Original Post: August 26, 2015
Call it what you will, but I think San Francisco gives Chicago a run for its money as The Windy
But I’m ahead of myself.
Last I wrote, we were still stuck in Yosemite. Dismal, stormy, not-what-it-was-supposed-to-be Yosemite.
We were poured on again the night before, ensuring that we’d be not-so-happy campers packing up a very wet (and grossly yellow) tent. The weather in Yosemite was nearly 100% uncooperative and we hated Tioga Pass Road. Suffice it to say that we were happy to be leaving (even if it meant taking Tioga Pass Road…again).
When we finally arrived in San Francisco, it was one pm and we were about two hours early for check-in at the Sheraton at Fisherman’s Wharf. Exhausted and tired of being outside, we called the hotel just to see if they had a room ready. They did. One room. We got it.
And if you haven’t sensed a pattern yet, I’ll give you a hint. It was snooze time. We showered and passed out for several hours, getting up in time for a stroll by the bay, some entertainment (WOW! We bought two cds!), and dinner. The weather had cleared and it looked beautiful, so we skipped the sweatshirts.
It was a regrettable decision that later resulted in my purchasing a windproof, waterproof jacket from a completely packed souvenir shop at Pier 39. But, hey, at least now I own a purple jacket to go with my purple hiking boots… A fierce wind had kicked up and I won’t lie. It made me nervous. I had checked weather reports and I knew there was no storm in the area, but for the life of me, it certainly felt like it was about to storm! Weird as can be!
Dinner at the Eagle Cafe – yum, yum, and more yum. Soon after, we retired back to the hotel and did something we hadn’t done in weeks.
We watched television.
We treated ourselves to a Friends marathon. It was a nice little escape from our reality (which is sort of ironic since our reality, in this case, was an escape from actual reality).
The next morning, we were up early to catch our ride to Alcatraz. The weather had very thankfully cleared and I was relieved that the bay was not nearly as choppy as it had been the day before.
Once on Alcatraz, we wandered the halls and the yards, imagining what it must have been like for those sentenced there. The isolation cells are in complete darkness and they are very intimidating – especially for someone who never even got detention as a kid. Yep, looked scary enough to me. We were told that the longest anyone ever spent in isolation was 19 days. I had a hard time imagining ten minutes. It was pretty much what you would expect of Alcatraz. Never mind that the entire island smelled like fish and bird poop. Sweet!
On our way out, we discovered that a former inmate, Robert Louck, #1118, was signing autographs. I had had just about enough of the very claustrophobic gift shop that was filled with people and I made a beeline for the door. But, I’d lost Nate somewhere along the way.
He was, you guessed it, chatting up a storm with Mr. Louck. Turns out that Louck was former military who was sent to a penitentiary in Leavenworth for attempting to rob a bank while still in the army. When he unsuccessfully tried to escape, he was transferred to Alcatraz. Upon hearing the story, I was amazed that he ever came back. Autographs or not.
Also, once released from prison, Mr. Louck fished professional bass tournaments with his wife, who had accompanied him to Alcatraz, as his teammate. Only Nate would manage to work this into a conversation with a former inmate. Only Nate.
We left with Nate’s Cabela’s hat signed by former inmate #1118.
We hit the road shortly after noon, but our next destination was farther than we wanted it to be. It was a long drive to the Redwood National Forest! To break up the road, we stopped at a roadside store dedicated to Bigfoot. The shop had a variety of amazing carvings made from Redwood trees and Nate and I made several purchases.
We stopped once again for a late lunch/early dinner right next to a Redwood tree on the Avenue of the Giants in Myers Flat, a “town” so small if you sneezed you’d miss it. It boasts a drive-through tree, but we noticed that the tree was no longer alive and consequently, we decided to skip it. (Plus, there was a fee involved and who wants to pay to drive through a tree?)
When we got back on the road again, we swore – SWORE – there would be no more stopping until we reached our campground.
Ten minutes from our destination, we encountered a herd of elk and, you guessed it.
When we finally arrived at the Jedidiah Smith Campground, it was 7:30 pm, Nate was fighting a headache, and we were exhausted. We briefly contemplated driving to Crescent City about ten minutes away for fireworks since it was, after all, the 4th of July. But, we thought better of it and fell asleep before 9 pm. I don’t even think I heard the fireworks. Shameless.