Travels around California Bay Area

This has been a very busy time for us – we just seem to go go go but not really do much.  Does that make sense?  Not to me either but that seems like what happens.


One day we took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from Pleasanton to San Francisco.  It cost us $9.90 each but well worth it.  No need to worry about parking or traffic – it stopped right downtown San Francisco in the shopping area of Powell Street.  It also is where you grab the cable cars.  We jumped on the back of the cable car ($5 each for each leg or $11 for a daily pass – then you can jump on and off all day. We took this down to Fisherman’s Wharf which is the end of that line.  If you ever go to San Fransico you must ride the cable cars.  Nothing like it – they started in this city back in 1873.  Going up the hills is a weird feeling but coming down them is really cool.  As you know the city is very hilly – still one of the cleanest cities I have been to.  I said that 32 years ago and I have not changed my mind.  We walked down to the pier to get the boat to Alcatraz Island. This island was used by Indians and then became a military fortress and military prision from 1859 until 1933.  In 1934 it became a Federal Penitentiary and was used until 1963.  What what a place, this is where the hard core prisioners came.  The island also has the first lighthouse on the west coast that was built in 1854.  You have an audio tour of the prision – at your pace which is narrated by former prisioners and cell guards.  You get to see where the prisioners were stripped searched – handed their new clothing – the cell and what it looked like.  You can actually go right into a cell and get a feel for what it was like.  The cells are 5 feet wide and 9 feet deep and 7 feet high.  You got a steel-frame bed with a very thin mattress, a sink with cold water only, toilet with no seat and a small table with seat which was metal.  Not very inviting.  They called this the Rock and loads of movies have shown this prision.  Well worth the time to see something so different.  As one lady said as we waited in line – whom would of thought we would pay money to see a prision????  This is now a national park – loads of walking uphill but the views are just out of this world.  You can see the Golden Gate Bridge – Marin County (that is where we lived 30+ years ago), the Oakland Bay Bridge and San Francisco.  The view is worth every penny.  Unbelievable.  We got back to the city and hopped on the cable car.  We got off at Macys and went up on the elevator to the 7th floor and had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.  We sat outside and could see all the holiday lights in San Francisco.  Great meal and great view.  This restaurant has good food – plus loads of cheesecakes.  They give you lots of food so dessert is something you take home with you.  We looked around Macys for awhile – really nice store.  It amazed me watching the people sitting on the furniture relaxing with no thought of buying it.  Do not ever remember seeing this in Ct.  We took the BART back to Pleasanton – wonderful day.


San Francisco is a really nice city.  The 49ers play football here and the Giants play baseball.  The city has Mission Dolores which was built in 1791 and is the oldest building in the city.  The city has 43 hills and what views.  They also have Golden Gate Park which has 1013 acres.  So much to see and do – perfect vacation spot but expensive.  I would highly recommend this city –


Thanksgiving we spent with Amanda, Tim and Josh.  Amanda cooked dinner and everything was great.  We talked to Susan, Jerry, Emily and Julia – enjoyed talking to them and wished we all could be together.  Sue and Jerry were also cooking for a crowd.  We all had a nice dinner – ate to much but enjoyed the company.


One day we took a ride to Government Island.  This is the Coast Guard base – we went thru the exchange and then rode around.  Anyone that has been on a Coast Guard base knows they are really small.  Even the guard said do not blink or you will miss it.  One thing we did find was the cutter Morgantheau.  This is the boat that Tim served on when we were stationed on Governors Island in New York back in 1976 thru 1978.  We walked out to the boat and the officier in charge had one of the guys take us on a tour.  What a nice young guy and we enjoyed it so.  We even peeked into the Chief’s quarters where my husband spent many hours.  This is the boat that we all took a ride on up the Hudson River so many years ago.  Great day.


Another day we took a ride to Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato California.  This is were we lived when Amanda was born.  The base is now closed down – our housing gone – a few old building still stand but not much.  The old barracks have become senior housing, the old hangers are now offices.  This was a beautiful base years ago and we have many happy memories.  We then took Rt 101 to Petuluma.  We stopped at Mrs Grossmans Factory – this is the largest manufacture of stickers since 1979.  I bought some stickers – it was fun just looking also.  We then took a ride to the Coast Guard Base in Petaluma.  This base was orginally bought by the Army in 1942 from Two Rock Ranch.  They used it as a communication station until 1971.  When the army moved out the Coast Guard moved in.  Poor Coast Guard gets all the left overs.  It has 800 acres of rolling hills – really pretty country.  They now use it for training schools.  At one time it was used as a boot camp but today everyone goes to Cape May New Jersey for boot camp.  We stopped on the way home and had a late lunch. 


Another place we went was Walnut Creek which we both fell in love with.  This is an old time downtown with the coolest stores.  They have all the top scale stores.  We went into Pottery Barn, Tiffany’s, Crate and Barrel – they have all  the good stores. I enjoyed looking – house to small for anything else.  We did go into a store called containers – they taught us how to make ribbons.  Really cool.


We are really enjoying our time here – so many things to see and do.  We were on Interstate 580 today and they have loads of windmills also.  Kind of cool to see them all over the hills.  As I said to Tim what took them so long to figure out a cheap way to get electricity??????


We are enjoying each day and thank God for our health and the pleasure of seeing this wonderful country.   This past month was super and looking forward to another one – just hope it gets alittle warmer.  Nights are really cold, day time temps about 58 or so.  Until next time