Shot above: standing on the n.e. corner of Geary and Mason for a tour by appointment with Sisters in Crime, Saturday August 5, 2017. Looking west out Geary, the old Geary Theatre looming above the first red car. . . .
A couple of days ago I did my first walk since going under the knife earlier this year, partly because the guy REALLY wanted a tour, and I figured I might as well find out if I could stand up, walk around and talk for a few hours.
I made it through. Now I suppose I ought to offer some walks for anyone who wants to do them. (A group by appointment proceeds any time someone wants to book it.)
One concern — likely, unlikely, who can say? — is that because it is late in the year and people may figure this group of tours will be their last chance, the first couple of walks could well be swamped. Yeah, sure, I know if a walk is swamped we’re talking much bigger money, but who wants to be swamped?
The initial tours might all be swamped if I go with my old policy of just tossing the dates on the blog and whoever shows up, shows up.
I get it. I coulda died — and you’ve been wanting to do the walk for 20 or 30 years and never did, and now it’s in Bucket List territory. Don’t worry about it. I think, c/o the knife, I’ve got a few more years in me.
Anyway, here’s my current thinking: I’m going to do shorter tours — around 3 hours instead of 4 hours. That shorter walk is what I usually do for groups by appointment, such as Sisters in Crime and many more.
What this change means is that I concentrate on the novel The Maltese Falcon, and skip the opening leg of the walk going up Larkin through The Tenderloin. The worst site lost is 620 Eddy where Hammett lived in his early years in town. But this decision was made much easier when I saw that the classic Blanco’s sign in Olive alley just got painted over.
(In the past I have cut out chunks of the walk that by then were taking up too much time, such as the exciting “The Whosis Kid” leg of the tour — I’ll still do “Whosis Kid” by request for die-hard by-appointment types. And I began to bypass Nob Hill some years ago. . . . But that’s why I wrote the tour book, to cover everything I had ever done on the walk, even if there wasn’t time to cover it all any more on any given tour.)
So, 3 hours. $20 per person.
And we’ll meet somewhere other than the library in Civic Center.
To find out where to meet and which dates are set, pop me an email via the Contact Don button above. I’ll do some in October, and if those don’t bump me off, more in November. I’m hoping by next year to just go back to the old whoever shows up, shows up system, which I like — after any hysteria fades away.
Honest, I’m feeling pretty street-worthy.