Vacation to the Bay Area: Day Five

On the final day of our vacation, we went to Alcatraz.


During the audio tour.


The boats departed from Pier 35. There seemed to usually be one boat on the water. When both were on, they were going opposite directions. The first boat we went on was the Striker. It was raining.


sport pting alcatraz boat
The boat we were going to go on.


We sat on the top deck because it is better for viewing. The rain kept us from seeing much. When we arrived, there was a film. It wasn’t working though. We went through a couple of exhibits in the first building.


sport looking thru
The ads said you could see starving prisoners. Not true.


Then we waited in line for our audio tours and went to the actual prison.

Once, when we had to go outside, it was super windy. In Southern California, you do not see that much wind. The thing I remember most is how the kitchen knives had outlines where they were hung up. If one was missing, it was easy to spot. There had been multiple people killed in there. If it got too rowdy, one of the officers cocked his gun and everyone fell silent.

We were allowed to go in the isolation cells. They were barren rooms in the dark. One of the games a guy played was to pop a button off his jumpsuit and try and find it. Once, when someone tried to escape, there was a battle that lasted for a couple hours. Surprisingly, there were only 10 casualties.

We went back to our hotel room and packed up to leave.

Vacation to the Bay Area: Day Four

We went to San Francisco on our fourth day of vacation. We started off by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge.


Golden Gate Family pic
Golden Gate Bridge. Without the fog.


We went through two tunnels on the opposite side of the bridge and stopped in Sausalito. They had the boats that my sisters and I sail on the racing team.

We went back across the bridge and drove to Chinatown. They had the best clothing deals you could imagine. I remember seeing four scarves for $10. Near it, they had skyscrapers.

After that, our dad took us to Lombard Street. It is the most crooked street in America. The wait for it was long, and it was also very steep. The curvy part is made of bricks. My mom tried to take a video through the sunroof but it didn’t turn out well. Next, we drove to Union Square. It was kind of dirty and had a lot of homeless people. We then went to the Presidio. My mom loved it. There was a Lucasfilm building. They had a fountain with Yoda and some cardboard cutouts of Star Wars characters.


Use the force.


There were also some statues of Star Wars people. Next, we walked to the Palace of Fine Arts.


palace family
It looks somewhat like the dome at MIT.


We could see it from the tunnel by the Golden Gate Bridge. It had a giant dome. We didn’t go inside the theater. Next, we walked back to the Presidio and went to the Walt Disney Family Museum. We weren’t there long, though. We drove to our new hotel and after we checked in, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf. For dinner at Boudin Bakery, the line was very long.


santa fw family
Pictures with Santa at Boudin.


We walked around and saw where we would depart to Alcatraz the next morning. Ghiradelli Square was awesome. There were three shops. Only one had the milkshake, though. We didn’t go to that one because the line was so long. There was a giant sign that said Ghiradelli.


Ghiradelli sign from Alcatraz
The view is from a boat but I also saw it from Alcatraz.



ghir tree kids2
It’s kind of hard to tell but the Christmas tree has a G on top.


The hot chocolate we got was great. After that, we found the way back to our hotel room and went to sleep.

Vacation to the Bay Area: Day Three

On day three of our vacation to the Silicon Valley, we went to the Tech Museum of Innovation.

It was really fun. Unlike the Computer History Museum, it was targeted towards kids. I think the most fun activity was Social Robots. I gave my robot a hook that it could wave up and down if I turned a knob. I connected two wires to the power source for the lights. There is only supposed to be one wire connected. Instead of the lights staying on, they flickered.


social robots sp good pic
The lights do not go well with the picture.


That had a really cool effect. They also had an earthquake simulator. There were foam blocks that fell almost immediately.


earthquake pose
I made the tallest building. It was no surprise that it would fall first.


They also let you design an earthquake. I made the craziest earthquake possible and used the best material for a building. The building survived. There was also a jetpack simulator where you try and get the laser on the dots. I almost got three dots but the timer ran out just before.


I was going to get the third dot here.


After that, we went to the bodies exhibit. I didn’t think it was very interesting. There was one good thing where you tried to do a challenge with blocks.


upstiars spkt
The biggest issue was that there weren’t enough blocks.


After that, we went to have lunch at the cafe they had there. We went back to the museum. I built the same robot I made last time. Then I went over to where my sisters were, and we tried to get a ball across a stream without building a bridge. Kate almost built a bridge, but it didn’t reach the other side. Most of the other people made slingshots.

They also had a camera where it took a picture of your face, split it into three parts, and put it with parts of other people’s faces. One time, part of my face got mixed with my sister. We had planned to do other things, but we ended up staying there the whole day. After that, we went back to the Residence Inn for the last night there.

Bay Area Vacation: Day Two

On day two of our vacation, it was Thanksgiving. We hiked Sweeney Ridge. We also visited the headquarters of Facebook and Oracle. Finally, we went to Stanford.

We woke up in our hotel, had breakfast, and drove over to Sweeney Ridge.

Sweeney Ridge sign family pic
The sign.

Strangely enough, the person who discovered it was Gaspar de Portolá. The hike had a lot of uphills even though it is only 4 miles total. The summit was interesting. There was only one small bench and a small bathroom. There was the abandoned Nike Missile Site. It was built during the Cold War. Now it was caved in. There was also a ton of graffiti.


sweeney ridge nike missile site
There is a ton of graffiti.


Partway down, we stopped to have a snack. We got into our car and drove to the Oracle Headquarters. They had a giant sailboat there. It won the America’s cup.


oracle trimaran
The boat.


We got back into our car again and drove to the Facebook headquarters. It was at One Hacker Way. Someone took a picture of us in front of the sign.


facebook mom and kids
If you like this post please give it a thumbs up.


On the back was the sign of Sun Microsystems. The Facebook building was unique. It was painted different colors. There didn’t seem to be a pattern either. We went to the Stanford campus after.




It was somewhat fancy. Their chapel was huge.


The chapel.


After that, we went back to our hotel room. It had been a long day, and we were all very tired.

Bay Area Vacation: Day One


This year, we took another vacation for Thanksgiving. We went up to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco. On the first day, we visited the Computer History Museum, Apple and Google Headquarters.

We woke up at 4 A.M. and we left by 5 A.M. It was a long drive. When we were going through Los Angeles, there was an accident in the other lane and the traffic was backed up a couple miles. After we got out of Los Angeles, there was a lot of farmland in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the plants was on poles, and there were a lot of them so it played some tricks on your eyes. Once out of the farmland, it was just desert for a while. After that, we passed through Gilroy. It is known as the garlic capital of the world. It also smells like garlic.

Next, we passed through the Silicon Valley. We saw the Qualcomm Research Silicon Valley and the regional headquarters of Microsoft. We drove farther into Silicon Valley and went to the Computer History Museum. The best part of it was that they had video games. Even though they were old, they were surprisingly fun. The best was Pong, though.


If only they had graphics like this when it was released.


There was one video game that took as much power as a washing machine to work. We walked over to a part where they had a Wikipedia game. I was winning against my dad, but he ended up beating me. It also had the history of music players in a different section. There was a doll in Thomas Edison’s time that sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” There was so much background static I could hardly understand it. I had headphones on, too. After that, I went through a history of computers that started with the abacus 6,000 years ago. It wasn’t up to date, though. I didn’t see the modern stuff about smartphones. My dad got a picture with the butler from Ask.


The Butler.


We traveled to the Google headquarters. They had Google-colored bikes for their employees to get around.


The yellow bikes! The blue thing on my shirt is from the Computer History Museum.


We also went to the Apple headquarters.


apple hq mom and kids
Apple HQ.


They had a store on the bottom floor. We were tired after that so we checked into our hotel.

If you like this, you may also want to see:

Central California Coast: Day One

Central California Coast: Day Two

Central Calfornia Coast Day 3-4

Vacation to Arizona: Day Two

If you don’t already know, I went to Arizona. On day two, we went to Angels Spring Training at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The Angels were playing the Diamondbacks. Our friends, Blane and Makela, were there. We got seats in the Party Patio. It has free hot dogs, hamburgers, salad and drinks. Later, they brought out dessert.

view from party patio
The view from the Party Patio.

In the first inning, the Diamondbacks didn’t score. When the Angels were up, Kole Calhoun hit a single and then Albert Pujols hit a two run home run. The Angels scored two more that inning. About halfway through the game, the Angels were winning seven to one. The Diamondbacks tried to make a comeback by scoring three more runs. Fortunately, it didn’t work. I do not mean to offend any Diamondbacks fans, but I was glad the Angels won. That day was very fun.

You may also like:

Vacation to Arizona: Day One

Vacation to Arizona: Day One

Last week, we went on vacation to Arizona. It was mainly for Baseball Spring Training, but we did other things. It was quite fun. We didn’t do a lot on the first day because it was mostly driving to Arizona. At one point near Palm Springs, there were thousands of windmills.

Ortega Falls Mar 17 004
This is a tiny fraction of the amount of windmills we saw.


The first significant stop was at the University of Phoenix Stadium. It is a football stadium they used for the Final Four. If you don’t know, Gonzaga and North Carolina are in the Championship.

Later that day, we went to Sun Devil Stadium on the ASU campus. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go in. The renovations are not complete. Where we looked in, there were still benches. Some of the benches are already changed to seats now.


Sun Devil Stadium
We looked through the Southeast Entrance.


We stayed at a Fairfield Inn in Chandler. That was day one of our trip to Arizona.

Day Two is probably coming tommorow.

Global Wildlife Center

On the last day of our Christmas trip to Lousiana, we went to the Global Wildlife Center. Riding on a bus, we viewed and fed animals on a safari through their property. global-kate-ready-for-alpaca They had lots of animals. We weren’t allowed to feed the zebras because they bite.

They can take photos well.

The deer followed us around the whole safari. Some of them were fighting.

The fighting deer.

They even had llamas and alpacas! global-alpaca You were allowed to hand-feed them. We each got one cup of animal feed. At the end of the safari, since I had some feed left over, I dumped it out. There was a big animal gathering with all of them trying to eat the food. Some cows looked like Texas Longhorns but they weren’t. They were from Asia.

They do have long horns.

In the gift shop, I bought some sunglasses that have mirrors on them so you can see behind you. That was one of the most fun things we did during that vacation.


Central Calfornia Coast Day 3-4

On our third day of the vacation, we visited the redwoods. One of Dad’s friends, Mr. McShane, runs a plant nursery, and we saw him. He let us feed some of his fish. Before that, we walked around and saw what he sold. It appears he has a good business.

We drove to the California Coastal Redwoods at Henry Cowell State Park. It was a path with lots of amazing redwoods. Some were hollow and you could walk in.

Walk right in!

In one redwood, someone had slept overnight. The entrance had a hole in the ground, and it was filled with mud. When Sarah’s boot got stuck in the mud, she walked the boot off. She stepped in the mud and got it back on. There was a dawn redwood from China that was about 20 feet tall. It was also very thin.


They also had a little logging town. The food they made at the restaurant was very good. So was the hot chocolate. The town was called Roaring Camp Railroad. They have a 19th-century steam train that travels around the redwoods. It is huge and quite noisy. Tickets cost $25. We didn’t go on the train but I took a video running after the train for 2 minutes.

We drove to Santa Cruz and went to the boardwalk. Kate and I went on Giant Dipper.

Giant Dipper starts in the dark.

Sarah wasn’t tall enough for Giant Dipper. It was much more thrilling than I expeced. It is actually more exciting than some steel roller coasters. Mostly, I think it was the drops. There are so many of them. Most are really small, though. Either way, it was extremely fun.  I did not think a 1924 wood coaster could be so exciting. It also hurt my elbows. I am trying to cover them up in the picture.

Kate and I in the picture.

When we went back to the hotel, Mr. McShane came to the lobby. We stayed up past 11:00. I got to take their pictures.

Our last day was mostly driving home. We did stop by Pea Soup Andersen’s and the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center. Kate bought a fox she named Channel.

Yes, that is a life size elephant seal and Kate is holding her fox.

That was a very fun trip. I hope to do it every Thanksgiving, and I will have cheeseburgers every Thanksgiving, too!


My other posts are:

Central California Coast: Day One

Central California Coast: Day Two

Central California Coast: Day Two

In the morning, after breakfast, we were on the road again up the coast.

Our first stop was at Monarch Butterfly Grove. The butterflies look like the leaves in trees! It is open October to February. There are over 28,000!

We took yet another detour and found yet another park!  This one had ocean views and a tire swing. It was called Dinosaur Cave Park. Sarah and I were on the tire swing, and it was crazy.


It was going soo high spinning around like mad. I was partly responsible for the craziness.

Piedras Blancas is a six mile long stretch of elephant seals.

All the young males were there when we went. In two weeks from Thanksgiving, the adult males will come and fight over the females.

Our next stop was at the Madonna Inn. Its guest rooms have many different designs.  We like the ones with rocks. Madonna Inn has around 100 different rooms each to a separate theme.

We made a stop at Moonstone Beach. It has a lot of unique stones.

The “moonstones” there.

The beach also had climbing rocks, a tree and a cave.

It was a long drive for lunch. We had cheeseburgers for Thanksgiving at Ragged Point Inn.

Cheeseburgers for Thanksgiving

We drove across Bixby Bridge on the way back. There has been many car commercials on it. To see some of our drive you can click this link. There  was more stunning scenery like this:



You can see Bixby Bridge.



We stayed at a Marriott Residence Inn in Salinas.

Day two was just as fun if not more as day one.

The other days of the trip were:

Central California Coast: Day One

Day Three: Coming Soon