Thursday, June 7, 2012

San Francisco - Day 4: Muir Woods, Sausalito & Alcatraz

On Tuesday, Day 4 of our trip, we took a combo tour that included the Muir Woods redwood forest, lunch in Sausalito, tour of Alcatraz and dinner at In-N-Out Burger followed by a few beers at an Irish pub.  This day ranked up there with our wine country tour from the day before, great time!

Winding road to Muir Woods with fog in the bay/valley, Frisco in the distance

The redwoods were really a site to see and the Muir Woods park is less than 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco.  You can't really get that truly awe-inspiring feeling of just how massive those giant redwoods are from looking at pictures, but we tried our best.  A definite must see if you ever make it out there.

Rare picture of both of us, we're usually always taking the pics
We then headed to Sausalito for lunch.  We were limited on time, so we went into the first place we came up to and we are super glad we did!

Sausalito fountain/palms
It was called Copita and we found out after we got home that they had just opened up.  It was a fresh Mexican place and wow, we had the best fish tacos we've ever had.  I'm not quite sure what made them so special, but they were sooo good!  Slightly spicy and so flavorful. 

Copita Restaurant in Sausalito
We started with the chips and 2 fresh salsas, which were not complimentary, but they were super yummy also.  The downside was the price.  With only the chips/salsa, 2 orders of fish tacos and 2 soft drinks, it came to over $50 with tip!  :-o  Yes, our jaw dropped at the bill, but if we had to do it over again we would, given that we would probably never be back.  Sorry, we were very limited on time and we weren't expecting the tacos to be so good, so we didn't get any food pictures.

Then we stopped for some quick photos at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge for another unique perspective.  The fog was literally rolling in, right over the bridge and hills it was super cool.  

Wispy clouds, cool picture!
After Sausalito we were dropped off by Pier 33 where the ferry leaves for Alcatraz Island. We got in line and had about 20 minutes to weed our way through the line for the mandatory photo, which is available for a huge fee later if interested, and then we were on board!

It's a quick ride over to the island and it really is a lot bigger in person than you'd think.  There is a bunch of walking and most of it is up hill initially.  I think we spent almost 3 hours there doing the guided audio tour and wandering around to the different areas.  Be aware, it is windy and cooler there, so be sure to dress in layers, similar to what is recommended most days in San Francisco anyway.  That is because there can be a 10-15 degree temperature difference depending on which part of the city you are in and whether it's foggy or not.

Alcatraz was one of the things I was most looking forward to, because I was a huge fan of the TV series on Fox and I took lots of pictures to post on the site.  I also included videos of MythBusters attempting to recreate the 3 prisoner escape from Alcatraz below.  That was very cool, definitely check that out if you're interested.  Another great day!

Approaching ALCATRAZ!
Indians Welcome was from when Native Americans occupied the island in the early 70s
Barracks/housing for the prison officers and their families and the lookout tower
Guard house and military chapel
Former general store and later officers club, complete with dance floor and 2 bowling lanes
Historical gardens
A dark hallway that was off-limits, was hoping to see ghost orbs or something
Cellblock where all the infamous prisoners were kept
Three prisoners escaped from their cells through the hole shown in the picture below and climbed the pipes in the picture shown below that one and made their way to the roof often over about a months time.  They had collected 50 waterproof raincoats and made their own raft and somehow eventually made it into the water and off the island, never to be found or heard from again.  They are suspected to have drowned or been washed out past the Golden Gate Bridge and were most likely shark bait.  But perhaps they've been living amongst us for all these years?

Hole in the cell wall that was behind a vent and made wider with spoons
Secluded area with pipes behind the cells; is that a reflection off the glass or the ghost of prisoners past!?
Gun gallery where the guards would patrol with guns in hand
Solitary confinement, aka "the hole"
Recreational yard for the prisoners
Model Industries building, former military prisoner work area
New Industries building, build further away from the water (can't tell from picture) to prevent escape
Original laundry facility
View of San Francisco from Alcatraz, so close, yet so far for the prisoners

We may never know for sure what happened to those 3 prisoners that made it off the island, but the Myth Busters did their own 3 part experiment recreating that escape.  Check out the 3 part video below detailing their thoughts and see them attempt their very own escape from Alcatraz.

We went to In-N-Out Burger for dinner...yummy! 

We had a few beers at an Irish Pub, Lefty O'Douls and called it a night


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