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Check out my new Blog!!!

I have officially changed my blogging platform back to Blogger, sorry WordPress.

Check it out here:

My New Blog

Summer Blogging Moved to New Site

Hey Guys,
I temporarily took a break from blogging on this site due to lack of time and since I’m blogging for BookRenter I might as well give them a shout out and show you some of the posts. Check them out here.
I’ve also been making videos for BookRenter and you can see them on BookRenter’s YouTube channel.
*Also, I will be moving my blog to a new domain in the next few months, so stay tuned for an update

That site is Keith’s New Blog

Me and Charmaine at BookRenter's Office

Competition Hits BookRenter

About three weeks ago, I had no idea what I was going to be doing after I graduate yet alone the summer.

It was not until I saw an internship posting on Internships.com for a social media internship with BookRenter.com.  Since I was in the market for an internship and had an interest in social media marketing, I knew this would be a perfect opportunity.

After applying for the internship via BookRenter’s Facebook page, I received an email within a few hours asking for my resume and additional information.  The next thing I knew I was contacted and told I was selected to be one of the top 10 candidates for the internship.  I also found out at this time a voting contest would factor in to determine who gets the internship.

This was a brilliant idea because it showed how creative and determined people were to want an internship.  To be totally honest…I loved it! I enjoyed the competition aspect especially since it was online.  As soon as the voting went live, I hounded friends and family to vote for me.  For the whole week of voting I changed my mindset, everything revolved around getting more votes.  By the end of the week, some people were annoyed with me because of how many times they heard from me, “Did you vote for me?”

I suppose part of the reason why I was successful at getting votes was because of the variety of platforms I marketed on.  This ranged from writing on friends and groups walls, direct messaging on Facebook and Twitter, creating an event on Facebook and inviting quite a bit of people.  I knew that was not enough so I decided to go above and beyond by creating a YouTube promo video for the contest.  It turned out to be so popular Google asked me if I wanted to use AdSense for the video.  My voters even started the trend of writing Keith Kaplan promotion status’s on BookRenter’s wall (some of which were very clever).

After the weeklong voting period and being nearly paranoid about checking votes every second I came out on top and eventually was offered the internship.  Now that I have graduated from undergrad, I am excited to see what this internship will have to offer.  Stay tuned!

This is me!



 

Keith for BookRenter’s Social Media Internship

Last week I applied to be BookRenter’s Social Media Intern this summer.  BookRenter is an online book rental service that provides customers with great deals on rental books.  With in one day of applying I found out that I was one of the 10 finalists for the position.  Then I discovered that I would have to get people to vote for me via BookRenter’s Facebook page.

With the contest underway I have had the help of my fellow peers, especially my brother Kasey, to help me and promote myself.  Here’s a video I made to promote myself even more (do you get all the references)?

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Voting happens every 24 hours and it run until April 30 at 11:59 pm.

I would appreciate your vote very much.  This is something that I am truly passionate about and want to break into to.

Here’s the direct voting link:  http://bit.ly/ggkJSZ

 

Do Eu-phonics?

Springtime is here…well almost.  It does not really fit the description of spring when you wake up on an April morning to found out it is snowing.  I am not talking about flurries, but literally a few inches of snow.  Take a look:

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Starting this week with snow was not the most pleasant image, but I definitely got over it.  What I was most looking forward to was the Euphonics concert on Wednesday. For those who are unfamiliar with Euphonics, it is Albion College’s co-ed acapella group.  Each semester they put on a concert with new songs.  They definitely work extremely hard to put on a great show without using instruments (well sort of, some people may think that a human voice is a musical instrument). I must say there is some talent in the group.  Take a look at my favorite performance from the other night.

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Other than the many events put on at Albion College and the black squirrels that run around campus; I have had a great experience here. Oh and yes, I said ‘black squirrels’. Here on campus we actually have all black squirrels on our campus (and they are not like the All Blacks from New Zealand). Other events to look out for next week are Stress Free Zone and Day of Woden all hosted by Union Board.

With my senior year coming to an end and classes piling up that last bit of papers and projects just before finals, I will be somewhat sad to know that I have finished my undergrad.  Not only have I learned a variety of academic skills, but also I have been introduced to a variety of activities that I would probably not have received elsewhere, aka being part of a National Championship Team four years in a row and co-founding my own cookie business.  Even after selling hundreds of cookies this semester, I still love them.

My biggest challenge now is to see what my future holds, as I am sure every other undergraduate senior is thinking the same thing.  This leaves me to the end, where I will leave you with a quote:

“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need”

-Jerry Gillies

I will be back soon…(Day 5 of San Francisco)

Our last day in San Francisco was definitely a long one.  We woke up somewhat early after getting back late the previous night from the city.  Our flight back to Chicago was not until 11:55 pm, so we had a whole day to do our activities.

After checking out of the hotel, we headed up to San Francisco in hope to cross over the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was about a 25-minute drive until we made to the bridge, and we were able to drive through some of the areas of San Francisco neither of us have seen.  The experience of driving over the bridge was just as great as the view from the shore, take a look.

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The previous day we received word from a local that we should check out Muir Woods and some of the beaches north of the bridge.  So we headed through the hills and started out at Muir Woods. Here’s what the drive down the road looked liked.

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The only thing was that there was no parking at the National Park, so we saved that for later when we were heading back.  Instead, we went to Muir Beach Look Out for some great photo opportunities.  Take a look at some of the photos and a video of the experience.

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Pictures of Muir Beach Look Out

After we stayed at the look out for a bit, we made the drive down to Stinson Beach.  Stinson Beach is a small little town right on the coast North of Muir Beach.  The think the population was only 800 or so and the elevation was 30 ft.  So it was a pretty small, but beautiful little town.  When we were there we stopped at the beach and spent some time by the water.  Here’s a video of the beach experience.

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The next step on the trip was up to Point Reyes National Sea Shore, which turned out to be a bit farther than we expected.  On the way, we happened to see some creatures on the side of the road near the mud flats.  Can you guess what they were?….Sea lions or Seals (we couldn’t tell).  Take a look.

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We finally made it to the visitor’s center, but then realized it was another 18 miles to the beach and lighthouse.  We made a collective decision to turn around and start heading back.  Point Reyes Nationals Sea Shore definitely seemed like it was an awesome place to go hiking.  When we went in the visitors we saw a map of all the trails and from the looks of it, many people were going to go hiking.

We headed back to Stinson Beach to have some lunch before we would to Muir Woods and later wine country.  We ate at a restaurant called “Sand Dollar” which was definitely a small restaurant in a beach town.  I order the fish and chips and dad ordered a burger.  Here’s a picture of my meal…tasty!!

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Fish and Chips

After lunch, we tried heading back to Muir Woods, but yet again, there was no parking, so we decided it was not worth it and began heading out to wine country.  We originally planned on going to Napa, but it was a bit too far and we were running out of time, so instead we went to Sonoma.  We stopped by Viansa Winery and had a great experience.  It was both, my dad and mine, first time going to a winery and it was definitely a fun experience.  I even met the owner of the winery and take a picture with him.  Lloyd did a great job at familiarizing me with what a wine tasting experience should be like…that is to have fun and enjoy it.  So that is what I did.  Thanks Lloyd.

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The owner, Lloyd, and I

The day was coming to an end very soon so we head back to downtown San Francisco one last time to kill sometime before we got dinner and our plane left.  Two things we did when we were back in the city, Ghirardelli Square and San Francisco cable cars.

Ghirardelli Square is a hot spot in San Francisco where there is the chocolate factory and many different restaurants and shops.  Here’s a video of my journey in the chocolate factory (but not quite like Willy Wonka).

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To kill even more time we decided to take a ride on the cable cars.  You cannot make a trip to San Francisco without riding on the famous cable cars…so that is what we did.  Might I say it was real fun riding on the cars?

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I also had a little fun when riding on the car and created another little video, enjoy!!

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We then got some dinner at Tiernan’s, the Irish Pub we went to the night before.  Soon enough we were at the airport ready to go home.  Here was my last video entry, enjoy.

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Oh and our flight home was kinda crazy (I have never taken the red eye before).  We left at 11:55 pm Pacific Time and got to Chicago at 6:30 ish Central Time.  I then had to drive back to Albion after a long nap.

Did someone say Tsunami? (Day 4 of San Francisco)

2/11/2011

Today was the first day of my Spring Break where I actually was able to spend time traveling with my Dad?  Today was also the day that the West coast was struck by a so-called Tsunami (which really wasn’t that bad around where we were).

After hearing on the news about the Tsunami, we both wanted to see how it was on the coast.  So after breakfast we hopped in the car and drove down to Half Moon Bay, only this time the weather was beautiful.  It was my second time being there and Dad’s first.  This time the waves were even bigger than the other day, which just made me want to go surfing and swimming even more.  Here is a video of our experience at Half Moon Bay.

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After hanging out at the beach for a bit, we decided it was time to go and head up the coast toward the city.  We were planning to see the Golden Gate Bridge and eventually Alcatraz later that day.  The drive along the west coast on ‘California 1’ was a fun and a beautiful drive.  The highway wraps around hills, mountains, and rock faces on one side and then on the other side is the Pacific Ocean.  Here’s a video off our experience.

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Once we got up to San Francisco, we were surprised by the amount of cops blocking off roads and park entrances.  This was all because of the Tsunami that hit earlier that day.  The Great Highway right off the coast, was blocked off for all traffic.  So after taking side roads and back tracking a few times we made it up to Lincoln Park (the park where I was at the day before).  This time the weather was great, so it just made the day so much better.

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The Presidio Park was also a spectacular place to be.  Not only does it have a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, but many running paths/trails as well.  Since it was such a nice day outside, all sorts of people were running or biking around the park.  Here are some pictures and videos of a great look of the Golden Gate Bridge (and DK Cookies finally made it to the Golden Gate Bridge).

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DK Cookies makes it to the Golden Gate Bridge

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The next stop we wanted to make was out to Alcatraz Island, but after leaving the park and driving over to Pier 33, this was not the case (Pier 33 is where the ferries leave for trips to Alcatraz).  It turned out that the tickets sold out and the next available tour was Sunday.  Big disappointment, I know.  We definitely learned our lesson, and know to order tickets in advance next time.

At this point in the day we were both hungry and we happened to be close to Chinatown and guess what, we both like Chinese food.  So we headed up and down some steep hills and found a nice little Chinese restaurant and you guess what it was called?  Chinatown Restaurant.  Since Dad and I were not extremely hungry we got some Dim Sum.  Here are some photos of our food (sorry I couldn’t embed a slide show).

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After lunch we walked around Chinatown and saw some pretty cool stores with a lot of random items.  Check it out:

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The day was coming to end soon after our Chinatown excursion so we wanted to do one more thing before the sun went down.  We drove down Lombard Street.  The other day I walked/ran down Lombard Street, but this time I was able to drive down the street.  Here is a video of it:  (and of course, we wouldn’t be going anywhere if it wasn’t for my Garmin)

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We wanted to see the sun set near the Golden Gate Bridge so we drove right near it and was able to see the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, which was a beautiful site.

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This brought the day to an end, except for the part where Dad and I went out to a bar for some dinner.  We ended up spending a few hours at Tiernan’s (which was an Irish Pub near Chiradelli Square)).  I got to say it was definitely a funny night, especially when I discovered this lovely lady who was sitting next to me at the bar.  Enjoy the picture.

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Overall it was a busy day filled with some adventures and funny memories.

 

Just when the weather was great… (Day 3 of San Francisco)

Today was a bit of a slower day compared to the past two days.  I finally made a trip out to Golden Gate Park and despite the bad weather; I still thought it was a nice park.  The size of the park was enormously large for a typical park.  From one end to the other, it spans about 3 miles holding more than 1,000 acres of land.
Oh did I forget to mention the weather.  Today’s weather was overcast, foggy, and rainy, which sheltered the sun from glowing down (meaning I was not able to get my tan on).  It also meant that the lighting for photography was not great.  I made do with what I had.

I first drove into the city and arrived at Golden Gate Park, which was not all that bad.  Finding a parking spot was a bit tricky, but nothing I could not handle.  I started by the conservatory of flowers and then made my way over to the California Academy of Sciences.  I did not make it into either of these places because it was expensive and felt like it was not worth paying the money.  I could have been wrong, but oh well.

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Moving on down the park, I made my way over to the Asian Art Museum near the Japanese Tea Garden.  I did not make it into the Tea Garden, although I have heard of some great reviews.  Instead I went to the top of the observation tower.  This is by far one of the coolest places I have been to in San Francisco these past couple of days.  At the time, it was somewhat clear and I could see a good distance.  Take a look at the video I took of my experience on the tower.

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After I took some pictures and experienced the East portion of the park, I heard the ocean calling my name, so I made why way out to the beach on the West side of the Park.  As I was driving over to the beach something caught my eye, guess what it was?

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Later on at the beach….I thought the beach was awesome especially since the waves were pretty big.  Some of the biggest and roughest I have seen in person.  Take a look at some of my footage from the beach.

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Sorry for the poor video and audio quality.  You don’t have to watch it all, but feel free to skip around the video a bit.

After hanging out on the beach for about half an hour I decided to head back to the car and travel elsewhere.  Just when I started walking back, a couple stopped me and asked if I knew any places to eat nearby.  I told them I did not know and that I was traveling.  After talking to them for a bit I discovered that one of them was from Melbourne, Australia and that, he is studying at Eastern Michigan University and swims with Doug Brooks (a teammate from my high school).  So this goes to say there really is a small world out there sometimes.

I later made it up to Lincoln Park, which is at the corner of San Francisco right where the Bay starts.  I got to see some real nice scenery in this area.  For anyone that wants a beautiful spot to take photos and run on trails, this is the place.  Here are some videos.

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It was real cool how I could see the Golden Gate bridge from there.  I think tomorrow Dad and I are gonna go try to check it out.

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After spending sometime in Lincoln Park I started making my way back to the hotel, but took a short stop on top of Twin Peaks.  Although it was a foggy day and I couldn’t really see much on the Peaks, I still enjoyed being at a higher elevation.  Check out my videos.

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I definitely got some photos throughout the day, even though the lighting was bad.  Here is a link of some of the photos I have taken throughout the day.

Keith Spring Break Photo Album

Today was a little bit salty and wet (Day 2 of San Francisco)

Don’t you love it when people underestimate or just don’t know the skills or experience you have?  I know I sure do (this is sarcasm).
Today I accomplished the next part of my San Francisco Journey…Kayaking in the San Francisco Bay.  I went through the company, City Kayak, located down in the South Bay Harbor area in Pier 40.

This is where City Kayak is located in San Francisco

The day started out somewhat slow after I dropped Dad off at the office again.  I first had to get accurate directions to where I was going first and then make the trip all the way into the city.  I left the hotel around 11am and while traveling to the airport I met a very nice person on the courtesy shuttle.  I told her I would mention her in my blog, so here is a shout out to Arica.  Thanks for having a fun conversation and safe travels for you.

When I arrived downtown and got off the BART, I used my navigation skills to walk to South Bay Harbor in Pier 40 where City Kayak is located.  After talking to the employee at City Kayak, I eventually was able to check rent out a touring kayak (aka a traditional sea kayak).  At first, he wanted to give me a sit on kayak, but he clearly did not know I am a Collegiate Whitewater National Kayaking Champion.  Anyways, after getting a quick rundown he told me a few things about where to Kayak and things of that sort.  Soon enough I was off and of course, I documented my trip.

Good afternoon in a kayak on the Bay

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The water can be a bit salty in the Bay

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Kayaking near the Ferry Building and a Ferry

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It’s Lunch time!!!

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Paddling down a channel by AT&T Park

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I told you I saw a seal!

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A recap of a day of Paddling

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As you can see by the map below, I started out by paddling North of Bay Bridge and then came back down by AT&T Park.  The last leg I paddled was down by some of the industrial area more south of South Bay.

My Paddling Path

The afternoon of paddling was quite nice I have to say.  I paddled a total of about 8.5 miles.  If I was to recommend kayaking in San Francisco I suppose I would recommend City Kayak, but if you’re are looking for kayaking in nature scenery, this is not the place for you.  Hope you enjoyed!

If any readers want a shout out in my next videos, please let me know and I may be able to make that happen.

My butt is kinda sore again (Day 1 of San Francisco)

Has anyone ever told you, the Bay smells bad?  If they have, they certainly had one thing right; it does smell (at least over by some of the piers).

Today was the start of my journey in San Francisco, CA.  Before traveling here, I was not too sure what to expect.  The most surprising thing for me is the size of San Francisco.  I never realized how large the Bay area was, especially San Francisco.

Day 1 started out somewhat slow I would say.  This is partially because I was exhausted from the traveling the previous night.  The flight from Chicago was about 4.5 hours and I did not go to bed until 3 am or 4 am central time.  After my dad was done with his conference calls for the morning, he got ready for work and I got ready for an afternoon of adventures.  Oh, we also went to the concierges lounge to eat a delicious breakfast, which was all free.  This is definitely one of the benefits of having status in a Marriott.

After dropping  Dad off at work, I took a trip out to Half Moon Bay and went to the Beach.  Even though the weather was somewhat rainy and foggy in the morning, it did not stop me from going to the beach.  Take a look:

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After driving back to the hotel, I took the courtesy shuttle to the airport to hop a Metra train, otherwise known as the BART to downtown San Francisco.  When people say things are expensive out here, they are not lying take a look:

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No joke the ticket costs $16.80 for a round trip to downtown San Francisco from the Airport.

Once downtown I started my trekking around the city with my first, stop being the Ferry Building Marketplace.  In the marketplace, there is an assortment of restaurants, shops, organic produce, even baked goods.  Here is a video tour of what the Marketplace had to offer.

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The next stop on my journey was something I have been eyeing the whole day.  I have also read reviews on Trip Advisor and people said it was one of the nicest places to go see the whole city.  Can anyone guess what it is?  If you answered the Coit Tower, you are correct.  Here is a video series of my trek to the top of the tower.

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The Bottom

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Halfway up

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The Top of the Tower

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Once to the top of the tower, I was surprised when I saw the little island off the coast called Alcatraz.  Some of you may have heard of it, others not.  It used to be a prison to home of the worst criminals.  Later this week Dad and I are going to try to go and take a trip out to the Island and see the prison.

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Moving along the Embarcadero and Piers I came to Pier 39.  I didn’t think too much of it at first, but then I walked a little farther down on the Pier and it turned out to be quite a tourist attraction.  Of course, they had restaurants and shops, but it just seemed like many tourist were there.  Part of that reason is because of the Sea Lions.  “What?” you say.  Well there happens to be Sea Lions right off the Pier bathing in the sun and having fun.  Take a look:

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One thing I wanted to do very bad while I was here was go geo-caching.  If you do not know what geo-caching is, this is a good link to watch.  Since I do not have a smart phone at the moment, I used my Google Chrome Notebook and Mobile Broadband to look up coordinates for nearby geo-caches.  I put them into my Garmin 3790 LMT GPS, trekked over, and found it.  It was an easy cache, but many muggles were around.

Just after finding the geo-cache, I saw an In and Out Burger, take a look:

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So as you heard I went in and ordered some lunch because by that time I was hungry.  Here is my experience:

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In a way, this place reminded me of the restaurant, Five Guys.  I would describe both of these places as a fast food restaurant, but instead of a burger like McDonalds, it taste more like a burger made on the grill with fresher French fries.  Overall, I would definitely go there again, too bad they do not have these out in the Midwest.

The finished meal

After eating my meal, which was about 1000 calories in total (including fries), I burned off some of it by walking up the famous Van-Ness Avenue.  This honestly had to be one of the steepest streets I have ever walked up.  By the time I got to the top, I was sore.  Take a look:

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The real reason why I was going up this street was that I wanted to go see Lombard Street, otherwise known as the most crooked street in the world.  Unlike a typical traveler, I wanted to have a bit more excitement, so instead of walking down all the stairs I ran down part of the street.

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Day 1 was a nice intro to my journey in San Francisco, but it has not quite ended.  There are a few more days to come here and I plan to do a lot more.  Oh and I do have to say my legs/butt is somewhat sore from walking up and down all those hills yesterday.