Thursday, September 18, 2008

San Francisco, Day 3

The morning started off with an awesome tour of Alcatraz Island. When we got off the boat, a park ranger informed us that we'd have to walk to the top of the hill to get to the main cell block and take the audio tour, which was the equivalent of a 13 story climb. Great, more walking up hill. At least there were no steps involved. The audio tour was self-guided on mp3 players and lasted 45 minutes. Some former prisoners and former prison guards from the island led the tour and we walked from one area to another as they relayed stories and information about the building. There were sound effects to go along with it, and everything was so real that sometimes I expected to turn around and see actual prisoners in the cells.

At one point I stepped inside one of the solitary confinement cells. One of the prisoners that spent time there was talking about how he'd pass his time while in solitary. As he spoke, I closed my eyes in the already dark cell and tried to imagine what he was doing. I scared myself half to death and when I opened my eyes I fully expected him to be standing there with me. It was creepy. I really enjoyed the tour though.

We decided this afternoon was going to be Golden Gate Bridge time. The fog had cleared out and blue sky awaited us. We decided it would be fun to rent bicycles to ride across the bridge, so that's what we did. We began our trek just outside out hotel and headed off for the bridge. It was mostly a pretty good ride, although I did have to walk my bike up a couple of pretty intense hills. It took me a while to get the hang of the gears. The last time I rode a bicycle it was pink and white and had a litte plastic basket on the front. No gears on that one.

We stopped at various spots along the way to take photos and keep hydrated. As we finally approached the bridge, I was so excited!! I can't explain how exhilarating it is to ride across the open bridge with bay breeze trying to blow you off course and the open sea some 240 plus feet below you. We stopped several times on the bridge to take in the spectacular view and finally made it to the other side. We kept riding until we got down to the quaint little town of Sausalito where we grabbed a bite to eat before taking the ferry back across the bay. It dropped us off way away from where we needed to drop off the bikes, so we had to hop back on and ride them back to where we started. In all I'd say it was about a 10 mile ride. You can just imagine the muscles I have awakened in my thighs and calves today. I don't think I'll ride a bike again for a while, but it sure was awesome today. I'm glad we did that rather than drive across or just walk. I highly recommend it.

We decided on dinner down on Pier 39 again tonight, but this time we ate at Pier Marketplace rather than Bubba Gump's. This evening's meal was a sampler platter with calamari, clams, shrimp, and mahi mahi. Both were good, but I think I preferred Bubba Gump's just a little bit more.

Tomorrow morning we're doing a little more sight-seeing around town, and then in the afternoon we're headed over to the Muir Woods. I can't believe tomorrow is our last full day! Friday morning we won't have much time for anything other than breakfast and maybe a few things right around our hotel before we have to pack up and head for the airport. I guess it has to end some time, but I sure wish it was a few days away although I think if I do much more strenuous activities involving walking, hiking, or biking, I'm going to be happy to return home.


Sherri said...

oh, reading all that makes me want to go again!

{S} said...

You guys are really getting your fill. What a great day!
Maybe you'll want to put sand in a bottle and take some of San Fran home with you. I did. :~)
It would have been great to meet up with you, maybe next time.

Stamps meet INK! said...

I'm getting teary eyed {sigh} I think I need another California getaway.

hmm... thinking 10 year anniversary next year.