Day 4, “Welcome to the Pacific Ocean”

A day which can only be described with superlatives…. And pictures, of which I took dozens, none of which can convey the sheer beauty I encountered today.

Alcatraz was breathtakingly beautiful in a barren and desolate sort of way, architecturally graceful ruins blending in perfectly with scrub grasses, trees, and various flowers. Birds abounded and, in fact, most of the island is white with guano. It is a stark, foreboding place, but truly beautiful. I just wanted to set up a tent and stay there for spell. Some might think me crazy to find that place so pretty, but it is if you like ruins that blend in so thoroughly with their natural surroundings that you could not possibly imagine one without the other, then Alcatraz is the place for you. Here are only a few pictures that give the tiniest sense of the island’s magic:

The inside of the cell block is, of course, another story, but even that surprised me, with its pale pink and mint green colour scheme (!).

Wandering through the standard pathetic gift shop, I couldn’t help but marvel that I got the perfect Alcatraz souvenir my first night in San Francisco, when I picked up that pastel picture.

Upon returning to the mainland, Neil and I made a quick stop at the cable car museum then went to pick up my rental car:

Let’s play “what’s wrong with this picture.” I have no license plate. Apparently, this is perfectly legal because the car is new and I have a totally insignificant sticker on the front windshield. Yeah. I sure am looking forward to getting pulled over on the interstate. 🙂 Otherwise, YAY! This is my car! Okay, it’s the newer model and is an automatic and has four doors, but things are still in the same place. And, of course, the Hyundai Accent is one of the most superbly comfortable cars in the universe.

Neil guided me to a place across Golden Gate Bridge called Point Bonita, where there is a lighthouse. The vistas were incredible.

Amazing day.

Decided that I’m too burned to take the long route to Vegas via Sacramento and Reno, and will therefore be taking the shorter route via the I-15. I’m therefore leaving sometime around 6 tomorrow (hopefully earlier) and should be in Vegas no later than late afternoon.

I’d forgotten it was possible to be this happy and joyous.