The Rock and hilly city

Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 13, 2012

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Where I stayed
Milbrae BART Station car park

Flag of United States  , California
Friday, December 2, 2011

2nd Dec.

Up at 6.45am and drove towards San Francisco stopping at the BART train station at Milbrea to park and catch the train in. Road signs are not the best in the US and due to the fact that the sign for the road I needed was left to the last minute, I ended up jumping a red left turn light! Oh well, lets hope it didn't have a camera on, or it will cost $281! After eating breakfast, we headed into the station to pay for our parking space and buy train tickets to get us into town. It was rather confusing trying to pay for it all on credit card, so we ended up paying for the car park in cash, (well it was only $2). Once on the train, we sat back and enjoyed the 30 minute journey which took us to Embarcadero Station near the bay. We then walked, (to the amusement of the local police), 20 minutes along Embarcadero St to Pier 33 where we caught a ferry to Alcatraz. We were just in time to catch the 10.30am to The Rock and 15 minutes later we were following in the footsteps of famous villains like Scarface, Machine Gun Kellyand The Birdman. During the crossing Cat found $14 sitting on the seat next to us, and not wanting any bad karma, we handed it in to see if anyone was missing any. After a quick orienteering video, we jumped on a ranger tour that took us around the site a little and then went to the cells, where we were given audio tours for our wander around. It was quite fascinating and took longer than we expected, but by 2pm we had walked back down to the dock via the scenic trail and waited for the next ferry back to the mainland. Once back on the mainland, we asked at the office if anyone had claimed the money we'd handed in and after a bit of searching around they said that the captain still had it and would return it to us when the ship next docked. So we had a wander up to Pier 39 to get some more info from the Visitor Centre and then headed back to collect our findings via the local sealion colony that had parked themselves on wooden jetties in the harbour. With our findings in hand, we walked up to Fisherman's Wharf passing the San Francisco Maritime Museum run by the National Parks Service. After a quick look round, we headed round the corner to catch one of the famous cable cars that climbs the San Fran streets enjoying lovely views of the city and bay, as I clung onto the outside of the car. Cat got rather stuck inside but she saw a few things I didn't and vice-a-versa. We got off in Chinatown and walked back towards the train station looking at the lights that were now coming on as it was getting dark. Back along Market Street, we passed a few motorcycle cops riding Harleys that I just had to take a photo of and one of them nearly fell off whilst stopping for a red light. His colleges sat there laughing and followed once the lights changed. When we got back to the station, we caught the next train back to where our van was parked and then Cat cooked us some dinner as I wasn't feeling too great. We then watched the last episode of Life and then got off to bed.

3rd Dec.

Up around 7.30am after a surprisingly quiet night, we had breakfast and then set off to drive through San Francisco. We caught a little bit of traffic on the way in but nothing major. Our plan was to drive passed the end of Crooked Street, (as seen in many movies), then through the Presidio to Fort Point and then over the Golden Gate Bridge to find a campsite for the afternoon/evening. Our plan was almost foiled straight away when at a stop light and pedestrian crossing, which we only just stopped at, our neighbour overshot the crossing but didn't reverse to clear it. A man in a wheelchair crossing decided to sit and wait for the car to move out of his way, instead of going around the car and then promptly fell asleep in front of us. By this time the lights had changed to green, the car that had overshot the crossing left and we started getting beeped at. The wheelchair bound man then decided to keep crossing, so Cat hung out the window trying to slow cars down, but to no avail. The lights then changed to red again and Dean had to beep his horn to wake the chap up again! Wheelchair gone, we could finally get on our way. We drove to the bottom of Crooked Street and then decided that wasn't good enough, so drove to the top and down. Slowly. After that and driving the rather steep ups and downs of the roads around San Francisco, Cat had had enough and from the sounds coming from him, so had Brian. We then drove through the Presidio to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum, but as luck would have it, it didn't open until 10am. We then drove to Fort Point. We spent a couple of hours here, wandering around the fort and watching a film about the making of the Golden Gate Bridge. We then walked up a trail to the bridge, walked along it a bit and then returned to Brian and drove over it. Once on the other side, we stopped at a view point to get another prospective of the bridge. Then it was on, along Highway 1, to find a campsite. After a couple of hours, with no luck, (although we did find one place but no-one was home and the cost was $45, so we gave it a miss), we decided to cut across to US101 and try along that route. We stopped in Petaluma and asked at the Visitor Centre there and found out that they had a KOA campground, but they are always too expensive. The ladies there, let us use there phone to ring a couple of campgrounds and we found one just up the road for $25 in Santa Rosa at the fairground.

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