Vehicle Crashes in Closed Area of Bernal Hill Summit, Suspects Detained


Reports are just coming in, but Neighbor Devon shared this [strangely beautiful] photo of an automobile crash at the very summit of Bernal Hill this morning, above the barrier gate near Sutrito Tower:

I’m not sure how they got through the barrier. I was near the top and witnessed it from 20ft away on the other side of the barrier. The drivers were speeding up the service road and crashed near the bench. The driver told me not to call the cops, and said he was Steve Jobs. They fled into the cellular tower gate. The suspects were in police custody when I left.

@bernaljournal (who is not the same as the Bernal Journal newspaper) reports that the perps apparently went Dukes of Hazzard through the gate:

Tonight: Bernal Dads Star as Crash Test Dummies on BBC’s “Mud, Sweat and Gears”



If you’re a fan of the astonishingly popular BBC car show Top Gear, you probably know that Jeremy Clarkson, one of the presenters of the show, was suspended last week for getting into a scuffle with one of the Top Gear producers. And while Jeremy Clarkson is suspended, Top Gear is off the air.

This has created a unique celebrity opportunity for two Bernal Heights residents affiliated with the Bernal Dads Racing team. Many months ago, BBC America came looking for two crash-test dummies volunteers to participate in the filming of a pilot episode for a new TV show. The Bernal Dads – Neighbor Mason Kirby from Mullen and Neighbor Robert Freedman of Elsie – foolishly offered to participate.

Even more foolishly, the BBC signed them up to be in the show, which is called (… wait for it…) Mud, Sweat, and Gears.

Here’s how Variety describes it:

BBC America has given the green light to the new vehicle transformation series “Mud, Sweat and Gears,” hosted by UK car journos Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith. The hour-long spot will be produced by BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC America and BBC Worldwide’s new Brit channel.

In each of the eight unscripted episodes, daredevils Ford and Smith both captain a team of two fellow car enthusiasts and are given 24 hours to mutate, supersize or reconstruct ordinary vehicles to compete in stunt challenges.

Anyway, for the last few weeks,  Mud, Sweat, and Gears has aired immediately after Top Gear on BBC America. And tonight, the episode that stars Neighbor Mason and Neighbor Rob is finally set to air.

But with Jeremy Clarkson still in the dock and Top Gear on hiatus, this might be just the opportunity these two dashing Bernal Dads need to fill the void that now exists in our Top Gear-starved planet:


The show airs tonight, March 16 on BBC America at 10 pm.

Here’s a preview. Neighbor Mason and Neighbor Rob ended up driving a mutant gold Pontiac Aztec, and apparently, they’re not very good at opening the doors:


This Is Why You Should Never Ever Leave Stuff Inside Your Parked Car


Ever wonder what one of those guys who smash windows and grab stuff from inside parked cars looks like? Wonder no more, because Neighbor Bud got some crisp security-cam footage of a would-be thief evaluating a potential target on Bocana:

Saturday, March 7th, at 5:40AM, a person with a backpack and a burglar tool came walking down Bocana Street, checking out cars to break into.  Our camera caught him checking out our car in front of our home.  He came from the direction of Powhattan and was headed downhill toward Eugenia.

Here’s the infuriating security camera vid:

New Pedestrian Crossing, Stop Signs Proposed for Eastern End of Bernal Heights Park


Tomorrow morning, March 6, at 10 am, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will solicit input on proposed changes to the intersection of Bernal Heights Boulevard and Bernal Heights Boulevard at the eastern side of the park.

Wait, what? No, that’s not a typo:


This is the spot.

The hearing happens at 10 am on Friday in Room 416 at City Hall. Here’s the announcement in situ:

Public Hearing

Three years ago, your Eastern Bureau correspondent attended a Rec and Parks meeting about trail restoration on Bernal Hill, where neighbors discussed the safety of the ‘undefined’ eastern entrances to the park. At the time, someone from the City mentioned that there was “lots you can do with paint.”

Now, the moment is at hand to perhaps do something with some paint. And a few stop signs.

PHOTOS: Joe Thomas

Bernal Dads Go Racing at Sonoma, Give Valiant Volvo Race Car a Heart Attack

LeMons at Sonoma, Jan  2015

The last time the Citizens of Bernalwood saw the mutant race cars operated by those petrol-huffing papas from the Bernal Dads Racing Team was back in October, during the glamorous 2014 Fiesta On The Hill on Cortland.

That was when both The Whale, America’s Most Badass Volvo Station Wagon, and  The Cookie, a motorized Alfa Romeo-Pepperidge Farm pun, were on display for Bernalese of all ages to eyeball and experience:


Since then, the Bernal Dads have been very busy. There was a 24 Hours of LeMons race at Sonoma Raceway in December, during which both The Whale and The Cookie performed valiantly, with only minimal body-damage to show for more than 16 hours of intense racing in each car. (Click here to go for a musical racing ride-along with your Bernalwood editor.)

Then came another race at Sonoma two weeks ago. The Bernal Dads planned to race only The Whale, although The Cookie made the trip too in the hope that it might attract a sucker willing race team to purchase it for a very reasonable price.

For the first day and a half, The Whale did what it does best: Perform reliably and put big, goofy grins on the faces of everyone who races it:

LeMons at Sonoma, Jan  2015

LeMons at Sonoma, Jan  2015

Everything was going great, Team Bernal was competitive, and Racer Brandon even found time to prepare for the much-coveted Daft Punk “Third DJ” audition:


But toward the end of the second day, with only a few hours of racing remaining, disaster struck. If you’ve ever wondered what it sounds like when a Volvo station wagon engine decides to disembowel itself, then wonder no more: This in-Whale video captures the awful acoustics:

In that instant, The Whale was transformed from a gallant race car into a four-wheeled paperweight.

But since the race was almost over, and The Cookie was just sitting there with a big For Sale sign on the windshield, the decision was made to quickly ready it for race duty. A few minutes later, The Cookie made a surprise on-track cameo appearance:

LeMons at Sonoma, Jan  2015

Best of all, there was a surreal moment when The Cookie race car was pursued at 80+ mph by none other than… a Cookie Monster race car! With the For Sale sign still stuck to the windshield!

LeMons at Sonoma, Jan  2015

We can say with confidence that such a thing has never before happened in the history of global motorsport — or Sesame Street.

Later, the sad, inert Whale was dragged back in San Francisco, where the Bernal Dads Internal Combustion Pathology Team disassembled the motor to identity the cause of death. When the pistons were exposed, one smartass was heard to say, “Well, there’s your problem… right there!”


Oof. This was the official autopsy report:

Diagnosis: #3 intake valve spring failed, dropping valve, allowing shim to work loose. Once loose, the next time the piston hit the valve, the shim wedged under the camshaft lobe so firmly that the camshaft stopped. The crankshaft, however, did not stop. This snapped the timing belt, but more interestingly, it also sheared the cam sprocket locating pin right off the cam!

For those who never attended medical school, that basically means is that the engine is fried.

But fear not, Friends of Whale… the car can be revived with a simple heart transplant.

Which brings up a neighborly request: If you happen to have a spare Volvo 240 engine gathering dust in a closet, and you’d like to donate it to a worthy cause, please dial the number on your screen to contact the Bernal Dads Racing Team’s Volvo Resurrection Hotline. Mechanics and shamans are standing by.

PHOTOS; Telstar Logistics

Bernal Houses and Matching Cars: A Color-Coordinated Photography Collection


For reasons that remain entirely mysterious and unknown, several photographers have submitted photos to the Bernalwood group on Flickr that show Bernal Heights cars parked in front of color-coordinated Bernal Heights homes. It’s an ad-hoc photo show! Veerrrrry innnnnteresting.

The photo of the low-rider Chevrolet and matching house you see up above was captured by Chris Martin.

Neighbor Markus Spiering captured this All-Amercian collection of a faded old Ranchero, a white picket fence, and a trio of muted Bernal houses:


Neighbor Jane Underwood found a red door in Bernal Heights that came with a matching Miata:


And finally, Neighbor Ben Rosengart shot this faded Jaguar with a tan roof that blends smoothly with the house behind it:


Want to help create more ad-hoc photo patterns? Share your sexxxy Bernal photos in the Bernalwood photo group. Please!

UPDATE: Here’s a minty-fresh midcentury pairing on Montcalm, shared via the comments:

Spotted on a dog walk: Double mint. #onlyinsf #dscolor #wheelsandwalls

A photo posted by Kelly Lack (@kellyalack) on

Also, Jason Lashinsky emailed us this greyscale house-scooter pairing:


Heavy Rains Turn Cars into Submarines at 101 Hairball Onramp


The (much welcomed) rains were intense last night — so much so that a storm drain for the Hairball interchange clogged up and flooded the 101 South onramp from eastbound Cesar Chavez.

When I drove past the site at about 8:45 am this morning, the onramp was closed and a DPW crew was vacuuming out the offending storm drain with a giant sucker-truck.

But a tweet from Neighbor Brian informed us that the flooding had been so intense before sunrise that a few cars became thoroughly submerged:

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.28.38 AM

Meanwhile, Neighbor Anita reports things looked similar around the Alemany 101/280 Spaghetti Bowl:


PHOTO: @brianhollinger