The day I became a tourist attraction started out with tunnel safety lights flying past as we rode the Bart into San Francisco. Riding a clunky but reliable cable car, we descended down Mason Street and hopped off at the GoCar garage. After signing the requisite safety contracts, we selected our fire engine red helmets and exited the busy garage, resting our eyes on our “tour guide”; a tiny, banana yellow, three-wheeled “car” with bars as doors. Settling into what I thought a potential death trap, we set off towards the Fisherman’s Warf. To our great surprise and instant confusion, our GPS audio guide started talking to us in Portuguese? We ended up taking a wrong turn, prompting our GPS to stop speaking entirely, leaving us lost in the maze of one-way streets, cars towering over us in our tire-level, clown car. Using our laminated 12×8 map and handy cell phone, we made it back to the garage, hearts pounding, and traded in our cultural GoCar for one with a familiar English-speaking GPS.
Finally arriving at the Fisherman’s Warf, we picked up our lunch to enjoy later while in another scenic part of San Francisco. Back at our parked GoCar, a crowd of tourists started posing and taking pictures of it, my mom and me, leaving me mortified and terribly embarrassed; my mother thought it was hilarious. I was so worried that I would end up in someone’s vacation album that I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. After that “humiliating” event, we set off down the coast lined with bikers, flocks of seagulls, and of course a blanket of fog. We putted up a hill at an outrageous speed of 20 mph to an old lookout point, where we saw part of the Golden Gate Bridge and the distant outline of Alcatraz.
Continuing on our journey, we passed a few beaches, historic buildings, and a lot of trees, then started to ascend a monstrous hill. Everything started out smoothly until we noticed that we were rapidly slowing down and eventually we were rolling backwards. My mother looked over at me, her face stricken with panic, and said to me, with just a hint of desperation in her voice, “Megan, do something!” Instantly, I jumped out of my seat and pushed the doomed cart up the rest of the hill while my mom was “giving it all she’s got.” Amazingly, we made it to the top, laughing so hard that we had to pull over to wipe the tears from our eyes. Once we composed ourselves we set off once again nearing the end of our journey. With only a few miles to go, to our horror, there was a detour on our route! Once we got off track, the GPS dutifully stopped telling us where to turn; so once again we had to use our tiny laminated map. Somehow we managed to wind our way down Lombard Street, one of the crookedest roads in the world, in our 30 mph max clown car.
We finally completed our odyssey and safely returned to the GoCar garage. Touring San Francisco in such a unique way was the most fun I had had in a long time with my mom. Although our adventure started out rough, due to my teenage moodiness and a Portuguese speaking GPS, our trip was amazing because of the breathtaking sites, quality time with my mom and of course all the laughs we shared. That was the day I became a tourist attraction.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.