Day 4 – Behind Bars…

20th June 2018

Up early again today as I am meeting the girls at Pier 33 to take a boat trip over to Alcatraz island.  Am really looking forward to it but the weather is very gloomy and cold this morning so wrapped up as warm as possible.  Pretty uneventful journey by Uber and Bart as usual because of course the bike is in the workshop at Harley.  I have to ring after the trip today to see where we are at regarding a time to pick it up.

I actually arrive a little bit late due to a mix up with the Uber… first one car was coming then it changed to another one, but never mind I arrived before the boat left, that’s the main thing.

An uneventful crossing.. little bit choppy but it only took about 20 minutes.  When we landed on the dock the sun came out so was able to get some good shots of the rock and the prison complex.

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Now you know I like a water tower….

This one is especially important as it bears an inscription put there during the native american occupation of the rock back in the late 60’s; something that I knew nothing about so it was interesting to see the display and information about it, here’s a link to the US National Parks Service:

https://www.nps.gov/alca/learn/historyculture/we-hold-the-rock.htm

I spent a very pleasant few hours just wandering around the rock, taking in the atmosphere and the sunshine.  The main prison building is at the top and is in amazingly good condition given the dilapidation of some of the other structures.

And of course the infamous ‘hole’ aka solitary confinement.

Some of the interior is pretty evocative, especially with the sunlight coming in giving a real feeling of the consequences of confinement.

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and finally… is this the last inmate I wonder…

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The girls have gone their separate ways and its agreed to meet back up at 1pm down by the dock.  However, around 12pm I decide to head back to San Francisco and am surprised to see that everyone else has also caught the same boat so glad I didn’t hang around until 1pm.

Did manage to get a few shots of San Francisco and the very famous Golden Gate Bridge in the distance… hope to be riding over that in the next couple of days.

Once I’m back on the mainland I call the Harley dealers but the bike isn’t ready yet and I am to call again in a couple of hours.  The majority of the group are walking up to Pier 31 the famous Fishermans Wharf  so I tag along with them.  A couple have gone off to have some Clam Chowder, which is a well known dish here and the others are looking to eat too, I had something on the boat coming back so I take my leave and have a quick wander around the Wharf.  I came here briefly about 20 or so years ago and remember very well the hoards of Sea Lions that hang out here, the noise was tremendous back then.  Now it is very, very commercial and there are loads of restaurants and souvenir shops.  The Seal population seems to have diminished considerably, but that may just be the time of year I guess.

One old girl or boy has obviously got the hump…

As I leave the Wharf I come across the MUNI which is the street car service, I decide to hop on one and see where it takes me.  The conductor asks me if I want a Senior ticket, oh thanks so I really do look my age???  I say yes and it costs me just $1.35 for the ride.. he explains that the ticket is valid on the MUNI all day, I can get on and off as many times as I like.  Now thats a bargain if ever I saw one.  He very kindly offers to take a photo of me

It has a really lovely interior too..

That tram then comes to the end of its route but he directs me to the one parked in front, he says that will take me into town.  I have a look at the front and its the F train which goes all the way to Market and Castro, sounds good to me.

I get on and enjoy the trip through San Francisco including the financial and shopping districts.  I am impressed by all the obvious support for Pride week, every lamp post has a rainbow flag flying from it and on the side of one building is the following message:

The street car terminates at the top of the Castro so I walk down enjoying the feeling of being at home here.

Isn’t this the gayest crossroads ever? And just across on the opposite corner is a tribute to Soni Wolf, one of the founding members of Dykes in Bikes who sadly passed away in April.

I’m now feeling a bit peckish and spot a hot dog shop nearby. After perusing the menu I decide to try a philly dog, a beef hot dog with steak, melted cheese and jalopenos.. it’s absolutely delish, one of the best things I’ve had to eat so far although it is enormous and half of it ended up in the bin.

I then pop into a couple of shops to buy rainbow items to decorate myself and my bike for the parade on Sunday.. I also get a large rainbow flag so now I need a flag pole, mmm where can I get one of those??  I ask in one of the shops and am directed to a hardware type shop further down.  I am able to buy some thinnish wooden rod that will probably be fine for the day… ah but now I need to put it somewhere because I am going to be collecting the bike soon.  I stick it in my backpack and pray it doesn’t fall out.

I give harley another call and the bike is ready at last so I finish off the bits and pieces I still want and then make my way to the BART.  It’s quite a walk and by the time I get to the station it is already gone 5pm.  I take the train all the way down to San Francisco airport, yet again, and as I do I check how long it would take to walk to the Harley dealers… oh too long, about 45 minutes, that means I’ll need another Uber.  Thinking about it I realise there is an airport shuttle service which will bring me closer to the harley shop so it might make walking a bit more feasible.  I switch over to the shuttle train but unfortunately I am going in the wrong direction.  It’s a one way service so I have to sit and wait for it to loop back to the Bart station and then change over to the blue line, the one I should have gotten on in the first place.  When I get off it is gone 6pm and the harley dealer shuts at 7pm so I am definitely cutting it fine.  OMG I cannot get a signal on my phone so I’m not able to order an Uber.. shit I’m going to have to walk.  Google maps is telling me I will arrive at 6.59 so I try my very best to walk as quickly as possible.  At 6.35 I know I am not going to make it so I give them a call to let them know, I hope they will wait for me so I don’t have to come back tomorrow.  The woman on the phone is fantastic, she says she can organise a lift for me and puts me on hold… a few minutes later she comes back and says one of the guys is going to come on the line and sort out where I am so he can come and collect me; how brilliant is that!

Only one problem, I don’t know where I am…. I try describing the area and he asks me if I can see Costco.. nope nothing here, I tell him I will keep walking and meet him at Costco.  That’s the plan then.  I continue walking and at last see a Costco petrol station up ahead so I call the dealer again and speak to the same woman, she is going to let the guy know at I am at the gas station and will wait for him there.  I also ask her to take payment over the phone as this will save time when I arrive.

I am only there for a few minutes before a chap in a white pick up truck pulls up and whisks me away to the dealership… I arrive with minutes to spare.  I sign all the paperwork and also manage to filtch a cable tie  to lock my backpack zippers together to help keep the wood stick in my bag.

I am supposed to be at a Dykes on Bikes meeting this evening from 6pm so as soon as I’ve got the bike I make my way over to the Eagle Tavern.  When I arrive the group from Queensland and Sydney is already there so I join them for a while and then go in to the club meeting to show my face on behalf of DoB Sussex, my chapter.  The discussions centre around arrangements for Pride and one of the items is merchandise for sale at the DoB party planned for Saturday afternoon.  There is the pride annual pin, the importance of this particular year is that the pin is the first one to have the ® next to Dykes on Bikes, this is because we have just won our case in the US Supreme Court to be able to use this term and it is now copyrighted.. wow.  The annual pride t-shirt will also be on sale, and a brand new item – a belt buckle, which is so cool.. I definitely want to have one of those and I bet Sylvie will too.

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I put this on the Facebook pages and immediately have orders… altogether I have 10 girls who want one so I will have to do my best… but mine comes first of course, wink!

The ride home is freezing.  I stop at a Walgreens on the way to pick up something to eat and a few toiletries so I don’t get home until 9.30pm.  By the time I’ve eaten and sorted myself out it is almost midnight so no time to blog… I need to sleep.  Am looking forward to seeing Sylvie and Lynda tomorrow, but also having a ride on the bike and, less excitingly, doing my washing!!

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