We had a lazy start today and spent the morning in the hotel room catching up on everything that has been going on at home, basically doing spreadsheets. Once this was done it was off to Alcatraz thanks to Angela and Robin. This was awesome and a must see if you are going to San Francisco. We went over on a boat and stood at the bow in the “Splash Area”. I had my new waterproof jacket on so decided to test it out. I zipped it up, put up my hood and waited. After about 5 minutes we found out it was the “get soaked” area and I was the only one left outside. According to Hayley everyone inside was saying “I can’t believe that guy it still out there”. Once we pulled in to the dock and was queueing to get off, the captain came down and said “who was the trooper that was out the front” I owned up and he shook my hand, then I got a fist bump from another crew member. It didn’t stop there. When we was walking back home that night, about 5 hours later, a guy approached me saying “you was the guy at the front of the boat”, haha claim to fame. Ow and if you was wondering the jacket worked great!
Back to Alcatraz.
Alcatraz was built in 19.. as a maximum security prison it operated until 19… when strong wind and weather conditions just mean that it cost to much to maintain. The staff lived and worked on the island and children could been seen playing on the flat concreted area in the evening. There was regular ferries to the mainland, this is how the children got to school, so everyone could go out in the town and never felt secluded.
Alcatraz had a few escape attempts, the first being a guy literally climbing the fence when we was outside on recreational time, an officer shouted stop, but when he didn’t listen the offer opened fire and it was over.
The next big escape attempt was planned by Bernard Coy whist he was working in the library. He had it all planned, he would use a crude bar spreader made from a nut, bolt and piece of pipe to spread the bars on the gun gallery and overwhelm the guard, then use the prison guns and keys to free five accomplices and race to shore. but it all went wrong. Too many officers had been taken hostage and officer Bill Miller had hidden a critical key that ultimately stopped them. Bill was later fatally shot in cell 407 but will never be forgotten for his sacrifice.
Using the unlikeliest of supplies, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin make the most creative attempt in the history of Alcatraz. Placing dummy heads made of soap, cement, and paint under their blankets in the middle of the night, the escapees crawled out of their cells through small vents, scaled the utility corridor to the roof, slid down a stove pipe and crept to the shore line. These small vent where drilled using drills made from spoons and must have taken years. The three man reached the bay. As they slipped in to the water using rafts fashioned out of a raincoat they met an icy current rapidly ebbing out to sea. They were never seen again. Do you think they made it?
When we hopped off the boast we decided to quickly take a look at the famous Lombard Street. This is known to most as the San Francisco zig zag road. You have to walk up some steep hill to get to it, but we was Yosemite fit, so this was not problem. Lombard street is defiantly worth a look, its very well kept and has a captivating flower arrangement all the way up.
We finished the day by advancing our quest to try every chocolate flavoured cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factories menu. Today was the Linda Special and the 30th Anniversary. The Cheesecake Factory was located at the top of the Macy’s building and whilst we waited we ventured outside and got an amazing view of Union Square and decided that thats where we should eat them. A great way to finish off San Fransico.