Dad and lad ride all Muni lines


We’ve heard stories of people setting out to ride all Muni lines before. Martin brought his son along, which, well, here, I’ll let Martin tell the story.

When he was 4 years old, my son Max was really into Muni. He knew whether all of the buses we frequently rode were electric, biodiesel, or hybrid electric. When we got off the bus, he made me stop and watch it go, so that he could see if there was a spark on the wire, or if the bus “came off the track.” After a preschool trip on the 5-Fulton and 22-Fillmore to the pet store at Potrero Center, he led his nanny there a week later, knowing exactly where to change buses and where to disembark.

I decided that it would be fun for him (and frankly, for me) to take every Muni bus line in the city, in order. Our first day was Sunday, April 13, 2014. We started at Drumm and Clay and took the 1-California some distance up Sacramento, walked over to Post to take the 2-Clement and then the 3-Jackson back toward Market, got on the 5-Fulton heading south on Market until there was a good connection to the 6-Parnassus headed the other way to Third Street, walked down to Third and Mission to take the 8X-Bayshore Express back a stop to Market, where we caught our last bus of the day, the 9-San Bruno. As I expected, Max loved the idea, and it really never got old for him.

The bus adventure, as we called it, went on for nine weekend days from April to August. We took as few as three buses in one day and as many as seven another; sometimes, we went only one stop, and occasionally we toured a large part of the city on one bus just to get close to the next one. We saw most of the city along the way:

28-19th Avenue through the Presidio
43-Masonic through Golden Gate Park
47-Van Ness through the Marina
48-Quintara through the Potrero projects
52-Excelsior through the Excelsior
23-Monterey through Sunnyside
24-Divisadero through Bernal Heights
35-Eureka through Glen Park
36-Teresita through Sherwood Forest and Forest Knolls

We got off the 36 on the west side of Twin Peaks and walked over the top to catch the 37-Corbett on the other side. Sometimes, we were packed in like a sardine can, like on the 30-Stockton, and sometimes we were the only ones on a bus, like the 17-Park Merced. Once, we made plans to meet up with Max’s best friend Emma and her mom when we were taking the 47 near their house. They rode along with us while we connected to the 48 and the 49-Van Ness, riding it back to the Marina while we moved on to the 52.

Max sure got his share of Muni experiences. We waited in the cold for buses that disappeared; we stopped and waited 15 minutes for a new driver, who never showed up; we saw several people randomly yelling about something or mumbling obscenities at the other passengers, including Max. He took it all in stride.

The adventure ended perfectly, because as if Muni planned for our project, the last two bus lines, the 76X-Marin Headlands Express and the 108-Treasure Island, are the ones that leave the city proper over the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge, respectively, each making for a perfect day excursion. The 76X is really a great bus, letting you get out to the Marin Headlands for $2.25, getting off and back on as desired. Max and I took the bus to the Golden Gate Bridge, got off, and walked across the bridge, which Max had never done. We got over to the other side just in time for the next bus to pick us up at the Alexander Ave offramp, take us up Conzelman Road, and down into the Golden Gate Recreation Area. We got off again at Point Bonita and walked all the way out to the lighthouse, another experience Max had never had before. We had some time to wait for the return bus, so Max got to play on a battery for a while, and eventually, we got on the long ride back, first going by Rodeo Lagoon, then back up and over the headlands and over the bridge to San Francisco.

Dennise joined us for the final day trip on the 108 bus to Treasure Island, another new experience for Max. She had read about all the wine tasting on the island, so we thought we would check that out. We started midday by the Transbay Terminal and were quickly on the Bay Bridge and then on Treasure Island. We took the bus around the island until we were back on the city side. We got off to walk along the rocks by the water, taking in the amazing view of the city and then checking out the beautiful Bliss statue before getting a good lunch at the Treasure Island Bar and Grill. From there, we walked to Vie Winery, which has a great little tasting room under the new Bay Bridge, with a bocce court outside, friendly employees, and good wine. After a couple glasses of wine, we got on the return bus for our final ride back across the bridge.

If you have a kid who loves Muni and you have quite a few free weekends, this is a really fun adventure. I don’t know how much Max will remember, but I’m pretty confident that he’ll at least remember parts of this crazy adventure that he took with his dad.

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