Jill and I are enjoying our car-less travels all around the bay as we update SF Tourism Tips.
We walk about a mile to grab the first bus, in Petaluma, and then take it into San Francisco where we might walk, bus or take the street cars depending on our time and destination.
We also bus back to Petaluma and it has been mostly enjoyable.
I’d say about 9 out of 10 Golden Gate Bus drivers are incredibly friendly and love their jobs.
The ones that aren’t happy are probably just having a bad day and have to deal with a lot.
I’ve noticed, as I’ve talked to the bus drivers, most of them just say, “This job teaches you patience.”
It makes me think that most of the drivers probably practice a type of “moving meditation” when they drive and deal with people so that they can stay calm, mellow and happy most the time.
Otherwise the traffic, the people, and the on time pressure would wear them down.
Our latest driver said to Jill and me that, “I just put on a smile and keep it on. If I get worn down, I smile and I come back to who I am and who I want to be.” Imagine if we all did that, a little bit more each day, how different our lives would be?
As we walked towards the bus one day, we turned the corner and noticed this amazing car.
It is a 1953 Chevy 210 with some added flair (some parts from a Plymouth and taillights from a 1954 210 as Mitch liked those more and wanted more “personality”).
We immediately fell in love with it and Jill said, “My dad would love this!”
Jill’s dad, Bill, rebuilds old cars and is a blacksmith and also does leather work.
I suggested we go ask the owner if we could take some pictures and he agreed.
He stated that he hand painted it about 6 years ago and it took a long long long time because each layer is very difficult and time consuming. He didn’t use any filler or bondo on the bodywork because he didn’t want the paint to crack or break as the car aged. We couldn’t see any imperfections at all.
We didn’t have our camera, at this time, so we asked if we could come back and he happily agreed.
Two days later we were walking down the street and heard this rumble behind us. It was Mitch and his 1953 210 cruising down the street. There really is nothing like the sound of a classic car’s engine rumbling and cruising.
Mitch pulled into his shop and parked it in the sunshine so we could see it really glow. He then he wiped it down with a cloth to get all the dust off of it. He had just made some engine improvements and taken it for a test drive so it was a bit dusty and we appreciated his time and effort to make his baby shine!
Mitch, the owner, told us this is his “daily driver” and that he also built a Comet for his wife. We talked about the joy of doing what you love for a living and how it can be difficult to live outside the expected way of life but that none of us could go back to what we used to do.
Mitch, by the way, was born in Sweden and came to the USA to play music. It seems he did fairly well for himself and quite a bit of touring. He lived in Los Angeles but got tired of it and moved up north. He and his wife now live in Petaluma and he seems to be quite content and proud of his creations.
An artist working his craft.
We talked for about 45 minutes, as we weren’t in a hurry, and it was like meeting an old friend.
There is no question that if we had been in a car, we would have missed Mitch and his 1953 210.
That is why we walk.