Monday, June 16, 2008

Golden Gate Park & Alcatraz 6.16.08

We got a bit of a late start this morning and ended up arriving at Golden Gate Park around noon or so. The park is HUGE with a ton of recreational areas to do & see. We started by walking to Haight & Asbury, ground zero for the parties in the 60's. Seems not everyone left...the area had a very interesting mix of people and the murals in the area were very artistic. We went to Amoeba Records, what a fantastic store! Very nostalgic with lots of antique/historical items in the windows and everywhere.

Once in Golden Gate Park, we zigzagged through the park, checking out many of the gardens & sights. Seems the park is especially friendly - we were even asked if we wanted to 'smoke some seed' with some of the park occupants. Of course we took time to partake (just kidding! just making sure you all are paying attention!). The weather was freezing fricking cold again - and windy to boot! Luckily I have learned the art of layering my clothes and stayed warm enough. The Conservatory of Flowers was closed, but luckily the Japanese Tea Garden was open.
The gardens were beautiful! We enjoyed a bag of wasabi peas hoping to warm us up while we walked further into the park. About 1/2 way through we figured we should high-tail it to Pier 33 for our Night Alcatraz tour. We made it just in time to enjoy a bowl of chili & sandwich and some coffee before jumping aboard the boat out to the island. I chose to take the Night Tour as it had a couple more attractions than the day tour - the boat circled the island and then docked. Alcatraz was great! So fascinating!!

I didn't know the history of 'The Rock' and was fascinated to learn it was a military fort before becoming a prison - and that they ultimately shut down (both the military & prison) cause it was too expensive to keep it running!! The island has no water so they have to barge it in, which is at a significant cost.

Anyway - the prison tour was excellent. The Rangers/Guides were very informative leading us up the 1/4 mile hill to the main building and once inside, we were given a headset for an audio tour of the prison - which was also excellent. It was still cold & windy but the sun just started to poke through the clouds. Still nipply...but not too awful. After the main audio tour, there were more tours offered from the rangers & video tours inside the different buildings. It was a fantastic attraction....highly recommended.

We ended our tour around 9:45 and walked back to the BART station with a couple from Spain that were doing a whirlwind tour of the U.S. – 5 Cities in 3 weeks…whew! But the funniest thing was yet to come. Knowing we wouldn’t get back to the campground until after 10pm, when they locked the gates, we arranged to get a key to the gate which they do on weekdays only and don’t necessarily advertise. We got to the gate around 11:30, pulled up, and Michael got out to open the gate. I noticed a car pulled in behind us but didn’t think anything about it until the cop came up to the door! Michael knew he wasn’t doing anything wrong and continued to unlock & open up the gate. The conversation went like this…

Cop: Where are you staying?
Michael: In the campground.
Cop: What are you doing?
Michael: I’m camping!
Cop: I KNOW that…where are you camping?
Michael: In Anthony Chabot (The name was right on the gate!)
Cop: I KNOW that…
Michael: Oh…space #45
Cop: What are you doing with the gate?
Michael: I’m opening it up!
Cop: I KNOW that…where did you get the key?
Michael: I got it from the campgrounds…wanna see my receipt?
Cop: Yes. (He looks at it…says “OK” and gives it back to Michael)

Now I realize we have two cop cars behind us!

We get through the gate and Michael gets out to shut & lock it again. The cop tells Michael “Don’t worry about it…I’ll lock the gate”…and Michael tells him he has to lock the special lock as instructed. The cop says, “I’ll lock it”…and Michael asks if he has a key, to which he responds “I’m the POH Lice… I have a key”…

It was a crackup!

More to follow…
{GMST}37|49.344|N|122|25.198|W|On the Night Alcatraz Tour!|Escaping Alcatraz{GEND}


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