Cemetery tour in San Francisco…

Sunday was my own time. When I was wondering with Simon we went to the beat bookstore and I saw an ad for a cemetery bike tour. Jenny loaned me her bike and I aired the tires as she had not ridden in a while, and then left for the tour at the Colma bart station. Colma is a town with population 2000 but is entirely founded in the cemetery industry and has more than 2,000,000 graves.

Chris Carlsson was the tour guide and he advertises his other bike tours on his website. He is a fantastic historian and storyteller specializing in topics related to laborers’ rights. I highly recommend him to anyone who shares my interests, but I have to note that his tour guiding style is to organize a four-hour tour (!) which is information intensive. For me, this is exactly what I want. But I recognize that casual tourists usually do not want this, and even people who want information do not want four continual hours of it.

Where else but San Francisco can someone offer such a tour, and ask people to meet on their bicycles without a reservation, then run the tour on donation without a stated fee, and expect it to be successful? I was thrilled!

Something else happened, which seemed like a problem but was not. My bike tire when completely flat about an hour into the tour. I thought I would have to leave. However, this being San Francisco, one of the other tour participants pulled an air pump out of his backpack. He inflated my tire, at which point we found that it would not hold any air. Upon learning this, he inquired in all seriousness whether anyone had any patches or tubes. None of the people on this tour seemed like they worked on bicycles, but two of them checked their packs for tubes and patches. One person found nothing, and another found tubes but not the right size for my bike. The issue found resolution when the group decided that I should ride on the back seat of yet another person’s bicycle. This person, Joel, gave his stuff to another person to carry to make room for me. So more than half of the tour group got involved in helping me finish the tour when my tire went flat. I cannot imagine getting this kind of treatment on a typical tour, so obviously I had found a tour that attracted local San Francisco people of the best kind.

During the cemetery tour we visited the graves of Emperor Norton of these United States and Protector of Mexico, Lillie Coit the eccentric firefighter enthusiast who built Coit Tower, William Matson the shipping magnate who pushed a major drive to globalization, Hubert Bancroft the historian who has a library a Berkeley, Charles and M.H. de Young who were newspaper editors who founded the predecessor to the San Francisco Chronicle and directed the AP, Claus Spreckels and son Adolph who grew sugar in Hawaii, and various memorials to groups.

When I was on the back of his bicycle Joel told me that he has a tour agency also. His is Thinkwalks. His tours focus on the natural history of San Francisco and how the landscape gets changed because of urban development. He also is knowledgeable and personable about what he does and I would want to take one of his tours when I visit San Francisco again.

So after all this touring for hours I get my bike and go home and it is time for me to meet Eric of AIDSvideos. We met each other, talked for 4.5 hours non-stop, and had a lot of fun. Most of what we discussed solidified some things I already knew, but I did take away some realizations from the talk. One is that I feel now that I have not been taking this project with him seriously enough. It is desperately important. Also I have overestimated the difficulty of the work he wants. I really do have the means to start outputting his content right now. After talking to him, I have a better understanding of the kind of branding he wants and what it is about his organization’s identity which needs to be protected and promoted, and what other things are flexible and open to interpretation. He also made me think very hard about going to India to manage the setup of a video production factory. I think that I could do this with little effort and it might be a lot more efficient than trying to organize this by phone or internet through Nandan. It is very important to me to set this up, but at the same time, to justify the financial cost of my going to India I want to be able to bring some other projects with me and perhaps I am not well prepared right now to start everything I want to start. I am currently readying all these things and it may be the case that I choose to make the trip in the next few months. Right now I am still thinking about this, and also it depends on the availability of Nandan and others.

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purpose of this blog

This is Lane Rasberry's personal blog. None of the information on this blog is private, but it is personal and I have not written it with the intent to make it of public general interest. Anyone visiting this site has my permission to use anything they find here for friendly, share-alike purposes.