Alcatraz Tour

Jeri and I are taking a mini-vacation to San Francisco. The reason for our trip is a Saturday-evening meeting that I have with a former colleague and someone who is possibly interested in work that we performed years ago.

Initially I thought of going up by myself for the weekend–but that didn’t sound appealing. So I thought to take Jeri and make it a three-day weekend. My initial search for flights yielded only flights connections that not only would take eight plus hours but would cost $600+ each! I thought that we could drive up in less time and for far less money.

Fortunately I stumbled upon a sale that Southwest Airlines was having. We ended up with non-stop flights from John Wayne Airport (which is about 10 minutes from our house) to San Jose. Two tickets were only $500!

Today (Friday), we got up. It was challenging getting ready since there was a problem with the hot water…namely it ran out after a few minutes (fortunately it has been fixed). we walked down to the pier area. After picking up some bottled water at Trader Joe’s, we continued to a place called 3 Potato 4 which serves potatoes with *vegan* sauces. They hadn’t opened yet so we shopped around.

Close by was a place called Pepper Palace. They have hundreds of varieties of hot sauces.

The Pepper Palace. Click photo to view full size.
The Pepper Palace. Click photo to view full size.

They had a sample bar where you could try various sauces. We ended up picking up one of the favorite extra-hot varieties.

Picking out a sauce at the Pepper Palace. Click photo to view full size.
Picking out a sauce at the Pepper Palace. Click photo to view full size.

We went back to 3 Potato 4 and found them still to be closed. Just as we were walking away, we meet someone who was going to open the place. So we joined her inside and had a nice time visiting. We ordered a large of wedge cut potatoes with spicy jalapeno ranch chipotle sauce to which we added some (vegan) bacon bits. It was delicious! Unfortunately we had to walk briskly to Pier 33 as we ate in order to catch our 11:30 AM departure for the Alcatraz tour.

We very much enjoyed the tour. The place is run by the National Park Service and has a number of volunteers and workers. We watched a video presentation; we listened to a ranger tell the history of Floyd Hamilton who had tried to escape; we took the audio tour through the cell house.

Then as we were going back into the cell house to take some pictures, we meet Duane who worked for the park conservancy. He gave some behind scenes stories as well as a number of movie details. They say to allot 2 1/2 hours for the ferry and tour. We ended up spending the entire afternoon there.

We stayed for the demonstration of the opening and closing of the cell doors. We also learned that they used that sound in the movie “The Return of the Jedi” on the Death Star.

Jeri on Alcatraz Island with San Francisco behind her. Click photo to view full size.
Jeri on Alcatraz Island with San Francisco behind her. Click photo to view full size.

Here’s a picture of the island from the ferry as we make the 15 minute voyage back to San Francisco.

Alcatraz Island as viewed from the ferry. Click photo to view full size.
Alcatraz Island as viewed from the ferry. Click photo to view full size.

Leaving the dock, we walked back to our place, stopping at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few items. After dropping our stuff off, we walked down to Chinatown which was only about 10 minutes away. We went to a vegan restaurant called The Loving Hut.

Fresh Spring Rolls at the Loving Hut. Click photo to view full size.
Fresh Spring Rolls at the Loving Hut. Click photo to view full size.

Lemon Grass Deluxe and Spicy Noodle Soup. Click photo to view full size.
Lemon Grass Deluxe and Spicy Noodle Soup. Click photo to view full size.
Sharing a banana split at the Loving Hut. Click photo to view full size.
Sharing a banana split at the Loving Hut. Click photo to view full size.

After supper, we walked through part of Chinatown which by this time was closing down. We past Chinatown and felt uncomfortable as we stumbled upon the seamier side of town. We headed back to our place for the night.

2 thoughts on “Alcatraz Tour”

  1. Sounds like you’re having a great time. Was the banana split also vegan? Had a couple look at the mobile last evening but no commitment. Brother Jim had a good day yesterday and I think did well with his therapy. Love, Mom

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