The Surrey Debacle in Golden Gate Park

The Surrey Debacle in Golden Gate Park

You know those funny little pedal vehicles that can be rented at the beach or in parks. The proper name for them is a surrey. Every time I see a family peddling past on one of these I think, hey we should do that next time we have the chance. That's the happy little thought which drove me to suggest our next misadventure in Golden Gate Park, San Fransisco.

The afternoon started off well. We had just spent the morning vintage shopping on Haight-Ashbury and had successfully navigated our way to Golden Gate Park. The sun was shining and the park was gorgeous. Here's where I feel like we royally missed out. I'm usually so great at planning but even the best drop the ball sometimes I guess. There is so much I wanted to see including the Conservatory of Flowers but instead we wandered around a bit lost and came upon surrey rentals. My reasoning for renting one was that we could quickly tour around the park and get an idea of what was where. The park is HUGE and we were there late, so many of the interesting sights would be closing in just a couple hours. It seemed like a good compromise in that even if we didn't get to go into each attraction, at least we'd see most of the park. After all, it was such a nice day.

After 20 minutes of filling out forms and getting instructions, all 6 of us pilled into our cart, ready to roll! We were guided by a tiny map attached to the cart. It was actually VERY similar to the one that messed us up on our bike ride the day before. At this point I feel like I have to defend our map following skills. It's normally NOT a problem, I swear! This particular one was a dumb cartoon style map which shows landmarks like buildings, but no street names. That's fine if the park didn't have names for it's roads and paths, but each intersection was clearly marked. I have no idea why whoever made those useless maps felt it wasn't important to add those details. 

Our first 10 minutes on the surrey reminded me of that scene in National Lampoon's European Vacation where the Grizwolds are stuck hopelessly driving circles in a roundabout. After the second go around , trying to find the right place to turn, my dad said "That's it!" hopped off and went to buy a hotdog. He was the smartest one of all of us apparently because we kept trying. To add to the frustration of not being able to orient ourselves, Luke and Eve repeatedly began loosing their flip flops. Each time one of them yelled out, we would have to stop and walk back to retrieve them. At one point Luke tried to go barefoot, which resulted in his foot slipping, and being whipped by the pedal. So, now he was bleeding and lame, moaning and peddling with one foot.

Somehow we ended up in traffic but that wasn't the worst of it! We were told if you start going downhill, you've gone the wrong way. Well, you just TRY stop rolling downhill once you've made that wrong turn. You just TRY use the hand brake to stop! 

Thankfully we hit an incline just as it was getting pretty out of control. Using our momentum to peddle our butts up hill as best we can, we ran out of leg power half way up. That resulted in some pushing power (ONE of us limping on his lame foot whining "I caaaaaaannnnnn't") It was at this point that I though, now's a good time for a picture!

Todd, in the middle of a giant rant on how much this was sucking.

Todd, in the middle of a giant rant on how much this was sucking.

We really felt like buffoons until we came across two other groups also on rented surreys who were equally as confused, and not at all on the maps path. With our hour time limit coming close (we sure as hell weren't ready to pay more for this SUPER FUN FAMILY EXPERIENCE) we used all our powers of navigation and pedal power to glide gracefully back to the rental kiosk. Todd and I very rarely get mad at one another or hold grudges, but we had a hard time even looking at each other after that! Kinda the opposite of what I had planned . . .

In hindsight, my sister in law had told me a funny story about struggling with a surrey a month before. I think it might be one of those activities that looks a LOT better on paper, or during the few seconds you see a group peddling by. For us, it was best described as a debacle! 

Anyone else have a surrey tale to tell?  

Hobby photographer, traveler, maker, vintage curator, mother, blogger.