1 Apr 2011
Let’s meet Wolverine. Remember how in the French movie Amelie a gnome is kidnapped from Paris and taken on a trip around the world, with photographs of the gnome in exotic locations being sent back?
Well, my darling daughter snuck into her boss’s office and kidnapped a figurine of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine with the same idea in mind.
So a lot of our trip involved posing Wolverine and Routebear at iconic locations.
We began at the southern outlook to the Golden Gate Bridge, where we had to park with not an American coin between us to feed the meters. We didn’t spend long there, but my daughter jumped a fence, collected a few flowers, and posed with her mate Sparkles. With San Franciscan flowers in their hair.
Fish and chips and Anchor Steam, oh my!
Over the bridge and down the hill to Sausalito. We managed to find some coins for the parking, and we wandered around that delightful little town. I’d been there a couple of times before, and we looked in at all the tourist traps along the way to a sweet little fish and chip shop I knew.
Took some time. My party was all tourist and Sausalito is the sort of town happy to lure them in. We bought knick-knacks – I bought a San Francisco Starbucks mug – and we were pretty well burdened with souvenirs when we sat down for lunch.
In the photo, I’m happy with a foaming mug of local beer, fish and chips on the way, and the company of four happy people. I’m also badly in need of a shave. I’d shaved that morning, but that morning had been on the far side of the Pacific well over twenty-four hours ago.
After a drink – and that may have been another mistake on top of fatigue, driving a strange car in a strange land – we headed off to explore the Marin Headlands. I only had the foggiest idea of the roads, and the GPS wasn’t a real lot of help. Still, we had fun.
Here’s Wolverine, posing on top of a cement dome covering on old missile silo. Or something. The place was full of odd little places, all with stupendous views.
Finally, we found the jackpot. A winding road led us up to an outlook perched on a steep hillside. We filled a slot in the car park, walked up to the railings where a million photographers had aimed their cameras south-west, and drank in that postcard view.
A glorious day and we must have taken a hundred photographs. Maybe I’ll stitch together a panorama, but we’ve all seen it before. This was definitely the spot to get out Wolverine for the money shot.
And we did. There he is sitting on the railing, flower in his plastic hair, on top of the world.
A brush with death
Wolverine was an advanced figurine. His head and limbs moved independently and he could be posed in a variety of exciting stances. However, over time the rubber bands that allowed him to move without falling apart had perished one by one. Possibly a sedentary life on a bookshelf had kept him healthy, but now that he was a world traveller, the movement, the posing, the bouncing, and the drinking had affected his internals.
His limbs now had a tendency to fall off. We’d done our best with blue-tack and sticky tape, but it wasn’t a complete solution, and as we removed him from the railing, his arm dropped off and landed on the other side, on the edge of a precipice that ended in the Bay a long, long way down.
We looked at each other, and my daring daughter gave us all a last farewell look, climbed over the railing and reached for Wolverine’s hand.
A moment of silent terror and the rescue was complete. We were all together on the good side of the rails. Wolverine was safely placed on the van dashboard, and with the movement on the roads, he just went to pieces as we headed back over the bridge and home to Fort Mason.