San Francisco, Alcatraz and Vallejo

Arrived in San Francisco and set up at Tradewinds RV in Vallejo in what we in England would call the “suburbs”. I had already booked us on a trip to Alcatraz at 12pm midday the next day, so needed to discover how to get there!!

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We found out that down the road about 3 miles away was the Vallejo Ferry Terminal, which had parking for $5 for the day, and the fares in and out of San Francisco were $7.50 per “senior” each way. That matched very nicely to the 25 mile drive, $10 tolls for the bridges and $25 per day parking so we decided to take the ferry as there was one at 10.00am that got in at 11.00am.

Very interesting “ferry”!! Sets off gently down the river at 8 knots and then after about 10 minutes accelerates up to 33 knots for the rest of the trip to San Francisco Ferry Terminal.

Vallejo Ferry Terminal
You can just see the double hulled ferry on the other side of the pier (sorry haven’t got a better picture).
Seating on board in the upper tier.
Hell of a wake at 33 knots.
GPS Navigation and speed in case you didn’t believe me.


One of the many bridges around San Francisco, this the Bay Bridge, 5 miles long and dual tiered.
Golden Gate Bridge from a distance.
San Francisco skyline.
Nearly there, 1 hour later, dead on time!!

Then we walked from the Ferry Terminal to the Alcatraz Tours terminal. By the way an FYI if anyone else decides to do this. Make sure you book through the OFFICIAL Alcatraz cruise site as there are all sorts of other sites on the internet that charge you anything up to $15 extra per person to book the same trip!!.

Boarding Line, boats are every 1/2 hour.
The Alcatraz “Cruise”.
Alcatraz Island
Do as you are told or else!!

After you land as it is a National Parks Service site your ferry is greeted by a National Parks Ranger that tells you all the rules for your visit and then “enjoy yourselves”.

I have chosen a few pictures to try and do Alcatraz justice, but if you get the chance do it yourself it is well worth it and my pictures cannot show everything we saw.

Just in case you didn’t realise what the purpose of Alcatraz was.
A guard watchtower and someone being watched!!
The permanent warder staff on the island had gardens.
The gardens terraced along the hillside.
A typical cell, not very salubrious!!
The library, a perk for the inmates who were good!!
A warder that was killed when four prisoners tried to escape, holding warders hostage and demanding their keys. This guy refused!!
The marks in the floor are caused by grenade fragments after US Marines stormed the building to stop the attempted escape. They don’t mess around in the USA!!
A typical Warders uniform.
Alcatraz lighthouse.
Golden Gate bridge from Alcatraz.
One of the cells where 3 prisoners used dummy heads to fool the warders, made famous by the film “Escape from Alcatraz” starring Clint Eastwood.
The services duct they climbed up to the roof.
One of the terraces looking over the Alcatraz gardens, and it also shows the steep climb.
Two visitors
Back in San Francisco.

We returned to main ferry terminal and caught the 5.15pm ferry back to Vallejo.

The next day we did the same ferry trip but this time stayed on it as we hadn’t realised that it docked at the main ferry terminal and then hopped down to Pier 41, which would have saved us the walk!!

Then we did our usual thing and bought a Hop On Hop Off Bus San Francisco tour for 2 days. We did the complete 2.5 hour trip first to suss everything out.

San Francisco electric trolley cars
Picture speaks for itself!!
Tallest building.
Main Ferry Terminal from the other side.
If you have corner lot how do you build on it? Simply build a triangle!! The offices in the point must be cramped.
Church window.
Closer to the bridge!!
Alcatraz from the bus.
San Francisco version of the Kew glass houses.
Older houses “Victorian” that survived the 1906 fire.
More survivors
City Hall. It is complete isolated from the ground on gimbals, so it will survive an earthquake.
This the gate that the prisoner railcars boarded the ferry which also had tracks, and unloaded to tracks on the island. Thus the prisoners never had to leave the train.
Anne’s shop.
The famous Fisherman’s Wharf.
Sea Lions at Pier 39. No one know why they adopted this Pier, they just turned up!!
Riding back to Ferry Terminal on an electric trolleybus.

On our second day we decided to go all the way to Golden Gate bridge and take the bus that went across the bridge and then went through the “city” of Sausalito and then back across the bridge. We also drove the Spark in as it was Saturday and the ferry only had four sailings back and forth.

A pair of legs I wasn’t quick enough getting on the previous day.
We’re off across the Golden Gate bridge. Glad I am not driving, traffic is horrendous!!
One of the bridge casements, not a very good picture as I was downstairs going this way across the bridge, there was no room upstairs!!
Sausalito with houses on stilts built up the hill, hope they have got the earthquake calculations right!!
San Francisco on the way back, got on the top this time!!
Bridge Ahoy!! I felt silly, there is me in a polo shirt and shorts and all the Americans have thick coats and hoodies on!!


Nearly there.
This thing is huge and why isn’t it painted Gold!!
Nearly halfway across.
Outside City Hall not sure why.
Old convertible Cadillac, lovely red leather.
Entrance to Chinatown.
In the restaurant in the evening.
View out of the restaurant window.

And the next day was …., breathe and take a rest although we had to do the laundry, clean the RV inside and out, and check the oil (engine and generator) and all the mundane tasks that go with driving an RV!!

Next stop Yosemite!!






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