San Francisco


Thursday morning we were told to be ready to leave the hotel by 9:30 so that we could head down to San Francisco which was about a hour’s drive from Santa Rosa.  With work traffic it would probably take longer.  We had tickets for the 11:00 boat to Alcatraz.

Years ago when NCTE was in San Francisco friends and I walked to the wharf and saw Alcatraz across the bay, but we didn’t take the tour.  Since then I knew I wanted to get back and take Kathy there.  Today that was happening thanks to Jason and Marissa.

Traffic was slow moving and we got to the pier with just minutes to spare before boarding began.


As we approached Alcatraz


the Golden Gate Bridge was to our left.


When we arrive on the island a ranger spoke to us for about 15 minutes.  He told us that the walk up to the prison was about three stories.  We knew that this might cause problems for Kathy with the leg issues she is having so we opted to ride the tram.

On entering the prison we were greeted with this sign commemorating the 75th anniversary of the prison.


As the tour began we passed the place where prisoners were given their clothing and where each one was required to shower before entering.  No privacy,


We were all given a headset sine it was a self guided tour.  First up was a cell block.


Looking inside the cells showed how small, at least by my standards, the cells were.


Not much room for anything inside them.


Prisoners who caused problems were sent to solitary.


According to the tour guide, prisoners actually liked being sent to solitary because there were windows on the opposite wall that actually let the sun into the building.  Also, in this section of the prison the sounds of San Francisco carried across the bay so prisoners felt connected to the outside world, especially on New Year’s Eve when there were parties going on in San Francisco.

Prisoners were allowed exercise time so it was out to the yard.


Administrators and their families lived on the island as well.  I can’t imagine raising children on Alcatraz.


San Francisco, so near, yet so far.


On returning to San Francisco we decided to walk along Fisherman’s Wharf.


There were some interesting sculptures to be seen.


Kathy liked the flowers around this one.


We couldn’t be on the Wharf and not stop for lunch.


The food was delicious, but I decided not to take a picture of it.

After lunch it was time for dessert.  There was only one place Kathy and I wanted to go.  The others didn’t really want anything, but because the two of us did Jason made sure to take us there.


How could we not stop?  Forced , not really, myself to eat a hot fudge sundae.  Savored every mouthful.

After we left San Francisco we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge – Jason pointed out the spot where he proposed to Marissa – and drove into Sausalito.  We had the option to get out and walk around if we wanted to, but no one opted for that .  We decided we wanted to get back to Santa Rosa and just relax.  Jason drove us back and then he and Marissa headed back to San Francisco.  They had a photo shoot that evening.

We took it easy and rested for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  To be honest, my six day drive was catching up to me.

On Friday we spent an exciting day going to a local laundromat.  Kathy and I both needed some clean clothes.  It was really interesting talking to the people there.  They were curious about our trip and we learned lots about them and the community.

Saturday we found a quilt shop in Santa Rosa about five minutes from the hotel.  You knew that this was coming somewhere in our travels.  Of course we went and of course Kathy shopped.

During the afternoon we walked around the city and stopped in at the visitor’s center.  We were looking for something special to buy as a gift for our vet.  She and her staff always take good care of our cats when we travel.

That night there was a welcome party for all the wedding guests.  It was so nice seeing people we haven’t seen in a while.

People gathered.


Kathy and one of our Beverly.


A wave from Nellie, our niece.


Great group.

People enjoyed themselves.


Our nephew, in the back smiling, and the best man.


Kathy and Nellie.


Next week I will bore you with wedding pictures.



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18 responses to “San Francisco

  1. Of course you won’t be boring me with wedding photos! I love weddings! What an interesting trip into San Francisco. It’s probably been more than 30 years since I was there. Alcatraz is an interesting bit of history. What no photo of the chocolate sundae? 🙂 Great travelogue!

  2. What a wonderful post! I loved all the photos. We took a family vacation to San Francisco a couple of summers ago and loved it. I had hoped to do the Alcatraz tour but waited too long to book and it was sold out for the entire time we were there! My son is obsessed with Gennifer Choldenko’s Al Capone middle-grade series and has an interest in Alcatraz as a result. I think the highlight for him was a Segway tour through one of the parks. He’s still convinced he needs his own personal Segway!

  3. It’s been many years since we visited San Francisco and Alcatraz so it was great looking at your pics and commentary. Maybe need to think of another trip in the future. Looking forward to the wedding pics!

  4. Thank you for this post. I have only been there once…but I yearn for the day Dave decides we can take a very long road trip to San Fran again. xo

  5. Sounds like you had a great time! A wedding is always fun! Thanks for taking us along on your site seeing. Have you read the middle grade books by Gennifer Choldenko – Al Capone Does My Shirts. Always fun to read.

  6. Lovely. I was in Alcatraz in 1990…as a visitor not a prisoner. This brought back many fond memories. I thought about friends long gone.

  7. It was fun reading this and loved your photos. My husband graduated from what was then Golden Gate Seminary (although most of his classes were at the satellite in PirtlandOR) and we got to visit San Francisco during our trip for the graduation. The prime land the school was on has now been sold off.

  8. Terje

    If I ever get to San Fransisco: The Fisherman’s Wharf looks like a place I might enjoy. The prison tour I would skip.
    What a considerate thought to buy a little gift for your vet. What did you buy?

  9. I can’t believe you are this far into the trip before the first fabric stop! Sounds like a great trip.

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