Monday, April 11, 2011

Go Directly To Jail...

Do not pass go.  So finally I'm getting around to posting photos from the last day in San Francisco.  Ashley and I head to Alcatraz!!

After Alcatraz got shut down as a prison in 1963, there was an eighteen month period when some native Americans took over the island.

If you ever get to San Francisco you should definitely take time to see Alcatraz.   Included is an audio tour that walks you through the cellblocks.  Some of the cells are set up the way they would have been when the penitentiary was working.  Here's a little known fact.  A penitentiary is for penance.  There is no hope of rehabilitation.  it is said that those who can't behave in society go to prison.  Those that can't behave in prison go to Alcatraz.  The rock.

You know who was in Alcatraz?  Al Capone.

Miss Bindergarten went with us and got in trouble by stepping out of bounds.  She always seems to get in trouble when we're together.

On the ferry ride back to the wharf we ran into Jackie Onassis!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Great Joke

A girl asks her boyfriend to come over Friday night to meet and have a dinner with her parents.
Since this is such a big event, the girl announces to her boyfriend that, after dinner, she would like to go out and make love for the first time.

The boy is ecstatic, but he has never had sex before, so he takes a trip to the pharmacist to get some condoms.   He tells the pharmacist it's his first time, and the pharmacist helps the boy for about an hour.  He tells the boy everything there is to know about condoms and sex.

At the register, the pharmacist asks the boy how many condoms he'd like to buy, a 3-pack, 10-pack, or family pack.
The boy insists on the family pack because he thinks he will be rather busy, it being his first time and all.
That night, the boy shows up at the girl's parents house and meets his girlfriend at the door.
"Oh, I'm so excited for you to meet my parents, come on in!"
The boy goes inside and is taken to the dinner table where the girl's parents are seated.  The boy quickly offers to say grace and bows his head.  A minute passes, and the boy is still deep in prayer, with his head down.

Ten minutes pass, and still no movement from the boy.
Finally, after 20 minutes with his head down, the girlfriend leans over and whispers to the boyfriend, 'I had no idea you were this religious.'

The boy turns, and whispers back,
'I had no idea your father was a pharmacist.'

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Last Day

I start my last day in San Francisco.  Boo.  I'm having so much fun.  Yesterday we headed out of the city across the Golden Gate Bridge.  That in itself was worth the price of admission.

There is an area above the bridge that provides views back toward the city that are spectacular.  And of Alcatraz where we are going today.

Back into the car and up Highway 1 (note to self: come back on motorcycle!) to the canyon country of Muir Woods.  John Muir started the Sierra Club and you can see why as you wind through this neck of the woods.  Muir Woods is a National Park that protects the last stand of redwoods still standing from the good old days.  Very old.  As you walk into the forest it's really cool how people go from yack yack yacking to complete silence.  Sort of like walking into a grand cathedral.  

Fish and chips at The Pelican Inn an English pub/inn that was taken apart over there and re-assembled over here.  Ale by the pint and plenty of tartar sauce!  

Out to Muir Beach and proof that there really is a Pacific Ocean.

Skirt steak and grilled asparagus on the barbie for dinner and exhausted he drops into bed.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Brunch at 98 Cortland, San Francisco

I could get used to this.  Sleep late, go for a jog up and down the hills of San Francisco, drink coffee and enjoy meeting up with old friends for brunch at Ashley and Sabin's and then out to see the Pacific for the first time in my life.

Sabin left early to drop off Rowan for his return to college.  Ashley went to Zumba.  I did not.  I got to take a nice walk (the uphills) and run (the downhills).  Then Charlene Smith and Flip Casey joined us for the most delicious brunch of mimosas, sourdough French toast, bacon, mimosas, sausage, fruit salad and mimosas.  Afterwards we enjoyed champagne and orange juice while we played three very intense (boys against the girls) games of Trivial Pursuit.  As I see it since the first 2 games were just practice, the boys won.

We got out to see the Pacific Ocean just as the rains set in.

The Pacific Ocean.  No really it's out there.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Made It To San Francisco

I made it!  Following are notes I made while on the train and have only now gotten to be able to hook up with wi-fi.  I will post more updated stuff later.  Just know I made it!  Ashley has given me a great quick tour of San Francisco and now we are enjoying her home.  Drinking beer, wine, tequila and Jamieson's and getting ready for ribs on Rowan's last night of Spring Break.  This is gonna be great!

Wednesday. 2:20 PM.  This is so cool.  I have my own little roomette.  Not real big but private and with a bunk that folds down for sleeping.  The shower is just down the hall and I am in need!  There is an upstairs where the windows are floor to ceiling which will mean more as we head out into the plains and Rockies.  I’ve already gotten lost, came downstairs and all my stuff was gone.  Oh wait, wrong room.  Sorry.  Tom is my conductor and he seems like a fine fellow.  The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is getting really good so I’m going to quit now and go read for a bit.

My Roomette

Tom My Conductor

7:00 AM. Waking up in the flat, flat, flat part of the country.  I had a great sleep in my roomette.  Getting dressed is a bit of a challenge.  I have decided to not shave until I’m on firmer ground.  Excellent breakfast except for the announcement that an avalanche somewhere between here and San Francisco means the train will go no further than Reno.  Huh?  No one heard of a shovel?  I’m going to have to scramble and do some figgerin’.  The adventure has become an adventure.
11:50 PM.  We’re about to pull out of Denver, destination unknown.  As we pulled into Denver we were informed that we would be put up for the night in Denver and then try to get out tomorrow.  At first I was going to stay on the train and take my chances in Reno but was informed of a big bowling tournament in Reno that had taken up all the hotel rooms.  So I quickly pack (stuff everything into by bag) and jump off and into the Denver station.  Once inside they instructed us there would be no accomodations provided in Denver but that they would be provided for us in Reno.  Got that?  Me neither but if you hurry you can get back on the train.  Thank you for all your patience and understanding as we deal with Mother Nature.  
12:30 PM.  I think.  We’ve changed time zones a couple times and my computer clock don’t know it.  My cell phone is apparently confused as it is refusing to show any time.  Anyway we just entered Moffatt Tunnel at 6.1 miles long the longest railroad tunnel in the United States.  Prior to the building of the tunnel our trip over the Great Divide took 5-6 hours.  Now we can do it in 12 minutes.  As we exit the tunnel you will be able to see the ski lifts and trails of Winter Park.  Thank you for riding with Amtrak.  Now I gotta go have my lunch.
4:30 PM.  The ride from Denver to Glenwood Springs, Colorado is absolutely gorgeous.  I am finding so many places I want to come back and explore.  Even Ottumwa, Iowa looks fun!  But right now we are up in the high canyon country of the Rockies.  Red rocks, steep canyon walls and scrawny dogs barking at trains behind houses put in the middle of god knows where for god knows what reason.  I was able to get just enough time on someone’s wi-fi in Glenwood Springs for a quick post on Facebook.  For those of you from there thanks.  I have finished The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (I won’t spoil it for you Janine!).  A train ride is a great way to completely relax and read.  Or write.  Or just look out the window.  Ever wonder what’s on the other side of that canyon wall?  There’s an app for that!  Actually there isn’t.  You’re going to have to put away all your devices and go for a hike.

Saturday AM. Woke up fairly early, before dawn in Nevada.  And the announcement that there would be busses to get us from Reno to Emeryville / San Francisco.  Yeah!!  I had breakfast with John from Sioux City, Iowa and Peter from Stockholm, Sweden.  Nevada is beautiful.  We are traveling through scrubby desert with huge mountain backdrops that seem to rise out of the earth for no particular reason.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On The Road

Wednesday, 2:45 PM.  I’m finally on a train!  Heading south toward Schenectady after saying goodbye to Connor and Port Henry  Hey there’s Connor and the Camry up on the highway.  Bye buddy man!  
Here are some photos of the beginning of the trip.
Ripton Snow- Better Be Gone By The Time I Get Back

New Sneaks!  Watch Out Nob Hill

Sarah Palin- Your Bridge Is Ready
Port Henry Train Station and Senior Center- Train's late, pinochle?

I’ve got Zac Brown in the headphones and a still frozen Lake Champlain to my left.  I’ll be flying back in a week and I expect that ice to be gone!  I’m traveling with Lisbeth Salander having picked up The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest from the Ilsley Library yesterday.  Lisbeth and Grandma Ann’s digital camera and all of you.
4:40 PM.  I arrived in Schenectady (who decided that was a good name for a town?) on time which meant I had a 4 hour wait for the Lake Shore Limited which I will ride through the night to Chicago.  Sat in the train station for a couple of hours and then decided to try Schenectady's finest Burger King.  My whopper was just as good as the ones I've had at the Burlington Burger King.  Aa Bill Lacey says, I spent a year of my life in Schenectady one weekend.

7:45 PM.  We're heading out, bound for Chicago.  Still having trouble finding wi-fi, hopefully I'll be able to upload tomorrow in Union Station.

5:00 AM.  Sleep last night consisted of several catnaps.  A little tough getting a 6'3" frame comfortably into a train seat for 15 hours.  The couple in the seats right in front of my decided all night would be a time for a conversation in Cambodian.  Not exactly a soothing sing-song language.  I also learned that when Amtrak describes the route as traveling along "some of the nation's most beautiful shorelines" they don't mean AT NIGHT, when it is DARK OUT.

8:30 AM.  About 2 hours out of Chicago, rolling through Indiana farm country.  Hey there's Larry Bird!

1:50 PM.  I just had the best pizza in the world!  Giordano's deep dish sausage pie.  Wow!  Here's some pickies:
Mamma Mia!

Smile Boys- Ya done good

1:00 PM. Waiting to board the train for San Francisco.  I just spoke with Ashley and it is raining there.  Don't care, I'm going to San Francisco!

Love you all.  Peace.  Peter