|Thursday, Apr 18
We drove thru the Sonoma Valley in the morning, then on to San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge! We checked into the hotel and immediately walked down to Fisherman's Wharf to buy tickets to the Alcatraz tour tomorrow . . took Carol's photo at the end of Pier 39 (it was sunny...that's why she has a sour face...):
The tickets do not specifically say that the return is included, but we feel pretty comfortable that we will be allowed to escape. I had to buy a new hat on Pier 39 to keep my head warm...it's reallllly cold here.
You don't know what you will see here . . first sea lions at the Wharf...
...who bark at each other like dogs. Whenever one would try to hop up on a pier, the others would start barking and chase him off. You can't tell from this picture, but there are about 20 piers and they're all covered with these sea lions who are trying to get a sun tan. They even roll over on their backs to sun their bellies...just like dogs and cats. By the way...these sea lions can grow to be 850 lbs!!!
Then we saw some guy with a dog on his head :
He was actually a juggler (see the bowling pins in his left hand)...and he would make the trick more difficult by balancing this dog on his head while he juggled. We took this picture because we're seriously considering teaching Max how to do this...now if I could only juggle.
Now that we are at the end of the planned itinerary, we need to decide how we will return . . decisions, decisions . .
More photos from Alcatraz tomorrow . .
Friday, Apr 19 and Saturday, Apr 20
We spent most of the day Friday on Alcatraz Island . . likely the first time anyone in Dick's family ever paid good money to get into a federal penal facility . . We first went for breakfast . . this is Carol and Dick before we found coffee:
Dick after the morning coffee, waiting to set a new family record:
This is the last view many occupants of Alcatraz ever had of the outside of the facility, but at least it's an attractive view:
This is the cell where little Al Capone spent his time on the island:
Back onshore (whew!) folks find creative ways to earn money on every corner. One character was a cross-dresser in a skimpy tennis skirt and stuffed sports bra with his huge gut bulging out the middle, and completing his outfit were high heels, a platinum wig and make-up that would have made Mary Kay proud. (We told you Friday that we wouldn't put the picture in here...but we went back today and paid a dollar for it, so we'd better publish it.)
This is the "Bushman" . . the character hides behind the shrubbery and jumps out at anyone passing by who is not paying attention . . he makes the money from the people standing across the street laughing when he scares the devil out of some dude just strollin' along. This unsuspecting woman was walking and talking on her cell phone when he gives here a reason to go somewhere and change her pants:
When we went back Saturday, we decided to turn the tables on the Bushman. We pretended not to see him so he'd think we were unsuspecting. When he jumped out to scare us, Dick jumped back at him and yelled "boo." The crowd loved it, and the Bushman accused him of cheating.
We finished the day Friday with an hour-long tour of the city onboard an electric Cable Car, and then a walk up to Ghirardelli Square. It's amazing how long people will stand in line for a piece of chocolate candy. We ended Friday night with dinner in Chinatown at a restaurant that was recommended by someone on the travel chat room Dick's addicted to... it turned out to be a great recommendation.
Saturday morning we took another boat ride, this time under the Golden Gate Bridge and back around Alcatraz . The view of San Francisco from the bay is incredible!
After the boat cruise, we took a longer (4 hour) bus tour around more of the city than we saw Friday. We went right up to the bridge at road level.
This looks like a post card but it is one of the photos we took from the tour. After the bus tour, we ended the day with an early dinner on Fisherman's Wharf (Fish 'n Chips, of course) and a stroll through The Cannery (the part that didn't burn down last month). The Cannery is disappointing, but we're not sure if that's because of the fire in the next building or because it doesn't get into full swing until the summer.
Well, we're turning the boat around tomorrow and heading back toward Houston. Our plans are to head south toward Los Angeles, but via an interior route through California instead of the coastal highway. From Los Angeles, we'll head to Phoenix and spend a day or two before making the loooooooong drive across Texas. We'll probably be home by next weekend.