December 03, 2009

California Day 4

Sorry to be dragging this vacation out.  Who knew I'd be so busy with other blog posts that I would still be blogging about my vacation almost a month later!!  I mostly want to blog it so I get my memories down before I forget them (some memories huh? :P).  But Jay got some awesome pictures on this trip that I also want to share with you.

Day 4 found us waking up in San Francisco - some earlier than others.

I was up around 4 or 5, worried about my half marathon training (or lack thereof).  I'd planned to at least do my long run on the trip (the race was only 2 weeks away) but it just wasn't working out.  I emailed Christie O.  with my concerns.  She reassured me that I would be ready for the race (then was surprised to find out how early I was up on vacation).

When Jay finally got out of bed around 7:30, we headed to the nearest cable car stop.  Tickets were $22 a piece!  I tried not to think about it - we watch our money 51 weeks of the year, I should be okay with spending it one week. 

"Hello tourists" the cable car driver greeted us. 

"Its the back pack isn't it, that's what gives us away?"

"Actually, the locals get on at the next stop."

We sat back and enjoyed our ride to no where.

Once the locals got on, the driver really started chatting.  He was asking some of the passengers what they thought about the health care plan - we were thankful he didn't ask us.  It was quite obvious that his political views were opposite ours.

We rode until the end of the line, got off, and got back in line for the return trip.

As we stood in line, a bossy guy (with no connection to the local transit) came and told us to scoot up in the line and that people were just trying to block us, etc.  I don't want to be judgmental and say he was homeless, but he certainly didn't appear so he looked homeless.

I just smiled and nodded, not sure how to react to a person telling me what to do that wasn't officially working for the cable cars.  I was wary of any good deeds.  This was California after all!

The guy behind us in line really didn't take to kindly to being bossed around.  Before I knew what was going on - a few "N" words had been thrown around and Mr. Bossy was threatening to "bitch slap" the yuppy giving him lip.

Mr. Bossy was quite ammused when the Yuppy family had to ditch their newly purchased Starbucks coffees.  Once they were on the cable car, Mr. Bossy went behind them and picked them up off the street - to drink them no doubt.  But when he noticed that Jay and I notice, he mumbles something about having to pick up after the Yuppies. 

The ride back, comparitively, was quiet.  We hopped off the cable car and hoofed it to pier 33 for our Alcatraz tour.

I can't remember the name, but when I was younger I read a fictional book about Alcatraz.  Since then, I've been facinated with it.

As our ferry unloaded onto "the rock", they told us that we had just missed a guided talk about escape attempts.  We bought a site map and headed up towards the prison itself.  On our way, we passed the tour and decided to join it already in progress.

An older gentleman was the guide, and told a story about the only (disputed) escape attempt.  The one that the Clint Eastwood movie was based on.

No bodies were found, just the personal effects and homemade rafts.  The guide suggested that while it was possible that the prisoners really escaped, it wasn't probably.

"Those guys would have been in their late 70s early 80s today.  I can't help but wonder, when I look out at the crowd and see white haired gentleman, if one of those guys would think it was clever to come back and visit their old home."

"Or I suppose" he said taking his hat off to scratch his head, revealing his white hair "it would be even more clever to come back and get a job here, giving talks about escape attempts..."

Once inside, the tour was self guided (notice my kickin headset?)

Some of the cells were open, others set up as they would have been when the prison was open, others just had the permenant fixtures.

I'm glad Jay thought of using the black & white feature on his camera.  These pictures turned out especially good.

We moved on to the rec yard - it was a little surreal thinking that we were walking were there worst of the worst went to "play".  How many fights had broken out over something petty here?  How would it feel for your face to get touched by the wind or the sun, after being locked up in one of those tiny little cells. 

Please don't think I'm a bleeding heart - guilty people deserve to be punished.  Its just all so touristy now, I was trying to picture how it would have been.

This picture is me on the guest side of the visitors glass.  I was surprised that alcatraz prisoners actually were allowed guests.

The tour took up a good part of the morning, then it was time to head back to the hotel and check out.  By the time we did it was around 2 and I was starving.  I had heard my Cali friends (which you'll meet if I ever make it to day 6) rave about In and Out burger, so I told Jay we had to stop there for lunch.

Dude that waited on us looked remarkable like Kenan Thompson in the movie Good Burger.  So much so that all I said was "dude looks like..." and Jay said "yeah I know."  I desperately wanted to get a camera phone picture of him, but I wasn't sure how that would go over if we got caught.  I mean, is looking like Kenan a good thing? 

(PS - the burgers were really all that and a basket of fries!)

From there we hopped a double decker, open topped bus for a tour of the rest of the City.  If we would have had the time, this could have been an all day adventure itself.  As it was, we were due to check in our Napa B&B that evening and were more selected when using our "on and off" privilages.

Our first venture off the bus was in Chinatown.  I wasn't really impressed, but then again we probably didn't allow ourselves enough time to take it all in.

We made a stop in Union Square because I saw the big H&M sign.  I had heard they were a good discount store and I wanted to check it out.

I was sorely disappointed.  In my world $30 for a sweater isn't discount.

We got back on and continued our tour.  As we went through the Haight/Ashbury district, we saw a huge Goodwill store and decided to go in and take a peak around.  This time, we weren't disappointed.  I ended up getting a cute pair of gap skinny jeans and a pair of banana republic dress pants for $5.  Jay carefully selected two old school t-shirts with local logos.

He probably could have stayed there all night, but we had a bus to catch and it was getting dark. We ended up waiting over 20 minutes for the bus to pick us up, and with each passing moment I grew more and more antsy.

No, you may not run across the street to use the bathroom.

But I gotta go!

No, I'm not risking it.

You're not the boss of me.

I said no!

Okay so that's now how the conversation really went down, but pretty close.  I was too scared to let Jay leave my site.  Even more scared at the prospect of missing possibly the last tour bus through the area.

He tried to calm me by telling me that it was just a bunch of pot heads.  And if anything pot makes you more mild and calm, so no one would bother us.  (Excluding of course those offering us a toke.)

When the bus finally arrived, we had it to ourselves.  I was cold, but we sat up top any way because the Golden Gate bridge was next on our journey.

Its very difficult to photograph at night.  On a moving bus.


Then it was back to our car (heat on full blast) with Napa ahead of us.

After an exhausting day, it was very nice to check into the B&B and find this...

Along with a bottle of champagne and classical music waiting for us.


  1. Another fun day! The cable cars look fun - even with the bossy man. Alcatraz is so interesting and I love the B & B!

  2. what a lovely day w/a lovely ending :) tfs

  3. What a great way to end a fun day! Keep the memories comming!!!

  4. I would have been intrigued by Alcatraz! Sounds like another wonderful day in CA!

  5. Man, I've always been fascinated with Alcatraz too! And that bed looks heavenly...

  6. I think you could spend a whole day in Alcatraz...that's somewhere I hope to see. Love that movie with Sean Connery. There are all sorts of characters in SF...actually anywhere you go.

  7. That's so funny that you've mentioned being afraid of Californians in pretty much every post on the topic! lol I've always learned quite the opposite! I'm from the NW, and people here are generally very friendly, but they say people from California are even friendlier. Of course any big city and you'll find ruffians.

    It's people on the East coast who are generally not that friendly. I went to school back east and I found it pretty difficult to make friends there, people there tend to stick with who they know and don't branch out much. Although if you ARE lucky enough to make friends with them, then they're your friend for LIFE!

    I always find my proof at the grocery store, if the clerk chats with you then it's a friendly place. lol

  8. holy cow that's a luxurious sight to see at the end of a day!!!!! whoa!!!

    i have always wanted to go to alcatraz, that sounds so fun!! i hear it's haunted too, wooooooooo!


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