Changes in the Presidio

As you know, I spend a fair amount of time in the Presidio, especially down near the Bay at Crissy Field. With a fine beach, views, and a large grassy field where I can go off leash, Crissy Field is one of my favorite places, as it is for my guardians and their family, neighbors, and friends.

This past weekend was a watershed for Crissy Field and a former elevated 5 lane roadway that paralleled Crissy Field just a few yards away, Doyle Drive.  I say former and paralleled because it was and did but doesn’t – beginning last Friday at 8PM and continuing until

View on Saturday of lots of machines & rubble - NE toward Crissy Field lagoon & E Beach

View on Saturday of lots of machines & rubble - NE toward Crissy Field lagoon & E Beach

5AM this morning, with a large staff of people and machines working around the clock, Doyle Drive was torn down!

Constructed in 1936, Doyle Drive was the route most vehicles used to reach the Golden Gate Bridge.  It carried around 100,000 vehicles/day, and most of those were heading to or from the Bridge.

(Sidebar: Doyle Drive was constructed for Golden Gate Bridge traffic – the Bridge itself was completed a year after Doyle Drive in 1937, and a festival for its 75th anniversary is planned for May 27th. http://goldengatebridge75.org/ )

Doyle Drive will be replaced by a remodeled roadway, termed the Presidio Parkway.  The 6 year project began in 2009 and is planned to cost just over $1 billion.   See http://www.presidioparkway.org

View north Sat 4/28/12

View north Sat 4/28/12

Doyle Drive was 76 years old.  Improved seismic and traffic safety were the drivers of this project.

Much of my weekend exercise revolved around a couple of long walks to inspect the demolition efforts.  I did the longest on Saturday with one of my guardians and her sister, who was our houseguest for several days (and also is one of my friend’s, Cece, guardians).  The sisters mainly collaborated on family photos and archives when not studying recipes, cooking, or interacting with me.

For several days the demolition effort has been the biggest news around here, with TV shows broadcasting live and often using helicopters to supplement their ground crew.  On our walk Saturday, one of the local stations, KTVU Channel 2, approached my companions and me and filmed an interview with my guardian – it screened on the 10 PM news.

It was mega-fun to be part of such a major happening!

View south from former visitors center, across street from Crissy Field

View south from former visitors center, across street from Crissy Field

Looking south from sidewalk alongside Crissy Field

Looking south from sidewalk alongside Crissy Field

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FYI, Crissy Field sights

East Beach on a beautiful Saturday morning, April 7th.

East Beach on a beautiful Saturday morning, April 7th.

On our walk this morning, a great blue heron just off the path

On our walk this morning, a great blue heron just off the path

 

 

 

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Surprised by a haiku !

As previously reported, my guardians’ friend, MaryLou, flew from Denver to be with us in late March.  We all had fun together, of course.  Following up, she surprised me (very pleasantly) by sending this original haiku, the first of its kind*:

      Wally

Glistening black oval nose,

Surrounded by wheat.

A frolicsome fur package.

//////////////////////////////////////////

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?  We had a really nice visit and I love the haiku – Thanks ML!

*subject = yours truly

MaryLou, bags packed, well positioned for a going away lick.

MaryLou, bags packed, well positioned for a going away lick.

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March “madness”

A fairly quiet 2 weeks in San Francisco, mostly because of my guardian’s pterygium operation on the 14th.

I recall it was the 16th when I escorted my guardians down to Chestnut Street’s Squat & Gobble for an early breakfast.  Jodie and her companions happened by and, after greeting me by name, visited a few minutes.  (I usually see them at Crissy Field, see photo)

Jodie & her two Russian Wolfhounds, Ann & Mousseline

Jodie & her two Russian Wolfhounds, Ann & Mousseline

Then the next day I was on Chestnut Street for St. Patrick’s Day – what a madhouse!  No beer or corned beef for me – just a couple of errands, some sightseeing,  and compliments from newly made “friends.”

On March 19th my companions and I walked to Roses Cafe for a nice celebratory lunch outside.  I like Roses because they always have a well stocked water bowl plus healthy treats.  Plus the people-watching is excellent.

Last Thursday my guardian’s dear friend, Mary Lou, arrived from Denver, staying until this afternoon.  It rained a couple inches while she was here (but we’re still way behind normal for the season).  This kept us inside sometime but we still had a really nice time – lots of laughs,  a few walks including a good one this morning down by the Bay, and a lot of small talk.

Plus we watched some basketball – I’m pleased Ohio State made the Final 4 and the Stanford ladies are in the Elite 8 – one of my companions and I will watch the Cardinal tonight with my paws crossed.

I’m hoping that Mary Lou will give her perspective…

I helped make a passerby happy on St. Patrick's Day! (@ Chestnut St. Bakery)

I helped make a passerby happy on St. Patrick's Day! (@ Chestnut St. Bakery)

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SF Ocean Film Festival weekend, GGNRA update

After 2 wonderful weeks in Laguna with William, Cece, other relatives, and Lynn, my guardian and I returned to San Francisco last week.  It’s nice to be back in town and to have the chance again for walks/romps on Crissy Field and also to assist in hosting several houseguests.  It’s been busy around here!

The SF Ocean Film Festival began last Thursday with the Opening Night party and continued until last evening.  This was the 9th annual festival and friends came to stay with us from Seattle (Jan), Portland (Bill), and Newport Beach (Lynn).  Our guests, my guardians, and other friends saw lots of good ocean films and heard from many visiting filmmakers.  For my part, I had the fun of 3 friendly houseguests and a fair amount of quiet time when everyone was at the movies (11 film programs – see http://oceanfilmfest.org.)

Since returning, I’ve been down to Crissy Field several times for walks but haven’t been off leash yet – I got a haircut on Thursday and my guardians want to preserve my well groomed state for at least another few days.  But I soon expect to run leash-free on East Beach!

On the subject of Crissy Field, I’d like to provide a brief update on the GGNRA’s (Golden Gate National Recreation Area) Dog Management Plan process.  The Dog Management Plan process is an expensive multi-year effort involving thousands of citizens, tens of thousands of dogs, and scores of third parties including government agencies and dog-based communities and advocacy groups.   As an update, I’ll simply include below a letter I recently received from Frank Dean, GGNRA’s Superintendent:

GGNRA Superintendent conveys a 1 year extension to the process timeline

(For the 4 page newsletter which contained this letter, here’s a link:  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/110878/GOGA%20DEIS%20newsletter_Jan2012.pdf)

I’m concerned about ensuring good off leash access for all dogs; my personal focal point is on Crissy Field.  For thoughtful comments as conveyed by one advocacy group, please see this letter:   http://crissyfielddog.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/CFDG_GGNRA_DEIS_letter_0527011.pdf

Thanks for your interest,

Wally

P.S. Of the 4713 comments Mr. Dean refers to, one came from me – I’ll put my comments in a future post for your consideration.

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More Adventures in Laguna

ImageI like poetry.

ImageThe extravagant splendor

of trucks and automobiles

makes a fleeting impression

on my mind.

ImageStill thinking.

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A Dog’s Eye View

Monday, February 28

Hi, here I am at my home away from home in Laguna. It poured. It was sunny. It was scary windy. I was sad. I was happy. I ate a pink towel.

 Then, OMG! OMG! OMG! Oscar and William and their guardians came over! Reid had a birthday! There was cheesecake! My tail wouldn’t stop wagging!
Then they all left.
My guardian’s friend is here now. She smelled somewhat familiar so I licked her face and ears and her face some more. They called her Lynn. Whatever. I took her jogging.
My guardian told me to be very good because I am in charge. I already knew that. And I am very, very good.
Bye for now,
Wally
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Dogs’ Big Day

Do dogs have feelings?

Of course we do!

Today I’ve already had two nice walks in the neighborhood plus one in Tiburon with my friend, Bandit – when I see Bandit, anyone can tell I’m so happy to see him – as is my guardian.

This evening I’ll be lounging with my guardians in front of the TV as we all enjoy the final night of the Westminster Dog Show.

What a great day!  And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope your Valentines Day was a good one!

Hope your Valentines Day was a good one!

Your friend, Wally

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Vacations and my “Club”

Have you ever looked back after a vacation and felt that it was great to get away and now it’s also great to be home?  Well, that’s been my experience over the last few weeks.

After my last blog entry, my metabolism seemed to slow down and I found myself lounging around more.  Maybe it was the short days in January, a couple days of rain, or, most likely, a post-Judith letdown.  Anyway, I was in fairly slow motion and really pokey on many of my walks.  You may know the feeling.

Then around the 26thmy guardians got me packed up and into the SUV, and one drove me

Ready for my trip to Sonoma on a foggy January 26th

Ready for my trip to Sonoma on a foggy January 26th

up to my occasional weekend place in Sonoma.  I kind of sense the way, and when we turned off 101 to 37 I started getting excited.  And soon we were at my 2nd home!

I didn’t know at the time, but my guardians were off to Portland and the Oregon coast for a long weekend with old friends.  When they returned, one was soon on a plane to Cleveland for important meetings and his sister’s birthday – the other guardian knew she’d be busy with stuff, so my weekend away turned into a full week!  Yea!

I love my second home and there’s something to do almost all day long.  The protocol is that we play together in a group for a couple hours each in the morning and afternoon.  Then at 1630 we all go into our crates and relax there ‘til morning…I guess I’m OK with that, no choice really…

Anyway, when my guardian came to pick me up after my 8 night stay, I was very pleased to see her, just as always.  Jumped into the car, slept while she had lunch in downtown Sonoma with Raleigh’s former next door neighbor, and then we motored home.  For the next several days I followed her everywhere all day – after my nice vacation, I was really, really glad to be home!!!  A couple days later my other guardian returned from Ohio and we picked him up at the airport.  I was so glad to be reunited…lots of licks for him too.

I’ve been back in San Francisco for only a week.  My vacation needs may be

Street view of me keeping an eye on things

Street view of me keeping an eye on things

changing because, I’m almost embarrassed to say, I’m already feeling like I need another battery recharge, a change of scenery.  I do wonder if I’m getting spoiled…

Up until now, with all the talk on privacy and the Internet, I haven’t revealed my 2nd home.  But now I will!  It’s Vintage Kennel Club: A Dog Ranch and Spa in Sonoma County.  Check out the website, http://www.VintageKennelClub.com, and especially the staff page, which tells about Mike and Brian and their wonderful associates, a team I always enjoy being around 😀

My nose - good for sniffing gopher holes; my eyes, good for melting the ladies

My nose - good for sniffing gopher holes; my eyes, good for melting the ladies

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My good friend Judith

When I moved to the Bay Area over 4 years ago, one of the first people I met up here was Judith.  From our very first meeting we got on very well and our friendship has only grown – she’s truly one of my favorite humans.

Judith & me in Golden Gate Park

You see, I’m a social animal – I love to be out and about, meeting new people and other dogs, getting fresh air and smells, and just seeing what’s around the next corner.  Whenever I see Judith, I can count on a serious expedition even though I’m on one end of a leash.

Judith is well known to my guardians because she was also a favorite of my predecessor, Raleigh, for most of his 15 years.  When I followed Raleigh, my guardians were quick to include Judith in my social circle – after our first meeting and for over 3 years, I saw Judith monthly or more frequently, and we sometimes spent days together.

As Judith reports, “Wally and I get on very well – despite me being of British descent, he seems to understand my accent very well…it is the humans who have a problem  🙂 …Wally and I love to walk in the Presidio and on to Crissy field.  He loves to check out the little mounds of earth that the gophers make and I have to say ‘move on Wally or we will never finish this walk.’”

Last March, when I accompanied Judith to SFO (San Francisco International Airport) and dropped her off at the curb signed Virgin Atlantic, little did I know my times with her would be curtailed.  She’s of British heritage, and after many years in the U.S., decided to move back to England and resettle in Bath.

I missed her but didn’t really realize it.  Then, last September, when my guardians vacationed overseas, Judith returned from England and moved in with me…what a great time we had!  Lots of great walks in the neighborhood – each one an hour or more, not the 10-15 minute jobs I often get from my guardians (although something is always better than nothing!).

The past two weeks have been another heavenly period because Judith has been back in town.  She was asked by another client in our neighborhood to housesit a favorite cat – as you might guess, that’s not a totally demanding job, so Judith has had free time to join me for some touring.

Judith is an excellent lawn bowler and has for many years been an active member of the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club, established in 1901 and America’s oldest municipal lawn bowling club.  I’ve accompanied her to bowls a number of times and made many new friends there.  So I was so pleased a few days ago to again be hosted by Judith for a few hours of hanging out and watching Judith, Bill and their clubmates, all while enjoying the beautiful greens and scenery of Golden Gate Park.

I can spend hours watching the nice people of the SF Lawn Bowling Club

You may be asking: “What is lawn bowling?”  In short, you roll bowls on grass attempting to come to rest as close as possible to a target ball, called a “jack.”  The game is related to bocce.  But someone once said, “Bocce is like checkers and lawn bowling is like chess.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Bowls clustered around the jack

I could go on about lawn bowling and our club, including its beautiful, historic and comfortable clubhouse (which has a nice display of postage stamps featuring lawn bowling from many countries including Australia, Tonga, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Canada, and South Africa).  Instead, I urge you to check out the website, http://sflbc.org, where there’s lots of interesting content on lawn bowling and the club.

As she recently completed her cat sitting assignment, one of my guardians and I just returned from driving Judith down to SFO again.  So sad to see her off, yet I’m so happy to have had the good times with her for the past two weeks, and I do look forward to the possibility of a visit for me later this year.

Judith & Bill, SFLBC's volunteer instructor

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