Cable Cars Climb Halfway to the Stars

>Here it is, Part 2 in the San Francisco experience! While I was trying to get my act together Friday, the DH got to live one of his special dreams. Thanks to the finagling of a very dear friend (thank you, Cathie), the DH played the Spanish Bay course at Pebble Beach. He was over the moon about it, and I confess I just didn’t get what all the excitement was about when comes to hitting a dimpled ball from one place to another. But then he didn’t get me and the OMG Kate Duffy loves my writing mentality, so we were square. He wasn’t going to get back until late, so I went to dinner with Mel Schroeder and the delightful Ember Case.

Make Mine Medium Well Please

We visited John’s Grill, which was the restaurant setting used by Dashiell Hammett in his famous book The Maltese Falcon. Upstairs, in a glass case, they’ve even got the Maltese Falcon prop. Way COOL! During dinner, the three of us had a wonderful time talking business. We sat next to the restaurant’s entryway which had window where we could see people waiting for their table. We noted one small group commenting and pointing to our steaks, so I had Ember knock on the glass to get their attention. When they looked in my direction, I pointed my steak and gave them a grin with a big thumbs up. They laughed and nodded. Determined to ensure that they were good and hungry when they got to their table, I teased them with another big grin. I then popped a delicate bite of steak into my mouth and proceeded to wax poetic about the taste with my expression. I managed to give everyone a good laugh except for the two guys next to our table. Of all the places to find two uptight gay men, I would NEVER have thought it possible in San Francisco, but I swear to you, these two guys made conservative Republicans look like happy Democrats. Their expressions were pinched tighter than a raisin. Even when I attempted a polite and sincere smile of hello, the look I got from one gentleman could have pinned a fly to the wall in one swift stroke. Oy!

We’re Walking, We’re Walking

Saturday saw the DH and I checking out of the Marriott and moving a few blocks away to the Hilton. Long story short, the Marriott didn’t have any cheap rooms Sun night (low ball figure of $400+), and I got us two nights at the Hilton for the same price it would have cost us to stay at the Marriott one more night. Once we cleared all of that, I was going to go to a couple of workshops, but I’d apparently packed my briefcase with my workshop paperwork, so I didn’t know what was going on, so I decided I’d be nuts not to take advantage of my time with the DH in one of the most romantic cities in the world. So off to the Hilton I walked in my heels.

Now I don’t mind walking when someone gives me good directions, but I called the DH twice from my cell phone and kept hearing that I was almost there. If he’d been in front of me, I would have grabbed him by the throat and yelled at him to stop saying I was almost there because my feet were reassuring me with each step that I was anywhere BUT almost there. I’m beginning to believe that adage, never ask a man for directions.

Sea Lions, Tourist Traps and Boats

Once we’d settled into the hotel, we decided to head to Fishersman’s Wharf and Pier 39. To get there we enjoyed another interesting excursion via public transportation. We’d been on the bus for a short time when this beautiful, and I do mean beautiful, girl gets on the bus and sits across from us. We’re trying to figure out where to get off and she offers assistance. The DH is instantly smitten, and moi, I just smile with glee.
When we get off at our stop, the DH says,

“That girl was gorgeous.”

“Yes, he certainly was.”

“What do you mean, he?” the DH squeaks.

“Honey, I’m sorry, but that was a guy.”


“Sorry, she was he.”

“NO! She was gorgeous.”

“He was gorgeous, honey, but it was a wig, and the Adam’s apple was a dead giveaway, although you weren’t looking there were you.” My expression had to have been one of smug amusement, because that’s what I was feeling. Serves him right for looking at another gal’s boobs in front of me.

“NO! That’s not possible, I wouldn’t…” His voice dies off, and I just pat him on the shoulder.

“It’s okay, sweetie. Even Tim “the Toolman” Taylor would have been attracted to her.”

“I still say you’re wrong. She was a she.”

I just smiled and allowed him to keep his manhood intact. However, as you can see by my recounting of the tale here, I’m still enjoying myself.

The DH has already visited Fisherman’s Wharf earlier in the week, so he’s acting like a professional tour guide until I glare at him and say, ok, I was here 10 years ago, it hasn’t changed THAT much (even my fav chocolate candy store hadn’t moved). Naturally, I had to have my white chocolate and I saw an ad for one of those 3-D rides. I convince the DH to go ride. Now this ride is one of those where you sit in a cushiony chair and while the cool movie is running the chair tosses you around. I’m not sure where I missed the “fasten your seatbelts,” warning because the next thing I know I’m being tossed around in my seat and the only thing holding me in the damn chair is my fierce semi-terrorized grip on two insubstantial hand grips. Needless to say, I LOVE the experience and the next two rides we did, I made sure NOT to wear my seatbelt. I love, love, love living dangerously! (Hence the reason I wrote a book called Dangerous – Am I sneaky with Promo or WHAT! LOL)

How High Can She Go?

Although I’d been to the world-famous Crooked Street the last time I was in San Fran, I still wanted to go again. So I suggested we walk up the hill from the Wharf (I did have the common sense to be wearing tennis shoes, thank you very much). Granted, my definition of hill and the one San Franciscans use is COMPLETELY different. So when we get to the first incline heading up Lombard, the DH takes one look at the hill, looks at me and says,

“There no way in hell you’re going to make it.” His tone is that of a long suffering husband, which does nothing but incite my stubborn molecules to encircle and annihilate my common sense brain cells.

“WATCH me!” I sneer as I charge up the hill. If I’d not been walking on the treadmill for the past seven months, I would have been dead a quarter of the way up that damn hill. Instead, I managed to avoid doing my imitation of the stereotypical heaving bosoms romance author until about three-quarters of the way up the slope. By the time I got to the top of the hill I was exhausted, however, take a look at the picture. We walked from the water (that’s at the very top of the picture) all the way up to the foot of the world-famous crooked street. Please note that the photo was not enhanced in any way shape or form. That last hill really is about an 80-85 degree angle of incline. Awww RIGHT! Who’s bad, I’m bad, who’s bad, I’m bad. Granted that little song and dance was played out solely in my imagination. It’s good to be a writer, because I had no strength for performing in any way, shape or form at that point.

Now what do you do when you’ve just climbed a mountain? Do you keep climbing? Ummm, not! The steep incline was bad enough, and I hate stairs. I knew the hotel was somewhere to the left of the Crooked Street so that’s the direction I led the DH in.

Note to self, catch a cab when you’ve just completed an historic climb. Do not try to be a heroine by climbing more hills.

The Thrill of Victory / The Agony of Defeat

What I thought would be just one more hill and then ALL downhill to the hotel became a lesson in stubbornness and endurance. All of which I have in abundance. We must have walked another five or six steep hills in what I loosely determined was the direction of the hotel, although I clearly didn’t have a clue as to where we were. But then that living (Promo Alert) Dangerously gene was rampaging quite nicely through my blood. Along the way, we came across this wonderful building that had of all things, GARGOYLES on it. Being a lover of creatures who are made to ward off evil spirits, I insisted the DH take some photos. We continue on our way not realizing that we’re about to experience one of those memorable moments in life that can never be bought or arranged. These type of spontaneous and rare moments are once-in-a-lifetime events that can never be recreated. They are so special they can only be recorded fully on one’s heart.

It’s called exhaustion. ROFL Okay, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist.

Anyway, we get to the top of one more hill (I’ve now lost count), and the rinky dinky map the hotel gave us makes it look like the hotel is two blocks away, but I know better because all I see are more mountains to climb. *sigh* I look at the DH and growl, Okay, I’m not taking another step until I figure out where the hell we are. The DH just breathes heavily, and not with any hint of romance I might add. Guess I’ve worn him out. Ahh…the life of an erotic romance author. NOT!

Where The Hell Are We?

About this time, I hear a car roaring up the 75-degree incline we’ve just climbed. I look at the DH and say,

“I think it’s time we ask for directions.”

“No, we’re fine.”

“Sorry, Tim (Toolman) Taylor, we’re asking for directions.”

This dark green CJ-7 jeep rolls up to the stop sign we’re standing close too and THANKGOD it didn’t have the usual plastic covered window stuff. I politely scream over the engine.

“Excuse me, do you know how far it is to Market Street (we could find the hotel from there).”

Now as a romance author, I tend to look at men from a hero-potential POV. I mean I study features, body structure (think DaVinci’s David), etc. I’m telling you, the two guys in this jeep were young Adonis’. I’m seeing rugged features, deliciously hard biceps, strong shoulders, need I go on? Both young men are eager to help and Adonis #1 tells us the hotel is about ten blocks further on. My face must have looked like I’d been socked in the jaw. Immediately, they both insist that we accept a ride to where the walk to the hotel is ALL downhill.

Naturally, the DH is giving me the silent eye signal (equate to blinking like he’s having apoplexy) to refuse. At this point, I’m beyond exhaustion and I cheerfully accept. Like a true romance hero, Adonis #2 gets out of his seat and tells me to sit in front while he sits in the cramped back with the DH (Remember how I said I went first class and he went coach? Guess it holds true for CJ7 Jeeps too). Firmly ensconced in our open carriage, our driver roars down a hill then up a hill, braking to a great rollercoaster stop at the top of each hill. While we’re driving we chat a little about the fact that they’ve been in the desert to an art festival in Nevada. Did I mention I love the desert? Particularly ones where there are Mirages? (Slick aren’t I–LOL) I mention to our yummy hosts that I’m an erotic romance author in town for the RWA conference. They think that’s cool. We’re start discussing books and art in general, when Adonis #2 (sitting next to the DH) reaches up to tap the arm of Adonis #1 and says,

“Sweetie, tell them about….”

I have no idea what Adonis #2 said next because it was all I could do not to laugh out loud. The DH is still adjusting to my adopted nephew being gay, and clearly on this trip he’s getting a whole new perspective on alternative lifestyles. I must say I’m proud of him though. He didn’t even flinch. How’s that for enlightened growth and tolerance in a short time span. The Adonis twins dropped us off at the top the last hill, and said their goodbyes before they roared off into the sunset. I wish we’d had more time to chat with them. They were erudite, cultured and really sharp when it came to the arts. Worse, I didn’t even think to get their picture! I really wish I had, because not only was this couple so thoughtful in offering us a ride, but it’s because of them that the DH and I experienced one of our most romantic moments ever.

I Couldn’t Have Written A Better Romance Scene

I would not have made it to that last hill without our gallant knights and I would have insisted on calling a cab to get back to the hotel. But because of the generosity of strangers, the DH and I stumbled into this delightful neighborhood grocery where after a little bit of discussion, we purchased a roasted chicken, then we chatted with the guy behind the cheese display case who gave us a wonderful breakdown on the specialized cheeses they offered. We ended up with one cheese that was like a Havarti but it started with a T and the DH fell in love with the one that was like a cheddar / bleu cheese mix. We had a great conversation with the cheese specialist and the other young man behind the counter. With our cheeses selected, we added a loaf of sourdough bread and drinks to our cheese and chicken feast and checked out.

The cheese guy had said to let the one cheese warm up some to make it easier to spread on the bread, so we took our time walking back to the hotel (DOWNHILL). The weather was exquisite and it was wonderful, romantic walk through a quiet neighborhood. When we reached the hotel, we enjoyed a picnic in our room while watching a Pay-for-view movie. It was an incredible memory and we have Adonis #1 and #2 to thank for it. So guys if you happened to check out my website and are visiting this blog. THANK YOU and big hugs and smooches for making possible such a wonderful romantic memory for the DH and me! You guys RAWK!

Next week, come back to read the final installment in Monica’s San Francisco Saga! Serial rights are up for auction.

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About Monica Burns

A bestselling author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.

4 thoughts on “Cable Cars Climb Halfway to the Stars

  1. >I always refer back if I can beats retyping things! LOL But this trip was a 2nd honeymoon for us and it was better than the first one. If you and the DH can get to SF, go! W/O kids. TOTALLY romantic

  2. >Best time in years. And yes, I really do wish I’d gotten a picture of the Adonis twins! I actually called the little grocery store today. I found the receipt for our meal. I called and talked to the same guy who sold us our cheese that night. I got the name of our cheeses for future purchases here at home. The guy asked if we’d be coming back anytime soon. I said I was too broke, but hoped to one day.

    Market is LeBeau on Leavenworth in Nob Hill about six blocks from Market Street if anyone’s interested. Go there in the evening and tell the guy at the cheese display that Monica recommended them! *grin*

  3. >Hey, Monica,

    Sounds like you had an awesome time. I’m jealous. Too bad you didn’t get a picture of the adonis twins.