We left Petulama and were glad the sun was back. With Mary Lou on the satnav we were out on 101 and frisco bound.
Now Don at Ft Bragg had said dont go straight across the Golden gate bridge. If you turn off at the last exit before it you can get some great views of the bridge and Alcatraz. Trouble was he couldnt remember the name of the exit !!
Anyway we came off a bit early but no worries as we ended up in Sausolito which is lovely. We had a great view across to the SF skyline with the sea mist shrouding it.
After a short stop we went back to the 101. What Don should have said is when you can see the bridge about 100 yards ahead take the exit. Local knowledge. the exit takes you on to Marin Head which is a hill which literally overlooks the bay. Free parking and a vantage point to die for. The sea mist covered part of the bridge and it looked fantastic. There was almost no colour just a black and white vista.
300 pics later it was time to drive across the Golden Gate bridge. As we had entered the SF outskirts 2 lanes became 3 then 4 now a toll booth. s*** how much, how do you pay? Would we bring SF to a halt while we counted out dimes for the $6 charge?
Phew we had the correct money. Driving in America is really quite easy. Straight lines, most junctions controlled by traffic lights and signs everywhere. You almost expect to see a sign which says 'Jill and Vic this way'
We had planned to stay in a hotel but Jill had a money off voucher for a motel so we thought we would try there first. Good call. Nice place, free parking, right on the edge of Chinatown. Oh and this is a proper China town not 2 streets and a dodgy arch way.
Usual pack drill. Book in, dump the bags and head off out. We headed for Fishermans Wharf but ended up at Telegraph Hill. Fab views of the city. Then down a dead end street. Only way out was up. You need to be fit to live here or drive everywhere. We climbed some steps that went on and on and on.
Eventually we got to the bay and went to book our Alcatraz trip. Good job we did as they only had trips for the following day...its a popular excursion.
We walked along the bay to Pier 39 which is very commercial but nice. At the far end we found dozens of sea lions lazing on the floating jettys. Im not sure why they come there but they were big, noisy and squabbled a lot.
Next was a walk through Chinatown. Its a big one. SF was the New York of the west coast where most of the immigrants came into the US. A lot of Chinese came through here. It reminded us of Hong Kong.
In the evening I said I fancied a pizza. Right said Jill....in the middle of Chinatown!!!. No worries 'cos its right next to the Italian quarter. More pizza than even Jill could eat !!!!
This morning up early and walked down to the pier to board the boat to Alcatraz. Fascinating trip and not expensive. It must have been torture to be a prisoner and be able to see SF just a mile away. We spent a couple of hours on the island before returning to freedom.
Next we were at the cable car terminus and i was desperate to go on one. So we jumped on and I rode the footplate hanging on the outside...so cool. It was like a roller coaster ride, the streets are so steep. After coffee at the other end of the line we got back on and rode it back with Jill hanging on the outside.
The weather has been glorious again so we ambled around enjoying the day. This evening we had a posh dinner at the Waterfront restaurant. Front row seats overlooking the bay...very nice.
Now back in the motel about to write some postcards. Tomorrow we are off to Yosemite national park.