Coworking San Francisco: Week 3
My coworking experience at NextSpace and Net.Workspace were about the same: low ceilings, fluorescent lights, and minimal human interaction. I actually went a few hours at NextSpace before I met my host, and for the majority of the time, I was the only coworker at Net.Workspace.
I took the BART to Berkeley for my last day of coworking in the bay area. ShareSpace at Ashby was more pleasant than the previous two, and friendly people had a lot to do with it.
Coworking San Francisco: Week 2
My first coworking spot of week #2 was Coffee & Power. I don’t really drink coffee, but I was happy to take them up on their offer of power outlets. My desk had a lovely view of the energetic Market Street, which was always an adventure to bike down during rush hour after work. I can’t say it was the best view I’ve had, but I can say that their bathroom had the most amusing decor of all the coworking spaces in San Francisco.
Citizen Space didn’t provide the quietest atmosphere for working. Due to hearing snippets of miscellaneous loud conversations, people talking to customers on headsets, creaky footsteps on the floor upstairs, and the whirr of traffic on I80, I don’t blame most of the people there for listening to their headphones at maximum volume. Nevertheless, once my own headphones were in place, I enjoyed another productive day.
The owner of Rezerv.It was a friendly guy, and he gave me a tour of his multi-room coworking space, saying I could decide where I’d like to set up shop for the day. Once I saw the ladder leading to a sunny loft containing a skylight, an open window, and just enough space for one desk, my decision was made. My 20-mile round-trip bicycle commute that day was worth it.
San Francisco Street Art
Exploring the City
I decided to spend my first weekend in San Francisco riding my bicycle through the different neighborhoods. I did get to visit the famous Lombard Street and catch a glimpse of Alcatraz off in the distance, but I was more fascinated with other elements of the city: the art, the architecture, the produce stands, the variety of succulents grown in people’s practically nonexistent front yards, the pigeons, and the people.
Coworking San Francisco: Week 1
Through a website called Loosecubes, I learned there were a bunch of coworking spaces scattered about the city. Since they were free, and all I had to do was sign up the night before, I decided to give it a try.
I spent my first day of coworking at Rickshaw Bagworks, a company that designs custom bicycle messenger bags. I wheeled my bicycle inside, and the friendly folks there directed me to their designated indoor bicycle parking area. They had an extra desk in their loft overlooking the bustling production room. Surprisingly, the chatter of sewing machines provided a white noise that was perfect for productivity.
I visited the Parisoma Innovation Loft on my second day of coworking in San Francisco. The folks working there were quite engulfed in their own business and didn’t pay much attention to anyone who entered the space. Good thing I was there to greet the UPS man and sign for a pile of their packages. Like Rickshaw, they too had indoor bicycle parking.
The Wix Lounge was located in a tall building in the Mission district. At the end of my workday there, I met a writer and actress who was working on writing a play about Bessie Coleman for a children’s theater. She gave me some ideas for other places to be productive around San Francisco. Somehow an hour passed, and it was time for me to ride back up the big hill and eat some dinner.
San Francisco from the Roof
After hiking in Yosemite, I headed down the mountain to San Francisco. I had lined up an apartment to sublet approximately eight miles from the heart of downtown, which made for some long daily bicycle commutes.
The roof of the building had a pretty nice view of town. Getting up there wasn’t incredibly convenient, though—it involved removing the screen from the window, climbing onto a narrow platform that dropped off into the stairwell, maneuvering over a railing, then climbing up a metal ladder anchored to the side of the building. Though it was slightly unnerving, I’d say it was worth the effort.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is huge, and we only conquered a very small bit of it on a two-night backpacking trip towards the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. On Friday night, we started out a tad later than anticipated due to car battery problems and the challenge of packing the required bulky bear canister. Beginning at the White Wolf trailhead, we hiked a few miles in the dark and set up camp in an ashy forest of several burnt trees.
Saturday morning, we headed towards Harden Lake. The forest smelled lovely, and it was filled with pinecones as big as footballs. Naturally, the trees were also huge, and in one area, so many had fallen that keeping track of the trail was difficult at times.
In one area of the forest, I kept hearing a strange, deep noise. At first, I thought it was the sound of air coming out of my pack as I walked, but when I stopped moving, the sound continued. Then, I started to hear it coming from multiple directions. Was it a group of elk? A sasquatch family? Hmm. Soon enough, I happened upon the source: a strange-looking bird with a weird featherless patch that revealed a texture resembling an osage orange. Interesting creature. His call didn’t sound very bird-like at all. Later, I learned it was a male sooty grouse.
After cooking dinner, collecting water in a babbling brook, and dodging mosquitoes, we set up camp and watched the sun set on a bluff overlooking the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, one of John Muir’s favorite places.
On Sunday morning, while I was retrieving the bear canister full of food that I hid in a rocky crevice a couple hundred yards from the campsite, I spotted two black bears climbing up a pine tree nearby, minding their own business. They were clearly heading the wrong direction if it was my food they were after.
After returning to the car after three days of hiking in Yosemite, my car wouldn’t start. I was pretty glad I stopped to pick up a spare battery on the way up, because who knows how far away a battery store would’ve been.
Night Cacti and Yellow Ooze
On Wednesday night of my week in the redwoods, I had plans to visit friends in Palo Alto. As I was about to leave, I discovered that my car battery was dead. So, in effort to not change plans, I rode my bicycle down the mountain to get to the city just before dark. I got an after-dark tour of Stanford University, including flashlight exploration of the Arizona Cactus Garden. I saw more gigantic cacti there than I did during my entire week in Arizona, but that was mostly because I didn’t have time to venture further south in the state, where the cacti are larger and more plentiful.
Thursday morning, my friend jumped my car, and after taking it for a drive to the grocery store, all seemed well again.
Later in the week, however, when I was all ready to head to Yosemite National Park, the car didn’t start. My friend wasn’t able to jump my car yet another time, so I tracked down a guy who was roaming the neighborhood from California Mosquito and Vector Control. He was happy to help and carelessly smooshed two large banana slugs during the car-jumping process, but since I was so grateful for his help, I decided it’d be best not to point out the fresh yellow ooze on his boots.
A Week Working in the Woods
After spending the weekend along the coast, I headed inland and visited a high school friend and her shy Welsh corgie, Della. I spent the week working at her home in the quaint unincorporated mountain community of Skylonda near the intersection of State Routes 84 and 35. The nearest grocery store was a 30 minute drive down the mountain near Stanford University, where my friend is working on a PhD in genetics. With an excellent view of redwood trees right out the front door, I decided that her secluded house in the forest would be an excellent place to write memoirs, much like the lighthouse I recently slept in. Unlike the lighthouse, though, her wifi actually worked, so I was able to stick around and be productive.