July 14- We are camped just outside of Point Reyes National Seashore, poised to get back on the nature trail after two-day break for some urban debauchery in San Francisco. OK, well, mainly it was a lot of walking and eating. Unbelievably, I have lived 39 years on this planet and had never been to San Francisco apart from the airport. So I had some catching up to do. We treated ourselves to a couple nights in a hotel using some of Rob's work travel points, and selecting a place on the BART line for ease of parking and transport downtown. We spent yesterday morning wandering around Chinatown. Had Vietnamese food in Chinatown (I know how odd that sounds, but the kids have been begging for pho since about Kansas City, and we figured we should oblige them while we had the chance.)
After lunch we hopped on the ferry and headed out to Alcatraz—another activity at the request of the kids. I probably wouldn't have picked this as something to do on my first trip to San Fran, but the trip did offer a really well-done audio tour, and some seabird viewing opportunities (it *is* an island, after all.) Kieran is on a big haunted house kick right now, so we prepared by looking up all the ghost stories of Alcatraz, then backtracking through the cellhouse after the tour to relive the "haunted" spots - Utility Corridor D, site of the convicts' last stand during an ill-fated 1946 escape attempt, and Cell 14D, a solitary confinement cell with long and creepy history.Somewhat to the kids' dismay, the weather was utterly gorgeous, sunny and in the 60s, hardly the proper atmospherics for ghost-hunting.
We wandered around Fisherman's Wharf and then headed off for our dinner reservation—The Stinking Rose, one of Rob's favorite San Fran restaurants. Their motto is "We season our garlic with food." Suffice it to say, we are safe from vampires for a long time to come.
This morning, I took the kids on a cable car ride while Rob ran an errand for some camper items. Then we met a friend of mine from college for lunch at Boudin, the home of the original San Francisco Sourdough, followed by a pilgrimage to the Ghirardelli store. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and took a leisurely drive through the Marin Headlands area, let the kids play at the beach for a while (too cold for me), and had dinner in Sausalito. I think I gained 5 pounds in two days.