways to catch just the right angle, but this visit to the Headlands Center of the Arts probably hit a new high of embarrassment for my dear ones.

I swear we had no idea we had wandered into the bathroom. We were just looking around the halls, following the trickle of people and without even opening a door we found ourselves in this amazing room that used to be the toilet and shower facilities when the buildings housed military units. I whipped out the camera and went to work – only to be passed more than once by people in need of these particular toilets…