S: San Francisco/LasVegas March 13-18, 2012
FC: San Francisco and Las Vegas Trip Spring Break March 13-18, 2012
1: When we arrived in San Francisco, it was rainy, cold, and foggy. It stayed that way for most of the trip. But we made the best of it and bought some umbrellas. The weather would not keep us down.
2: The roads of San Francisco are just a bit different than Houston... | ...Bay Bridge... | ...tunnels... | ...extra long toll ways.
3: A rainy (but fun) day at Fisherman's Wharf May 14, 2012 | add fisherman's wharf broucher here
4: Cables above the street | In front of Pier 39 | One of the many cable cars | Trolleys | Nice sidewalks | The shops | The Marina | If you look through the fog you can see Golden Gate Bridge | Bubba Gump here and in Florida!
5: And of course we have to find the only candy store on the Pier!
6: ALCATRAZ "The Rock" | "Break the rules and you go to prison, break the prison rules -- and you go to Alcatraz."
7: We made the last boat out to the island that housed the most incorrigible inmates. | Carved by natural and human forces, Alcatraz served the army as fortress and military prison, the Department of justice as a maximum-security federal penitentiary and finally a national park.
8: Alcatraz visitor guide | tickets | Alcatraz island map
9: Building 64 is one of the first sights you see. It originally served as military barracks, and then later as apartments for the prison guards and their families. Building 64 is attached to few, if any, accounts of the horrible prison life that Alcatraz was known for. In fact, children who had lost a toy out of a window would lower a basket so that one of the prisoner-workers on the dock could help them retrieve it - quite a contrast to the tales from inside the cellhouse! | The Sally Port People were first imprisoned on Alcatraz in 1859, when eleven soldiers were brought to the island by the fort's first permanent garrison. They were kept in the basement of the Sally Port building, which lacked even the smallest of comforts for human living. | During the Civil War, Alcatraz was used as a military prison for the worst criminals: rapists, murderers, thieves, deserters, and those accused of high treason. Some Confederate prisoners were kept here as well. Alcatraz was also used by the military to imprison Hopi, Apache, and Modoc Native-Americans captured during the various Indian wars.
11: When Alcatraz was an active prison, its officers and their families planted gardens. The hardy plants they chose survived decades of neglect until 2003, when Gardens of Alcatraz partnered with the National Park Service to restore and maintain them.
12: One of the things that kept prisoners in check was the long swim that they faced upon a successful escape. Hypothermia would likely set in quickly during the mile-and-a-half swim. Alcatraz was the only prison with hot running water for showers so the prisoners would not grow accustom to the chilly waters.
13: There were 336 cells in B & C Block. Each cell in B & C block was 5 feet by 9 feet. Cells at Alcatraz had a small sink with cold running water, small sleeping cot, and a toilet. Most men could extend their arms and touch each wall within their cell. | "Broadway" was the central walkway in the cellblock between B and C blocks. New prisoners were marched down Broadway when they first arrived, to the taunts of the other prisoners looking out of their cells
14: There were 36 segregation cells, and 6 solitary confinement cells in D-Block. The cells in D Block were more spacious, but still the least popular. Inmates were confined to their cells 24-hours per days, with the exception of one visit per week to the recreation yard, alone. The inmates called it "the hole", because there was only one small window in the door, which could be closed to seal off the cell completely. The single light was supposed to remain on, but was often turned off by the guards to intimidate the prisoner further. A hole in the floor was used for a toilet, and other than that the cell was bare.
15: Warden Johnson knew he would be housing some of the most dangerous men in America. Many riots began in the cafeteria because of the lack of good food so he wanted Alcatraz to be different. The menu was diverse. The prisoners dined on salads, fresh fruit, tasty entrées, and desserts. | Battle of Alcatraz: A well planned but failed escape attempt 1946. Six convicts managed to build a spreader to open the bars.
16: Visitation rights had to be earned by the inmates, one per month, but no visits would be allowed for the first three months, if approved directly by the Warden. No physical contact was allowed and rules dictated that inmates were not allowed to discuss current events, or any matters concerning prison life. | Inmates would be given restricted access to the Prison Library, but no newspapers, radios, or other non-approved reading materials would be allowed.
17: Alcatraz Prisoners: the Most Notorious Inmates Alcatraz prisoners received the most stringent discipline and sever punishment from the first maximum-security penitentiary in the USA.The first maximum-security prison had a reputation to make . . . the harshest punishment and a facility that no one could escape from. No prisoner was allowed to hum, sing, speak, or whistle. Talking was permitted for three minutes during each morning and afternoon recreation period. Two full hours were allotted for weekend communication among the inmates. A few of the incarcerated most wanted: | Al "Scareface" Capone | Kreepy Alvin Karpowicz | George Kelly Barnes A.K.A. “Machine Gun Kelly” | Clarence Carnes, A.K.A. Choctaw Kid, was the youngest person ever to be locked up on 'The Rock', at age 18.
18: We both enjoyed the fascinating history and adventure exploring the island of Alcatraz.
19: Goodnight City... | ...time for pizza and chocolate covered strawberries
20: Sight Seeing Around "The City" May 15, 2012
21: San Francisco streets look a lot different than Houston.
22: San Francisco was one of Papa Henry's favorite places to live. This is what aided our decision to visit this particular city. I loved hearing all the stories from when he was stationed here during the Second World War. The Golden Gate Theater was one of my top priorities to visit. This is where Papa was when he got word the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. | Unfortunately the theater was closed when we came to visit.
24: Golden Gate Bridge And in "The City" you get to experience real FOG.
25: We stopped at Vista Point for the fantastic view!
26: The Golden Gate Bridge links San Francisco with Marin Country. Before its completion in 1937, the bridge was considered unbuildable because of foggy weather, 60 mile-per-hour winds and strong ocean currents sweeping through a deep rugged canyon below. | The bridge sways 27 feet to withstand winds of up to 100 mph. The color, International Orange, blends well with the bridge's natural surroundings. | The two great cables have enough steel wire to encircle the equator 3 times. The concrete poured into its piers and anchorages would pave a 5-foot sidewalk from New York to San Francisco.
27: We began our walk across the bridge. The sign was not lying; it was VERY windy! | The walk across the bridge was beautiful. On one side we had a view of San Francisco Bay. On the other, the mountain side...
31: A kiss to commemorate reaching the highest point of the bridge.
32: Our next stop was Muir Woods.The drive there was INSANE! The roads were beyond curvy and steep. There was a mountain on one side and a drop off on the other. The worst part was the one-lane curve. It had a stop light and a 5 minute delay to ensure no other cars were coming around the bend. It wasn't until we parked that I was able to breath again. I can't believe people live there and drive that daily.
33: Muir Woods National Monument is a remnant of the ancient coast redwood forests. Redwoods of all ages, some over 600 years old, dominate this fog-drenched forest. This was by far the high light of the trip. These trees put you in a state of aw. We didn't even make it half-way through the forest but what we did see was like nothing I could have ever imagined. It reminded me of how spectacular nature really is. | Muir Woods brochure here
41: Muir woods map here
42: Dinner in China Town
43: We had a difficult time getting a flight back to Houston so we decided to fly to Vegas for a night or two. Little did we know we would become well acquainted with that airport as well... | We were able to see beautiful sunrises over the mountains in Nevada.
44: Well, while we're here.... | We ended up staying at Hooters Hotel since it was cheap and close to the airport. | The Stratosphere | New York, New York
45: MGM | The Strip lit up at night | It is truly the "city that never sleeps" | We were very tired...
46: I am not much of a gambler at all but decided, since we were in Vegas, to play a slot for Maw. Well, that quarter of hers won us $9.80 at MGM. Of course, I cashed in and stopped while I was ahead. | And of course, how can we go anywhere without the essential stops...candy and pizza! | A gigantic box of Nerds! | Pizza at New York, New York | Statue of Liberty out of Jelly Beans!
47: A new toy Tony found to play with at one of the hotels (which were like little malls). He had to get one when we got home.