Photo by Julian Walker
Take it away, Mike:
Forget cheesy tour buses, let the 33-Stanyan be your guide to a real San Francisco experience. The journey starts at California and Arguello, whenever the bus chooses to grace you with its presence. Don’t bother checking the schedule. The 33 doesn’t live by anyone’s schedule. And whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of walking to Geary to check the NextBus sign. That move only guarantees that a conga-line of at least three 33s will pass you by before you even get to Clement.
I know, you may have heard tales of the mythical between-stops pickup happening on the 33. Unfortunately, current evidence is inconclusive, and do you really want to take that risk? It’s best to just be patient; the 33 is a finicky creature and will only make an appearance when the time is right. When that time comes, your tour begins.
Your friendly guide will take you on a winding route around the corner of Golden Gate Park, followed by a meandering journey through the Upper Haight. You’ll see it all as the bus traverses the neighborhood at just under the speed of walk. Watch the crazies come, watch the crazies go, watch the crazies do their crazy thing all around the bus. Hopefully the other senses are kept to a minimum, because feeling, smelling, or tasting any craziness could really ruin your day.
Feel free to make eye contact, if you please, and you’re sure to be immersed in a bizarre conversation that you’ll be able to regale your friends with later [on Muni Diaries, natch].
By the time the bus arrives at the iconic Haight-Ashbury corner to begin its climb up the hill, most of the crazies have departed, leaving only those in for the long-haul. Those who got off, though, are missing out on the best part. Up here, at the peak of the 33’s route, where Clayton meets Market, this bus has the best view in all of Muni. Take it all in! (Don’t take a deep breath, though: Remember, this isn’t some crisp mountain peak; you’re still on Muni here.)
If you’re lucky, maybe the bus will come off the wires making that sharp corner, or maybe an inbound 33 will be stuck against the wall, giving you a few extra moments to savor the scenery. From here, it’s down the hill, through the Castro and into the Mission, picking up and losing the local denizens of each neighborhood along the way. Already, the crowd has morphed from hippies and crazies to mostly gay, and now you’ll find yourself surrounded by hipsters. Where else do you get to meet such a diverse mix of people on one bus ride?
What happens after the bus leaves the Mission? Well, I can’t give away the ending — you’ll have to ride it yourself and find out! OK, honestly, I’ve never made it past Potrero, but I like to imagine that the unexplored outbound terminus is where all the magic happens on the 33. There are probably unicorns and rainbows and perhaps at least a few leprechauns involved. Or maybe there’s a whole tribe of undiscovered crazies down there. Won’t you take a ride and let us know?
Good idea. Let us and Mike know what those last few blocks of the best tour bus in town are like. Thanks, Mike.