Hello San Francisco!
Just a hallway stop, before my arrival in San Diego.
I miss the Bay Area. I grew up here, with many fond memories.
Interested in Cold War era military history? In or near San Francisco’s Bay Area?
Check out the SF-88 Nike Missile Base, a U.S. military defense base established long ago against the possible invasion of Communist forces. Now, accessible to the public.
Find it, a little northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands. Visiting hours are very limited, and by guided tour only. More details at the end of this entry.
For me, this place was an awesome surprise. I heard nothing on this before and just found it while hiking around the perimeters of Fort Barry and its abandoned battery military posts (to be featured in a future post). I came across a fence, chuckled at this sign.
I noticed a missile in the distance and an open gate beyond, then walked towards. Turned out I was welcome, and in time for a grand tour of this fascinating place.
SF-88 is one of four public accessible decommissioned missile bases out of 280 that were purposed to defend against possible Soviet enemy aircraft attacks. After opening in 1954, SF-88 was armed first with Ajax anti-aircraft missiles, and later on with Hercules II anti-aircraft rockets. This establishment was eventually closed in 1974, and restored for historical preservation decades later by dedicated volunteers.
Thanks to these volunteers, visitors may personally see and understand this fascinating time of our history. With the aid of a volunteer tour guide, you may personally study a plethora of Cold War defense equipment and operations. Included on this base are radar stations, yesterdays top-of-the-line computer stations and communication networks. Also, lots of small military objects, pictures, and informative writings of its time in use.
And of course, the missiles themselves are present. Most here, are the Hercules II rockets. Some are taken apart in the sheds, others with detailed cutaways revealing complex construction and construction. Also, there is the center launchpad, where a platform leads to an underground area. Inside are more decommissioned missiles, and the launch room.
Fascinating to me, was how lightweight these missiles were, as the tour guide gave us the opportunity to move a couple on their metal lifts. The missiles were to be prepared and ready promptly; recalling the guide saying these missiles had to be less than 20 minutes, should an attack happen.
SF-88 is much worth checking out. Hours and tours are limited, as the base is closed most of the week. The cost is free, and donations were refused at the time I visited. Do check its official Web site for current times of the tours.. SF-88 is also closed on federal holidays, and days of rough weather conditions (alerts are also online). For more information and directions, click here for the official visitor page.
Below are additional pictures of the Nike site, taken by me. Click on each one for the full picture.
Happy Monday. For many reading this, this is the beginning another long work week.
For some, this means heavy goal setting and impressing ourselves. For others, relentless work including: letters, proposals, brainstorming, massive paperwork, countless emails, calculations, heavy lifting, exceptional customer service. Those in need of work are likely on the job hunt: revising resumes, pressing outfits, other self-sellings. College students are back from spring break, probably stacking notes and outlines toward their semester finals. Also for many US citizens, that tax deadline is faster approaching.
In times of stress, we could use a motivational iconic figure. Someone, whose wisdom comes from a galaxy far away. He could say something wise and wonderful, out us on track, ready those cover letters, develop solid thesis statements, place those exact numbers on charts, straighten our ties, make smiles effortless.
Seek Yoda, the wise and powerful Jedi from the Star Wars franchise.
Yoda says wonderful things about life:
“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”
On faith and leaving room in mind for the impossible:
“(Luke: I don’t..don’t believe it) Yoda: That is why you fail.”
On stress management:
“Control, control, you must learn control!”
On grim outlooks:
“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future”
On goal setting:
“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
On negative behavior:
“Don’t give in to hate. That leads to the Dark Side.”
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
On education progression and necessity:
“Mind what you have learned. Save you it can.”
“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.”
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
So there you go, all from a wise wizard elf-man, as quoted from a few Star Wars films (mostly Empire Strikes Back). Think, for the next forboding moment. What would Yoda do, say? How would he handle a troubling situation or stress buildup? His calm demeanor and self confidence produced heroes, helped win wars, organize large groups, and kept him looking good for over 900 years.
The picture above, is a life-sized Yoda statue on a water fountain (photo by me). You’ll can find the entrance to the Lucasfilm Ltd. corporate headquarters office in San Francisco, within the Presidio area, very near to the famous Palace of Fine Arts. For the exact location, click here.
Yay, picture share time!
I present below, this cluster of pics from a personal favorite spot in San Francisco’s Mission District. This location is full of color, creativity, messages, diversity, brilliance, amazement. Here, appreciate fine urban and graffiti art; all open to the public on the walls of doors, fences, buildings. All, mostly done by local artists.
This is Clarion Alley. It’s all free, just find the alley and take a stroll (during the day is brighter, safer).
The work of Clarion Alley is done by various artists with full permission by the city and the adjacent property owners. This collaboration is part to the work of CAMP (Clarion Alley Mural Project). Here, is a little more from the the CAMP representative Web page, www.meganwilson.com:
“Clarion Alley Mural Project has been a grass roots project from beginning to future, organized by a handful of individuals who have volunteered thousands of hours, and with the added generosity of many, many community members who’ve committed their time and energy to CAMP over the past 20 years. Its possible that such a project could only be done by a small group of committed friends. Big institutions with paid staffs, enviable office facilities, and large materials budgets also have institutional strictures, competing curatorial agendas, levels of prestige to be maintained, ponderous decision-making processes, star power and quota considerations in the selection of artists and bottom line revenue projections to be taken into account. Could a project based on the affinities of artists, characterized by a rejection of western fine art hierarchies, with no enhancement of the market value of stored artworks, ever make its way through that gamut?
In a city that is rapidly changing to cater to the one-percent at every level, CAMP is one of the last remaining truly punk venues in San Francisco.”
I visit San Francisco often, at least twice a year over the last ten years. I come back to Clarion Alley when time allows. Some of the art stays unchanged (perhaps touched up or repaired), while other art is fresh and new painted over the old. This presentation is very refreshing, and retains hope for the ongoing troubles of San Francisco’s local art community (rising rents, gentrification, the tech industry invasion).
Below, is my collection of images over the past few years visiting Clarion Alley. Pics are from various cameras, smartphones on hand. Enjoy, appreciate, make this place a must-see for your time in San Francisco.
by Cat DeSpira
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