S: Alex Visits San Francisco September 2012
FC: Alex Visits San Francisco | September 2012
1: San Francisco | ARRIVED 30 AUG 2012 | Once Upon A Time... | Rick and Sofia missed their friend Alex. So On Thursday August 30th, 2012 Alex flew into SFO. We spent the next 4 days on crazy adventures. Much fun and silliness was had! | We picked Alex up from SFO late at night, and drove him to our apartment in San Francisco. We stayed up way too late watching Adventure Time and being goofy. But tomorrow the boyz would hit the town! | Thursday | Adventure Time
2: They saw Coit Tower in the fog, and the "F Line" which uses historic rail cars from around the world for public transportation. | Friday | While Sofia went to work, Rick and Alex went to | to get pancakes (Not Crepes).
3: At pier 31 they boarded a boat. Destination: Alcatraz
4: It was an overcast day on the Bay.
5: They waved good-bye to The City, and entered...
6: ALCATRAZ | . . . with a sea of tourists.
7: After the Welcome To Alcatraz talk they headed to the jail. Distracted by a Cool Car, they found themselves in a Dead End. Not a good sign.
8: The audio tour talked about famous people and attempted escapes from The Rock. The cells were set up the way they would have been when occupied | Cell 13 looked particularly unlucky....
10: But outside the fog was burning off.
11: And San Francisco was breath taking.
12: The view was amazing from the courtyard.
13: Although slightly cold and breezy.
14: Alex saw the Western Sea Gulls for the first time, and decided they were really "Sea Turkeys". | There is a colony of Western Gulls nesting on Alcatraz island. The reward for bothering them is The White Badge of Courage. Happily they were not awarded accommodations.
15: But now it was time to board the boat and wave good-bye to The Rock. | On the way back they saw one of the 30ft tall America's Cup racing sailboats being lead by a helicopter.
16: Sea Lions at Pier 41. Local residents since 1990. | They saw a lovely view of Coit tower and the Transamerica Pyramid as the boat docked back on the main land. It was time to play Tourists, so they made their way to Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. But first, a stop at the Sea lions and all their Stinky Glory!
18: At Fisherman's wharf there was clam chowder, nautical stores, art galleries, and more Sea Turkeys.
19: The Maritime National Historical Park had ships from different eras. And all within view of the Golden Gate.
20: Then it was a quick walk through China Town to get to Union Square. Sofia Joined them for dinner at a Thai place before seeing War Horse. | After the play we jumped on a | Cable Car to get home.
21: And somehow..... | Alex got to operate the break on the cable car! | And he got offered a job to operate cable cars! | Next time he's driving!
22: The Cable Car took us to Ghirardelli Square... so we had to end the day with some ice cream and chocolate delights! It was a sweet end to a long day.
23: Alex visited the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. | Then we went to look at a few houses. | None of us were too impressed by them... | The rest of the night was spent helping out at Val and Galen's wedding. | We crashed out at a little hotel, | and resumed adventuring the next day. . . | Saturday
24: Sunday | Our day started with breakfast at our hotel. Then we headed southwest into the coastal mountains. We stopped at Big Basin Redwoods State park to see giant redwood trees.
26: These Coastal Redwoods are the tallest trees on earth (379 ft). | They are unique to the West Coast of North America. | Scenes from Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park showcased these trees.
27: * Banana slug shown here was not seen on our trip because he was likely hiding under the tree bark and laughing at us... bastard!
28: We then drove south to Monterey . . . But it was a holiday weekend so we got stuck in traffic. | No Fartberries here! Just the smell of strawberry fields!
29: We finally made it to the Monterey coast, just in time for the fog to lift.
30: Our First stop was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. From the outside observation deck we could see brown blobs floating in the kelp forest. But these are not blobs... these are Sea Otters! | Sea Otters!
31: it's not a Rock... it's a RockFish! | The Giant Pacific Octopus. | He knows he's cool. | A cute leopard shark in the kelp tank. | Although some of their rescued sea otters cannot be released to the wild, they do have surrogate mom otters that nurse orphaned pups until they are successfully released back to the Bay. | Although it was crazy busy, we did manage to see some of our favorite creatures.
32: The jewel of the aquarium is a 30 foot tall tank with a live kelp ecosystem.
33: The tank is open on top and uses sunlight for to promote healthy kelp growth. Inside are animals native to Monterey Bay including sharks, eels, and lots of fish. | This is exactly what it looks like when SCUBA diving in Monterey Bay.
34: The Deep Ocean tank holds over 1 million gallons and is home to sea turtles, rays, hammerhead sharks, and many large fish including tuna and Pacific SunFish. | The Aquarium has many large specialty exhibits. Some, such as the kept forests, are inspired by local sea life. Others, like the sea horses and jellyfish are inspired by creatures from around the world.
35: The Jelly Experience was a drifting psychedelic journey.
36: The leafy sea dragons and most of the sea horses were not native to the area, but still cute. and... a shrimp.
38: But then the setting sun signaled it was time for dinner, so we said good-bye to the shoreline and headed inland.
39: A three-course experience at Passionfish. | The Monterey Bay Aquarium publishes a guide for sustainable seafood choices. Passionfish only serves seafood from the guide. Dinner was healthy, extremely tasty, and full of good karma. | On the ride home we got stuck in traffic. . . . again. | This time we found a multi-cultural radio station | We listened to J-pop all the way home. | Then we passed out.
40: We slept in... finally! It was beautiful out... expect for the fog covering what is usually a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge. | Monday | Sneaky Golden Gate Bridge!
41: This is our favorite science museum located in Golden Gate Park! | Our first stop was the California Academy of Sciences. | First we had brunch in the cafeteria. Alex had his first taste of pork buns and agreed they were very tasty!!! | Claude (the white alligator) is the official mascot of the Cal Academy. | The building is uber-green and has a living roof filled with native California plants.
42: The Rainforest Exhibit | As we followed the ramps that spiraled up along the walls, we saw all kinds of plants and creatures at the different levels. | At the top we saw a pair of birds trying to make a nest in the mossy wall of plants. | Inside the giant bubble are living plants, flying animals, and swimming fish. | The rainforest ecosystem is enclosed in a giant bubble!
43: We saw butterflies, catfish, and sneaky little plastic frogs. | Photoshopped butterflies are also pretty, and Alex seems to think... tasty?
44: Plate Techtonics, earth quake photos and a shake table! | The Earth Quake Exhibit | Baby ostriches are cute reminders of evolution. | Then a quick stop for organic ice cream. | And here, we demonstrate panic during an Earth Quake.
45: Our next stop was the Golden Gate Bridge, which was supposed to look like this: | But... that's not quite what we got...
46: On the Marin side of the bridge it was clear and sunny. | But the Finger of Fog was pushing through the Golden Gate.
47: The fog kept creeping closer.... and closer... | Don't don't taunt the fog... | Or it might attack!
48: And waved. | We touched the bridge, just to be official.
49: Yeah... we're dorks. | Oh No! Not another gust of wind!
50: We drove to the hills of the Marin Headlands (next to the bridge) for a quick hike. This was an old military base designed to protect San Francisco from invasion in WWII. Now it is a state park. There is a lot of wildlife and a beautiful beach here, but all we really saw was fog! | So we drove back across the bridge to The City where it was still sunny.
51: We met up with Staffan at our apartment. Then the boys hiked to Coit Tower. | Coit Tower was a project of The New Deal in 1933. After much hills and stairs, they were greeted by beautiful views of The City and, of course, the fog.
52: After some adventuring we settled on Hunan food. Then we picked up some red bean and yam buns for the trip home. Tasty! | Our Final Mission: Dinner in China Town
53: San Francisco | Departed Sept. 3 2012 | Until Next Time... | And before anyone knew it, our adventure was done. So Rick and Sofia drove Alex to SFO and waved good-bye. Fear not... there will be plenty of adventures to come. | Safe Journey Home