California Musings Wrap Up - Vacation Complete

Sunday morning - chilly as usual in San Francisco, but we're used to it now.  We've all got our jackets as we've been told that Alcatraz can be even cooler than SF.  Tickets in hand we head back downtown to the pier.  We park in our "first" parking spot right across the way from where we need to be.  Our tickets are for 9:20am, and as we approach crowds of people swirl around us waiting to get in line.  It's just like the ferry wait for the Statue of Liberty.  I'm glad we have our tickets pre-printed.  We watch the boarding times until ours is posted.  We queue up with all the others, and I take on my favorite waiting in line pastime - looking at shoes.  We've been told to wear good walking shoes, no open toes, no heels.  Ever the rules keeper, I am amazed at all the flip flops, high heel sandals and "inappropriate" footwear.  I wonder if they will be turned away - they aren't.

A ten minute ferry ride later, we're disembarking.  The cellhouse looms large overhead.  A short introduction by the park ranger tells us more than we ever knew about Alcatraz (clue - it didn't start it's life as a prison!).  Then it was on to the film that now told us even more - good presentation.  We followed the ranger for a short guided tour and then found ourselves at the top and ready to enter the cellhouse.  There we took the offered audio tour headphones and proceeded to take a fantastic tour.  Everyone I know who has been to Alcatraz recommends this stop, and now I join the throngs in agreement.  After time in the gift shop, we make our way back down to the ferry to wait to be taken back to SF.  Once there we decide to have lunch at Boudin's Cafe (I had chili in a breadbowl, yum!).  A short walk around the pier and then we're headed to Haight Ashbury.  After driving down the "strip' a couple of times, we see that parking is almost impossible and time is slipping by (we have to turn in the tank soon!), so we leave the family double parked on a side street while Ivan and I hop out for a quick picture.

Then it's back to the hotel to drop off Grandma and the kids. Ivan and I take the "tank" to the airport.  An easy drop off (Alamo really is great to work with) and we catch the hotel shuttle back to the Hampton Inn.  After ordering pizza, everyone packs up and heads to bed.  We've got a 7:15am flight, which translates to a 4am wake up call.

Monday morning came early, but went smoothly.  No problems getting on our plane in SF.  Flew to Newark, where the humidity hit us at the airplane door.  A few bumps there, as our gate was changed and then when we got on the plane we sat for over an hour waiting for take-off.  But still, it went smooth and we got back home.  It was a tremendous vacation and we loved every minute of it!

**I admit some details may be slightly mixed up on which day it happened, and I don't think I told about driving down Lombard Street - TWICE!  But it was packed full of experiences and having them was more important than knowing which day it happened.

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